"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Study in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans – “On the Road of Righteousness” Chapter Nine – The Future Hope of Israel

~~ By James Fire

ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING –

A very dangerous attitude to hold is esteeming our own seemingly immediate and urgent priorities to usurp those priorities esteemed by God.
During the days of Jesus, Israel wanted their Messiah to come as the Lion of Judah and deliver them from the oppressive enslavement to Rome.

Yet God’s priority was far more important – to deliver them from the oppressive enslavement to sin and death and their inevitable consequence: eternal damnation.

And so the Messiah came not as the Lion of Judah but as the Lamb of God to die for the sin of the world (John 1:29); He did not arrive as the Avenger of Blood, the kinsman Goel and the warrior Messiah as was prophesied and desired by the Jews, but as a lowly carpenter rabbi who spoke of love, even loving one’s enemies, and admonishing his followers to turn the other cheek, bless them that curse them and to pick up their crosses (instruments of capital punishment in those days, right?) and follow Him.

Scripture prophesies both aspects of the Messiah – He is both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God, but are only revealed in accord to God’s priorities, not man’s. The LORD Jesus was all about the kingdom of God, not subjecting earthly kingdoms to His rule – not yet (Dan. 2: 34-35, 44-45)! Likewise we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33) and conduct ourselves properly as its citizens.
~*Yet because Jesus did not meet the expectations of Israel’s rulers and leadership (who were intent upon their own religious kingdom (Matt. 21:36-38) and not that which is ruled by God), and because He rebuked them for their religious hypocrisy and corruption, they killed Him; and yet the LORD Himself plainly declared:

John 10: 11, 15-18
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father
.


ISRAEL – ONE of GOD’s INSTRUMENTS in REVEALING HIS GLORY

The LORD will fulfill His Word to Israel and all the accompanying covenants and promises He made with them. He will one Day meet them as their Deliverer and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah – and at such time, He will be received as their MESSIAH: LORD, SAVIOR and KING!

In this next section of the book of Romans, the apostle Paul covers this subject of Israel in these three consecutive chapters (9 – 11) and there is much to learn here about the nature of God, His integrity to His Word, His mercies, His sovereignty and the overall plan of the ages that He will complete in its entirety before His saints moves out of the realm of time/space and into eternal kingdom of God.

Any diligent student of the Word will understand that there are two primary subjects that are discussed throughout the pages of Scripture: ISRAEL and the MESSIAH. These two subjects are intertwined, irrevocably ‘tangled’ together with no undoing possible. You can’t have a King of Israel without an Israel, and Israel cannot prosper (much less survive her enemies and be rightly ruled) in God’s plan without her King!

There are those who say that Israel is no longer a viable entity today, that her role which God had for her has been taken away because they rejected their Messiah and all the promises and blessings she once enjoyed have been transferred to the church. This is known as Replacement Theology and is in my view entirely unbiblical with ample scriptural support to negate this (and all) aberration(s) of false doctrine.

Much of what’s discussed in these three chapters should be sufficient in itself to dispel any belief in Replacement Theology, as we shall soon see.

What’s interesting is that some are denying that Jesus was the Messiah or that He never claimed to be the Messiah, and thus Israel couldn’t have rejected Him as their Messiah. This is in all actuality an attack on Israel, but indirectly – because if one disclaims Jesus as the Messiah, then one is directing Israel (His people!) away from their only hope of salvation and the fulfillment of all that which the LORD Jesus Christ (Y’shua ha Meschiach) has promised and provided – in much the same way an atheist persuades a seeker that there is no God, and thus deprives them of any hope of seeking, finding and receiving God and His salvation.

Here is John Haggee making such a statement in an advertisement for his book, In Defense of Israel.

The HEAVY HEARTED APOSTLE –

Let us begin then in Romans chapter Nine:

Romans 9: 1-3
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:



One gets the distinct impression that Paul is totally serious here! Before Christ and the Holy Spirit he declares the heaviness of his heart and before these Witnesses, how that he would willingly give up his own salvation if it meant the salvation of his brethren, his “kinsmen according to the flesh”. This is no empty pronouncement, but it most certainly is a profound one. Would we be willing to make such a sacrifice for others?

I don’t know of many – if any at all – that would make such a statement. While Paul was called to be a witness for Christ and to bear His Name to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16), his heart was always towards his fellow Israelites, the Jewish people.

