Jews Vs Gentiles – Romans 9
Romans 9 – 11 cover the tragic unbelief of Israel and how God has chosen Israel as His people then and forever.
This section has a lot of practical doctrine in it… predestination – justice and mercy –
This was designed to contradict some prevailing falsehoods that many Christians and especially the Jews were stumbling over.
1 – If the gospel of Jesus Christ offered salvation to all Gentiles, then God must have forsaken His ancient people Israel. The traditions and the works righteousness of Judaism had no merit before God.
The gospel does discount Jewish ritual and works righteousness as a means of salvation. The keeping the laws, ritualism and legalism system was never a means of salvation. Those actions were only an expression or their symbolizing obedience to God. The requirement then and still is that a person have a proper faith in God and His justice. His grace made effective by personal faith.
Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that ‘salvation is from the Jews’. He states to her that He was the promised Jewish Messiah and He offered salvation not only to Jews but to all mankind.
22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”
26Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
A Question: If it was first to the Jews then why did they reject Jesus as their Messiah? God grants salvation to all, but to the Jew first. Why would the people that knew the law and the prophets so well reject the gospel of Jesus Christ and zealously persecute any fellow Jews that believed in the gospel? The problem was that Israel was in pursuit of the law of righteousness, but they did not pursue it by faith but as though it were by works.
There is a difference between what is an acceptable position with God. That is that the true Jew is a spiritual Jew, a Jew whose heart and mind have been cleansed and purified (circumcised) by the Spirit and belongs to God by faith.
28For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
29But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
The real issue is that the Jews must turn from their trust in their own religious achievement and humbly themselves to reject the intimidating pressure of the traditions they lived by. Today religious organizations have flocks of people locked in on see their ‘church’ as the means for salvation, instead of it is Christ alone.
Another Question would be: “Has God discarded His ancient chosen nation?” Paul states in verses 4-5:
4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
It has always been a unique blessing and privilege to be a Jew. The nation of Israel has held a ‘favored status’ Jacob before God among the nations of the world. However, that position has not prevented God from disciplining them or temporarily putting it aside “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25 (NASB95)
25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
Paul shows in Romans 9 that the Nation of Israel was temporarily set aside by God because of her continued their stubborn, unrepentant heart. Then mostly because of their rejecting the Messiah, God’s Son.
Paul reminds them that they would become numerous and a remnant will be saved.
27And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: £“Though the number of the sons of Israel£ be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,
Quoted: Isaiah 10:22(ESV)
22For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness.
Promise in Jeremiah 23:3(ESV)
3Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.
Also in Micah 2:12(ESV)
12 I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men.
Israel has the divine guarantee that a remnant, representing the nation, will be saved. God’s plan was to have a nation of His people on earth. This promise was given to the nation of Israel and still to the Jews then and now that He has not failed in keeping His promises. He will be faithful to any believing Jews that are spiritual, not simply physical descendent of Abraham.
Romans 9:1–3 (NASB95)
1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,
9 privileges that belong to Israel that were given to them by God:
1. The heritage of being an Israelite or descendant of Abraham through Jacob and Isaac.
2. As an Israelite they were adopted as sons of God.
3. God revealed to Israel His own presence in the Shekinah glory. This was the light between the cherubim on the “ark of the covenant”.
4. That they were given the covenants of God. No other nation was so blessed in human history.
5. A privilege to be given the Mosaic Law.
6. The Israelites were entrusted with temple services – where the sacrifices, offerings, cleansings, and other means of worship – along with the priests and Levites.
7. Israel was given the promises of God in a distinct and unique way. Many of these promises were about the coming Messiah and their deliverance from oppression to eternal life.
8. It was within Israel that God raised up the great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel.
9. Israel was privileged to provide the lineage of Christ according to the flesh. The lineage through King David and thus Christ would be the permanent King.
A major question for the Jewish nation is “How could these ancient chosen people possibly have not recognized and accepted Jesus as their Messiah? He was the promised and long awaited hope they looked forward too. It is also a problem for the Jews to accept that Gentiles are welcomed with equal status in the plan of salvation. To accept that it would mean they need to recognize that the New Covenant replaces the Old covenant. That this nullified the ceremonies and all the manmade rabbinical traditions and set aside Israel as God’s uniquely chosen nation. The new covenant now calls out a new people from the Gentiles and these are offered equal access to God’ grace and favor. The Jews are welcome to leave their works religion and trust God in Faith.
Romans 9 ends with:
30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”