Topic: Defending God’s Election of His People
Memory Verse: Romans 9:14-15
Several questions were realized from the previous studies on the basis of Israel’s election. Thus the doctrine of Israel’s national election raises several questions. Chiefly amongst them include the place of God’s justice in the doctrine of God’s election of his people. This lesson then seeks to examine some of such questions.
Is God unjust? (verses 14-18)
No, of course not. Election has nothing to do with justice, but rather free grace. “God is unjust if He chooses one and leaves another” – people often say. But the purpose of God goes beyond justice. If God only did what was just, He would have to condemn all of us. Paul wrote about Moses (Exodus 33:19) and Pharaoh (Exodus 9:16) as proof that God can do what He wishes. He can freely give His grace and mercy – as He chooses. No one deserves God’s mercy, and no one can condemn God for His choice of Israel or His bypassing of other nations.
Why does God blame us if none can resist His will? (verses 19-29)
Paul then gives a parable about the potter, possibly from Jeremiah 18:1-6. God is the Potter, and the nations of the world (and their leaders) are the vessels. Some are vessels of wrath that God patiently endures until their time of destruction. Others are vessels of mercy that reveal His glory. Paul then quotes Hosea 2:23 and 1:10 to show that God promised to call a “people” from among the Gentiles, a people to be called “sons of the living God.” This is the church (1 Peter 2:9-10). He also quotes Isaiah 10:22-23, showing that a remnant of Jews would also be saved (Isaiah 1:9). In other words, God’s purpose in election makes it possible for all people to be saved by grace. Neither Jew nor Gentile could be saved any way other than by the grace of God.
What shall we say about the Gentiles? (verses 30-33)
Here is the paradox of history: the Jews tried to be righteous and were rejected. However, the Gentiles, who did not have the privileges the Jews had, were received. The reason is because the Jews tried to attain righteousness by works, while the Gentiles received righteousness by faith through the grace of God. The Jews stumbled over a crucified Messiah (see Isaiah 8:14, 28:16, Matthew 21:42, 1 Corinthians 1:23 and 1 Peter 2:6-8). They wanted a Messiah who would lead the nation to political freedom and glory. They could not believe in a crucified Jesus.
Conclusion and application
Paul’s purpose in this chapter is to explain Israel’s position in the plan of God. Israel was an elect nation. She was given privileges that no other nation had. Yet it seems that Israel failed to follow God’s program of blessings for the world. The entire Romans 9 chapter exalts the souvereign grace of God without minimizing the responsibility of men and women for making right decisions. God’s Word will prevail regardless of human disobedience. But disobedient sinners will miss the blessing. No human mind can understand or explain the wisdom of God (11:33-36). It is worth remarking that without the sovereign grace of God, there would be no salvation.
1. To what extent can one argue that the issue of God’s election of his people goes beyond justice?
2. Neither Jew nor Gentile could be saved in any way other than by the grace of God. Discuss.
3. Unlike the Jews in Paul’s day, what motivates you in your belief in Jesus?