Those that ascribe to ‘the Happy Gospel’ would shame Paul for being so heavy and sorrowful, but our LORD Himself was called “a man of sorrows… acquainted with grief. There is of course much sadness and tragedy in this fallen world, caused by the destructive power of sin which, when introduced, shattered the order that God created, much like the proverbial monkey wrench tossed into the machine works! This has caused the misery, suffering, diseases and disasters throughout all history, including death (Rom. 6:23a).
Our LORD, this Man of sorrows wept over the death of Lazarus and over Jerusalem for these very reasons as I’ve discussed recently on FROM the MIND of FIRE:

Lament Over Lazarus?

The GRACE IN GOD’s BLESSINGS; HIS PLAN for ISRAEL –

Romans 9:4-5
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; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen
.


God had blessed and enriched the nation of Israel, pouring out His love and devotion upon these people as His very own. One might suppose that it was unfair to favor one particular ethnic group over all the others in the world, but I don’t believe God was favoring Israel at all because of any merits of their own, nor rejected other nations because of their demerits.
He chose Israel purely by His sovereign grace and mercy. He, I believe would have welcomed any nation into a relationship with Himself, but they would not have anything to do with God; in fact they openly defied Him at the Tower of Babel!

God gave instruction to go forth throughout all the world and “replenish the earth” (Gen. 9:1) but instead, the people corralled together and said:

Genesis 11:4
. . . Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth
.

The LORD demonstrated His grace and generosity by adopting Israel, and revealing His glory to them, and made many covenants with them (beginning with the Abrahamic Covenant; also including the Mosiac, the Land Covenant, and the Davidic, and finally the New Covenant), and entrusted them with the Law of God as well as the Holy Scriptures. His plans for Israel were (and ARE) immense and stupendous!

Dr. Scofield explains Israel’s purpose and privilege in the plan of God:

“Summary: Israel, so named from the grandson of Abraham, was chosen for a fourfold mission:

(1) To witness to the unity of God in the midst of universal idolatry: Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-12
(2) To illustrate to the nations the blessedness of serving the true God: Deuteronomy 33:26-29; 1 Chronicles 17:20-21; Psalms 144:15.
(3) To receive, preserve, and transmit the Scripture: Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Romans 3:1 Romans 3:2.
(4) To produce, as to His humanity, the Messiah: Genesis 3:15; 12:3; 22:18; 28:10-14; 49:10; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Matthew 1:1; Romans 1:3. According to the prophets, Israel, regathered from all nations, restored to her own land and converted, is yet to have her greatest earthly exaltation and glory. See "Kingdom (O.T.)"; Genesis 1:26; Zechariah 12:8.”

ISRAEL BESIDE HERSELF –

Romans 9: 6-7
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called
.


Remember when John the Baptist was in the Jordan river baptizing repentant people of Israel and the Pharisees and Sadducees showed up and what the Baptist said to them?

Matthew 3:7-9
. . . O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham
.


What Paul and John the Baptist were both saying is that family lineage and genealogical heritage does not qualify a person as someone necessarily belonging to the LORD God. Likewise today, a person is not a Christian nor in right standing with God if only their parents are Christian or even Christian missionaries; or their father is the pastor of the church, or any such indirect relationship. Think about this: God has no grandchildren!

Abraham had seed in a few women who brought offspring to the Hebrew Patriarch. There was of course his wife Sarah, who bore him Isaac; but there was also the house servant, Hagar who gave birth to Abraham’s first (and rather illegitimate in a sense) son, Ishmael (whose offspring have been a continual thorn in Israel’s side for thousands of years!). Then there was Keturah, Abraham’s wife after the death of Sarah who bore him many sons (Gen. 25:1-2).

Yet God, in regards to His relationship to Abraham according to faith, recognized only Isaac and no others (Gen. 22:2) as the son of promise and from whom would come the nation of Israel. Yet not even all the seed of Israel can be considered “of Israel” according to Paul, but only those who are “the children of promise”, that is, those who hold and express a genuine faith in God just as Abraham had, and Isaac afterwards:

Romans 9: 8-10
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.
For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;



The Bible speaks of the spiritual man (here spoken of as “the children of promise”; also the “new man” in the New Testament) and those who have relationship with the LORD via faith in Him and who have an implicit trust in His Word and the promises contained therein (such as Abraham known also as “the friend of God”); and there is also the natural man or the “old man” in the New Testament – (here addressed as “the children of the flesh”) unspiritual, unbelieving, unaware of God and those who have no relationship with the LORD.

