— by Pastor Adekoya Akinbode
Like I fondly say, we can just share the grace and we’re sure to have gotten The Message right in the book of Romans. I personally fondly love to call it the Book of Romance because, giving the right understanding, that is one of the Epistles of Paul that will make you fall in love again and again and again with Jesus, knowing the weight and the eternal nature of what He’d done for you. Particularly as contained in the reviews so far.
Somehow, Paul expects his readers to have been established in the knowledge of the truth concerning their salvation and the gift of righteousness that it’s not about what you did, have done or can do. But rather, it is the plan of God executed in/through Christ Jesus. And that by faith, you’re justified in the sight of God, from what keeping the law cannot justify you of/from. I believe also that everyone in this place should have been established in that truth also, no, after what you used to hold on to before now.
I used to think within me, and it bothers me “for how long are we going to preach or keep preaching and emphasizing on the reality of ETERNAL SALVATION in Christ Jesus, THE FREE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS and all that the finished work of Christ avail us before some amongst us will grasp it?
If for all these years that this gospel of the grace of God in Christ Jesus has been around, and you’re HERE still doubting, Pastor Dammy has to visit you personally!
From this chapter 9, Paul started on an entirely new or different subject of concern (remember I said, he expects that his reader should have grasp, and be established in the truths he emphasized upon in the previous chapters, so he moved on to an entirely different topic) till Chapter 11. But began to speak of the burden he has for his people, the Jews, or the Israelites. Remember Paul as well was Hebrew, or a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin?
Though he was sent to the Gentiles, he has inner craving and yearning to see his people as well saved.
However, having the understanding of God’s original plan (specially and especially for Israel) he’s somehow consoled and seems to lower the tempo of his passionate drives to “magically” (if possible) have his people saved. He’s quick as well to challenge us the Gentiles who are now saved, having believed the gospel, not to be braggadocious towards his people because God has not rejected nor forsaken them. That is the subject matter from chapter 9 till 11.
Romans 9: 1. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2. That I HAVE GREAT HEAVINESS and CONTINUAL SORROW IN MY HEART. 3. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4. Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises…
Brother Paul, I can relate! I know you’re not lying because again, I can relate! Read that verse two again and feel the heartbeat of a true Apostle that is after the souls of men, by all means!
How often you seem to lose your joy, not because anything is wrong with you but just for the sake of the passion and compassion you have towards others who are distressed, perishing or going through some stuff and you wish you can just do something to help!
May I ask you… How do you feel as a person seeing people lost headlong into all kinds of religious practices and activities, bound under law in this dispensation of the gospel of the grace of God?
Sometimes you should feel the way Paul is feeling here!
When it comes to the adoption of children, it originally belonged to the Israelites considering their ancestral root in Abraham to whom the promise was given. When it comes to having a “relationship” with God, the Jews were God’s people on earth God was relating with and through, via the covenant. Also, God has umpteenth times manifested His glory in and through the Israelites. Now, when it comes to being saved, they should not be left behind seeing that the Saviour (Jesus Christ) was as well a Jew according to the flesh. That was Paul’s stand and point in this chapter.
I’ve often said that we may never truly or fully know the worth of being saved (though it is free, upon our confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ) until in eternity. Our idea and individual revelation of the glory that awaits is nothing near the reality. How could anyone miss it?
For the purpose of clarity of/and understanding, despite the fact that multitudes troop to Jerusalem (holy land religiously so called) for pilgrimage, the percentage of those who are saved in Israel is very low. It is naturally unheard-of that the very people from whom the Messiah came did not and do not believe in Him.
The reason why many are yet to believe actually is because all they expect of the Messiah is to come and restore dominion back to Israel and reign over them. But they are ignorant of the plan of God to through the death (the wages for our sins) and resurrection of Jesus (for our justification), the Gentiles should become partakers of life. When Jesus died, many stopped seeing Him as the One they’re waiting for. At His resurrection, His disciples thought it was now time for His messianic mission over Israel (Acts 1:6-). His ascension finally weakened the faith of many in Him as their Messiah. Interestingly, all that is because God had us in mind.
The summary of the whole chapter is that Paul is passionate about seeing the Jews (his people according to the flesh) saved as the Gentiles are being saved in their multitudes so much that he was he can even pay the price, be accursed or rather be rejected by Christ if it’ll take just that for his people to be saved.
Towards the end of the chapter, we’re told the reason why they’re not yet saved…
Romans 9: 31. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone…
As earlier pointed out, and obviously understandable reading from verse One. Paul expressed how heavy at heart and continually sorrowful he is seeing his Jewish people missing out on the riches of redemption and of His abundant grace in Christ Jesus. Simply because they have neglected God’s way of justifying the ungodly, which is by faith in the finished work of Christ, and continue to be in bondage to the law seeking through keeping the law what they can ONLY and simply get by faith!
The emphasis however on Paul’s disposition and compassion which I submitted that we need as well to have such a heart towards the unsaved and the saved yet under the law.
Romans 9: 3. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
The above verse shows to what extent Paul is concerned about the Jews’ salvation. He wouldn’t mind himself being rejected by Christ if it’ll take just that to have his kinsmen saved. Moses in the Old Testament exhibited this same heart of a leader
Exodus 32: 31-33 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Hmmm… Are you seeing that? Both are willing to serve as the sacrificial lamb for the salvation of Israel at their own given time! Unfortunately, anyone who rejects Jesus (the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world) cannot be justified in the sight of God. So, as Moses couldn’t take the place of Israel in their sins unto forgiveness, so as well Paul cannot. Every individual must come to terms with God on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ to attain justification.
