Study notes by H.L. Wilmington:
Romans 9-11 Paul is discussing Nations, not Individuals.
A. The sovereignty of God and Israel's selection in the past (Rom 9).
1. The twofold confession of Paul (1-3).
2. The ninefold advantage of Israel (9:4-5).
a. They were Israelites. They were a special nation (Deut 7:6), one having power with God (Gen 32:28).
b. They enjoyed the adoption. The entire nation had been adopted by God (Ex 4:22; Deut 14:1; Jer 31:9).
c. They had the glory. A reference to the Shekinah cloud, that visible, luminous appearance of God's presence. (Ex 13:21-22; Num 9:17-22; Ex 14:19,20,24; Ex 40:34-48; I Ki 8:10-11; II Chron 5:13-14; Exek 10)
d. They had the covenants.
(1) The Abrahamic Covenant-promising a mighty nation (Gen 12:2,3,7; 13:14-17; 15:5,18; 17:8)'
(2) The Palestine Covenant-promising a land (Deut 30:3).
(3) The Davidic Covenant-promising an eternal kingdom (II Sam 7:12-16; 23:5; II Chron 13;5).
(4) The new covenant-promising new hearts (Jer 31:31-34).
e. They had the law (Ex 20; Duet 5).
f. They had the services of God. It was Israel which ministered in both the tabernacles and the temple.
g. They had the promises . This included both Christ's birth and future reign (Isa 9:6-7).
h. They had the fathers. Israel enjoyed a regenerate ancestry, which included such giants as Abraham, Moses, David, etc.
i. They produced that line which led to the humanity of Christ (Mt 1:1-16; Lk 3:23-38).
3. The five fold example of history (9:6-29). Paul now proves God's sovereign and unmerited Grace from Israel's own history.
a. The example of Ishmael and Isaac (9:6-9). Only the descendants of Isaac would become citizens of God's chosen nation.
b. The example of Esau and Jacob (9:10-13). This referring to Israel and Edom and not the two boys.
c. The example of Pharaoh (9:14-23).
(1) The facts of God dealing with Israel and Pharaoh.
(a) God determined to pardon sinful Israel with undeserved Grace. (9:15).
(b) God determined to punish sinful Pharaoh with deserved judgment. (9:17).
(2) The fairness of God's dealings with Israel and Pharaoh. Paul hear answers two subjects:
(a) That God is not righteous. Some would claim that he was unfair in hardening Pharaoh's heart. It should be noted that on at least seven occasions in the book of Exodus we are told that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh (Ex 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1,20,27; 11:10).
Furthermore, it should be pointed out that on four occasions we are informed that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex 7:22; 8:15,19; 9:35). The word "hardeneth" in 9:18 (kabed) is translated "heavy" in Exodus 17:12; 18:18; Psalms 38:4; Isaiah 1:4. Thus, God left his heart heavy with iniquities.
(b) Man is not responsible. (9:19). Paul spends little time on this objection, simply pointing out that potter has power over the clay he works with in choosing the kind of vessel he makes. It should be noted in (9:21) that Paul made the clay as it was, but that he worked with it ( see Jer 18:1-6; Isa 45:9; 64:6-8). Two kinds of vessels are described here: "The vessel of wrath fitted unto destruction " (9:22). This is in the middle voice, meaning voice, meaning "to fit oneself."
"The vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory" (9:23). The conclusion of the matter is that hell (destruction) is the deserved destination of the sinful man, while heaven (glory) is the undeserved destination of the saved man.
d. The example of Hosea (9:24-26). He predicted God would call out a "people which were not my people" (9:25; see also Hosea 1:10; 2:23). Here God's sovereignty is seen in reference to the saved Gentiles (I Pet 2:9-10).
e. The example of Isaiah (9:27-29). He predicted, "though the number of children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved" (9:27; see also Isa 1:9). Here God's sovereignty is seen in reference to the saved Israelite remnant.
4. The twofold conclusion of Paul (9:30-33).
a. The Gentiles, through Faith, had attained righteousness without ever seeking it.
b. Israel, through the law, had not attained righteousness even after seeking it. They looked for a bold lion, but God sent them a bleeding lamb. They wanted a throne; they were offered a cross.
B. The righteousness of God and Israel's rejection at present. Introduction: Romans 9 and 10 should always be read together. Chapter 9 shows why some Jews are saved, and chapter 10 explains why most are lost.
