Romance 9: 1-5
Hello – Welcome to Gospel in Action. In the last video series on John 3, we saw what it meant to be born again and we learnt that we must believe in Jesus Christ and in His finished work on the cross for us to have eternal life. In this video series, we will establish that God does not do things randomly and does not choose people unconditionally for salvation. We will learn that God chooses only those people who freely choose to believe in the Son by their own free will. We are also starting from Romans chapter 9 as this book starts a new theme in the book of Romans. One can understand this to be part-2 of this amazing book of Romans. We will learn that Romans chapter 1 through 8 explains the sinfulness of man, man’s need and God’s glorious provision through the work of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. Now, through the rest of the chapters, Paul explains that God brought about this salvation for everyone irrespective of their ethnicity. A disclaimer here is that one has to be well versed with the history of Israel to understand Romans 9. So, here we go. We have learnt that God chose the nation Israel to bring the Messiah through their lineage and thus, bringing salvation to the whole world through Him. But we know that Israel failed miserably by literally trashing the opportunity of being called the most privileged nation on earth. So, the question that Paul addresses in this chapter is – did God forget Israel because of their rebellion? The answer is of course, No. Here, Paul explains how God used even the rebellion of His chosen people to include the people of all nations to come into His Kingdom, thus putting both Jews and Gentiles on the same spiritual footing but Jews will receive everything first i.e. only if they are obedient. This is evident throughout the whole book of Romans as Paul repeatedly mentions the place of Jews and Gentiles and that every blessing that God bestows will first be for the Jews and then for the Gentiles. This is not new. Everything that Paul teaches in this book is grounded in the Old Testament. Paul is not teaching a new religion here. So, we can say that the New Testament Gospel is the Old Testament Truth. Now, as we progress through this chapter, we will learn and confirm that even Israel will be saved through faith in their Messiah, Jesus Christ and not by their ethnicity. Hence, this whole chapter is about Israel to make them understand, this one truth. Note that this chapter is not about Gentiles and it will be incorrect to replace ourselves with Israel. But it will be beneficial for us to understand this chapter if we see things through Jewish eyes. We will learn that as we read through the verses. So, without wasting much time, let us dive into our scripture. Let us start reading Romans chapter 9 and verses 1 and 2.
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
Clearly, in the opening verses of this chapter, Paul was expressing great sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart for a group of people. He is also specifically stating that he was speaking the truth and that he was not lying. He says that his conscience bears witness to his unquenching pain for these people and that he was expressing all this in the name of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. It was kind of saying that if he was lying about it, he would indirectly be denying his faith and hence, even his life. He was that serious about his words. Now, who are these people? Why and what is the source of this continual grief in his heart for them? Paul tells us now in verse 3.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
Paul was deeply troubled. He was troubled about a great thing. It was for the salvation of his countrymen i.e. his own brothers i.e. the people of Israel. His pain was so deep within his heart that he wished that he could die in their place and be cut off from Christ, but they be united with Him because he knows that the salvation for any man is only through Jesus Christ. We read that in John chapter 14 and verse 6 – Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So, Paul wished that he switched places with them so that they could be saved, and he be doomed in their place. He knows that it is practically impossible but by what he is praying for them, we could witness his loving and sacrificial heart for them. We see that this is the transformed nature of Paul’s heart because he has the same sorrow even for the Gentiles who were lost. But he was more pained knowing that Israelites had every blessing of God before they chose to rebel against Him and that they are losing everything because of their rejection of their own savior. Let us see that in verses 4 and 5.
4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Paul looked at the people of Israel and he considered all the great privileges that God has bestowed upon them. In fact, the Israelites had everything – the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the law, the worship, and all the promises of God. The patriarchs belonged to them and not just that, God Himself, who is the Creator of the Universe, the God over all, became flesh and took birth on earth from their Jewish race, to save the world. The adoption here is that God adopted Israel nationally. In Exodus 4:22, God says Israel is my first-born son. Israel as a nation had a father and son relationship with God because God chose them for a specific purpose i.e. to fulfill His will on earth. Again, God’s will, is to rescue every person from the perishing planet but He is not going to force His will upon anyone. They will have to come to God on their own accord. Coming to the covenants, Israel had all the covenants from God. For that matter, even the New Covenant was for Israel because it says the Jews first and then the Greeks or the Gentiles. Imagine this – no other nation on the face of the planet had all these privileges. God had a special relationship with Israel. So, Paul now says that it is all the more tragic now as they are rejecting this very God, their own savior. It is tragic that they seem to be cursed and perhaps even cast out by God because of their sin. Paul wanted them to come to Christ and be saved. Not just that, He wants them to come into the fullness of what God has for them.
Isn’t it wonderful that Paul was selflessly thinking and praying for his fellow countrymen in the midst of his own distress? It is not an exaggeration to say Paul led a hard life. He faced persecution, shipwrecks, famines, stabbed in the back by his own associate, traveling through life threatening storms etc. He was not troubled about any of that. He never complained to God on why he had to go through all of it. But he was troubled that the people he knows and loves so much, don’t know Jesus. This is the same trouble that every true Christian will inherently have because he cannot witness his own loved ones being perished by their own choices.
Anyway, the lesson that we learn here from Paul is that if we focus on a bigger problem, i.e. when we reach out to lost people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, all our insignificant problems will be wiped out. We need to have that passion to reach out to our lost fellow brothers and sisters.
The great passion of souls that Paul had gave him perspective, his purpose on earth, that the lesser things did not trouble him because he was troubled by a great problem – i.e. his own people perishing. He was pleading with God that if it would somehow be possible to send him to hell to bring salvation to his countrymen, then may it be done. Who can pray a prayer like that? That is intense. Praying to God to save people at the expense of his own salvation! Unimaginable! Paul had the heart of Jesus, who took the sin of the world upon Himself to save the world so that the world might be blessed through Him. Think about this – if Paul had this much burden to save his fellow countrymen, how much burden will God have for them to want them to follow Him so that they may be guided away from destruction. Paul’s desire and prayer for them, is a reflection of God’s desire for the same Jewish people. In fact, God loves everybody, and He loves all of His creation deeply.
He wishes that no one should perish but everyone should reach repentance according to 2 Peter 3:9. We are all, after all, His own creation. Knowing that His people are rejecting Him, God did express His grief. Jesus wept over Israel’s rejection of God’s way of salvation in Luke 19:41.
Now, the question for all of us is – Do we have the heart of Jesus Christ so that we may pray like how Paul prayed for our lost fellow loved ones?
Let us break this video here and when we come back, we will dive into the meat of Romans chapter 9 where Paul establishes that the true Israel are, for sure, the descendants of Abraham but are also the children of the promise but not of the flesh. We will also investigate the unanswered question – what happened to God’s commitment to the nation Israel, now that most of them rebelled against Him? Did God’s word fail? We will find that out in the next video. Until then, please stay tuned to Gospel in action and to know more about me, please find the link to my testimony and contact details in the description below. We encourage you to please subscribe to this channel, if you think the videos are beneficial for you to understand the Bible in more depth. Thank you again for watching.
Romance 9: 6-9
Hello – Welcome to Gospel in action. In the last video, we have seen the heart of Paul. We have seen his sacrificial love for his fellow countrymen and how he desperately wanted them to know Christ and be saved. In this video, we will see how Paul establishes that the true Israel are the descendants of Abraham but are the children of the promise and not of the flesh. We will also see how God is sovereign enough to choose a descendant line from which He would bring the Messiah. Let us read from verse 6.
