Romans 9: God’s Sovereignty

What must happen before we can have a clear conscience?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 2:38 “Repent,” Peter said, “and be baptized. By the authority of Jesus Christ, your sins will be forgiven and you will receive this gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 8:1 When it’s our nature to hear and obey God, we don’t have to feel condemned. That’s because we’re not living to satisfy our flesh, but we’re seeking to be led by the Spirit.
Romans 8:16 God’s Spirit confirms in our human spirit that we are his children.
Romans 9:1 I speak the truth with a clear conscience before Christ, with the agreement of the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 3:13 Friends, I haven’t figured everything out yet, but I know one thing: the past needs to be forgotten so I can focus on doing better in the future.
King James
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Why might we believe Paul was sincere, that he really would have died for unbelievers?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:2–3 Deep, never-ending sorrow grips my heart, so much so that I would sacrifice my own life if that would save my people, the unbelieving Jews.
King James
Romans 9:2–3 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

If the Israelites were God’s children, what did some of them do to sever that relationship?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
2 Kings 23:4 The king commanded High Priest Hilkiah, the leading priests, and the doorkeepers to remove from the Temple all vessels made for Baal, the grove, and the heavenly host. He burned it all in the fields of Kidron outside Jerusalem, and the ashes were carried to Bethel.
John 8:44 “You come from your father, the devil, and your desires are like his. From the beginning, he was a murderer and opposed the truth, because truth was not in his nature. When he lies, he speaks from his heart, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Romans 9:4 The Israelites are God’s adopted children, having been participants in his covenants, recipients of his Law, and witnesses of his glory. They worshiped and served God, and received his promises.
2 Timothy 3:8 Like Jannes and Jambres who opposed Moses, people with corrupt minds and false beliefs resist the truth.
Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but their deeds say otherwise. They are detestable, disobedient people, unfit for any good work.
King James
2 Kings 23:4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Romans 9:4 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;
2 Timothy 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

In what ways can our earthly heritage be a help or hindrance to our relationship with Jesus Christ?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:5–6 As descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they are the earthly family who brought us the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, forever blessed. God has not failed to fulfill his word to those who belong to him, because all the people of Israel are not children of God.
King James
Romans 9:5–6 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Since both Isaac and Ishmael were sons of Abraham, why weren’t both of them heirs?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 21:12 God said unto Abraham, “Don’t grieve over Hagar and Ishmael. Listen to Sarah, because your descendants will come through Isaac.”
Genesis 25:5–6 Abraham gave Isaac everything he had. He gave gifts to his sons who were born of women other than Sarah, then sent them to live in the east, away from Isaac.
Romans 9:7 They all may be descendants of Abraham, but they aren’t all heirs. God said Isaac, Abraham’s son by Sarah, would be the heir, not Ishmael, his firstborn son by Hagar.
King James
Genesis 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Genesis 25:5–6 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
Romans 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

What about Ishmael’s birth was not of the Spirit?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:8–9 What’s the distinction? Ishmael represents children born of the flesh, who are not of the Father’s Spirit, children of God. Isaac represents those who hear God’s voice and believe, who by their faith receive the promise. This was the Lord’s promise to Abraham: At the appropriate time, I will again come to visit, and you and Sarah will have a son.
King James
Romans 9:8–9 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

How is it that God called the younger son of Isaac, when the twins Jacob and Esau had not yet been born?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 25:21–23 Isaac fervently prayed for his wife because she was barren, and God listened. Rebekah became pregnant. She didn’t understand the turmoil in her womb, so she asked the Lord, “If this is your plan, why am I having so much trouble?”
“Two nations are in you womb,” God said. Your twins will not be alike. One nation will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”
Malachi 1:2 “Israel,” God said, “I love you.”
“How?” you ask. “Wasn’t Esau the older brother of Jacob?”
“Yes,” God said, “but I chose to love Jacob.”
Romans 9:10–13 Furthermore, after Rebecca conceived twins by our ancestor Isaac, the unborn children had not yet done good or evil. Nevertheless, God revealed what the future would be, calling the younger Jacob to be the one who would fulfill his purpose. God told Rebecca, “The elder son will serve the younger.” As Scripture has said, I loved Jacob but hated Esau.
King James
Genesis 25:21–23 And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
Malachi 1:2 I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob,
Romans 9:10–13 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Why might we think God was being unfair to Esau?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:14 What do you think? Is God being unfair to choose Jacob over Esau? Absolutely not.
King James
Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

What gives God the right to choose who he will show kindness and mercy to, yet is not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Exodus 33:19 God said, “My goodness shall pass before you, and I will speak my name, Jehovah. I will show kindness and mercy to those whom I choose.”
Romans 8:29–30 Because God knew what we would become, he sent his Son to be the first example of what his family will be like. Seeing the desires of people’s hearts, he called all those who would listen, made them blameless in his sight, and revealed his glory in them.
Romans 9:15 God said to Moses, My goodness shall pass before you, and I will speak my name, Jehovah. I will show kindness and mercy to those whom I choose.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t slow in keeping his promise, not like some people think. He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, giving time for everyone to repent.
King James
Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
Romans 8:29–30 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Romans 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

