10/16/11 Romans 9:6b-16
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
YOU COULD BE A WINNER!
Paul moved from the joy of Romans 8 into the sadness and heartache of Romans 9. Paul was proud of his Hebrew heritage. It pained him that some of his race had rejected Jesus, their Messiah. Paul went back into sacred history and showed that, first of all, the promises never included all physical descendants of Abraham. Ishmael was Abraham’s oldest child (plus six sons from Keturah – Gen. 25:1-4). He was born the normal way. God didn’t pick him to be one of Jesus’ ancestors. He picked only Isaac (Gen. 21:12). Isaac was the miracle baby. God didn’t save people based on race or any other random success.
How can some people of Israel not be people God has chosen (9:6)?
Paul gets back to his subject in 2:28-29. Don’t Jews have special advantages, though? Why then did so many of them reject Jesus? Was it God’s fault? Hadn’t He worked hard enough on them? Paul ended chapter 8 saying that God preselected some people to His family of believers, and it will all work out as God planned. Since Jews are God’s chosen people, why don’t they all make the group? Had God written them all off? Paul uses the next three chapters to answer this.
How does the Bible account for the fact that God takes credit for some people depending on His Savior guarantee and other people don’t (9:7-9)?
Jacob and Esau were twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. God’s plan included the younger, and excluded the older (Genesis 25:23). Before the boys were even born, before a record of their behavior, God announced He’d picked one to be Jesus’ ancestor. “Hated” (9:13) is ancient inheritance language rather than words of emotional worth. You could never say after all the blessings God gave Esau and his descendants that God hated them. Neither twin’s behavior was the basis for God’s choice. Esau and Jacob had the same father and mother, unlike Ishmael and Isaac who had the same father but different mothers.
Why are Abraham’s twin grandsons a good case study on this subject (9:10-11))?
The Bible principle that every person is dead set against God and has no inclination to reach out to Him plays heavily into verses 10-14. Since every human is this way, everyone deserves zero divine kindness. That God reaches out to any one of us means He is unbelievably charitable. God didn’t deprive Esau of opportunities to hear of and depend on Him. Esau rejected God’s invitations and sold out. This is normal for us. It alone would merit eternal payback. Jacob was the twin on God’s “to do” list before time. God successfully reached him. Esau got what he deserved. Jacob got what he didn’t deserve.
4. Why does it appear God plays favorites when He favors some people with faith, but not others (9:10-13)?
People want to accuse God of not giving equal opportunity to most people. It would be unfair if He disregarded good attributes about Esau. But there were none for Him to overlook.
5. In light of 9:11-13, how can we say God isn’t showing bias or prejudice with His select group?
Paul goes further into the history of Israel, focusing on the golden calf incident at Sinai. There the people sinned seriously. If God had been fair, he could have obliterated His people. Instead, he sent Moses back up the mountain and for a second time gave him the tables of commandments.
6. What is fair for God to award each person (3:9-20)?
Paul quoted Exodus 33:19 to show that God’s mercy ought to be the surprise, not His justice. Exodus 33 deals with Israel’s idolatry while Moses was on Mount Sinai getting the Law. The whole nation deserved destruction, yet God killed only 3,000 people—not because they were more wicked or less godly, but purely because of His grace and mercy.
What criterion did God use in His selection process (9:14-16)?
Why be grateful for God rescuing us when we didn’t contribute a thing (9:16)?
Never in history has “Israel” included all the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Was it fair for God to choose some people, even though everyone deserves the opposite? Because He is God, and has that right, any selection is a mind-boggling gift. Outsiders count on that today.
1. What does it matter for everyday life what standards God used to select us?
2. Why be indiscriminate in reaching out with the gospel if God’s already settled on a preselected group?
How does this section connect to Matthew 20:1-16? What’s the connection to Jonah 4:5-11?