6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
Paul here is continuing to deal with the issue about Israel. We all know that most of the nation Israel rebelled against God and hence are on the path to destruction. So, Paul was addressing the question – if the nation Israel rebelled against God, does that mean that the promise God gave to Abraham has failed? Non. God’s promise to Abraham never failed because God brought the promised Messiah through the remnant of the believing Israel and is continuing to save the world, even to this day. Let us try to understand this first from the promise of God. So, what was the promise, in the first place? Let us turn our attention back to Genesis chapter 12 and verse 2. God promised Abraham like this “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” The important part to be noticed in this verse is God promised that He will make this great nation a blessing to many people. So, God promised Abraham that He will bless him and make him and his descendants into a great nation (i.e. the nation of Israel), so that they will all together be a blessing to the rest of the world. Again, what exactly is this blessing? The blessing is that – Because of His great love for the world, God desired to reveal Himself first to the nation Israel and through them, to the rest of the world although all the world is sinful and in rebellion with God. God was planning a rescue mission to save the perishing world through Israel. So, Paul was confirming that the word of God that Abraham received, to bring about this blessing to all the people of the world, has not failed, and he explains why. First, he wanted to clear all misunderstandings that the Romans had about God’s chosen nation Israel. He was defining who is a true Israelite in God’s mind when He made that promise to Abraham. We need to understand the meaning of Israel before we move forward. Israel literally means “Governed by God.” So, when we say that the nation Israel is chosen by God, it means that God desired to govern the nation Israel and make it an example for all other nations to follow. In verse 7 Paul says – not everyone who are of the ethnic descent from Abraham belong to the true Israel. That means not all will be governed by God who are the physical descendants of Abraham. But only to the descendants of the child of promise i.e. only to Isaac’s offspring belonged all the promises of God and not to Ishmael’s offspring. And hence, Abraham’s offspring i.e. the nation of Israel would be born, only through Isaac, although Abraham had other sons. This is because Isaac alone is the child of promise. So, God wanted to initially govern only Isaac’s descendants and teach them the ways of God so that, they could be an example to the whole world and ultimately attract all nations towards God. God decided to do this even though He knew that most of these people would still fail Him. But we know that God is not a man that He should lie according to Numbers 23:19 and if He makes a promise, He will keep it. Hence in His wisdom, God chose an obedient descendant line, to bring the Messiah through their lineage i.e. through Isaac’s lineage, to save the world. So, Paul confirms that the word of God did not fail.
God in His foreknowledge knew that there always will be that remnant or a portion of Israel within the entire nation of Israel who will genuinely love God, have faith in Him and will receive and accept the promise of the Messiah. As we study more, we will understand how God sovereignly chose the descendant line to bring the Messiah. The Messiah did come to earth in God’s perfect timing and plan. For this reason alone, the nation Israel would still be remembered as a great nation and a blessing to many because the salvation to mankind, actually, came through them i.e. through Jesus Christ who is one among them, a Jew. Coming to the salvation aspect, the sad truth is that, even among Isaac’s descendants, many people will perish because of their rejection of their Messiah, the savior Jesus Christ. So, it is not about being a physical descendant of Isaac, but it is all about living a life of a child of God being governed by God to be saved. We will see that in the next verse. Let us look at Verse 8.
8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
In this verse, Paul is clarifying that God is very clear in making his choice known. Just as God counted only the children of the promise as Abraham’s true offspring through whom the world will get saved and not through the children of flesh, God’s choice of putting all of us in Christ, for us to be the Children of God and Abraham’s descendants in the spirit, is based on our faith. This is according to Galatians 3:7 is which Paul says – Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. We have also learnt that John said – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God in John 1:12. Did we not receive Jesus through our faith? Yes, we did. Hence, we, the Gentile believers became the children of promise because we channeled our faith to receive the Messiah, Jesus Christ and surrendered our lives to Him to become the true children of God. So now, we have a role to play as well, in saving the rest of the world i.e. by pointing the world to Jesus. So, as I said, it really doesn’t matter if anyone is truly a descendant of Abraham or Isaac to be saved but what matters is whether we are the children of the promise, willing to be governed by God or not. If we are willing, then our father of faith will be Abraham because he was the first one to be chosen and be governed by God as I said in Galatians 3:7.
Hence, because of our faith in Christ, we became the spiritual Israel of God and are now being governed by God i.e since when we first believed and received Jesus Christ into our lives and surrendered our lives completely to Him. So, there are two aspects of God’s choosing that we learnt. One – God choosing Israel first to bring the Messiah through their lineage, the physical Israel. This also includes God choosing the apostles to be trained by Jesus Christ to be sent into the world to spread the Gospel.
John 15:16 – You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Now, the second aspect of God’s choosing is like this. God choosing to put all of us in Christ, once we accept the gospel message, that was brought to us by the apostles, i.e. through our faith. We then became the spiritual Israel of God.
Being part of the spiritual Israel is nothing, but the salvation and it is the same for everyone including the Israelites i.e. one can get saved only through his faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on his behalf irrespective of his ethnicity. That means that the physical Israel must also become a part of the spiritual Israel of God to be saved. So, these two aspects of God’s choosing must never be confused – one was to bring the good news to the world and the other was to gift the salvation to those who believe. It is as simple as that.
Coming back to the context of Israel, God excluded the children of the flesh i.e. the children of Ishmael from the covenant He established with Isaac in Genesis 17:21 although Ishmael was the older son of Abraham. This was because Ishmael was the son Abraham had, in his lack of faith in God and his promise that He would give him a child of promise. That is why, here, the descendants of Ishmael are referred to as the children of the flesh and not of the promise. Hence, it was not going to be from Ishmael’s lineage that the Messiah would come but He would only come through Isaac’s lineage. Now, going back again, let us look at what exactly was the promise about the son, that God was to give to Abraham. Let us look at verse 9.
9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Paul was reminding the Romans about God’s promise to Abraham about giving him a son. This was referenced back to Genesis 17:21 where God says to Abraham “But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” So, only Isaac’s descendants are the true heirs of the promised blessing of Abraham. And hence, only Isaac’s descendants will become a part of the true Israel. But we know that even among the descendants of Isaac, not everyone was chosen to be privileged to be called the true Israel. As I said, only a small portion of the descendants of Isaac, truly believed and stuck to God. Hence, God in His foreknowledge and sovereign choice, chose the descendants of Jacob, second son of Isaac, to bring the Messiah from. He chose Jacob and his descendants when Jacob was still in his mother’s womb i.e. before Jacob did anything good or bad. This is interesting! Why did God not choose the older son of Isaac, Esau and his descendants to be part of the lineage of the Messiah? The story unfolds in the next few verses and let us reserve that for the next video.
Isn’t it amazing how God works? Although this chapter is all about the Jewish people from their past into their present, there is a lot for us to learn from about what our place is in God’s master plan. Now, let us break this video here and when we come back, we will continue with our chapter and learn about God’s sovereign choice of choosing the ancestors of Jesus. Until then, please stay tuned to Gospel in action and to know more about me, please find the link to my testimony and contact details in the description below. Thank you again for watching.
Romance 9: 10-13
Hello – Welcome to Gospel in Action. In the last video, we have learnt that God chose the descendants of the child of promise i.e. Isaac’s descendants and within them, only the true Israelites that are obedient and willing to be governed by God, to bring the Messiah through their lineage. In this video, we will investigate God’s sovereign choice, within the descendant line of Isaac, of choosing Jesus’ earthly ancestors who needed to be believing in God and being governed by God. Let us look at verses 10 through 12.