1. The source of righteousness (10:4-5). "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth" (10:4). (See II Cor 3:6-11; Heb 7:11-19; Gal 3:24; Eph 2:15; Col 2:14.)
2. The availability of righteousness (10:6-8). "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart" (10:8). Because of this, we need not to be concerned with:
a. The incarnation-"Who shall ascend into the heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above)" (10:6).
b. The resurrection-"Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead)" (10:7).
3. The method of righteousness (10:9-10). Some have made oral confession a condition of salvation on the basis of 10:10, (see also 10:9.)
The Bible, of coarse, does not impose this limitation. Paul evidently was stressing the same truth found in James 2:20, that is, a genuine possession of Christ in one's heart will surely lead to
A confession of Christ with one's mouth. The fruit will prove the root. (See Mt 10:32; Lk 12:8; Jn 12:42-43; Mt 12:34.) The method, then, of righteousness, is Faith in Christ.
4. The scope of righteousness. (10:11-13)-whosoever (see 10:11,13). Paul had earlier shown that all men were lost. He now says that all men can be saved. Compare the "whosoever" mentioned here with that in Revelation 20:15.
5. The presentation of righteousness (10:14-15). These verses are a beautiful little discourse to demonstrate the necessity for taking the gospel which is intended for all, to all. In other words, world reconciliation demands world evangelization. Since salvation through Christ has been provided for all, it must now be proclaimed to all. Paul here summarizes God's program for world evangelism. It is in five steps.
a. In order to be saved, a sinner must call upon the Lord.
b. In order to call, he must believe.
c. In order to believe, he must hear.
d. In order to hear, there must must be a preacher. (This may refer to any vehicle carrying the gospel message, be it a human agent, tract, radio broadcast, etc.)
e. In order to preach, they must be sent. This means by God himself. (See Isa 6:8; Jn 15:16; 20:21.) Paul then quotes Isaiah 52:7, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!" The Greek word here translated beautiful means "full bloom, developed, mature." Paul may mean that witnessing for Christ produces a full-blooded, developed, and mature Christian.
6. The rejection of righteousness (10:1-3,16-21).
a. Israel has zeal without knowledge. One may also, of coarse, suffer the opposite-knowledge without zeal. The first leads to hot fanaticism (Gal 1:14; Acts 22:3). The second leads to cold formalism.
b. Paul's prayer was that God would give Israel this knowledge. He would have little in common with modern theology. Note the following statement by Reinhold Niebuhr: "Do not try to convert Jews.....Jews may find God more readily in their own Faith than in Christianity."
c. Paul applies David's words about creation (Rom 10:18; Ps 19:4) to that of salvation to demonstrate that Israel's unbelief was not due to the fact that they had never heard, for this opportunity had been as wide as the star-studded heavens.
d. Both Moses (Deut 32:21) and Isaiah (53:1; 65:1) has predicted this sad rejection (see Rom 10:16,19-20).
e. God has been so patient with His rebellious nation. "All day long [for over fifteen centuries, the entire age of the law] I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people" (Rom 10:21; Isa 65:2; see also Mt 23:37-39). Israel had this been guilty of:
(1) Disobedience of the Word of God.
(2) Disgruntlement with the God of the Word.
C. The wisdom of God, and Israel's restoration in the Future (Rom 11). Paul has just discussed the rejection of Israel in chapter 10. He will now show that this rejection Elias neither total (1-25) nor final (26-33).
1. The rejection of was not total (11:1-25).
a. The factions of Israel (11:1-10). This nation is now placed into two separate categories:
(1) The minority group "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (11:5). Paul offers a two fold proof that God always has his faithful remnant.
(a) As seen through his own conversion (11:1).
(b) As seen in the time of Elijah (11:2-4). Elijah felt he was the only believer during his day and actually made "intercession to God against Israel" (11:2).
But God (who will never answer this kind of prayer, regardless of who prays it) quickly informed him that: "I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal" (Rom 11:4; se also 1 Ki 19:10,14,18).
(2) The majority group: "and the rest were blinded" (11:7). Present-day Israel is thus plagued with a threefold blindness:
(a) The blindness caused by the fall of Adam (Eph 4:18).
(b) The blindness causes by Satan (2 Cor 4:4).
(c) The blindness caused by God (Rom 11:8).
