The Book of ROMANS
James J. Barker
GOD’S PLAN FOR THE JEWS AND GENTILES
Text: ROMANS 9:25-33
- From the Scofield Study Bible: “The prophets foretold the blinding of Israel, and mercy to Gentiles.”
- The prophets quoted by the apostle Paul are Hosea (Romans 9:25, 26) and Isaiah (9:27-29, 33).
- Romans 9:33 refers to Isaiah 8:14 – “And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
- Romans 9:25 and 26 refer to Hosea 1:10 and 2:23. “Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God…And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”
- It should be pointed out that though these prophecies of Isaiah and Hosea refer to the restoration of Israel, the apostle Paul applied them to God’s mercy towards the Gentiles (cf. Romans 9:30; cf. 9:16).
GENTILES WILL TURN TO THE GOD OF ISRAEL
- W.H. Griffith Thomas refers to this age as the “double dispensation of Gentile reception and Jewish rejection” (St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans).
- Nationally God has set aside Israel. God is still saving individual Jews, but nationally God has set aside the nation of Israel.
- In Matthew 21:43, our Lord said to the chief priests and the elders of Israel, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
- The Greek word translated “nation” literally means, “Gentile nations.”
- Then our Lord said, “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:44). This “stone” is the “stumbling stone and rock of offense” (Romans 9:33).
- Nationally, God has set aside Israel. They have forfeited the right to be called God’s people. “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you…” (Matthew 21:43).
- Tel Aviv is now referred to as “the gay mecca of the middle east.”
- And not just the middle East. Tel Aviv now boasts that it is the world’s number one homosexual city. Tel Aviv recently beat out competition from NYC and Toronto and other big cities in a survey put out by American Airlines and GayCities.com.
- It was determined Tel Aviv was the most popular destination for homosexual travelers. It had 43 percent of the vote, way ahead of runner-up NYC with 14 percent, and Toronto with 7 percent.
- Jerusalem is not much better (cf. Revelation 11:8).
- Peter also applies Hosea 1:10 to Gentiles. “In time past,” unsaved Gentiles were not a people, but “are now the people of God” (I Peter 2:10). Now they “have obtained mercy.”
- After explaining that most Jews will reject the Gospel, and that only a small remnant will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, Paul asks in Romans 9:30, “What shall we say then?”
- The Gentiles “followed not after righteousness” (9:30). They preferred following after wickedness!
- But by the grace of God they “have attained (they laid hold of righteousness)…” Of course, Paul is not speaking here of all Gentiles. He is referring to those Gentiles who have believed in Christ.
- On the other hand, the Israelites, who had so many advantages over the Gentiles (cf. 9:4, 5), have not attained to the law of righteousness “because they sought it not by faith” (9:31, 32).
- The contrast – the unrighteous Gentiles have, through grace, attained to a righteousness which is of faith. H.A. Ironside said, “They followed not after righteousness, but God in righteousness pursued after them and made known His gospel, that they might believe and be saved. Israel, on the other hand, to whom He had given a law of righteousness, were even more guilty than the Gentiles, for they refused to follow it and therefore they missed that righteousness which the law would have inculcated” (Romans).
- “The law of righteousness” (9:31 twice) does not refer to the Mosaic Law, but to the principle of righteousness or standard of righteousness. Paul uses the word the same way in Romans 3:27.
- “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” The principle of faith.
- The word “righteousness” is used thirteen times between Romans 9:28 and 10:10.
- The Scofield Study Bible says, this could either refer to man’s self-righteousness; his futile efforts to work out under law a character which God can approve, or if it is used positively, it “means that righteousness of God which is judicially reckoned to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
THERE WILL BE A REMNANT OF BELIEVING JEWS
- The book of Isaiah teaches how God will preserve a faithful remnant, and will use that remnant for His divine purposes.
- “Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah” (Isaiah 1:9).
- This is just one of the many references in Scripture to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
- “Seed” in Romans 9:29 refers to this faithful remnant – “Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”
- If God had not preserved this small remnant, there would have been no more Israel. They would have disappeared like Sodom and Gomorrah (Romans 9:29).
- Romans 9:27 refers to Isaiah 10:22a, “For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return.”
- God promised Abraham that He would multiply his seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore (Genesis 22:17).
- This promise was also given to Isaac, and then to Jacob. The prophet Isaiah referred to this promise, but added that only a remnant would return to God.
- “For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return” (Isaiah 10:22a).
- Romans 9:28 refers to Isaiah 10:23, “For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption (completion, termination, full end, complete destruction), even determined, in the midst of all the land.”
- Isaiah’s prophecy refers to the Babylonian invasion of Israel, and Israel’s subsequent exile. “For he will finish the work” (of judgment)…” (Romans 9:28).
- And today, Israel is still under the judgment of God, and will remain under the judgment of God until they repent (cf. Zechariah 12:10). “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
MOST JEWS HAVE REJECTED THE GOSPEL
- What could be worse than being compared to Sodom and Gomorrah? (Romans 9:29; Isaiah 1:9; Revelation 11:8).
- What could be worse when Israel’s largest city (with over 3 million residents, 42% of the country's population) is the #1 sodomite capital of the world?
- It will be even worse when the antichrist comes and establishes his throne in their rebuilt temple (II Thessalonians 2:4).
- Pride keeps sinners – both Jewish sinners and Gentile sinners – from salvation. They “stumble” over the “stumbling stone” (9:32, 33).
- W.H. Griffith Thomas said, “God offers the gift of a Divine Saviour as the one and only refuge of the sinful soul; but there is an absence of that consciousness of sin, that poverty of spirit, that realization of utter helplessness which constitute the true attitude of deep need. Multitudes in their pride will not consent to learn the profound necessity of Divine mercy and grace for salvation, and thus the Gospel of Christ becomes a stumbling-block to them” (St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans).
- Romans 9 ends on a good note – “whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (cf. 10:11).
- Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame.
- Shall not be disappointed!