Romans 9

* The apostle's concern that his countrymen were strangers to

the gospel. (1-5) The promises are made good to the spiritual

seed of Abraham. (6-13) Answers to objections against God's

sovereign conduct, in exercising mercy and justice. (14-24) This

sovereignty is in God's dealing both with Jews and Gentiles.

(25-29) The falling short of the Jews is owing to their seeking

justification, not by faith, but by the works of the law.

(30-33)

1-5 Being about to discuss the rejection of the Jews and the

calling of the Gentiles, and to show that the whole agrees with

the sovereign electing love of God, the apostle expresses

strongly his affection for his people. He solemnly appeals to

Christ; and his conscience, enlightened and directed by the Holy

Spirit, bore witness to his sincerity. He would submit to be

treated as "accursed," to be disgraced, crucified; and even for

a time be in the deepest horror and distress; if he could rescue

his nation from the destruction about to come upon them for

their obstinate unbelief. To be insensible to the eternal

condition of our fellow-creatures, is contrary both to the love

required by the law, and the mercy of the gospel. They had long

been professed worshippers of Jehovah. The law, and the national

covenant which was grounded thereon, belonged to them. The

temple worship was typical of salvation by the Messiah, and the

means of communion with God. All the promises concerning Christ

and his salvation were given to them. He is not only over all,

as Mediator, but he is God blessed for ever.
6-13 The rejection of the Jews by the gospel dispensation, did

not break God's promise to the patriarchs. The promises and

threatenings shall be fulfilled. Grace does not run in the

blood; nor are saving benefits always found with outward church

privileges. Not only some of Abraham's seed were chosen, and

others not, but God therein wrought according to the counsel of

his own will. God foresaw both Esau and Jacob as born in sin, by

nature children of wrath even as others. If left to themselves

they would have continued in sin through life; but for wise and

holy reasons, not made known to us, he purposed to change

Jacob's heart, and to leave Esau to his perverseness. This

instance of Esau and Jacob throws light upon the Divine conduct

to the fallen race of man. The whole Scripture shows the

difference between the professed Christian and the real

believer. Outward privileges are bestowed on many who are not

the children of God. There is, however, full encouragement to

diligent use of the means of grace which God has appointed.
14-24 Whatever God does, must be just. Wherein the holy, happy

people of God differ from others, God's grace alone makes them

differ. In this preventing, effectual, distinguishing grace, he

acts as a benefactor, whose grace is his own. None have deserved

it; so that those who are saved, must thank God only; and those

who perish, must blame themselves only, #Hos 13:9|. God is bound

no further than he has been pleased to bind himself by his own

covenant and promise, which is his revealed will. And this is,

that he will receive, and not cast out, those that come to

Christ; but the drawing of souls in order to that coming, is an

anticipating, distinguishing favour to whom he will. Why does he

yet find fault? This is not an objection to be made by the

creature against his Creator, by man against God. The truth, as

it is in Jesus, abases man as nothing, as less than nothing, and

advances God as sovereign Lord of all. Who art thou that art so

foolish, so feeble, so unable to judge the Divine counsels? It

becomes us to submit to him, not to reply against him. Would not

men allow the infinite God the same sovereign right to manage

the affairs of the creation, as the potter exercises in

disposing of his clay, when of the same lump he makes one vessel

to a more honourable, and one to a meaner use? God could do no

wrong, however it might appear to men. God will make it appear

that he hates sin. Also, he formed vessels filled with mercy.

Sanctification is the preparation of the soul for glory. This is

God's work. Sinners fit themselves for hell, but it is God who

prepares saints for heaven; and all whom God designs for heaven

hereafter, he fits for heaven now. Would we know who these

vessels of mercy are? Those whom God has called; and these not

of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles. Surely there can be no

unrighteousness in any of these Divine dispensations. Nor in

God's exercising long-suffering, patience, and forbearance

towards sinners under increasing guilt, before he brings utter

destruction upon them. The fault is in the hardened sinner

himself. As to all who love and fear God, however such truths

appear beyond their reason to fathom, yet they should keep

silence before him. It is the Lord alone who made us to differ;

we should adore his pardoning mercy and new-creating grace, and

give diligence to make our calling and election sure.
25-29 The rejecting of the Jews, and the taking in the

Gentiles, were foretold in the Old Testament. It tends very much

to the clearing of a truth, to observe how the Scripture is

fulfilled in it. It is a wonder of Divine power and mercy that

there are any saved: for even those left to be a seed, if God

had dealt with them according to their sins, had perished with

the rest. This great truth this Scripture teaches us. Even among

the vast number of professing Christians it is to be feared that

only a remnant will be saved.
30-33 The Gentiles knew not their guilt and misery, therefore

were not careful to procure a remedy. Yet they attained to

righteousness by faith. Not by becoming proselytes to the Jewish

religion, and submitting to the ceremonial law; but by embracing

Christ, and believing in him, and submitting to the gospel. The

Jews talked much of justification and holiness, and seemed very

ambitious to be the favourites of God. They sought, but not in

the right way, not in the humbling way, not in the appointed

way. Not by faith, not by embracing Christ, depending upon

Christ, and submitting to the gospel. They expected

justification by observing the precepts and ceremonies of the

law of Moses. The unbelieving Jews had a fair offer of

righteousness, life, and salvation, made them upon gospel terms,

which they did not like, and would not accept. Have we sought to

know how we may be justified before God, seeking that blessing

in the way here pointed out, by faith in Christ, as the Lord our

Righteousness? Then we shall not be ashamed in that awful day,

when all refuges of lies shall be swept away, and the Divine

wrath shall overflow every hiding-place but that which God hath

prepared in his own Son.
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