What makes God’s will more important than what we want?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:16 So you see, our faith in God is the most important, not what we want or what we do for ourselves.
King James
Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

In what ways does God allow evil and use evil for his always-good purpose?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 50:20 You intended to injure me, but God allowed your wrongdoing for a good purpose, to save all the people you see alive today.
Exodus 9:16 You have been allowed to live so I could show my power and be known throughout the earth.
Romans 8:28 All those who love God and are working to fulfill his purpose should know that all things will work together for good.
Romans 9:17–18 In Scripture, God says to Pharaoh, You have been allowed to live so I could show my power and be known throughout the earth. So it is that God can show mercy to some people, but the hearts of others are hardened.
King James
Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Exodus 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 9:17–18 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Why do you think many Christians believe they will be in Heaven for no reason other than their claim to have been “basically good”?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who calls me master will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only those who do the will of my heavenly Father.
Romans 9:19 You might ask, why is my wrongdoing a problem if God is accomplishing his will? Am I not then doing what he wants?
King James
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Romans 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

If God is the potter and we are the clay, what choice do we have in what we will become?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Mark 8:34 When a crowd had gathered with his disciples, he began to teach. “If anyone wants to follow me, he must sacrifice his selfish desires. Take up your cross, and then you can follow me.
Romans 9:20–21 No, you’re not. But who are you to question God’s methods? The clay is in no position to tell the potter what he should do. From the same lump, the potter shapes vessels that are used in different ways, some to drink from and some for garbage.
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let those who are listening say, “Come.” All those who are thirsty may come. Everyone may drink freely from the living water.
King James
Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Romans 9:20–21 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?1 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

What can we do to avoid winding up in the trash heap?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
John 15:2 “He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. He prunes the branches that bear fruit so they will produce more.”
John 15:6 “Anyone who does not remain in me is like a withered branch to be thrown away. Such branches are gathered, cast into the fire, and burned.”
Romans 9:22–24 God chooses not to immediately show his wrath against vessels that will eventually wind up in the city dump, because he wants to reveal his greatness by showing mercy to those who can be saved—those he knew beforehand would share in his glory, who would answer his call to be like him, not only from the Jewish race but others as well.
King James
John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Romans 9:22–24 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: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

What is the difference between those who receive God’s mercy and those who do not?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:22–24 God chooses not to immediately show his wrath against vessels that will eventually wind up in the city dump, because he wants to reveal his greatness by showing mercy to those who can be saved—those he knew beforehand would share in his glory, who would answer his call to be like him, not only from the Jewish race but others as well.
King James
Romans 9:22–24 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: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Why would God show mercy to the undeserving and to foreigners?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
John 1:11 He lived among his own people. Despite his unfailing love and faithfulness, most people did not accept him.
Romans 9:25–26 As God said through the mouth of the prophet Hosea, Like one who scatters seed, I will plant my people throughout the earth. I will show mercy to the undeserving and will say to foreigners, “You are my people.” And they will say to me, “You are my God.” In the land where it was said, “These are not God’s people,” it will be said, “These are the children of the living God.”
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t slow in keeping his promise, not like some people think. He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, giving time for everyone to repent.
King James
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Romans 9:25–26 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

If Israel was recognized as “God’s people,” how is it that only a small percentage will be saved?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:27 The prophet Isaiah spoke concerning Israel, saying, Although the population of Israel will be like the sands of the sea—more people than can be counted—only a few will be saved.
King James
Romans 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

What should be our concerns about the coming “day of judgment”?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:28–29 God will do what he has promised, so don’t procrastinate in your decision to serve him, thinking he will delay his righteous judgment of the earth. As the prophet Isaiah said, If Almighty God hadn’t saved the few of us, we would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah, utterly destroyed.
King James
Romans 9:28–29 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

Why is “what we believe” so important?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:30 From this evidence, we can only conclude that people who had no righteous reputation have been accepted by God because they believed.
King James
Romans 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

What is the problem with claiming to be righteous when we’re really not?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 15:14 “Let them go their own way. They are blind leaders of the blind. When blind people follow blind leaders, they both fall into the ditch.”
John 9:41 “If you were blind,” Jesus said, “you would be blameless. But because you say you can see, you remain blind.”
Romans 9:31 But the unbelieving Israelites, claiming to be righteous, have not been accepted.
King James
Matthew 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
John 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Romans 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

What must we do to please God?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 17:5 While Peter was still speaking, a brilliant cloud overshadowed them. A voice came from the cloud. “This is my dearly loved son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Romans 9:32 For lack of faith, they stumbled and fell. They failed to see the value of total commitment to what God wanted. Seeing themselves as basically good, they thought their works in obeying a few laws was sufficient to gain God’s approval.
James 4:17 Sin is failure to do the good you know you should do.
King James
Matthew 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
Romans 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

How can Jesus be a help to some and a hindrance to others?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 9:33 Referring to Jesus Christ, God says by the prophet Isaiah, Behold, I’m laying a foundation stone in Jerusalem, solid and secure, proven and absolutely trustworthy. He can be either a place of safety or a stumbling block, a rock of offense. Those who believe in him will never be sorry.
King James
Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.