Paul elsewhere states:

1 Corinthians 2: 12-16
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ
.


It’s always vital to consider ourselves and examine whether or not we are actually “in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5) that is, that our relationship with the LORD is a genuine and spiritual relationship that is bearing good fruit for the glory of God and not a religious practice and duty such as what the Pharisees and Sadducees had, which is why they were lambasted by John the Baptist as “vipers” and “serpents”. And we also know what Jesus Christ thinks about vain religious hypocrisy, don’t we? Jesus rebukes the religous

GOD’s SOVEREIGNTY is NOT ARBITRARY –

Romans 9: 11-14
(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;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid
.


Again, those who enter into the kingdom of God, who are saved by faith in the LORD and His Word, are not recognized by God as such because of their merit (“not of works”), but because of God’s election and call. Those that respond to that call, as did Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who express faith in God and “believe God” are those who are “of Israel” and of course Gentiles and Jews post-resurrection of Jesus Christ are likewise saved as they respond to the call of God and find that they too are the “elect”. Why would God pre-determine who He would love and who He would hate (…God hates?)?

Remember that God has foreknowledge – He knows a head of time every person who will ever live and every choice and decision that each individual will ever make. God has regard for the lowly and delivers to them His grace but He resists the proud (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). Thus what looks arbitrary to us is actually according to God’s foreknowledge and foreordination (and election).


Romans 9: 15 – 18
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.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.


God will be indebted to no man, nor obligated to ‘pay’ those who’ve earned their salvation quite simply because no one can possibly earn eternal life; we are spiritually speaking, a poverty stricken race with not these two coins (righteousness and holiness) to rub together. The mercies and graces of God are administered to the lost souls of this rebel planet through His Son, the LORD Jesus Christ (2 John 1:3) and to all who place faith in Jesus Christ, these mercies and compassion are amply provided.

The LORD is magnified in His sovereignty by revealing that it was He that raised up Pharaoh to his position of temporal power and with perfect foreknowledge God knew every time this king of Egypt would harden his heart against Him, and yes – God also hardened his heart once Pharaoh was determined to go against YHWH so that this king would not fluctuate between denying God’s people their exodus and relenting by letting them go.

God ‘firmed up’ Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness so that those last few plagues would continue unabated in demonstrating God’s sovereignty and power over all creation - and even over the supposed ‘gods’ of Egypt (whose rulership involved the very things that God pronounced judgment on). For more on this see this brief article by Got Questions:

Why Did God Harden Pharoah's Heart?

Hyper-Calvinists will often use Pharaoh as an argument for God’s absolute sovereignty – to the exclusion of man’s free will, and thereby prove the doctrine of salvation via election. However, in the case of Pharaoh, this was not a matter of his eternal salvation nor even his eternal damnation, but one of God’s glory and demonstration of power, as well as His unmerited favor of Israel in coming to their defense and liberation from Egypt.

As mentioned previously in this study, the salvation of souls that are baptized into the body of Christ (being born again of God’s Spirit) is according to God’s election (from His eternal perspective) but also according to the “whosoever will” come to Jesus Christ at the moment of repentance and believing faith (in our temporal reality).

Romans 9: 19 – 23
Thou wilt say then unto me, ‘Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?’ Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,



In examining these verses I have struggled to understand the balance between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man, just as I’m sure many of you likewise struggle or have struggled (others subscribe to extreme forms of Calvinism or Armenianism and each school denies that which the other affirms) . How do these two truths meet together and flow congruously with harmony and not tension and conflict?

God is free to do as He wills, because of the fact that He is God! He created the stars and planets and everything contained in the physical universe as well as the spiritual domain (“things visible and invisible” as in Col. 1:16) in accord with His will. Should He decide to make various vessels – some to honor and others to dishonor that is certainly His prerogative. And yet what we find in Scripture reveals that whoever comes to Jesus, He will in no way cast out (John 6:36-38). The Father gives to Jesus those who He has foreknown and predestinated (Romans 8: 29).

Something that we must understand immediately is that we are all born sinners; we have the sin nature as a result of our Initial parent (Adam) so that we are all predisposed to rebel against God (born rebels. . . sounds like a biker gang) and thus most certainly can be considered in the holy eyes of God as “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”.

Here is some light on this often perplexing subject – the word for “fitted” in this passage is katartizo in the Greek and it means: “to render fit, complete, restore; it can mean framed as in Heb. 11:3. It points out the path of progress as in Matt. 21:16 and Luke 6:40. It indicates the close relationship between character and destiny as in this passage. The middle voice as used in katartizo in this verse signifies that those referred to ‘fitted’ themselves for destruction, just as with Pharaoh who self-hardened own his heart (Exodus 3:15, 32; 9:34) [and whose heart was then reaffirmed by God, who made such hardness resolute for His own purposes (Exodus 7:13; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27)].” From Strong’s Concordance; scripture ref. on Exodus gleaned from Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Romans.

