READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l In Romans 9 to 11, Paul touched on how God dealt with the election of Israel and God’s plan for salvation with a total of 45 quotations and references from the Old Testament Scriptures.
In today’s passage – Romans 9:1-29 – we will address 3 questions and take away 5 discipleship lessons.
1. Did God forget His promises? (v6-13)
Paul argues that God still loves Israel and has the best desire for them (v1-5). He explained that the true children of God are not members of a race or institution or people following the law (practicing Judaism).
Ben Witherington III explained that Paul is not an advocate of 2 methods of salvation but the true people of God are Jews and Gentiles united in Christ. God chose the nation of Israel as a whole to be a light to the nations, to reveal God’s character and will to the world.
God’s election of Israel does not depend by natural descent (v6-10) or by human effort (v11-13), as God has kept His promises to the corporate people of Israel even when His people disobeyed Him.
2. Is God unfair in whom He chooses to give mercy to? (v14-18)
God is not unfair. We examined the definition of the word mercy (receiving something you do not deserve) and justice (you deserve it). God does not owe anyone mercy. We cannot say God is unfair to show mercy to anyone. As explained by John Stott, Paul’s way of defending God’s justice is to proclaim His mercy.
When sin in our life is left unchecked, our hearts can become hardened till the point of no return. Just like how Pharaoh’s hardened his own heart as described in the first 5 plagues. (Exodus 7:22, 8:15, 19, 32, 9:7). God in His Holiness and justice, must punish Pharaoh’s sins as he was responsible for the evil and hardening of his own heart.
3. Are we able to resist God’s will since God is sovereign? (v19-29)
Here we deal with God’s sovereignty vs human responsibilities.
- Who are we to argue with God (v19-21)
- God has His purposes (v22-24)
- All of this was prophesied (v 25-29)
5 Discipleship lessons
- Salvation is NOT by our heritage or our works. It is through our faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.
- God’s grace is always there for us to repent of our sins and to turn back to Him.
- God is faithful even when we are unfaithful (2 Timothy 2:12-13).
- God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
- Work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
(Sermon notes by Caesiapeah Lim)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- How did you come to that relationship with Jesus Christ in your life?
- How will you reconcile divine sovereignty with human responsibility in salvation?
- Share a time when you experienced God’s faithfulness in your life.
- Share an experience in your life where you come to see that God’s ways are higher than your ways.
- How will you work out your salvation with fear and trembling in your faith journey?