ROMANS 9:6-33  


ROMANS 9:6-33

Verses 1-3 Paul's concern for the salvation of Jews

1. They are members of the national priesthood of Israel (Exodus 19:3-5).

2. But since they are unbelievers, they are not functional in that priesthood.

3. In fact, they are excluded, as a nation, from the spiritual reality of that priesthood and cut off from the priestly assets (vs. 4-5). cf. Matthew 21:23-45; 23:37-39

Once Paul introduces the idea that there is a vast majority of Israelites who are unsaved, he anticipates opposition claiming that God's plan has failed. In order to offset that opposition, Paul will use several examples to demonstrate that God's plan has certainly not failed but in fact, is moving along perfectly according to the policy that He instituted not only for how He would use the nation of Israel but also, how He would accomplish the salvation of the human race.


Verse 6a: the FIRST argument from the opposition.

"The word of God has failed" since as Paul claims, Israel needs to be saved.

Verse 6b-9: Paul's defense that the Word of God has not failed.
Verse 6b: Orientation to true Israel

1. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.
2. The nation of Israel was established on spiritual principles
3. To be accepted in the nation and functional in the nation, one must follow the policy of God for the nation.

4. This includes 3 things:

a. Conformity to the spiritual code: includes salvation and fellowship

b. Conformity to moral code: emphasis on fellowship

c. Conformity to social code: emphasis on order and authority.

5. CF John 1:47 - "an Israelite truly, in whom is no deceit."


Verses 7-9: first example: establishes that divine policy determines how Abraham's family line will be traced.

Verse 7

1. Neither are they all children: children of Abe's family line.

2. Because they are Abe's seed: ie, physically descended from him.

3. But through Isaac shall your seed be named: Narrows it down to Isaac through Sarah. This is God's policy.

4. The issue here is NOT salvation, but God's specific plan for perpetuating the Messianic family line.

5. But incidental to the issue in this section, although taken into consideration by the foreknowledge of God, is the fact that Isaac becomes a believer and Ishmael does not.


Verse 8, explains the basis for the details of the plan.

1. That is, not the children of the flesh: ie, children that result from human policy (operation Hagar) rather than God's.

2. Who are the children of God:

A. In the Messianic family line
B. But also in the spiritual family line.

3. But the children of the promise: Those produced through following God's policy. ie, Through Sarah his wife.

4. Who are regarded as descendants: This is the real issue in understanding the term "children of God." Descendants refers to those who are placed into the Messianic family line.


Verse 9 Documentation as to Divine policy for perpetuating the

Messianic line. Genesis 18:10

Verses 10-13 Second example: To establish God's policy that - spiritual descent supersedes physical descent.

Verse 10 - and not only that, but twins from Rebekah.

The subject is still the Messianic lineage and NOT salvation.
However, God's choice for building that lineage is based on the individual salvation decisions of the people involved, but not of works.

Verses 11-12

1. Twins not yet born: indicates divine control through establishing the policy.

2. Not done anything good or bad.

A. Reference to works.
good = agathos and refers to both moral and spiritual
bad = phaulos (worthless) and refers to immorality and/or human religion.

B. So that God's election was not based on works.

C. Neither had done anything good or bad that would establish God's election for them.

D. God's election is based on His standards - His policy.
The election in this context is not "salvation" but the place in the Messianic lineage. God chose which one was going to carry the promise, NOT which one was going to be saved.

E. Thus, "the older shall serve the younger," which indicates that God chose Jacob to carry on the lineage.

F. However, the basis for making that choice or "election" was Jacob's future salvation. It is because Jacob will become a believer that God chooses to carry the lineage through him.

G . This is reflected in verse 13, "Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated."

1. Love is divine approval based on adjustment to His justice through faith in His policy.

2. Hate is divine disapproval based on indictment from justice because of rejection of His policy.

3. God's prophecy in verse 12, is based on His foreknowledge of each man's decision toward divine policy.

4. Good or bad represents human works and none had been produced so as to influence divine election.

5. Divine election takes place out from God's sovereign plan. He sets the policy.

6. The prophecy was given in order that (hina + subjunctive mood)

7. God's purpose: prothesis refers to his plan to establish the Messianic lineage so that the Messiah can come into the world "in the fullness of time," (Galatians 4:4).