10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”
Clearly, Paul is talking about the events that happened during the Old testament i.e. about God’s dealings with the Jews esp. in choosing Jesus’ ancestors and that too based on their faith and obedience. These verses are not talking about the New testament salvation of the Gentiles although in the chapters 9 through 11, as a whole, the goal of Paul was to explain how God initiated the programmatic transition of His legacy from the rebellious Jewish nation Israel to the Gentiles of the rest of the world. God did that to provoke the Jews to emulation. He did that to invoke the jealousy within them so that they may realize what they were missing. We will see that in detail as we come to the end of this chapter. The Jews always thought that they were the superior race as they were the first choice of God and that they have all the promises of God. In fact, they failed to understand that all the promises of God are based on certain conditions mentioned in Deuteronomy chapter 28. The summary of that chapter is that God promised they will have everything, as long as they continue to walk in His Will and continue to be governed by Him. But they did not choose to obey God and His commandments. Hence, in the process, they are choosing their own destruction. As I said, not all of Israel rebelled but there are a very few obedient Jews, who are the remnant and are the true Israel of God. It is through that remnant Israel, did God bring the Messiah, Jesus Christ to save the world. These remnant Israel are the messianic Jews of this day i.e. the Jews who believe in Jesus Christ as their only Lord and savior.
Coming back to the verses in context, Paul reminded the Romans that Sarah not only gave birth to Isaac according to the promise of God but Isaac, the forefather of the Jews and his wife Rebecca, also gave birth, to not one but two sons, Esau and Jacob. These two sons of Isaac would become two nations according to the prophecy in Genesis 25:23 in which The Lord said to Rebecca, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” The prophecy said that the older will serve the younger. Even Paul reminded the Romans about this in verse 12. But we know that the older son Esau never really served the younger son Jacob in his lifetime, but the descendants of Esau served the descendants of Jacob i.e. the nation Edom served the nation Israel. Remember, God changed the name of Jacob to Israel in Genesis 32:28. In fact, the nation Edom was later even annihilated by the nation Israel with God’s help according to the prophecy in Obadiah 1:10 which says Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. So, Paul had in mind the nations of Edom and Israel when he was referring to Esau and Jacob and that sits well within the context of the whole chapter as well, as he was referring to the descendants of the child of promise that are the true offspring of Abraham from the beginning of this chapter. So, now that we know that Jacob and Esau are two nations, let us read verse 11 again to understand better.
11 Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls.
Again, who are these two nations? These two nations are the direct descendants of Isaac, the forefather of the Jews. So, these two nations are in fact, the children of God’s promise to Abraham. So, Paul was explaining to the Romans that before even these two nations were born, and before even they had done anything either good or bad, God in His foreknowledge chose Jacob i.e. the nation Israel to continue the purpose of His election. The word election, here, simply means choice. God chose Israel for a very specific purpose. So, what was God’s purpose again? God’s purpose was to govern the nation of Israel and teach them the ways of God so that, they could be an example to the whole world and ultimately attract all nations towards God. So, God chose Israel for service and that service was to reveal God to all people. Now, we know that Israel as a nation, messed up this responsibility. But God in His wisdom still brought the Messiah through the very few obedient remnants of Israel. It was the Messiah, Jesus Christ who revealed God to the entire human race. Isn’t that the truth? Now, coming back to our verse, God chose Israel over Edom not because of works i.e. not because they did anything either good or bad but because God knew beforehand that the remnant from whom the Messiah would come will be in the descendant line of the believing Israel only. So, based on this foreknowledge, God called Israel for this service. Similarly, God chose only Judah out of the twelve sons of Jacob before even he did anything either good or bad, to carry the descendant line from whom the Messiah would be brought forth. This is the reason why; the Messiah is also called the lion of Judah. Likewise, God chose the descendants – Perez, Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, King David and so on, to be the ancestors of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Note that none of these people were perfect people but at the end of the day, they all repented and followed God to be that special remnant Israel to bring forth the Messiah to this world. It is only through these men that God’s purpose of election continued and not because of their works but because God called them by His foreknowledge. Do you notice something here? God is narrowing the promise slowly by choosing the descendants, to reach to one last person in the lineage i.e. Jesus Christ through whom the promise of – blessing the whole world will be kept. That means that even among the faithful Israelites, God chose certain people in His wisdom through whom the Messiah will be brought from. So, this verse has nothing to do with the New testament salvation, but Paul explained how through God’s sovereign election of certain faithful remnant people of Israel, i.e. the carriers of the promise, brought forth the promised Messiah to this world, to save the entire world. Let us look at the next verse and close. Verse 13.
13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
This literally has nothing to do with God hating certain individuals before they did anything either good or bad. If God hates, He will have to hate each and every person born on this planet because the bible says no one is righteous. But we know that God is love according to 1 John 4:8. That is the reason why He showers full of mercy upon those who are willing to repent and receive His forgiveness. Coming back to our verse, in fact, Paul referred this verse from Malachi chapter 1 of the Old Testament and that is why he began with “As it is written.” The Lord says to Israel in Malachi chapter 1 and verse 2 like this 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” Clearly, the Lord was talking about not the person Esau but his descendants because there is approx. a 1000-year gap between the time of Esau and when Malachi was written. The Lord knew in His foreknowledge that the nation Edom would sin against Him and His chosen people and hence, in His righteous judgement, He annihilated them from the face of the earth later. How could God bring the Messiah from the wicked and rebellious nation of Edom and when He knew that He was going to annihilate them forever. Right? Hence, God chose Jacob and his descendants, Israel for that purpose. Note that God did not pronounce judgement on the nation Edom before they did anything either good or bad. God rightfully judged them because of their rebellion. He called them the wicked country in Malachi 1:4 which means they did vile and wicked things in the sight of God. Apart from that, a lot of times, when the Bible uses the word love or hate, it indicates God’s preference or non-preference of the one over the other. In Luke 14:26, when Jesus says if anyone does not hate his father or mother, he cannot be my disciple. Did Jesus mean that everyone should hate their parents? No. That will be a violation to the 5th commandment which is to honor your father and mother. So, Jesus meant that if anyone’s parents are suggesting them to do things contrary to the word of God, then follow God instead and not the parents. Likewise, in this case, God’s first choice was Israel to bring the Messiah from their lineage. This does not mean that He hated the Edomites without any reason. God loved them and gave them equal opportunity to repent and to follow His ways. But when they rebelled and continued to multiply their sinful deeds, they rightfully received the just punishment i.e. annihilation.
Is God sovereign enough to do that? Of course! This is because we serve a loving and a just God at the same time.
Let us break this video here and when we come back, we will learn more on God’s justice and His mercy. Until then, please stay tuned to Gospel in action and to know more about me, please find the link to my testimony and contact details in the description below. We encourage you to please subscribe to this channel, if you think the videos are beneficial for you to understand the Bible in more depth. Thank you again for watching.
Romance 9: 14-16
Hello – Welcome to Gospel in Action. In the last video, we have learnt interesting things about God’s sovereign election. God kept His promise to Abraham by choosing from the Children of the promise when He chose Isaac, but not according to the bloodline. And when He chose Jacob and his descendants, Israel, He chose not according to works but by His foreknowledge of who could rightfully be the one to be in the descendant line of the Messiah. In this video, we will try to apply the principle of God choosing people not according to the bloodline and also not according to works, to the second aspect of God’s choosing as well. That is, God’s choosing to put all of us in Christ, is based only on our faith and nothing else. We will also learn about God’s justice and on contrast His mercy as well. It will be interesting to see on whom God showers His mercy upon while satisfying His justice at the same time. Let us look at verse 14.