Katartizo, being in the middle voice is a more passive expression in relationship between God and these ‘vessels of wrath’ which means that God is not directly involved with the hardening but simply allows such to transpire until such a time that He hardens them for their obstinate and willful rebellion and who refuse to repent (Scripture refers to this condition as being “reprobate”; see Romans 1:28; 2 Tim. 3:8).

Those of the church, the saints of God, those blood bought by the LORD Jesus Christ will never know the wrath of God as will these vessels spoken of here, but will obtain salvation and mercy as “vessels of [His] mercy” (1 Thess. 5:9; Romans 5:9; 1 Peter 2:10).

A phrase that bears examination is “prepared unto glory” – the word in the Greek for ‘prepared’ is: proetoimazo and it means “to fit up in advance; ordain before, prepare before.” In regards to predestination, this seems always to specifically be in reference with those redeemed by Jesus Christ and reconciled to the Father (Eph. 1: 4-6, 10-12). The LORD knows those that are His sheep and they hear His voice (John 10: 16, 27); the same for God’s foreknowledge regarding “the elect” (1 Peter 1:2).

I realize that this doesn’t clarify the issue a lot, but then when one considers the eternal nature of God, and how He interacts with us in our universal capsule of time and space, there will always be questions regarding ‘how’ and ‘why’ things are the way they are. One thing I do understand is that the Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all and that He has presented us with a choice – either to obey the Gospel or not. Those that obey will receive eternal life; those who disobey will remain under condemnation. It’s really just that simple (1 Peter 4:17; 1 Cor. 15:1; John 3:18).

Romans 9: 24-26
Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.



These vessels of mercy, both of the Jews and the Gentiles as well find themselves in Christ Jesus as “the children of the living God” Osee here is actually Hosea; Paul quotes from the second chapter of that book:

Hosea 2: 23
And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were
not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.


In this 2nd chapter of Hosea, the prophet has an unfaithful and adulterous wife, and the LORD uses her as a type of Israel, explaining to the prophet all that which He intends to do with Israel in chastening her for her whoredoms, and yet even though God seems to state He has had it with Israel and abandons her (vs. 1 – 13), He turns yet again in mercy and receives Israel, blesses and betroths her (vs. 14 – 23, note esp. vs. 20).

In vs. 23 as seen above, there is an allusion (which could possibly be a double reference to both Jew and Gentile) regarding “them which were not my people” as Gentiles who come to faith in the LORD as opposed to the earlier part of the verse which points to “her” which God “will sow unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her. . .” which speaks of Israel in the land.

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary we have the following:
“I. By the prophet Hosea, who speaks of the taking in of a great many of the Gentiles, Hos. 2:23 and Hos. 1:10: The Gentiles had not been the people of God, not owning him, nor being owned by him in that relation: "But," says he, "I will call them my people, make them such and own them as such, notwithstanding all their unworthiness." A blessed change! Former badness is no bar to God's present grace and mercy. And her beloved which was not beloved. Those whom God calls his people he calls beloved: he loves those that are his own. And lest it might be supposed that they should become God's people only by being proselyted to the Jewish religion, and made members of that nation, he adds, from Hos. 1:10, In the place where it was said, etc., there shall they be called. They need not be embodied with the Jews, nor go up to Jerusalem to worship; but, wherever they are scattered over the face of the earth, there will God own them. Observe the great dignity and honour of the saints, that they are called the children of the living God; and his calling them so makes them so. Behold, what manner of love! This honour have all his saints.”

Romans 9: 27-29
Esaias
[Isaiah] also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrah
.


This refers back to the earlier assertion made by Paul that “…they are not all Israel that are of Israel” (vs. 6). However there are some, a remnant out of the vast shores of physical, genealogical descendents of Abraham that are not unregenerate and reprobate, without faith towards God as were those of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Throughout the ages, God has always had a remnant of Jewish people that expressed genuine faith towards God, and once the Messiah was revealed, placed that faith in Him as the Redeemer of Israel. Granted, sometimes this remnant has been quite small, it’s worth noting that since the re-gathering of Israel into the land in the 20th century, the numbers of Jews who are expressing faith in Y’shua (Jesus’ name in Hebrew) are increasing.

