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Romans 9 - God's Sovereign Choice

You may not like this chapter (at first), but knowing it well is the key to having peace.

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Romans 9 Summary

What a massive change in tone between chapters 8 & 9! It shifts from one of the most triumphant in all of scripture to one of angst & sorrow. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, realizes that his own kin, the Jews, have by and large rejected the gospel.

Paul makes very clear that it was not God or His Word that failed in this rejection. Rather it's the flip side of the doctrine of God's sovereignty that gave us so much hope and confidence that God would never let us go that we read about yesterday.

On one hand, we rejoice that God is working out all things for those who are called, but then that also means that there are some that God has called to mercy, and others that He's left to harden.

Paul anticipates the difficulty we have by answering a couple of rhetorical questions:

  • v14 - Isn't God being unfair in arbitrarily choosing some for salvation but others for condemnation?

  • v19 - If everything has been predestined by God, doesn't that make us nothing more than robots going through the motions?

After answering these questions, Paul comes to a concludes there are two ways to attain the righteousness we need to be in communion with God:

  1. By trying to accomplish it ourselves, like the Jews did by attempting to perfectly follow the law. This will never work.

  2. By having faith in Christ, like so many Gentiles had done.

Dig Deeper

Romans 9 is definitely one of the most difficult chapters in the Bible for us to wrap our minds around, but this chapter is not here to confuse you or give you angst. It's here for your comfort. You should memorize v16:

So then salvation depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Your efforts and desire for salvation will come and go throughout your life, and it's quite likely that the days in which you feel ambivalent about God or even rebellious towards Him will outnumber those where you feel on fire in your faith.

Despite your fickle feelings, you can have confidence that your salvation is in God's sovereign control.

AAA Prayer:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our sovereign God, who forms all things for His glory

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will confidently trust in God's sovereignty over all things




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