Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P38 (02-04-20)
We are now in the 9th chapter of Romans. Recall the reason Paul is addressing the Romans is for the sake of the gospel. He longs for his own people the Jews to be saved. He explains the gospel is for Jew and Gentile alike, and it has always been by faith from first to last. In Romans 9, you read about the heart of love Paul, a Jew himself, has for his own people. As we addressed in Romans 8, God wants us to be convinced of God’s amazing love for us.
Why is it that the religious, particularly the leadership, do not come to Christ. Here are the Jews today, with over 2000 years of history, of Moses, the covenants, the prophets, and yet are stubborn and obstinate, and fail to believe. It was not God’s word that failed. The fault is with the people.
Just as it was then, so too people today will say they have over 2000 years of church history. They will consider you proud for going against church history, as if truth has been handed down from Peter, whom they say is the first pope, in some oral tradition, in all kinds of practices that are supposed to impart grace to you. Grace is found in one person only, Jesus Christ. When your foundation is off Jesus Christ, then you have no solid foundation to stand on, and really have no foundation at all.
Your foundation is not found in denominations, whether Baptist, Presbyterian or Catholic. Your identity is what God calls you, you who are born again. That must come only by faith and faith alone in what Jesus accomplished for you through his death, burial and resurrection. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. That is the only identification God has given us, children of God.
Now, denominations may teach truth, but then they also may not. It seems new and wild ideas keep being spread, whether the tithe for today, the fad of the prayer of Jabez, speaking in tongues, spiritual formation, faith healers, second baptism and contemplative spirituality. The list is endless. The current trend of mysticism entering the church is most troubling to me.
Truth must come as people look into God’s word, relying on the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the meaning of God’s word. If you do not have Spirit of God in you, then you need to be born again. So many people, even among the believers, are tossed and turned by every wind of doctrine. Many others are so hard of heart that they just gather people around them to teach them whatever their itching ears want to hear. Are you a truth seeker? Would you hold so tightly to what a denomination has taught you when truth is told?
Would you be willing to look into the scriptures to see if what is said is so? If someone told you that tithing is not for today, and pointed you to Galatians, where it is written to the descendants of Jacob, not to you, would you believe what you heard? If someone told you that the Sabbath is resting from your works just as Christ did from his, would you understand what he is saying? Or would you remain so firmly in what you had been taught, that Sabbath, for example, is on a Saturday, and you had been told that if you do not worship on Saturday, you are sinning? Again, there is so much error out there. How would you know truth from error? Who do you rely on for truth? Do you rely on the Spirit, while looking into God’s word, in its context, to reveal truth to you?
As it was in Israel, there are those religious Jews who want to put you back under law again. They had this tradition of circumcision, and these Judaizers were infiltrating these places that Paul established for believers to hear truth. They were telling them that unless they are circumcised, they cannot be saved. That is not unlike today where you are told unless you partake of the sacraments, you cannot be saved. Unless you come back to the one “true” church, they say you cannot be saved. So, are you alert to hate fact that their are those who are infiltrating your church? Do you recognize them, and stand firm against false teaching, as Paul did in his day?
So then, does your heart break for your own people, whom you love, that you would rip your heart out, if they would come to faith in Christ. Jesus died to take your sins away. Again, salvation is not getting your sins forgiven. He did that in order for you to be free to come to Christ to receive His resurrected life. This new life, eternal life, is received by faith, wherever you are, sitting in your living room, hearing truth revealed to you by the Spirit of God through the word of God. I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.
Christ is not received by partaking of a Eucharist and you are not saved by circumcision or water baptism. It is not an unknown mystery, as in a mysterious presence of Christ in a piece of bread, that shows up in you every time you eat of it. No, the living God comes to live inside you, permanently, and will never leave you or forsake, and it does not depend on your ability to obey the law, and certainly not laws made up by men. As Paul said, where there is no law there is no transgression. You have been transferred out from the law of sin and death, and have been placed into the body of Christ the moment you believed the gospel the apostle Paul preached. The Holy Spirit has then been placed in you, sealed in you, the moment you believed the gospel.
