As we have discussed earlier, there are many who do not care for the content of these passages and therefore stamp “Israel Only” across its pages and skip ahead to the more palatable Romans 12, excepting some verses that they enjoy in Romans 10. We have already seen the folly of this in our study on God’s dealings with the Pharaoh, a Gentile, and have concluded that, despite the ridiculous objections of some, this passage is a declaration of God’s dealings with men universally (cf. Rom. 9:16).
But if Paul’s illustration utilizing the Pharaoh was not enough to convince us of the universality of this text, the apostle makes this point crystal clear at the end of his most difficult passage concerning the sovereignty of God, viz. vv. 9:19-23, writing, “What if God [did these things] … to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” (vv. 9:22-24). Paul demonstrates in these verses that not only are the Gentiles included in his election, but that God had deemed it that some Gentiles, just like some Jews, would be vessels of mercy and some would be vessels of wrath beforehand, i.e. before the foundation of the world (cf. Eph. 1:4).
Then there are others who object, “This is hypothetical; the apostle makes this so by using ‘what if’ at the beginning of his declaration.” This objection is ridiculous as well, for it is obvious that, one, the form of the question is a rhetorical response to the haughty who think themselves wise enough to question God in v. 9:19, two, the previous context of vv. 9:6-18 drives us to the apostle’s present conclusion, and three, the apostle’s quotation from Hosea serves to demonstrate the point that he had just made in vv. 9:19-24. He writes:
As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God’” (vv. 9:25, 26; cf. Hos. 2:23).
In this, Paul demonstrates, not only that God calls Gentiles to be his children, but that it has always been the intention of his Promise to call out a people that consisted of both Jews and Gentiles to himself.
This calling of both the Jew and Gentile to sonship has nothing to do with the disobedience of Israel or with the worthiness of the Gentiles, but it has everything to do with the good and sovereign pleasure of God. Before we as Gentiles boast over Israel and before we ridicule them for their Old Testament follies and their murder of the Messiah, we must behold and accept the silencing doctrine of God’s election. Were is not for God’s grace and his sustaining power, we who are the called would certainly become like Sodom and Gomorrah (cf. 9:29). Praise him!
Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study