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
Before explaining this verse, let me ask you a question. Does God love everyone irrespective of race or religion? I am sure most of you would answer with a thumping ‘YES.’ As I said before, the inherent nature of God is love according to 1 John 4:8. We were never told that God is hate. Jesus Himself says love your enemies in Matthew 5:44. Do you think God requires you to love people that He doesn’t love? Absolutely No. So, God has His love i.e. Agape love for all people but that does not mean that everyone is going to be saved because God is a God of justice at the same time. He is a loving Father and a just judge at the same time. Psalm 7:11 says God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation with the wicked every day. How can a loving God feel angry? God feels angry with the people He loves, His own children. He disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son according to Hebrews 12:6. Now, coming back to this verse, why would anyone accuse God of injustice or unrighteousness? With respect to choosing Isaac, God did what He promised i.e. He chose the child of Promise and hence no one would accuse Him for that. But the people of Edom might accuse Him of not choosing them initially to bring the Messiah through their lineage and choosing Israel over them as both nations are the descendants of Isaac only, who is the child of promise. Did God really do injustice to Edomites, then? The answer is No because as I said, God chose Israel in His foreknowledge that there will be a remnant of faithful believers within them. And God planned to bring the Messiah through that faithful remnant, in fact, to save the rest of the world including the Edomites. On a parallel track, Paul raises this question, also keeping the New Testament believers, in mind as he is writing to Roman believers. He, then, asks “is God just in accepting only the believers who imitate the faith of Jacob and not the others?” Paul explains all this in detail in the following verses. Let us look at verse 15.
15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
This is another verse where most people stumble upon. God does not do anything randomly. While all people equally deserved to be condemned, God showers mercy and forgives anyone who repents and confesses their sins. In that, God displays His eternal love for them. God forgives and saves them based on their faith that Jesus died in their place to satisfy the justice of God. So, it is incorrect to say that God showers mercy only on those few people whom He chose unconditionally. First of all, God never chose anyone unconditionally. In fact, He showers mercy on everyone equally, but that mercy is always conditional. We can find that throughout the scriptures. So, looking back, the whole context of God blessing His people Israel is based on His mercy and not on their works. This mercy that He showered on the faithful Israel, was from His foreknowledge that these people would repent, confess their sins and trust in their future savior.
Note that, the foreknowledge of God simply means that God knows the end from the beginning as said in Isaiah 46:10.
God knowing the future, does not mean that He determines the free Willed choices of the people. People are free to choose God and be saved. Likewise, they are free to reject God and be doomed. In fact, the fall of Adam did not affect the free will of man at all. It affected their relationship with God and hence, without God in their lives, all people that were born since the fall, were born spiritually dead i.e. born with no knowledge of God and not knowing whom or where to put their faith in. Naturally, we, the spiritually dead people, therefore, chose to put our faith in the wrong things i.e. in anything but God. But when God called us through His gospel message, we, the few out of many, have responded and were able to redirect our faith to the right person i.e. to Jesus Christ. It is only after that, that we were born again and found ourselves in the Kingdom of God. It was God who did that miracle in our lives. Coming back to the context, Paul explains that God never showed injustice to anyone. It was the Edomites’ fault that they did not respond to His call, although they were the descendants of the child of promise, Isaac. They always had the opportunity to choose to follow God, but they did not. So, God showing mercy and compassion on the faithful Israel, was totally dependent on their faith in God and their future Messiah. God never discriminates and He shows no partiality according to Romans 2:11.
In fact, God desires to shower mercy on all people according to Romans 11:32. God’s mercy is available to all people, but it must be received through faith. Now, let us go back to the original context from where Paul is quoting this verse from. Paul is quoting from Exodus 33:19 where Moses asks God to show His glory. To that, God responds saying that He will show His goodness instead, because no man can see His true glory and live.
This, in fact, means that God’s glory on earth, lies in His goodness i.e. in His character. In short, God says to Moses that if anyone truly seeks Him, He is going to show them a glimpse of His goodness and in that context, God said that He will be gracious to whoever that seeks Him and that He will shower mercy on whoever desires to have that true relationship with Him.
Likewise, Paul was sending a message to the Roman believers that God showers the same mercy and compassion on all of us when we truly seek Him and desire to have that lost relationship back with Him. That mercy came in the form of Jesus Christ, who died in our place and rose to be victorious over death and be seated at the right hand of the Father. Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” In Matthew 7:7-8.
In short, Jesus was saying – ask for mercy and you will be forgiven, seek for God and you will find Him and knock the door of understanding and your eyes will be opened to the truth. I hope this gave all of you a good understanding of God’s impartial and good character. Let us move forward to verse 16 and understand more.
16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
So, Paul clarifies that God’s blessings rested on the faithful Israel because they are the remnant ones who trusted and believed in God. Their blessing of bringing the Messiah through their lineage depended totally on God’s mercy and not on their will or exertion i.e. it did not happen by their own choosing or physical or mental effort. Through this, we can conclude on a principle that we can apply to the New testament salvation as well. Hence, God’s spiritual blessings to anyone is based on His mercy alone and not by human determination or human effort. Paul explains what exactly he meant by human will that he used in this verse. He explains that in Romans 10:3 where he says about majority of the nation of Israel like this – “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”
Paul explains that Israel sought to establish their own version of righteousness through their own will instead of submitting themselves to God’s righteousness, falsely thinking that God would bless them. They were deceived by their own pride. So, whoever thinks that they can please God through their works of righteousness, are all foolish. No one can earn God’s blessings by doing anything. The bible, hence, even says that all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment to God because we have all been tainted by sin according to Isaiah 64:6. Hebrews 11:6 says And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. This means that one can never get right with God by their good works, but the righteousness of God comes through one’s faith alone and faith alone pleases God. So, it depends totally on God, who has and who showers mercy on anyone who seeks and believes in Him. So, there is nothing to boast about ourselves as we did nothing to deserve His love and all His spiritual blessings. We, hence, are all saved by God’s mercy, and that mercy is nothing but the cross of Christ.
So, if you are not a believer of Christ, this is the time to accept Him into your lives. He loves you. When you repent and confess your sins to Him, He will show His mercy and He will forgive you of all your wrong doings. You will then be free from all your guilt. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed according to John 8:36.
Let us break this video here and when we come back, we will look at why God hardens that hearts of certain individuals. Is God just in doing that? Until then, please stay tuned to Gospel in action and to know more about me, please find the link to my testimony and contact details in the description below. We encourage you to please subscribe to this channel, if you think the videos are beneficial for you to understand the Bible in more depth. Thank you again for watching.
Romance 9: 17-18
Welcome to Gospel in Action. In the last video, we have seen God’s choosing to put all of us in Christ, was based only on our faith and His mercy. It is not based on our bloodline nor our righteous works. We have also learnt about God’s justice and on contrast His mercy as well. In this video, we will see why God hardens the hearts of certain people and in Paul’s day, who were these people? What exactly is hardening? Let us look at verses 17 and 18.