This tragic spiritual blindness was predicted by both Isaiah (Isa 29:10; Rom 11:8) and David (Ps 69:22-23; Rom 11:9-10). The reason for this blindness is also predicted by David, namely the Jews' treatment of Christ. Note the words in Psalm 69:21 which preceded this judgment prophecy of blindness: "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst gave me vinegar to drink." (See fulfillment of this in Mt 27:34,48.)
b. The fullness of the Gentiles (11:11-25). This phrase (found in 11:25) should be distinguished from the times of the Gentiles mentioned by Christ in Luke 21:24.
(1) The "times" of the Gentiles is political in nature and refers to that period from the Babylonian captivity until the end of the Tribulation. (See Duet 28:28-68; 2 Chron 36:1-21; Dan 9:24-27.)
(2) The fullness of the Gentiles is spiritual in nature, and refers to that period of time covering the completion of the body of Christ, made up of the Jew and Gentile, saved from Pentecost to the Rapture. (See Acts 15:14; Eph 4:11-13; 1 Cor 12:12-13.)
The details of this Gentile fullness period are as follows:
(3) Believing Gentiles are at the present time being placed into God's tree of salvation.
(4) They are taken from an wild olive tree (11:17).
(5) They are grafted into a good olive tree (11:24). This process is, as Paul rightly observes, "contrary to nature" (11:24). Normally, when the wild is grafted into the good, the good is conquered by the wild. However, when the good is grafted to the wild, just the opposite takes place.
(6) Gentiles are warned against boasting because of their new status, "For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee" (11:21).
At this point, two thoughts must be kept in mind.
(7) Paul is not teaching that the church has replaced Israel. He has already asked and answered this question in 11:1, "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid."
(8) Paul is not teaching that a saved Gentile may be cut off from this tree and lose his salvation. He is simply saying that since God did not spare the nation of Israel when they apostatized, he will likewise not spare an apostate church. Christendom is going on the same direction today as Israel once did, God will reject and judge them for it. (See 1 Tim 4:1-3; 2 Pet 1-22; Rev 3:14-22; 17:3-18.)
Paul offers these details concerning the fullness of the Gentiles, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery" (11:25). A mystery in the Bible is a previously hidden truth, not revealed in the Old Testament, but declared and, at times, explained in the New Testement.
9. There are twelve such mysteries. Without amplification, these are:
(a) The mystery of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13:3-50; Mk 4:1-25; Lk 8:4-15).
(b) The mystery of the rapture (I Cor 15:51,52; 1 Thess 4:16).
(c) The mystery of the church as the body of Christ (Eph 3:11; 6:19; Col 4:3; Rom 16:25).
(d) The mystery of the church as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:28-32).
(e) The mystery of the indwelling Christ (Gal 2:20; Col 1:26-27).
(f) The mystery of the incarnate Christ (Col 2:2,9; 1 Cor 2:7).
(g) The mystery of godliness (1 Tim 3:16).
(h) The mystery of iniquity (2 Thess 2:3-12; Mt 13:33).
(i) The mystery of Israel's present blindness (Rom 11:25).
(j) The mystery of the seven stars (Rev 1:20).
(k) The mystery of Babylon the harlot (Rev 17:5,7).
(l) The mystery of God (Rev 10:7; 11:15-19).
In Romans 11:25 the mystery is that "blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."
2. The rejection was not permanent (11:26-36).
a. The Israel of God (11:26-32).
(1) They would be restored through the ratification of their promised "For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins" (Rom 11:27; see also Isa 59:21; 27:9; Jer 31:31-37; Heb 8:8; 10:16; Zech 13:1).
(2) They would be restored through the return of their promises Christ. "There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (11:26; see Isa 59:20).
b. The God of Israel (11:33-36).
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
Paul here in Romans. (See also 15:33; 16:20; 16:24; 16:25-27.)
Romans 1-16 (KJV).
Romans 1-5 = Salvation
Romans 6-8 = Sanctification
Romans 9-11 = Sovereignty
Romans 12-16 = Service
Romans 1-5 Is further divided into a section on:
- Condemnation (Rom 1-3a)
- Justification (Rom 3b-5)
Three groups Paul condemns in Romans 1-3
- Heathen (Rom 1)
- Moral man (Rom 2a)
- Religious man (Rom 2b-3a)
Romans 6 gives the right plan of Sanctification (Union with Christ) and the four steps to this plan.
- Know: We are dead, buried, & raised with Christ
- Reckon: Accept & personally apply this
- Yield: To Christ
Romans 7 gives the wrong perversion of Sanctification.
-Self effort to keep God's commandment
Romans 8 Gives the power of sanctification
- Dependance on the Spirit