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Romans Chapter 9:1-13 

Memory verses for this week: James 1:25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 

Introduction:     Last week, in  the last half of chapter 8, we found that the Holy Spirit intercedes and helps us when we pray.  Also, we found that God works all things for good to us who are His children, and Paul elaborated in great detail at the end of the chapter how nothing can separate us from the love of God. 

I.                     Paul’s Concern for Israel 

Rom 9:1  I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Rom 9:2  That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

Rom 9:3  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 

Paul declares that he is telling the truth when he desires for all of Israel to be saved.  His conscience bears witness in the Holy Ghost that this is true.  Paul many times said that God was his witness that he told the truth.   It takes a man or woman being led by the Spirit of God to have this type of conviction, and it takes walking a circumspect life for those around you to believe you.  Paul had great convictions, and was known for his zeal for God. 

2 Cor 1:23  Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.


2 Cor 11:31  The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.


Phil 1:8  For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

Phil 1:9  And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

Phil 1:10  That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

In verse 2, Paul speaks of his continual sorrow in his heart for the nation of Israel.   He goes so far in verse 3 to say he wishes he could be accursed from Christ for his brethren.   There are various opinions as to what Paul meant by this statement.   

Rom 9:3  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 

Paul was a man who knew what it meant to be cut off from Christ.  It may have meant that Paul was willing to be cut off from Christ if this would bring the Jews to Christ and for them to be saved.  We have a record over in Exodus when Moses had a similar desire to see God forgive Israel. 

Exo 32:32  Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

Exo 32:33  And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.


The reality of God is that each man and woman will answer for themselves.  The one and only one that could sacrifice His life for others and be acceptable to God was Jesus Christ.  This was in the divine plan of salvation by in the council halls of eternity past when God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost made the way of salvation.   Paul could not give his life that others might be saved, and while all of us should live in such a way with such dedication, we answer for our decision about whether we believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.  I’ve heard many pastors say that if they could do it, they would be saved for everyone that was in attendance in the services, but we can not make that decision for the other person.   Paul’s overwhelming desire was for his kinsmen, the Jews, to be saved.  All of us have a special love for our own people and especially our own families.  Remember the story of the rich man and Lazarus.   In hell, the rich man looked up and saw Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom and cried out to Abraham that he might send someone to save his five brothers from the flames of torment. 

Luke 16:27  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:

Luke 16:28  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Luke 16:29  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

Luke 16:30  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

Luke 16:31  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.


II.                  The Privileges of Israel


Rom 9:4  Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Rom 9:5  Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.


Remember the question that Paul asked at the beginning of Chapter 3.  “What advantage then hath the Jew?”  The answer is in these 2 verses.  They had many privileges given to them because they were the chosen nation of God. 

They received the adoption… not all nations, just Israel.   They received honor and glory because they were God’s witnesses. 

Isa 43:10  Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 

What an honor to be the witnesses of God.   This was given to one nation and one nation only.   Today, in our time, the church is God’s witness in this lost and dying world.   Even Israel has lost this honor because they rejected the messiah that God sent.   Today,  we live in the time of the Gentiles.  But one day, and I don’t think it will be long, the nation of Israel will be reborn as in a day.   And the great nation of God will once again be known as the nation of God. 

God made special covenants with Israel, and those will always be honored.  When God makes a promise, he fulfills his end of every bargain.   The promise to Abraham extended on into the great nation of Israel and all nations of the earth were blessed.  This was through Abraham’s son of the flesh, Isaac, but more so in the greater Son, Jesus Christ, have all nations been blessed. 

God gave the law to this chosen nation.   The service of the tabernacle and the temple services were given to Israel as a nation.   And think of all the promises (some still to come) …. Many temporal blessings were given and some will be fulfilled in the near future in what is known as the kingdom age.  Christ will set up His Millennial kingdom, and we will be here on earth with Him. 

Special gifts of the fathers were given…. The Jews point back to many great fathers such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David.   Through these men came the genealogy of Jesus Christ.


III.                In Isaac Shall Thy Seed be Called 

Rom 9:6  Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Rom 9:7  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.