8. According to election: kata eklogā refers to the act of choosing who will take part in His plan; who will perpetuate the lineage.

9. Might stand: meno - present active subjunctive = continually remain. ie, untarnished by imperfection; injustice; inconsistency.

10. Not out from (ek) works: either good or bad

11. But out from (ek) Him who calls: kaleo - present active participle

a. To call or invite into something
b. Here the principle extends beyond the situation with Jacob and Esau and applies to God's election (or choosing) for participation in His plan to represent the Messiah as His priestly ambassador, Ie, New Testament salvation.

c. Regardless of what "plan" is in view, the principle is always valid, that God chooses based on HIS POLICY not on man's.


12. Now this appears as if they had no choice at all, and that God determined who would be elected, but that is not the case.

13. And this is the objection anticipated by Paul at verse 14.
"God is unfair."

14. The religious antagonist who must have a works system in order to fulfill his approbation lust, will make the application beyond Jacob and Esau and will protest against Paul's teaching and accuse God of injustice.


Verse 13 The expression of divine justice based on the standards of divine righteousness.

1. Just as it is written: Illustrates that God does have a particular attitude toward each of his creatures.

2. But that attitude is based on how creatures conform to divine policy. Both from a relationship and fellowship perspective. Acts 10:34-35, 43

3. Malachi 1:1-3 expresses the general attitude of God toward Jacob's and Esau's descendants based on a general response to divine policy standards.

4. Not works: not good or bad, but proper response to the gospel.


Verse 14, the SECOND anticipated objection by these disoriented believers

1. What shall we say then: because of God's rejection of works and insistence on conformity to his own policy.

2. There is no injustice with God is there?
Again, this reflects the criticism that God is unfair.

3. May it never be: strongest negative statement in the Greek.
Me genoita (ginomai, aorist optative) = definitely NOT.


Verse 15

1. For he says to Moses: gar, introduces the principle of God's policy for dealing with His creatures.
Sovereignty, righteousness, justice - and THEN love and wisdom expressed as compassion.

2. The quote is from Exodus 33:19, but the principle must be gleaned from the whole context of Exodus 33:19-34:7 with 20:5-6

3. God's mercy is based on man's response to divine authority and policy. Exodus 34:7 with 20:5-6

A. Love: is a positive response toward God
B. Hate: is a negative response toward God
C. Mercy: is the expression of God's compassion toward man when man recognizes and accepts divine sovereignty, righteousness and justice.

4. I will have mercy: eleeo - future active indicative plus present active subjunctive, "on whomever I have mercy."
God's character expressions are absolute and not subject to the criticism and standards of human viewpoint.

5. And I will have compassion on whomever I have compassion:
oiktirō - future active indicative + present active subjunctive

a. This statement of grace provision simply establishes the fact that it is God who determines the basis for favorable or unfavorable actions toward His creatures.

b. And the standard which he uses is the creature's humility response to his authority and policy. called love and hate at Exodus 20:5-6

c. The one who responds in proper humility toward God is expressing basic love toward Him and toward His policy.

d. The one who responds with creature arrogance toward God has rejected his authority and policy and is expressing hate.

6. The "on whomever" clause is present active subjunctive, and indicates the potential expression from God based on the humility response of the person involved (Exodus 20:5-6).

7. Just like Paul established in Romans 1:18-21.
"God's wrath is revealed" because "they did not acknowledge Him as God and were not thankful."

8. This passage is NOT teaching that God determines who will be placed in His plan simply by a decision from His own sovereignty, but from a decision based on the response of His creatures to the policy that His sovereignty establishes. Not out from works, but out from the required response "determined" by God as acceptable to Him.