The gospel is what the apostle Paul is proclaiming to both the Jews, his own people, and to the Gentiles. This gospel is received the same way, whatever your background may be, whether steeped in much teaching or no teaching at all. But the moment you hear the truth about Christ, do you believe the truth? The Gentiles in his day heard and believed, and his own people, for the most part, rejected the message of Christ. Why? They sought a righteousness of their own, by way of the law, by which no man will ever be justified. They also did not come into the light for fear their deeds will be exposed. What is the condition of your heart, today? The law reveals to you that you are a sinner, dead and in need of life. The only life available to you is the life in Christ Jesus, eternal life. If you have the Son of God, you have life. If you do not have the Son of God, you do not have life. This life is received by faith and faith alone in what Jesus accomplished for you. Salvation is being saved from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life in Christ Jesus.
Let us turn now to Romans 9. We will be bouncing around today, as I want us to have a very firm understanding of what is being taught here in the ninth chapter of the book of Romans. Before we do that, I want to go back to the first chapter. The reason for doing that is to establish, again, why this book was written. In the first chapter Paul says.
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and [permanently] set apart for the gospel of God – 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the plan of God, was for Him to come to this earth to be born out of the bloodline of David, the Jewish bloodline. The only true representative of God on the face of the earth at that time were the Jews. Now folks, we look today at Gentiles as us. But back in those days, you had the Jews, and in essence, you had the Arabs, just like you do today. Living in that part of the country, Arabs, and you have Jews.
As I said to you before, from God’s vantage point, there are only three kinds of people on this earth, the Jew, the Gentile, which would be the Arabs, in those days, and now to include the whole world, and the Ekklesia, the born again from among those other two. But I want us to think of the Arab world, just as you would see today, if you were to go to Israel and that part of the world. I am glad the world is focused on that part of the world. You can see more clearly the conflict between the Jew and the Arab. That is the world they knew back then. They did not have television and airplanes that flew all over the place. In the midst of that, the Arab world were the Jews and Israel. Let us keep that in mind.
So Paul was writing to the Gentile world, and writing to them. I will explain to you, from this book of Romans, that God came to save the Gentiles the same way He came to save the Jews. That was an unthinkable thought to the Jewish world. They were the one true representative to God on the face of the earth. We are a different breed of Gentiles. But back then the Gentle world were heathenistic, idol worshipers. When we go back to our roots, it was not very good. That was the contrast between the Jews, representing the nature of God on the face of this earth, and the Gentile world, who were total idol worshiping people. Who would have thought that these Gentiles, or these Arabs, who have no religion except heathenistic, would come to salvation the same way? The Jews, who have been promoting God, talking about God, carrying out all of His plans for us, are not able or willing to comprehend that. “They have been doing nothing and You are saying they are going to be saved identically the way we are?” The answer to that is “You got it. You are exactly right.”
Why is that? As you hear today, I am a good person? No, nobody is good except God. Do you not hear that all the time? “Basically, I am a good person. I take drugs and kill people, but basically I am a good person.” We hear that all the time. Jesus said that nobody is good except God. In essence, he was saying, “Do not call me good unless you call me God for only God is good.” That puts us where we belong and to recognize we are saved not because we are good. We are saved by the grace of God, by faith and faith alone. That is what this introduction is saying. He is talking about salvation to the Gentiles as well as the Jews by faith and faith alone.
So we start in chapter 9.
1 I speak the truth in Christ
Paul just finished in chapter 8 about how nothing can separate you from the love of God. Nothing can! Death can’t. When absent from the body, you are immediately present with the Lord. Life cannot separate you. Trials and tribulations cannot separate you. Present nor future, height, depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate you from the love of God. That is something we need to get a hold of, latch onto, hang onto. As Paul said, to be convinced of this truth. God wants us to be convinced that nothing can separate me from the love of God. If I die, I am absent from the body and present with the Lord. I cannot lose. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Nothing can separate me from the presence and love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus.
Now, he is going to say something about the Jews. Here the Gentile world began to accept the gospel. Paul, at one time, at the end of his ministry, in the last chapter in Acts, he said he was through talking to the Jews.