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
Paul takes the believers in Rome, back to the Old Testament book of Exodus where God was dealing with Pharaoh of Egypt to release His chosen people Israel from 400 years of slavery in that nation. He deliberately went to the book of Exodus to make them understand that God sometimes does harden people to achieve a greater purpose. What is hardening? Hardening is to deliberately do something so that the will of rebellion against God becomes stronger in a rebellious heart. Or
hardening could also be – God, deliberately not revealing the consequences of what is going to happen if anyone rejects Him by not doing His will and ignore His call on their lives so that they will be blinded to the truth. Whereas it is not forcefully interfering with people’s free choices. God never does that, and He never does anything arbitrarily. Paul explains that just as God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in that day, God has hardened the hearts of all unbelieving Israel so that they will not be able to recognize their own Messiah and ultimately crucify Him. We will see that in detail in this video. So, it has nothing to do with God hardening the hearts of some of the unbelieving gentiles of today because there is no good reason for Him to do that. Let us investigate all this.
It is better to understand a little bit of the history of Israel before we understand our verses in context. To be honest, the book of Exodus is a super intense part of the biblical story. Pharaoh was the King of Egypt and was the worst person the Bible ever describes. This Pharaoh, the cruelest of all Kings of Egypt kept the Israelites in captivity and during his rule, he ruthlessly made them do the tasks of intense slavery. But God, at last, after 400 years of Israel’s slavery in Egypt, showered mercy on them. For this task of releasing them from their slavery, God chose Moses as their leader and a prophet, to fight against the Pharaoh. This is to, ultimately, fulfill the promise that God made to Abraham. God appears to Moses in a burning bush and asks him to go to Egypt and face Pharaoh. Moses refuses initially but God assures him that He will be with him always in Exodus 3:12. God even sends Aaron, Moses’ brother, with him as Moses complaints that he is not eloquent with his words. So, Moses finally agrees. Then, God begins to tell him all about the plan of Exodus of Israel. He says to Moses, “when you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go, “according to Exodus 4:21. This was the first mention of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. Yes, God told Moses that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart i.e. dans le futur. As I said, this is not to be understood as God interfering with the freewill of man. If we study carefully, we understand that Pharaoh hardened his own heart against God at least for the first 3 times. Pharaoh hated the people of Israel. Let us check out the scripture references and read them in sequence. God first says he “knows” that Pharaoh will resist the demand to let the Israelites go (Exodus 3:19-20), and so God says that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 4:21, Exodus 7:3). This was according to His foreknowledge on how people will react to certain situations. So, it was only after Pharaoh resisted the will of God, did God harden his heart i.e. God did certain things like sending in the plagues to trigger Pharaoh’s ego and pride. By doing that, God made the will of Pharaoh stronger so that He will become more hard-hearted and resist the release of Israel. God did this as a judgement against him because of his initial sin of rebellion against the will of God. In other words, God was sending a message to Pharaoh like this – “do you want to hate my people? Fine, I will let you hate them even more.” This is also called God’s judicial hardening. Do you understand the point here? God gave Pharaoh what he wanted. Pharaoh brought God’s judgement upon himself by his own actions. Remember, God loves all people equally, but as I said, at the same time, He is also the God of justice. So, now, let us look at the actual sequence of events to prove the point that Pharaoh hardened his own heart first.
The plague of Blood: Pharaoh’s heart “became hard” (Exodus 7:22), The plague of Frogs: Pharaoh “hardened his own heart” (Exodus 8:15), The plague of Gnats: Pharaoh’s heart “was hard” (Exodus 8:19), The plague of Flies: “Pharaoh hardened his own heart” (Exodus 8:32), The plague of Livestock dying: Pharaoh’s heart “was hard” (Exodus 9:7).
Now, after the first five plagues, the Lord sees Pharaoh’s rebellion and pronounces judgement against Him in the form of judicial hardening. It can be understood as God arousing Pharaoh’s anger resulting in more arrogance. God also did this to show His glory i.e. to show His power in him, and that His name might be proclaimed in all the earth as said in our verse in context i.e. Romans 9:17. Let us look at what happened during the last five plagues.
The plague of Boils: “The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (Exodus 9:12), The plague of Hail: Pharaoh “hardened his own heart again” (Exodus 9:34), The plague of Locusts: God announces that he has “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (Exodus 10:1, Exodus 10:20), The plague of Darkness: God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (Exodus 10:27), The plague of the Death of the firstborn: God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (Exodus 11:10).
Do you see the sequence here? So, now let me ask you the question. Is it fair on God’s part to judge Pharaoh? The answer is yes because Pharaoh was rebellious even after witnessing all the destructive miracles of God. Pharaoh’s only rebellion was to resist God’s will i.e. the demand to let the Israelites go. So, God judging Pharaoh is justified because we have seen that God initially called Pharaoh to humble himself before Him, acknowledge that God is his authority and that he cannot redefine good and evil on Egyptian terms. But Pharaoh never let go off his arrogance, asking for more trouble. Paul also mentions that when God says that He has raised Pharaoh up for that very purpose, God meant that instead of striking Pharaoh down immediately because of his rebellion, He chose to harden him by triggering his ego and pride first, and then destroying him fulfilling His judgement. He did it all to glorify Himself. This is a direct reference from Exodus 9:15-16. Does God show mercy on whomever He wills and hardens whomever He wills? The answer to it is YES but as I said, God does not do anything randomly. He does it fulfilling His love and His justice at the same time. In fact, it is up to people on how they will respond to God’s love and mercy as God shows mercy to whoever confesses their sins and repents. Sometimes, God hardens the hearts of whoever resists the Word of God and rebels against doing His Will as well. But note that, God chooses this type of justice i.e. judicial hardening or making their evil will even stronger by arousing them, only if it serves a greater purpose. In Pharaoh’s case, the purpose was to spread His name in all the earth so that all people will have an opportunity to believe in Him and come back to Him. Now, the question remains, whom did God harden in Paul’s day? Why did Paul bring up this topic in the middle of Romans chapter 9? Paul deliberately brought this up to explain to the Romans, that God did harden the hearts of the nation of Israel who have mostly become hard-hearted to the love of God, just as He hardened the heart of Pharaoh. We know the hearts of the people of Israel from John 1:11 where they openly rejected their own savior, Jesus Christ. God could have annihilated Israel for their rebellion immediately as mentioned in verse 29 just as He did to Sodom and Gomorrah, but God chose judicial hardening for them, to achieve a greater purpose and also keeping the promise He made to Abraham, at the same time. Now, what was the greater purpose for which God chose judicial hardening for Israel? As I said, it is the execution of Jesus on the cross. Yes, if Israel knew that He was the promised Messiah, they wouldn’t have executed Him and if they didn’t do that, then the justice of God for the sins of the whole world, would not have been satisfied. This is the reason why Jesus spoke in parables, so that Israel would not understand what He was saying but He explained everything in private to His chosen apostles and other disciples in order to train them for the great commission i.e. to spread the gospel throughout the world. This was according to Mark 4:34.
And if they are healed, as I said, they wouldn’t have crucified the Messiah which was necessary for the redemption of the world. So, God chose to be patient by judicially hardening Israel because of their rebellion and allowed them to crucify their own Messiah, so that the world might be saved through Him. Therefore, God chose to shower mercy on the rest of the world by hardening the rebellious Israel.
But now, Israel is free to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and make that decision to follow Christ. Let us pray that they realize this truth sooner than later i.e. before it is too late. Now, let us break this video here and when we come back, we will look at the potter and clay analogy that Paul used to explain further on how God deals with the nations and also understand how the salvation of individuals work. Until then, please stay tuned to Gospel in action and to know more about me, please find the link to my testimony and contact details in the description below. We encourage you to please subscribe to this channel, if you think the videos are beneficial for you to understand the Bible in more depth. Thank you again for watching.