Again from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

“1. One is Isaiah 10:22, 23, which speaks of the saving of a remnant, that is, but a remnant, which, though in the prophecy it seems to refer to the preservation of a remnant from the destruction and desolation that were coming upon them by Sennacherib and his army, yet is to be understood as looking further, and sufficiently proves that it is no strange thing for God to abandon to ruin a great many of the seed of Abraham, and yet maintain his word of promise to Abraham in full force and virtue. This is intimated in the supposition that the number of children of Israel was as the sand of the sea, which was part of the promise made to Abraham, Gen. 22:17. And yet only a remnant shall be saved; for many are called, but few are chosen. In this salvation of the remnant we are told (v. 28) from the prophet, (1.) That he will complete the work: He will finish the work. When God begins he will make an end, whether in ways of judgment or of mercy. The rejection of the unbelieving Jews God would finish in their utter ruin by the Romans, who soon after this quite took away their place and nation. The assuming of Christian churches into the divine favour, and the spreading of the gospel in other nations, was a work which God would likewise finish, and be known by his name JEHOVAH. As for God, his work is perfect.

“He will finish the account . . . complete the mystical body, call in as many as belong to the election of grace, and then the account will be finished. (2.) That he will contract it; not only finish it, but finish it quickly. Under the Old Testament he seemed to tarry, and to make a longer and more tedious work of it. The wheels moved but slowly towards the extent of the church; but now he will cut it short, and make a short work upon the earth. Gentile converts were now flying as a cloud. But he will cut it short in righteousness, both in wisdom and in justice . . . when God cuts short, it is always in righteousness. . . Christ said, ‘It is finished’, and then the veil was rent, echoing as it were to the word that Christ said upon the cross. And he will cut it short. The work (it is logos - the word, the law) was under the Old Testament very long; a long train of institutions, ceremonies, conditions; but now it is cut short. Our duty is now, under the gospel, summed up in much less room than it was under the law; the covenant was abridged and contracted . . .”

Romans 9: 30-31
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.



As adequately covered in the earlier part of this Pauline epistle (chapter 3), we understand that the Law can do nothing to provide righteousness, but can only reveal it to us, and by it reveal the sin within ourselves. It is powerless to instill righteousness in any living soul, every one of which is condemned not commended by the Law.

Gentiles didn’t follow after the righteousness of the Law, as the Jews endeavored to do and yet they have attained that form of righteousness that is true, wholesome, spiritually embodied within hearts of all who receive Christ Jesus as LORD and Savior because it’s “of faith” in the Messiah of Israel. It’s just as Peter stated in the Book of Acts:

Acts 15:10-11
Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the
[Gentile] disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we
[Jews] shall be saved, even as they [Gentiles].


I love how Peter reciprocates the relationship of God and the Jews and Gentile believers, stating that Jews shall be saved just the same way that the Gentiles are – without the Law, without the sacrifices, customs, ceremonies, feasts, etc. None of those will save us, Peter says, but simply faith in Jesus Christ. The very Gospel that Paul had been preaching among the Gentile nations for years at that point! See also Philippians 3:8-9.

Romans 9: 32-33
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed
.


There is much controversy today about the Law and Grace in certain groups that claim to be ‘true Christians’, and once again the old philosophy of the Judaizers has come back to life in the form of The Hebrew Roots Movement and its false doctrines. Watch this video that promotes this false teaching:

Did Y'hshua Warn Us That "Apostle" Paul Was His Enemy?

And in answer to the suppositions and proposals of this movement, we have another article by Got Questions?:

What Is The Hebrew Roots Movement? (<Also consider reading the other excellent articles located at the bottom of this page!)

Though this chapter has ended, Paul is far from finished in dealing with this crucial subject of Israel and God’s faithful plan that involves this nation born of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The overall perspective of this chapter shows us that though Israel as a whole has proven unfaithful, there is a remnant of believing Jews – with “like faith” of Abraham that God will be faithful to.

For those who are not yet awakened to this faith, those who are merely ‘bones and sinews’ knit together, or even with flesh overlaid upon those bones, but yet not alive spiritually, God has promised that He would breath (ru’wach in Hebrew, “to breath, breathe, wind, spirit”) upon them and bring spiritual life to them (Ezekiel Ch. 37).

For those of Israel who will insist on following after the Law of Moses and the teachings of the Torah, but without faith in their Messiah, Y’shua – they shall indeed stumble at this Rock, this “rock of offence” but for those Jews who will believe on Him, just as with all the Gentile nations, these will not be “ashamed” (disappointed).

Romans 10: 4
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth
.


May the LORD Jesus bless all of you! We shall continue in this study and pick up at Chapter Ten soon!

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