A. Luke 1:52, "he exalted those who were humble."

B. 1 Peter 5:6, "humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt you at the proper time."

C. James 4:6, "He gives grace to the humble."

D. James 4:8, "draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

E. James 4:10, "humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you."

F. Psalm 18:25-26, "To the grace-oriented, You show Yourself generous;
to those with integrity, You demonstrate Your integrity; to the pure in motive, You express Your genuineness; and with the perverted, You wrestle." (BFT)


Verse 16

1. So then: conclusion based on the statement of divine policy.

2. It is not from: (ablative case) used to indicate the source and the mechanics of one's right relationship with God.

3. The one who wills: thelō - present active participle

A. personal desire that employs personal viewpoint and standards to get to God.

B. Corresponds with John 1:13, "not of the will of the flesh."
(ek thelāma sarx - out from the will of the sin nature.)

C. The word "will" does not indicate "choice" but rather, it indicates "self-determination" that "dictates" to God that I WILL (I determine myself) to be saved.

D. Again, this is not saying that man does choose for God, but that man cannot "determine" to find salvation independent from God.
Revelation 22:17, "let the one who WILLS (thelō), take the water of life freely."

4. Nor of the one who runs: trechō, present active participle

A. This refers to employing an organized religious "works" system in order to reach God.

B. Corresponds with John 1:13, "not of the will of man."

5. But from God who shows mercy: eleeo, present active participle

A. Eph. 2:8-9
B. Titus 3:5-6
C. Eph. 1:11-13
D. John 1:12-13

6. Man does not "determine" that he will be saved and he does not "work" (run) in order to get saved, but he must depend on God's policy for salvation which is to "have mercy" on the one who trusts in Christ as savior (Romans 4:5).


Verses 17-18 The example of Pharaoh

Verse 17

1. For the scripture says to Pharaoh: Exodus 9:16
2. For this reason I raised you up: allowed Pharaoh to come on the scene and to gain such power and influence in Egypt. Daniel 4:17

3. To demonstrate: endāknumi - aorist active subjunctive + hopōs

4. my power: dunamis - the ability to enforce authority and policy.

5. And that my name: essence and reputation which includes his plan.

6. Might be proclaimed: hopōs + aorist passive subjunctive of diangellō

7. In all the earth: pas ge - Joshua 2:10; 9:9

8. In you: en + su. God will use Pharaoh for sure. But Pharaoh decides whether it will be through blessing or cursing.


Verse 18

1. So then: ara oun - conclusion from Pharaoh's example.

2. He has mercy: eleeō - present active indicative acceptance into divine favor and fellowship

3. On whom he desires: thelō - present active indicative

a. God's will, His plan, determines who receives mercy.

b. God sets the policy. If man conforms, he receives mercy.

c. If man does not conform, the very act of rejecting truth hardens the heart and alienates that person from the life of God (ie, His plan). Ephesians 4:17-18

d. Conforming to the policy is not works because the policy is not of works. The policy is by faith. Man conforms to the policy by expressing faith, saying yes to God's terms.

4. And he hardens: sklārunō, present active indicative.
God perpetuates the hardening process by proclaiming more truth.

5. Whom He desires: thelō - but based on His plan and policy.
There are only two choices which exist.

a. Recognition of divine authority and policy.

b. Rejection of that policy and dependence on personal viewpoint, works and merit.

6. God's desire is that all might be saved: 2 Peter 3:9; 1Timothy 2:4

7. Therefore, it is NOT God's desire that someone be hardened. and it is obviously NOT God who directly hardens someone.

8. Mercy or hardening is based on each person's own volitional response to the policy of God.


Verse 19 Accusation that God is unfair

1. You will say to me then: Paul anticipates the human viewpoint objection of those negative to divine authority and policy.

2. Why does He still find fault? Present active indicative of memphomai.
This begins a statement by the opposition and includes the remainder of the verse.

A. The argument raised expresses delusion which seeks to distort the facts.

B. The distortion claims that man has no free will.

C. TF Pharaoh has no free will and TF he cannot be blamed for his rejection of God.

D. But the claim that is made here does not nullify the fact that man does indeed have free will.

3. For who has resisted his will?
This is still part of the statement made by the opposition.
It is the opposition that makes the claim that man cannot resist the will of God. It is nowhere stated or suggested in scripture. In fact, just the opposite is clearly presented.