Romance 9: 19-21
Hello – Welcome to Gospel in action. In the last video, we have seen who Pharaoh is and how he treated the Israelites before God rescued them out. We have also seen that God does not do anything arbitrarily and that He showers mercy on whoever confesses their sins and repents. He even sometimes, hardens whoever resists the word of God and rebels against doing His will, only to achieve a greater purpose. In this video, Paul continues to explain to Romans that God does not do anything randomly. He also explains to them, on how God works with respect to salvation of individuals, in a Potter and clay analogy using the scripture from the old testament, again, as he is building this case from the beginning of this chapter.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
Paul continues His defense for God from verse 18. So, now, someone may question God like this “why did God put Pharaoh in such a situation that he would resist His will? Is God not unjust in doing that? So, if God does everything by His wisdom and foreknowledge, why does He even find fault with us for resisting Him? It is God’s fault that He made us like this. Moreover, He always knew that we would resist Him and if He plans to do something, He does it anyway. So, who can stop God and who can resist His will?” We see such rhetorical questions being asked in Paul’s letters. It is typical of Paul to assume his audience’s questions and then answer them. The reason why he asked this question is because he knew that the most sinful people would blame God for their sins as He has made them, the way they are. These people try to evade their responsibility saying if God has everything predetermined, there is nothing that they need to do. That is why, the idea of predetermination is such a fatalistic idea. Remember that this is in the context of Paul explaining to the Romans that God hardened the hearts of the rebellious Israel. The same analogy is being applied by many unbelievers today saying that if God chose certain individuals for salvation already, then what have I to do? It is anyway, not in my control and hence, I will continue to live as I want satisfying my fleshly desires. They had a completely wrong understand of what God hardening people means. God kept Israel from recognizing their own messiah and hence, kept them from understanding the truth that He spoke as He spoke in parables. So, it never meant that unbelievers of today, have no responsibility. The truth of the matter is that man’s responsibility or man’s free Will is not a separate thing that we can even compare against God’s sovereignty. Man’s responsibility is included or comes under the umbrella of God’s sovereignty. We cannot separate both. Anyway, let us investigate on how Paul responded to this question. Let us look at verse 20.
20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded, say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
Paul questions such people back saying “who do you think you are? Do you think you are God’s equal, to answer Him back?” Paul is not reprimanding in vain. There are real people, as we witness in our everyday lives, who are angry with God because of perceived issues like God didn’t allow this or allowed that or caused that etc. They are mad at God because things may not have happened according to their limited perception. Whatever may be the case, they cannot question God, who is their own Creator, like that. They cannot ask God – why have you made me like this? All of us may humble ourselves and genuinely ask Him anything but not in arrogance, as if we know more than God. We are the clay and God is God. We have been molded by Him, to be this perfect creation of His. So, our creator’s judgements are perfect. So, the truth that I believe, is that we are like this, because of our own decisions and actions. Today, those who are not at peace with God and those who are not having that joy in their lives always and those who are not content in their lives, they are like that because of their own choices. The good news, however, is that – all that can change in their lives. If you are that person, you are one decision away to make your life complete. So, come, come to Jesus. Your life will be changed for good. If we are in Christ, we will have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, through whom we can choose to be joyful always and choose to be content in every situation. The power of sin will no longer be upon us.
Anyway, the conclusion is that there is no place for attacking or arguing against God because God is God, a perfect judge. We must be humble in every aspect, before God. He does everything in perfect love and perfect justice. We don’t need to doubt that one bit because if we read the passage, clearly, God’s hardening is not arbitrary. The passage implied that God showers mercy on people because of their obedience and on some occasions, hardens them because of their rebellion. So, God sometimes does harden people because of their evil works, to achieve a greater purpose. God knows everything. He is omniscient. Now, with this understanding, let us get into Paul’s potter and clay analogy in verse 21 to understand more on how God works with respect to the salvation of individuals.
21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
Paul is quoting this from Jeremiah chapter 18 and verse 6 which says “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. Paul’s audience knew the context, the moment he mentioned the potter and clay. The context before this verse i.e. in verse 4 was that the clay was spoiled in the Potter’s hand and so he reworked it into another vessel for dishonorable use i.e. not what the clay was originally intended to be used for. But as most people in today’s day are not familiar with the old testament and have loads of presuppositions, they could not see things clearly and so, they are being stumbled. When Paul asks, “has the Potter no right over the clay?”, he did not mean that God is a monstrous god displaying some sort of a tyranny, who can do whatever he wants. There is a reason why He does things, the way He does, satisfying both His love and justice. In this case, the clay was spoiled which directly implies that Israel turned away from God and did evil things. So, now, let us see what God has to say to them in verses 7 through 10 – If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.
9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. In short, God says this to all nations that – although the consequence for turning away from me and doing evil things is destruction, I will show mercy and relent of the disaster that I intended to do to you, if you repent and turn from your evil ways and follow me.
And likewise, as in the case of Israel, God says – I will relent of the good that I intended to do if the nation rebels and does evil in my sight even after I have promised to build it and plant it. So, God initially intended Israel to be used as a vessel for honorable use i.e. He chose Israel for a very specific purpose and that purpose or service was to know God and reveal this good God to the rest of the world. But we know that Israel as a nation messed up this opportunity. So, as this vessel was spoiled, He turned it into a vessel for dishonorable use. Likewise, God would have showed mercy on the Pharaoh of Egypt and relent the disaster intended for him and his people, if he gave in to the demand of God of letting the people of Israel go. But he chose to harden his own heart and brought disaster upon himself and his nation. So, now, let me ask you – does the potter have the right over the clay? Yes, absolutely. He has the right to make out of the same lump, one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use. But it is dependent only on their responses to God’s call on their lives.
Likewise, He has the right to show mercy and forgive our sins when we repent and put our trust in Christ and then He transforms us to be the vessels for honorable use i.e. of worshiping Him forever.
And, He has the right to harden certain individuals and leave them for dishonorable use i.e. for them to die in their own sins and ultimately rot in hell, if they continue to be rebellious to the loving call of God on their lives. All this because our God is also the God of justice. He is impartial and upholds the justice of the highest order.
So, what category of people group do we want to be part of? Do we want to be part of the vessels of honorable use or the vessels of dishonorable use? Yes, we can choose. We have the free will. Paul confirms this again in 2 Timothy 2:20-21 where he says Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. In short, Paul appeals to everyone that in God’s great house, there are vessels for honorable use and others for dishonorable use like we described earlier. Now, how can anyone become honorable? If anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will become a vessel for honorable use.
Here, cleansing is being born of the water and of the Spirit as mentioned in John 3:5 which means to be cleansed completely from our sins and to be filled and be sealed with His Holy Spirit i.e. through our faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.
When we cleanse ourselves by our faith, we will be set apart as holy, useful to God and be ready for every good work. Make no mistake here. It was God who initiated the process of salvation and then, we believed.
He loved us so much that He gave His only begotten son to die on the cross in our place, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life according to John 3:16. I hope this message cleared up a lot of confusion in your minds and blessed you with the truth.
Let us break this video here and when we come back, we will investigate whether God gives enough chances and be patient with the vessels of dishonorable use before destroying them or not. Until then, please stay tuned to Gospel in action and to know more about me, please find the link to my testimony and contact details in the description below. We encourage you to please subscribe to this channel, if you think the videos are beneficial for you to understand the Bible in more depth. Thank you again for watching.
Romance 9: 22-26
Hello – Welcome to Gospel in action. In the last video, we have seen how God justly makes a group of people for honorable use and the other group for dishonorable use depending on their responses to God’s call on their lives and not arbitrarily, in the Potter and clay analogy. In this video, we will investigate how God dealt with the people of dishonorable use i.e. the vessels who prepared themselves for destruction. We will see God’s patience towards such people. Let us look at verse 22.
