Welcome back, study partners! This week’s study focuses on the Jewish roots of our Christian faith, and we established a foundation out of Ephesians 1-3 yesterday, indicating that we had a need, God had a plan and the Jewish people were given a solution that they shared with us Gentiles! Praise God for that!
But is God done with the Jewish people? Absolutely not! In fact, as we pick up our study today in Romans 9, we find the Jewish apostle to the Gentiles (Paul) lamenting over his people. In “great sorrow and unceasing grief,” he longs for the salvation of the Jewish people, stating even that he could wish himself accursed for their sake. (Keep in mind that he just finished chapter 8, where he declared that NOTHING could separate us from the love of Christ. So he knows he can’t lose his salvation. He uses that as an expression of the depth of his yearning for his countrymen.)
In verses 4-5, Paul reminds us of those things which belong to the Jews. (We studied that last week.) Then, he makes a very important declaration. Don’t speed through these verses, but slowly and intently read verses 6-8:
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.
What is Paul saying? It is not those BORN of Abraham who are Abraham’s descendants (children of God), but those of the promise. Let’s simplify that with cross references to Galatians 3:6-9, 29:
Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. …And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. [Emphasis mine]
My friends, three times in that great passage we are told it is GRACE, not RACE, that saves! In fact, Paul goes on to say in Romans 9:25-26:
“I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
“And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
God calls whomever He wants into His Kingdom, and He uses whomever He wants to accomplish His purposes! He has a plan for both Jews and Gentiles. Neither is left out! But, regardless of ethnicity, righteousness comes through faith alone. (Verses 30-33). While the Jewish people stumbled over the stumbling stone (Christ) by trying to do the works of the law, Gentiles attained righteousness through faith.
But rest assured…God is not yet done with the Jewish people, and we Gentiles dare not become arrogant! We’ll find out why over the next few days.
Israel matters because God’s plan for the Jews benefits Gentiles, and God’s plan for the Gentiles benefits Jews. Paul yearns for his people, while instructing us Gentiles. We must not stray from God’s plans for one another!
Stay tuned…it gets better and better! See you tomorrow!