A. anthistāmi - perfect active indicative - to stand against.
B. His will: boulāma
C. This is an issue only if God forces His sovereignty upon His creatures unjustly.

D. But He does not enforce His sovereignty unjustly.

E. His sovereignty designed a plan for entering into relationship and fellowship with His creatures.

F. The two choices within that plan are indeed, forced upon all mankind.

G. But which choice is made is left to the volition of each.


4. The accusation of unfairness directed toward God is simply reflection of the attitude of Satan and his demons (Job 4:17-21).


Verses 20-21 The solution is orientation to creature humility in the area of existence and life.

Verse 20 - Divine sovereignty

1. What are you O man: creature is given life by God
2. Who answers back to God? antapokrinomai - present middle participle

a. God sets policy
b. man rejects that policy
c. God enforces the policy
d. man calls it unfair.


3. The thing molded: illustration of man's complaint against God.

4. Why did you make me this way? a flower pot; an ash tray - OR -
- a creature with volition who is subordinate to your policy.

A. The unbeliever has no capacity to understand the purposes of God with regard to the angelic conflict.

B. And in his darkness viewpoint, all he can see is injustice.

C. But the creature must not concern himself with WHY?, but with WHAT divine policy is , and what response God requires.

D. The policy stands regardless of what man thinks.

5. The proper response of the creature in humility is, "what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30).
And, "what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37).


Verse 21 - Divine policy

1. The potter has the right:

A. echō - present active indicative.
B. exousia = authority (usually delegated)

2. to make from the same lump: humanity with volition.
3. One vessel for honor: timā.
The vessel that chooses to accept divine authority and policy, enters the status of HONOR.
Salvation relationship in the kingdom of light - but God does the work. John 1:13; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:30

4. And another for dishonor: atimia
The vessel that rejects divine authority and policy comes under the indictment of divine justice - dishonor. John 3:18-36.

5. The principle is illustrated in regard to national discipline at Jeremiah 18:6-10

6. The issue in this part of Romans is a salvation issue.

A. The very existence of light vs. darkness demands 2 destinies.

B. Eternity with the ruler of light (Colossians 1:12) or eternity with the ruler of darkness. Matthew 25:41

C. A destiny of honor or of dishonor.


7. There is no such thing as a vessel of honor until a person trusts in Christ.

A. All mankind is in a status of dishonor. Romans 5:6-10
John 3:18 = judged already

B. All mankind is informed of divine policy through the process of drawing. Romans 1:19-20; John 12:32-33; 16:8-11.
See Topic: Drawing

C. Anyone who dies before God fulfills his part in revealing policy is not held accountable. Principle of 2Samuel 12:23.

D. Anyone who dies having rejected God's policy remains a vessel of dishonor for all eternity and shares the destiny of Satan.

E. Anyone who trusts in God's policy for salvation becomes a vessel of honor and shares the destiny of Christ.


Verses 22-29 The church age is an illustration of creator sovereignty and timing.

Verse 22

1. Now what if God: 1st class condition to indicate this was indeed God's plan for the human race.

2. Although willing: thelō - present active participle (concessive).

A. Indicates the desire of divine justice to vindicate divine righteousness as a demonstration to the fallen angels.

B. To demonstrate: endeiknumi - aorist middle infinitive.
a demonstration of divine righteousness to fallen angels.

C. His wrath: orgā + definite article = THE WRATH
This refers to divine justice expressed toward violation of light standards. ie, divine righteousness.
The violation is the sinfulness of man in TWO categories.

1. Inherent sin: the sin nature
2. Personal sin: acts of sin

D. God was willing and justified to simply remove the human race at any time after the fall of Adam.

E. And to make known: gnōridzō - aorist active infinitive
Still directed to the angelic creation.

F. His power: dunamis - omnipotence expressed through judgment to enforce his righteousness standards.

G. He would have been just in doing so. Indeed justice MUST be satisfied sometime.

H. But instead, His plan is to USE the human race through both cursing and blessing to demonstrate his integrity to the fallen angels.

1. use the human race in a fallen condition
2. Provide a savior.
3. Demonstrate to angels the value of light standards over the standards of darkness through the individual responses of each member of the human race.