We can rest certain that the Word of God never has, and never will fail.  God is not like man, and can not lie.  Every promise He ever made has already, or one day will be fulfilled.   There are many failures recorded in the Bible, but not one of them was God’s failure.   Man is fleshly, and the flesh will fail us.  God is Spirit, and the Spirit is perfect and not subject to fail.  Not all the descendants of Abraham, according to the flesh, are God’s chosen people. 

John 8:37  I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

John 8:38  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

John 8:39  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

John 8:40  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

John 8:41  Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

John 8:42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

John 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

John 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 

Jesus spoke to this group of Jews that did not believe that He was the Son of God.   But Jesus did not pardon their ignorance, but pointed out that if they believed not in Him, then they were following after their father the devil.   We need to learn when to speak and when to keep silent as it teaches over in Ecclesiastes.  I heard David Jeremiah teaching on the meekness of Jesus this past week, and he pointed out that Jesus was a very strong man.   He said that the world is done a great disservice when preachers portray Jesus as a helpless and a person with no backbone.  Jesus was the ultimate man.   What he taught about meekness was very important.   When someone attacked him as a person, he turned the other cheek.  But when they attacked God or the Word of God, Jesus sprang into action with no fear and with clear teachings.  Several times in the word of God, it tells of Jesus becoming angry.  When they would not let the children come to him, it upset Christ.  And when they set up the tables to sell animals for sacrifice at the temple, not only was he angry, but he overthrew the tables and drove them out with.  Jesus was a strong man, and understood the true meaning of meekness.

John 2:14  And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

John 2:15  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;

John 2:16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.


Concerning who was God’s chosen people, we find that Ishmael and Esau were not counted as God’s chosen people, but they were the sons of Abraham. 

Gen 21:12  And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.


Rom 9:7  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Rom 9:8  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. 

Gentiles who have accepted Christ as their Savior are called children of Abraham, but they are not included in the promises mentioned her concerning the nation of Israel.


Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. 

IV.               Two Lines of Descendants 

Rom 9:8  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Rom 9:9  For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. 

J. Vernon McGee had this to say about verse 8.  “The Apostle Paul makes a  clear distinction between the elect and the non-elect in the nation Israel.    “The children of the flesh” are not the children of God. “  “The children of promise” are the ones counted for the seed.  In Acts 21:20, Luke tells us “And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law.”  There were in Israel thousands of Jews who turned to Christ after His death and resurrection.  They were the elect, and Paul always call them “Israel.”


There are two lines of children… the natural and the spiritual descendants.   Ishmael was born after the flesh and represent the children of the flesh. 

Gal 4:23  But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

Gal 4:24  Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

Gal 4:25  For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

Gal 4:26  But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Gal 4:27  For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

Gal 4:28  Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

Gal 4:29  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.


The natural line was figuratively represented in Genesis by the dust of the earth.  (Gen 13:16) 

Isaac represents the spiritual descendant.  He was born in a supernatural way, therefore those who are descended though the line of Isaac are children of the promise.  The spiritual seed are represented as the stars of heaven.


Gen 15:5  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.


V.                 The Elder (Esau) Shall Serve the Younger (Jacob) 

Rom 9:10  And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

Rom 9:11  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Rom 9:14  What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Rom 9:15  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.

Rom 9:17  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 

Over in Genesis chapter 25, we find that Esau and Jacob were born twin brothers.  Esau was born first.  God promised to Rebekah that the elder son would server the young son, before they were born. 

Gen 25:23  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Gen 25:24  And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.  

This promise was meant in a ‘national sense’ rather than a ‘personal sense’, since we know that Jacob never exercised power over Esau, nor was Esau subject to Jacob.   

Gen 33:8  And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.

Gen 33:9  And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.

Gen 33:10  And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.

Gen 33:11  Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.

Gen 33:12  And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.

Gen 33:13  And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. 

The elder serving the younger found its fulfillment in the descendants of  Jacob and Esau.  In later years, Esau’s descendants did serve those of Jacob’s.   Verse 13 mentions “As it is written.”  What did this refer to?   It was about God’s love for Jacob.   “Jacob have I love, but Esau have I hated.”  The Lord chose Jacob and his seed to be heirs of the promise while rejecting Esau and his seed.  One of the reasons God hated Esau was because he sold his birthright. 

Gen 25:32  And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

Gen 25:33  And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

Gen 25:34  Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright. 


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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