Romans 9 is one of those amazing passages that begs for deeper study. The book of Romans is Paul’s gospel message–his unveiling of the great mystery entrusted to him by God: justification by faith and salvation through Jesus Christ for the Gentiles! And where exactly does this leave the Jews, and their status as God’s “chosen people”? He answers that question too.
This is a difficult passage taken by itself. Many people have been led down the road of Calvinism by majoring on certain of its verses. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of studying the whole book of Romans in order to truly grasp the truth of Romans 9. At the very least…read chapters 9-11. Also important is the greater context of the passages referred to in the Old Testament. Paul makes this easy for us, by embellishing Romans 9-11 with many quotes from the Old Testament, that when read in their context, shed a great deal of light on chapter nine’s meaning.
J. Vernon McGee’s Thru The Bible series says this about the theme of Romans chapter 9:
“Israel defined; Israel identified; the choice of Israel in the sovereign purpose of God; the choice of Gentiles in the scriptural prophecies.”
Further, McGee writes of Romans 9-11:
“it deals with the eschatological, that is, the prophetic, section of the Bible that reveals God is not through with Israel. Now as we begin chapter 9, notice that this has to do with God’s past dealings with Israel. In chapter 10 we will see God’s present dealings with Israel and, in chapter 11, God’s future dealings with Israel as a nation…”
This post is intended as a very brief intro to this study…maybe there are others who read here who have often been puzzled at certain verses in this passage, verses that seem to lend credibility to the Calvinist’s claim that God created certain souls for hell and certain souls for heaven. After all, Romans 9:21 sure seems to indicate as much:
“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
But let me assure you, that the answers to these riddles are all to be found in God’s word, with just a little cross referencing. I hope you’ll be as blessed by this study as I have been.
Disclaimer: I am a woman, with no theology degree, with only a deep love for God’s word and a sincere desire to understand it. Differing stances on Romans 9, as we get into the series, will be welcome when accompanied by scripture references. Thank you!