I. So he endured: the justice of God was "held in check" through a "temporary" satisfaction. The promise of a savior as taught by the "covering" of sin via animal sacrifices.



3. Endured: phero - aorist active indicative, refers to the sovereignty of God working with his love and wisdom to carry out his perfect plan.

4. With much patience: makrothumia - long passion.
The "passion" (intense expression of soul) of God's wrath was delayed so the Messiah could come on the scene and provide a REAL payment for sin and accomplish a universal salvation provision.

5. The vessels of wrath: all members of the human race in TWO categories.

A. The unbeliever who fails to trust in the promise of a savior.

B. The believer who has trusted in the savior, but is still a vessel of wrath to be endured until the savior actually pays for their sins.

C. Prior to the savior's work, sin was covered over but was not paid for.

D. If God did not plan for a savior to come, then trust in the promise would be useless.

E. But as it is, the covering over of sins through the animal sacrifice system instituted by God, makes is possible for God's love to forestall justice until the cross.

F. Described also at Romans 3:25, "the passing over of sin, by the act of holding back."


6. Prepared for destruction: katartidzō - perfect passive participle

A. The word means prepared as in "equipped" for a particular task or goal.

B. It describes the "condition" of the human race based on their sinful condition.

C. For destruction: apoleia - This does not refer to annihilation as in cessation of existence, but rather the dis-continuance of "independent" existence and freedom that the human race presently enjoys. Ie, ultimate removal from the presence of God and placed in the lake of fire for eternity.


Verse 23 - God anticipates the fulfillment of His plan

1. And: so it is (implied)

2. In order to: hina + subjunctive - purpose clause

3. make known: gnōridzō - aorist active infinitive
The issue in the angelic conflict is to vindicate the character of God to the fallen angels through illustration - using the human race.

4. The wealth of His glory:

A. glory: doxa - divine essence with emphasis on Sovereignty, Righteousness, Justice, wisdom and love.

B. wealth: ploutos - communicates abundance and greatest value in contrast to the fallen angels who ascribe to God unfairness and imperfection.

5. Upon: epi - the church is the primary illustration.
Angels are the recipients of the lesson
The progress of revelation throughout the Old Testament era and the life and victories of believers during that time are simply preliminary demonstrations of what is finalized by the cross work of the Messiah and the spiritual way of life he provides for church age believers.


6. Vessels of mercy: believers in the church age as members of the body of Christ and recipients of a supernatural way of life.

A. Old Testament believers enter into this salvation provision because of Messiah's success and victory.

B. From the standpoint of the fallen angels, this salvation for mankind was conditional. That is, it depended on a future work of the savior, which from their perspective could be frustrated and prevented.

C. The salvation of the church is not conditional since it is based on the actual victory of the cross and the resurrection.

D. So it was not until Christ came, went to the cross and rose from the dead that their could be an actual payment for sin rather than just a covering.

E. And it is this victory that actually vindicates God's character to the angels - not the promise.

F. The cross victory does however, confirm and validate the salvation condition of all OT believers.


7. Which He prepared beforehand: proetoimadzō, aorist active indicative
The plan of God designed in eternity past.

8. For glory: Glory is the destiny.

A. The destiny was designed and established in eternal past and the policy for entrance into that destiny was designed in eternity past.

B. But the individual participation it that destiny was not designed but foreknown.

C. Those whom God foreknew that they would comply with the pre- designed policy (ie, trust in Christ) would be placed in that pre-designed destiny (glory).


Verse 24 - that body of "vessels unto mercy" includes both Jew and Gentiles who accepted the salvation provision by faith.

1. Even us: ie, the church as a universal body.

2. Whom he called: kaleō, aorist active indicative - refers to the salvation invitation from the standpoint of being heard and accepted by those in view.
ekklāsia (church) comes from this verb.

3. Not only out from Jews: the old priestly body/nation of Israel.

4. But also Gentiles: those outside the national priesthood.

5. And the result is the new spiritual priesthood made up of all who trust in Christ without racial, gender or social distinctions. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 2:11-22; 1 Peter 2:5, 9-10

6. And that new spiritual body (nation) is given a specific name according to Isaiah 65:15, "and My servants will be called by another name."
Mat. 16:18, "I will build My church." ekklāsia means CALLED OUT one or entity.