Again, the emphasis is the heart both leaders of God’s people had towards the salvation of their people.
I remember when I was young, whenever I saw someone (particularly my siblings) going through pains, maybe sick or nursing a wound, I used to feel like having the pains caused by the sickness or the wound transferred to me, believing I could bear it. I just love seeing the people around me living fine and always feel like I could do something to guarantee that at all times!
WHAT are you willing to do, what price are you willing to pay and to what extent can you go to see the unsaved saved, and the saved understanding and enjoying the grace of God?
Can you intercede? Don’t be weary!
Can you go out to share THE GOSPEL? Even with neighbors and colleagues at work. Keep at it!
Can you give for the spread of the Gospel? Give sacrificially!
Can you do all the above? The Lord is your exceeding great reward!
Paul being a man of knowledge is not ignorant of God’s plan for Israel as the entire Nation shall be saved in one day at the second coming of Christ, heralding Christ’s millennia reign on earth.
Isaiah 66: 8-10 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall A NATION BE BORN AT ONCE? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. REJOICE YE WITH JERUSALEM, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
Zechariah 3:9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I WILL REMOVE THE INIQUITY OF THAT LAND IN ONE DAY. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.
So, that Israel is not yet saved now has not rendered the word of God of no effect. Israel shall be saved! Just that, THERE’S NOTHING LIKE BEING SAVED NOW!
Now, God’s plan to save Israel is not necessarily for everyone in Israel. That’s another puzzle in verse 6b!
There are two ways to explain that:
1. When the Israelites went out of Egypt, some other people (perhaps Egyptians or/and foreigners then in Egypt who have made friends with the children of Israel) went out with them called mixed multitudes.
One can become a citizen of a Nation by birth, marriage, naturalization… So, that some foreigners in Israel have become naturalized citizens doesn’t include them in God’s salvation plan for Israel. More intricately, that you’re born in Israel also doesn’t make you a part of God’s plan for Israel. Why? God’s plan for Israel is not on the basis of genealogical or ancestral origin in Abraham, but on the basis of the COVENANT. So,
2. Though Ismael is of the seed of Abraham, he and his offsprings are excluded from God’s plan for Israel because, it’s not just now about God’s deal with Abraham (the father of all) but who is a child of promise. And we all know that Isaac is that child of promise! So, on that day when a Nation shall be born (again) at once, it is yet NOT all in Israel that shall be saved only those who hail from the child of promise Isaac.
That is about all you’ll read fro, verse 6-8
The question now is WHAT HAPPENS TO THE REST? Hmm….
That leads us to the subject of GOD’S SOVEREIGN WILL IN THE SALVATION PLAN AND HIS SOLE ACT IN THE PROCESS!
That is what you will read about fro, verse 9-28
Zechariah 3: 22. What if GOD, WILLING to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.
GOD’S SOVEREIGN WILL IN THE SALVATION PLAN AND HIS SOLE ACT IN THE WHOLE PROCESS
Paul tells us in Eph 1:11 that God works after the counsel of His own will… And here Paul’s asks..
Romans 9: 20. Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?
Since the fall of Man, God’s plan of salvation (as preordained before the foundation of the world) was set in motion and He Himself is the sole Actor. This is adumbrated in the garden as the Lord God made clothes for Adam and Eve of animal skins.
So, as God does His thing, no one can/should question Him
Jacob and Esau
God always need a man at every dispensation. Where two or more are available, one must be chosen and other ‘rejected’ in human etymology or terminology.
Romans 9: 13 As it is WRITTEN, Jacob have I LOVED, but Esau have I HATED.
The word “loved” and “hated” here stirs up emotions but it is the same as “chosen” and “rejected” (as a matter of word and opposite)! Whenever God makes a choice of whomsoever He wills for His own reason and purpose, all others are said to be rejected. Whoever God chooses is said to be LOVED by Him and whosoever is not chosen is said to be HATED! That is the situation here. We all know that God has no capacity or propensity to hate, particularly when it has to do with a cold in he womb who has neither done right nor even. It’s all about who God chooses!
It is the same situation when out of the millions of people in the world back then, Noah found favor in the sight of God. Then, at another time it was Abram that God called, then Moses and so on. It’s all about God’s sovereignty and His sole will in His divine operations.
Just thank God for a moment that He didn’t choose to create you as Pharaoh. Pharaoh was purposely made (as a Potter makes a clay and determines its usefulness) as a vessel meant for destruction!
Amazingly, God needed to show forth His power and glory on earth, so He needed a devil incarnate_ a man that will be so stonehearted enough to continually oppose the will of God for His people to be used as a scapegoat… He made Pharaoh!
As you read about God (like the Potter) making some vessels of His wrath and some of His mercy; some vessels meant for destruction and some for His glory. Rather than questioning Him you should rather be filled with thanksgiving and praise to His Majesty because in His sovereign will, He has CHOSEN YOU AND ME to be vessels of His mercy and of His glory in/through Christ. Hallelujah!
By faith in Christ Jesus, we once vessels of wrath have been made vessels of His mercy!
Faith in Jesus changes everything about us! Once darkness, now we are light! Once vessels meant for destruction, now meant for His glory. Once vessels of wrath now of Mercy. All by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and not through the works of the law. Hallelujah!