February 3 - Romans 9:19-29

Monday, February 3, 2014

Romans 9:19-29 – Who Are You?

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? 

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 

As he says in Hosea: 
         “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”  

         “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ”  

Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: 
         “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”  

It is just as Isaiah said previously: 
          “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.” 

So, Paul supposes people might ask, if God's will is all-encompassing, why am I still responsible for my own actions? His first response is actually a little humorous and reminds us of the response we might get from our parent when we question them. "Who are you to talk back to God?"

From Isaiah 29:16 and Isaiah 45:9, Paul describes the potter's relationship to a lump of clay. But that isn't the only thing he wants his readers to know. In Romans 9:22, Paul reminds his readers that God isn't an arbitrary ruler, doing what he wills without concern for those whose lives he impacts. No, God shows great patience with those who are the most deserving of his wrath. In God's sovereignty, he allows for freedom of individual and corporate free will. He does not reduce his creation to mere puppets, on strings that he pulls. He offers patience in order to bring the objects of his mercy … believers in Jesus Christ … into a full understanding of the riches of his glory (Romans 9:23).

In the last four verses of this chapter, Paul points to four Old Testament passages in order to show that the Gentiles were also part of God's plan for redemption and that there would only be a remnant of Jews that would be preserved.

First, from Hosea 2:23, he looks at the prophecy made regarding those who are not his people. They will be 'my people,' God says and from Hosea 1:10, Paul shows that in the place where they were disowned (Gentiles), they would be called 'sons of the living God.'

Finally he looks at two passages from Isaiah to show that it is not the entirety of the Jewish nation which will be saved. From Isaiah 10:22, we read that only a remnant will be saved and from Isaiah 1:9, that if a few were not saved, the Israelites would be as Sodom and Gomorrah, where all were destroyed.

It is faith, not a person's religion or background, that brings a person into the kingdom of God.