Verse 25 - The first point of documentation concerning the formation of a new priestly house to replace Israel.
Hosea 2:23, kingdom passage with application to the church.


Verse 26 - 2nd point of documentation: Hosea 1:10


Verses 27-28 - 3rd point of documentation: Isaiah 10:22-23
Israel's part in the new body.

1. The remnant refers to the few who trust in Christ at the first advent and escape the national judgment of 70 AD.

2. It also looks to the the tribulation and the remnant that will be delivered at the Day of the LORD.


Verse 29 - 4th point of documentation: Isaiah 1:9

1. Divine knowledge and sovereignty made allowance for the remnant and did not destroy the entire race in 70 AD.

2. This also has application to deliverance at the Day of the LORD

3. So the points of the illustration:

A. God would have been just in destroying man anytime he chose.

B. But in his compassion (love) and mercy (action) toward man, and in his wisdom in resolving the angelic conflict, he allowed mankind to survive and allowed individuals to accept his plan of salvation.

C. He did not make anyone believe, but provided the destiny (salvation) for man to accept or reject from his own volition.

D. In allowing history to continue until Christ's 1st advent, He provided salvation for Old Testament believers and salvation for NT believers based on individual faith in the gospel.

E. So there is no basis for the creature finding fault.

F. God has been perfectly fair. IN FACT, He has done the absolute most to allow man to escape the deserved destiny of divine judgment.


Verses 30-33-The basis for entrance into the destiny of life with God.

Verse 30

1. What shall we say then: what is the issue then based on the fact that God has provided a salvation destiny.

2. That Gentiles: refers to gentiles as a "whole" body in contrast to Israel and then specifically to individuals of this group who trust in Jesus as the Messiah.

3. Who did not pursue: General, over-all attitude of this group of people.

A. pursue: dioko, present active participle + neg.

B. righteousness: dikaiosunā, divine favor and acceptance as "represented" by the standards of the law.

C. That is, they were not part of the nation of Israel and did not seek relationship with God through that nation.

4. Attained righteousness: katalambano, aorist active indicative
Acquired acceptance and favor with God based on compatibility with His standard of righteousness.
But they did it without "doing" the works of the law.

5. Even the righteousness which is out from faith: ek pistis


Verse 31

1. But Israel: the nation as a whole and individuals within it.

2. Pursuing a law of righteousness: diōko - present active part.

A. a code of standards that "represent" divine righteousness.

B. But they distorted the true perspective of the law.

C. Although the law represented divine righteousness through moral, social and spiritual regulations, it was not the overt obedience of those regulations that made one acceptable to God.

D. It was first the attitude of faith in the character and plan of God which then fueled obedience to the law.

3. Did not arrive at that law: aorist active indicative of phthano + the negative.

A. The true goal of the law which is acceptance by God by following the principle of humility and faith was missed.

B. The true goal of the law is to reflect the relationship that the believer has with God on terms of faith.

C. They made the goal of the law the establishment of that relationship and that was never the divine intent for the law.

Verse 32

1. Why? - Because not out from faith: hoti ouk ek pistis

2. But: alla - hos ex ergon - out from works

3. They rejected the grace issue of humility that recognizes God's provision on terms of faith.

4. Instead they sought divine favor and salvation status by overt works regulated by the Mosaic law and the Rabinic distortions of that law. Romans 10:3

5. So all throughout their history, they were a nation of unbelief

6. And this was ultimately demonstrated in the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah.

A. they stumbled: proskopto - aorist active indicative.
They rejected the issue of grace. They stumbled because there were no works involved in the message of Jesus.

B. The stumbling stone: because he was not what their human viewpoint expected or wanted.


Verse 33 - Old Testament documentation from Isaiah 28:16 with 8:13-14
Refers to the Isaiah generation and the Messiah generation at His first advent.

And so it is established that some are rejected and some are accepted - but it is all based on the same policy.
Trust in God's provision without any reference to human viewpoint, logic, emotions, works or merit.

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