The NT365 Experiment: Romans 9-10

After a week away and reading through some difficult texts, I’m glad to be back writing. I must say, though, that the text is no less difficult. For me, Romans 9-11 are perhaps the three hardest collection of chapters to understand in the whole Bible. They just don’t sit well with me intellectually, emotionally, or pastorally. They’re hard. But, they’re exceedingly important because (if I understand Paul right, and that’s a big if) God’s faithful fulfillment of his promises to the Gentiles rests on his faithful fulfillment of his promises to Israel.

The ESV Study Bible comments in its explanatory notes on 9:1-11:36,

“Paul has made it clear that God’s saving promises have been fulfilled for the Gentiles. Indeed, the church of Jesus Christ now enjoys the spiritual blessings promised to Israel: the gift of the Spirit (8:9); adoption as God’s children (8:14-17); future glory (8:17,30); election (8:33); and the promise of never being severed from God’s love (8:35-39). Paul now asks in chs. 9-11 whether the promise of God made to ethnic Israel will be fulfilled. If his promises to the Jews remain unfulfilled, how can Gentile Christians be sure that he will fulfill the great promises that conclude ch. 8?”

So, our hope in the salvation of God provides in the gospel through faith rests upon God’s faithfulness to fulfill ALL of his promises, not just those to he made to the Gentiles . He is a great and faithful God who will fulfill all his promises of salvation, and he will fulfill them in the same way — through the finished work of Christ, gospel proclamation, and a faithful response to his grace. Notice the following three sets of verses.

  1. The finished work of Christ and his righteousness — “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their (Jews) own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:3-4)
  2. Gospel Proclamation — “How are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?…So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:14-17)
  3. Faithful response to his grace — “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing riches on all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13).

May the Lord bless you as you read (and reread) Romans 9-10. Its tough, but it’s good. Don’t lose heart.

 

 

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