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[Isaiah 6:9,10]
28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”
29 After he said this, the Jews left, arguing vigorously among themselves.
The Jews were stubborn and indignant. He told them he is going to the Gentiles. And the Gentiles did listen. And the Arab world did listen. Most of the Arab world we are fighting with today were once Christian. They accepted. The Jews rejected. Here God came to the Jew. His Messiah came to the Jew.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
That is our identity, children of God. If you are in Christ, you are not a Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Methodist. Those are all man made stuff. You are a child of God. You will be one of those throughout eternity. Why do people not like that identity? It is like saying, “We are like Smuckers. With a name like Smuckers, got to be good. I am a Smucker Christian. It does not make any difference what is in the bible. It is what is on the label that counts.” So people get all puffed up because “I am a Baptist ” or “I am a Presbyterian ” or whatever. God did not save Baptists or Presbyterians or Methodists. He saved people. He came to save people. He did not call you Baptist or People to Peopler or anything else. He called you children of God.
The only people who are children of God are those who come to Him by faith in the Son of God, not through Allah, not through Mohammad, not though Buddha, not through the pope, not through me, but through Jesus. It is a practical issue. When you are dead, you need life. You tell me that Mohammad gave you life? He is dead. Did Buddha give you life? He is dead. Did the pope give you life? He looks like he is dead. They cannot give you life. There is only one person who can give life to the dead, and that is the resurrected Christ.
Why do we rebel against this? We need to come to our senses. You are dead if you do not have Jesus. That is not a religious issue. It is a very practical issue. Why would you want to remain dead? It is stupid, when God said, “I came to give you life.”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
1 John 5:12
12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus is saying, “I came to give you life.” There is no life apart from the resurrected Christ. He entered right into that Arab Jewish world, just like today, talking to people. He presented this gospel to the Jews. Folks, thousands of them received Him but the leadership didn’t. The leadership was anti-Christ just like today. So he went to the Arab world. He went to the Gentile world with the gospel They are accepting it. Paul was Jewish, and Paul’s heart was absolutely broken because of the rejection by his own people of this Messiah. His heart was broken. You will hear in these words the brokenness of his heart. The depth of his love for his people as he says these things.
I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit – 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
It never stops, that anguish in his heart. Talking about someone who loves his people. Listen to what he is saying here.
sup>3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,
Here is a man who knew that his entire eternal life was based on his relationship with Christ, and here he is saying he would literally give it up if my people would come to Jesus. Would you give up your relationship with Jesus for other people? Nope. You got any more questions for me?
4 the people of Israel.
Were there other people there besides the Jewish people? Yes, Arabs lived there just like today. Here is the reason.
Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory,
Remember as we have talked about what is predestination and what is foreknowledge and what is choosing in the scriptures. If you will go to the book of Ephesians, you will see a total explanation of that wonderful truth, that what predestination is, is that God predestined the Gentiles would come to Christ the same way the Jews would. That was in the introduction to Romans we just read. That predestination is not that “I choose you but I do not choose you” or “that I like you but I do not like you”. That is nonsensical doctrine that is promoted in many so-called intellectual circles today. You will see that among Reformed theology. It is nonsense that people would have a God who would say “I will choose you for salvation yet I do not like you and so I choose you for damnation”. That is an insult to God where we just read that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. When you are talking about predestination, election and choosing, you are talking about Jew and Gentile. Look at the book of Ephesians. He addresses that more fully there.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
In the book of Ephesians, you are going to see, back and forth, Jew and Gentile. Turn over to Ephesians chapter 2.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) – 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Where I read where we were predestined to be adopted as his sons, and when you listen to the teaching on that, I am pointing out that this is to the Jew. Adopted as his son is to the Jew. The reason for it is, just as we read over there, as we will now go back to Romans 9. Theirs is the adoption as sons. The Jews were the adoption as sons.
Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
6 It is not as though God’s word had failed.
You have people today saying that it is God’s will that everybody is saved, and so everybody is saved. Well, that is nonsensical teaching that all people are saved. Otherwise, why would Paul say he wished he would be cut off for the sake of his people Israel? I do not understand how person gets his mind so messed up to teach that, but they are doing it. It shows us how easily we can be deceived. Folks, this is the reason that for the years that we have been in this ministry, over 25 years, that I have never varied from the foundation of Christ Jesus. I have taught you foundational truths for all of these years without wavering because if your foundation is off, your house is going to fall down.