22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
Notice that, this verse starts with a ‘What if.’ It is a question that Paul is asking, for the Romans to think clearly about God’s glory, God’s justice and God’s patience. He is clearing their misunderstanding on why God sometimes hardens people’s hearts instead of annihilating them immediately for their actions. As I said, it is to achieve a greater purpose i.e. to uphold His glory. It does not give God pleasure to annihilate His own creation, but justice must somehow, be served. So, for the justice to be upheld, God could have annihilated Israel from the face of the earth for their rebellion just like He eliminated Sodom and Gomorrah. Note that, wrath or anger is not an eternal attribute of God. God never displayed wrath with the eternal Jesus or the eternal Holy Spirit. There was only love between them. But, in time, God expresses wrath in order to deal with unrighteousness and to make His power known. Anyway, if God eliminated Israel, His glory would have been compromised because of His promise to Abraham that He would make him a great nation so that his descendants would be a blessing for the rest of the world. In Pharaoh’s case, however, there was no promise and when God successfully brought Israel out of their slavery, everyone praised Him, and He glorified Himself. However, if Pharaoh repented, God could have spared him, but he did not. Paul says that in Israel’s case, God endured with them for so long. He gave them many opportunities to choose to come to Him by sending various prophets, all through the Old Testament. But Israel never came back to God till date. Now, let me ask you – what did Israel now become? The hard-hearted Israel tested God’s patience and became a vessel of the wrath of God and prepared themselves for destruction. If not for God’s promise to Abraham, God would have eliminated them from the face of the earth. But God could not do that. How could He compromise His glory which is necessary for all people of the world to come to Him? Although, He desired to show His wrath over Israel, He wanted to make known of His power i.e. His glory to the rest of the world because He knows that He is the only hope for the rest of the world, if it were to be saved. If the world does not accept God and Christ’s sacrifice for them, they will all be destroyed ultimately in their own sins. God does not want that for them. Now, let us continue to read verse 23.
23 In order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.
While the vessels of wrath are the rebellious nation of Israel in this context, vessels of mercy are whoever repents, confesses their sins, trusts and believes in Jesus Christ as their only Lord and savior. Note that, the vessels of wrath could also be anyone who deliberately chooses to not obey Jesus Christ. John 3:36 says the wrath of God remains on such people as there is no other way apart from Christ, that the wrath could be lifted. But we witness God’s great patience towards all those people as well. Anyway, the verse says that God has endured with much patience with the rebellious Israel, the vessels of God’s wrath, in order to make known the riches of His glory for the vessels of mercy, in this case, the Gentiles. So, Paul is letting the Romans know that – as part of the great plan, God has extended the salvation to the Gentiles because of Israel’s rebellion to ultimately bring Israel back through the Gentiles. But the salvation to the Gentiles must come from the Jews only according to John 4:22 and this was decreed by God beforehand i.e. long long ago. For that purpose, i.e. for the sake of the Gentiles, God endured Israel’s rebellion with much patience. And now, the Gentiles are being saved through their faith in Jesus Christ, who is a Jew. Thus, God kept His promise to Abraham, now that the salvation to everyone is still coming from the Jews i.e. through Jesus Christ. God did all this to uphold His glory. Note that, this verse says, ‘He has prepared them’ whereas in the last verse it did not say that implying God saves those who are the vessels of mercy, who are anyone who believes and in the case of the vessels of wrath, they prepared themselves for destruction, clearly stating that God did not prepare them for destruction. In Greek language, this distinction can be very clearly seen. Now, let us move on to verse 24.
24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
In this verse, Paul is clarifying to the Roman believers on who really are these vessels of mercy. The vessels of mercy, hence, are all those people who are not only from the remnant of the believing Israel i.e. the messianic Jews, but also all those people who are born again into the Kingdom of God from the Gentile world i.e. the rest of the world. Paul rejoices that God has called all of them including him to be part of the Kingdom of God and are now, one family in Christ. This is beautiful And Paul also clarifies that this plan of God to include the Gentiles for salvation was not a new plan, but it was decreed by God long ago through the prophet Hosea in the Old Testament. Let us read verses 25 and 26 as Paul quotes directly from Hosea 2:23 and Hosea 1:10.
25As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
Do you see that? In the context of Hosea, God was calling Israel as ‘Not His people,’ and ‘Not beloved’ because of her rebellion and whoredom. But God promised that He will bring Israel back and that He will shower mercy upon her by alluring her and speaking tenderly to her in Hosea 2:14. Here, Israel is referred to a woman and hence God is calling the nation as ‘her.’ And the prophecy goes on as Israel would respond to God saying that God is her husband and she will no longer call Him Baal in verse 16.
And then later, the prophecy states that God will make a covenant with Israel and will betroth her forever in faithfulness and then she will know the Lord truly in verses 18 and 20.
That was the time when God says to Israel that they are His people and Israel will say that He is her God in verse 23. So, let me ask you – who is this Israel that God is talking about? He is talking about the physical Israel becoming the spiritual Israel of God. We already know who all are included in the spiritual Israel – it is both the physical Israel who began to believe in God i.e. the messianic Jews and whoever are truly born again into the Kingdom of God from the Gentile world i.e. us.
The covenant that God made in Hosea 2:18 is the New covenant that He made with Israel and in that New covenant, He included everybody. That was God’s plan from the very beginning. Can God do that? Can He include the Gentiles in His plan of salvation? Of course, Yes. He is sovereign enough to make that decision. Will that arouse Jealousy in the hearts of the people of the rest of Israel? Absolutely i.e. only if they still have the love of God within them which is currently dormant. They are cold right now because their hearts are still hard. During this time of most of Israel’s hard-hearted rebellion, many Gentiles are being gathered into the Kingdom of God according to Romans 11:25 i.e. who are actually ‘Not God’s people’ are becoming ‘God’s people’ and who are originally ‘Not His beloved’ are now becoming ‘His beloved.’ This has also been prophesied by Isaiah in Isaiah 56. He says in Isaiah 56:8 that The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” This was prophesied 700 years prior to Jesus Christ. Paul also quotes Isaiah 65:1 in Romans 10:20 explaining the same thing. The Lord said, “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me”. The Lord was referring to the gathering of the Gentiles in the future while Israel is still in rebellion. This is how we were all saved in the first place.
Now, those of you who have not yet believed in Christ, do you want to be called God’s people? Do you want to be called God’s beloved? The invitation from God is open for you to freely come to Him. What is stopping you? Are you worried that your family will ostracize you? Are you worried that you will put your family to shame on a public platform? I can relate to your pain because I was once in that confusion. But remember, the world itself is in darkness and you are trying to come into the light. When you do that, you will not be disappointed. God will work things out with your family members just as He is doing in my case. I have a great relationship with my parents today. Through they are not Christ’s followers yet, they accepted my faith and appreciate the work I am doing to reach out to humanity. So, please don’t waste any more time as the time is short. This is the time for salvation. Come, come to Jesus. All your life’s questions will be answered, and you will have joy, peace and contentment in your life. God bless you.
Let us break this video here and when we come back, we will see the fate of Israel whether all of Israel will be saved or not saved. Until then, please stay tuned to Gospel in action and to know more about me, please find the link to my testimony and contact details in the description below. We encourage you to please subscribe to this channel, if you think the videos are beneficial for you to understand the Bible in more depth. Thank you again for watching.
