Romans Message 7, Romans 9:1-31

Romans: The Gospel of God

Message 7: The Rejection of the Gospel and God’s Sovereignty (9:1-31)

Dr. David Shumate

Problem: One of the greatest discouragements in the preaching of the Gospel is its rejection by people who know the truth.

Theological Truth: Although unbelief and resistance is a great tragedy, it is no threat to the absolute Sovereignty of God.

Our Response: We must trust God that He is in control even when people reject and resist our message.


Theme verses of the section:

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

Three theological truths in Romans 9-11:
1.    People’s rejection of the Gospel, although a great tragedy, is nevertheless under the sovereign control of God (9:1-31).
2.    People’s rejection of the Gospel is their own fault because God has given them every opportunity to believe (9:32-10:21).
3.    People’s rejection of the Gospel serves the higher purpose of demonstrating God’s mercy and infinite wisdom (Ch. 11).

These truths also relate to the broader problem of the existence of evil in the world. There are three great truths concerning the existence of evil. Each truth is valid, but we are not able to see how they all fit together.

1.    God is in complete control of everything that happens in the universe.
2.    God is perfectly good and righteous and never causes or approves of evil.
3.    Real evil nevertheless exists in the world.

Illustration: A triangle of Scriptural truth.
In Romans 9:1-29, the Lord demonstrates that Israel’s rejection of the Gospel did not in any way diminish God’s sovereignty.

I.    Introduction: The rejection of Israel as a nation is a spiritual tragedy of the first order (vs. 1-5).
A.    It is a tragedy that should cause us sincere and deep grief (vs. 1-3)
B.    It is a tragedy made all the greater by the great privileges these people enjoyed (vs. 4-5)

II.    God’s accepting Gentiles and rejecting of Israel is perfectly consistent with the true nature of His covenant with Israel (vs. 6-13).
A.    The case of Isaac proves that the covenant blessings were bestowed on the basis of promise not on he basis of natural descent
B.    The case of Jacob and Esau proves that covenant blessings were bestowed on the basis of God’s free choice and not birth or personal merit.

III.    God’s accepting Gentiles and rejecting of Israel is perfectly consistent with His righteousness (vs. 14-29)
A.    God is has the absolute right to show mercy and exercise judgment as He sees fit. (vs. 14-21).
1.    God Himself asserts this right irrespective of human merit (14-18)
2.    God answers to no one for how He disposes of His creatures (19-21)
B.    God has His reasons for the way he shows mercy and exercises judgment (vs. 22-29)
1.    God deals righteously in judgment even as he deals graciously in showing mercy (vs. 22-24)
2.    God shows His grace in saving Gentiles and a remnant of the Jews (vs. 25-29)

IV.    Thesis Statement: In the Sovereignty of God the Gentiles found righteousness even though they were not looking for it, and the majority of the Jews, who were looking for it, failed to find it (vs. 30-31)

Concluding questions:
1.    Are we willing for God to give us a real heart of compassion for those who reject and even resist the Gospel?
2.    Are we so confident in the sovereignty of God that we gladly proclaim His Gospel regardless of people’s response to it?

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