If your foundation gets off just a little bit, you will fall for every hair-brained idea that comes out. People are not convinced of the foundations and, therefore, off they go. If people are going off in every direction, People who say they understand grace, go off in all directions. You will not believe the things people come up with that we have trained. Now hopefully, the word of God has not failed? It is not the word of God. It is us. That is what he is saying here.
Do not blame the word of God. Do not blame God on this. He knows what He is talking about. But you do not know what He is talking about. The reasons people do not understand what God is talking about is because they do not depend on the Holy Spirit of God to reveal it to them. Unless God reveals the meaning of the word of God, we will not know the meaning of the word of God. That is why people get off in Yazoo land. Every year people come up with a new hobby horse. I thought we were off a hobby horse until you hear the prayer of Jabez. What in the world is the prayer of Jabez? Yet you got people broadened by horizons. Big deal. Was that to you? That was not to you. That is what goes on with people. We go off in all kinds of hair-brained ideas. Our foundation is not solid. We must have and remain on a solid foundation and there is no foundation except who? Christ. I hope as long as I have breathe to teach, I will never get off this foundation. It is not the word of God that has failed. It is us.
For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.
Not all people who are from Israel are Israel.
7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children.
Even though he was the father of both the Jew and who else? The Gentile. Through Ishmael? Through Isaac or Jacob?
On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”
Your offspring will not be reckoned through Ishmael but only through the child of promise. Who is the child of promise? Isaac, not Ishmael. They took matters in their own hands. I am sure that did not bother Abraham too much. But Sarah suggested it. Hagar probably looked pretty good. So they went on their own, in the energy of their flesh, and had Ishmael, did they not? Not a child of promise. Isaac was a child of promise. So the world will be reckoned through Isaac.
8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.
In other words, you are not saved because you are a Jew. You are not saved because you are a Gentile. You are saved because you became a child of the living God. That is your identity. That is who you are, a child of the living God.
9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
I want us to go back to chapter 4. The reason I am doing this is as a reminder. This is merely a reminder. After you go from chapters 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 you get off what this is all about. You see, chapter 9 is to state to the Jew and the Gentile that salvation is going to come through faith and faith alone. It is not going to come because Abraham is your father, that because he is the father of the Jew, whose leadership at least worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Arab world, who ultimately went into the Mohammad religion. Now, he explains this in chapter 4.
1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.
When you work you do not say, “Here, I will give you your paycheck as a gift”. You earned it, haven’t you? There is an obligation of an employer that you make a deal with the employee to work, and he works, and you made a deal to pay him for the work, so that is an obligation that you pay him.
5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
The only way you will be declared righteous in the sight of God is by faith in Christ Jesus.
6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
I would say that man is blessed.
9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised [Jews], or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before?
So you get into this works deal. Wait a minute. Let me ask you a question. Was it after he was circumcised, or before?
It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all [Jew and Gentile] who believe but have not been circumcised,
Once again, what took place in the early days, Gentile Christians got saved. The Jews thought they had all the information, and immediately the Judaizers would go into those cities where Paul went to proclaim the good news of the gospel, and tried to put them back under Jewish law. They were told that unless you Gentiles are circumcised, you cannot be saved. Paul is addressing this issue.
in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
So you are talking about salvation, through Abraham, that was by faith and faith alone.
13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.
Salvation was not through the law. Moses was not here yet. The law had not even been given yet.
14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless,
If you are living under the law, Paul says you are under a curse. How many religions keep you under a law to the point that if you ever walked away from it, you would be fearful of losing your life. That is bondage, folks.
15 because the law brings wrath.
If you want to be under law, then if you do, then you will be under a curse. Can you separate law from the punishment of the law, folks? If you had a traffic sign to drive 35 miles per hour, and you were driving 65 miles per hour, and a policeman pulled you over, and said “Hey, you drove 65 but there is no ticket for it”. You would say, “Thank you, officer. Now, get out of the way so I can get home faster than normal”. But if there is a ticket, and there is punishment, then law has a meaning. If there is no punishment, then the law has no meaning. Are we right or wrong?
And where there is no law there is no transgression.