Romance 9: 27-33
Hello – Welcome to Gospel in Action. In the last video, we have seen how God dealt with the people of dishonorable use i.e. the vessels who prepared themselves for destruction. In this video, we will see how God could have annihilated Israel because of their rebellion and how they failed in pursuing the righteousness while the Gentiles pursued it through faith. Let us look at verses 27 and 28.
And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.”
Paul is quoting this from Isaiah 10:20-25. This was a prophecy from Isaiah which was already fulfilled for Israel. The prophecy was that the Lord would judge Israel for its disobedience. The judgement would come in the form of an attack from the empire of Assyria upon the Northern Kingdom of Israel and in a lesser sense, also upon the southern Kingdom of Judah. Isaiah prophesies that despite this coming attack of the Assyrians, upon the nation of Israel, God tells the nation to not be afraid of the Assyrians. Because God says that though the judgement and correction are coming, I will destroy and put an end to the Assyrian army. He says that whoever are remaining and are aware of this prophecy, will have an opportunity to trust and believe in God again and glorify Him for the victory that He will give them.
Hence, in verse 20, Isaiah says that in that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more, lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. So, Paul brings this past of Israel and connects it to the present. He asks that if God saved only a remnant in the Old Testament and promised that only a remnant would survive judgement, what makes the Jewish people of his own day feel secure that their Jewishness will save them?
Again, Paul was emphasizing the fact that even the Jewish people will have to believe and trust in their Messiah, to be saved and that they will not be saved through their ethnicity. He was trying to clear their huge misunderstanding. So, in these verses, he was expressing his grief that if Israel does not humble themselves and does not believe in their Messiah, out of the innumerable sons of Israel as good as the sand of the sea, only a few handful of them who genuinely surrender their lives to Christ, will be saved and that the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the whole earth fully and quickly. So, Paul is appealing to all the Jewish people of the earth to recognize their Messiah and come to Him without delay because Jesus may return at any time to bring the final judgement. If that happens, it will be too late for all people who have given a rebellious deaf ear to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He says that the Lord is enduring with much patience with respect to all of them, i.e. the vessels of wrath who prepared themselves for destruction. Let us continue reading further. Verse 29.
29 And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”
Paul continues his point by quoting Isaiah 1:9. He says that Israel was acting like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah which was the epitome of sin. Paul continues saying that if not for Abraham’s promise, God would have judged the entire nation just like He judged and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. He further says that Israel as a nation are fortunate to have any survivors because God demands justice and not mere sacrifices. This was according to Isaiah 1:7-17. As I said before, God is a God of justice and at the same time, He is a God of mercy. He requires people’s hearts and not their works of righteousness or sacrifices. These are all warnings against Israel even to this present day. Now, let us move on and read verses 30 and 31.
30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith.31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.
Here, Paul was emphasizing a very important point of the whole of the Bible. From the time, God called Abraham in the Old Testament, salvation to mankind was always through faith and not based on anything else. Paul dedicated an entire chapter in this book, i.e. Romans 4 explaining that Abraham was justified by faith and not according to works. So, he explains why Gentiles are being saved and not the Israelites in his day. The Gentiles who never had the law or rather who never knew the law, did not pursue righteousness by the law. They pursued righteousness by believing the good news of Jesus Christ. They pursued it by their faith and God saved them. On contrast, Israel were stuck in their traditions, and rituals where they continued in their misunderstanding, gave a deaf ear to the truth and to this day, trying to pursue righteousness through the law, by which they will never succeed. In fact, no one can keep the law perfectly and live except one man who did it i.e. Jesus Christ. For this reason, everyone needs Jesus Christ as their savior, a savior who lived a perfect life, who kept the law and who died in their place to redeem them from their sins so that they may live His life in such a way that it will lead them to Holiness.
Paul says in Romans 3:10 that None is righteous, no, not one but righteousness of God can only be attained through faith in Jesus Christ i.e. for all who believe as said in verse 22 of chapter 3. So, because Israel only pursued the law in terms of human effort instead of trusting in God, who transforms the hearts, they will perish but only a remnant of them who understand this, and who would respond to God’s grace from their hearts i.e. the messianic Jews will be saved. Now, let us read verse 32.
32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone.
In fact, Israel did seek the law but missed the whole point of the law by stressing the works rather than the faith. Faith was the law’s point. Faith was the right approach to the law. So, because Israel failed to follow the right approach to the law and pursued righteousness by mere human effort, they have stumbled over the stumbling stone. That means, they have stumbled when it was time to recognize their own Messiah who came to save them. Jesus Christ was the stumbling stone upon whom they stumbled upon. And hence, they rejected Him and killed Him. It is not too late for them, even to this day. They can still choose to repent and accept Jesus Christ into their lives. That was what Paul was saying in the last verse.
33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
In this verse, Paul was following a common Jewish interpretion practice of blending scriptures together. He used Isaiah 28:16 and Isaiah 8:14 together because the former probably alludes back to the later. This type of blending probably made sense to his then, Jewish readers than anyone.
Anyway, the whole point of Paul was that the same stone that caused Israel to stumble in Isaiah 8:14, which also speaks of the stone as a sanctuary implying that it is Jesus Christ Himself, would save those who believed in Isaiah 28:16. This is exactly what Paul was conveying from the beginning of this chapter. So, let us do a quick summary of Romans chapter 9 as we came to the end of it. Paul explained how he had burden for his fellow brothers who are being perished because of their rebellion. He expressed his anguish on how they all had every spiritual blessing and that they are trashing everything by their own actions. Then, he went on explaining that although they rebelled, God’s word has not failed. He explained God’s plan from the beginning of time and how it is now being unfolded. He began with Israel’s beginning and how God dealt with them. Paul explained how God hand-picked Israel not by the blood but by the promise and not by the works but because of His call i.e. through His wisdom and foreknowledge, so that no one can boast. Why did God do that? He did that to keep His promise to Abraham and to bring the Messiah through their lineage to fulfill that promise. Paul further goes on to defend God saying that no one can find fault with Him and that He did everything in perfect justice upholding His glory. Just like He hardened the heart of the Pharaoh of Egypt because of his rebellion before annihilating him through the process of slow judgement, God has judicially hardened the rebellious Israel so that He can include the Gentile world into the Kingdom of God, during this time of Israel’s slow judgement. During this time, God is still displaying tremendous patience towards Israel who are now the vessels of His wrath who prepared themselves for destruction. As a last resort, God is giving them, yet another opportunity to feel jealous looking at the progress of the Gentiles, so that Israel may repent, confess their sins and come to Him for Him to save them. As part of this opportunity, God is using the saved Gentiles to evangelize to these hard-hearted Jews so that they can be saved and be once again included as part of God’s spiritual Israel i.e. His eternal Kingdom. You may now ask – how can Israel believe if their hearts are hardened? Yes, their hearts are hardened, or I should say, that they have been kept away from the truth for a little while because of their rebellion. This was only until God’s purpose of executing the Messiah has been fulfilled and the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Hence, Israel are now mostly free to hear the message of the gospel, understand it and respond positively. The Bible says that they were still partially hardened according to Romans 11:25 in Paul’s day. We have come a long way since then. So, God wants Israel to respond to Him through faith and not by works. Let us break this video here and when we come back, we shall begin the marriage series. Until then, please stay tuned to Gospel in action and to know more about me, please find the link to my testimony and contact details in the description below. We encourage you to please subscribe to this channel, if you think the videos are beneficial for you to understand the Bible in more depth.