Intro: The first eight chapters of the Book of Romans teaches us about humanity’s great need for a Savior and the work of the Holy Spirit. Without salvation through Christ’s atoning work on the cross and the leading of the Holy Spirit guiding us toward righteousness, humans self-slaughter in sin. In chapters 9-11, the Apostle Paul addresses the problem of Israel’s sin since they rejected the arrival of Messiah whom God sent to save them. Paul is burdened because he knows, without faith in the redeeming Savior, the people of Israel are separated from God’s love by sin and unbelief. This is true for all humanity who rejects the work of Christ and the Spirit for salvation.
In Paul’s letter, he expresses his great concern for the souls of the people of Israel. Paul is burdened for them and the eternal future they could face being separated from God. God blessed Israel with such a rich legacy; He gave them His Word. He delivered them from the bondage of sin time and time, again. But, even though Israel, by God’s Hand, experienced spiritual freedom, they returned to their old ways of serving other gods. Does that mean God’s Word was not powerful on behalf of Israel? It is not an issue of the Word being powerless; rather, it is a problem of the hardened human heart fighting God for control. We cannot serve two masters.
Paul goes on to identify the chosen. The Jews think their heritage as descendants of Abraham makes them the chosen of God. However, Paul sets them straight by telling them the chosen are obedient sons and daughters of faith who ‘choose to have their lives governed by God.’ Because Israel rejected the Word of God in Christ, God allowed the hearts of the Jews to be hardened until the full number of non-Jews have come to salvation as the chosen. In God’s original plan, the Jews were to be a blessing to the Gentiles. They missed this mission and blessing, but they are not far from God’s love. Israel will be saved—God will continue to have mercy on whomever He chooses.
Scripture teaches us one day ever knee will bow to the Word of God—Christ; we will be judged by Him (Phil 2:10). Our lesson today is to remind us to live authentically as the chosen. It is much easier to bow our hearts and lives in obedience to the governing of God’s Word now, than to bow later when all hell rages against the Word. Pray for Israel; pray for the world to accept Christ.
Romans 9:1-8 NLT God’s Selection of Israel
With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.
Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,”though Abraham had other children, too. This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for salvation in Christ and for the assurance of what it means to be Your chosen. Help us to live each day being governed by Your Word and led by Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.