TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Romans 9:1-13
BOTTOM LINE: God is Sovereign AND We Are NOT.
QUESTION: Who Is Israel?
Romans 8 sort of has the distinctive of being the Peak, the Summit of the Bible. Romans 9 comes right behind it, and can be 1 of the most challenging passages in all of Scripture to read, study, teach, and wrap our hearts & minds around too.
It talks about what the Bible calls ELECTION, and to be honest, there are many of us Pastors who would have been ok if God would have left this chapter out. In fact, I heard 1 pastor friends say that he was going to try to avoid teaching on this chapter no matter what … even if he was walking chapter by chapter thru Romans … he’d skip this one.
This entire next section of Scripture … Romans 9-11 … is about the Nation of Israel.
- Chapter 9 – about Israel’s Past
- Chapter 10 – Israel’s Present
- Chapter 11 – Israel’s Future
Which makes this some really interesting text for us, as New Testament Followers of Jesus. How does God weave together this Fabric of Jews & Gentiles … where are we in the picture?
The People of Israel are Privileged. Initially in these 5 verses, what we discover is that God’s Children Are …
- God’s Children Have THE PRESENCE OF GOD
- God’s Children Have A COVENANT BETWEEN THEM AND GOD.
- God’s Children Are GIVEN THE WORD OF GOD
- God’s Children Have A TEMPLE FOR WORSHIP & SACRIFICE.
- God’s Children Have Been GIVEN PROMISES.
- God’s Children Have Been GIVEN LEADERS.
If this is TRUE for Israel, Who Is Israel?
Of all the Prophets in the OT … they were all Jewish by descent … and I love what 1 commentary said … The Israelites were both the Recipients and the Object of the Promises of God.
SHORT VERSION …The short answer to Who Is Israel is this … any of the Jews who were seeking to keep the Law of Moses before Jesus was born. From the time Jesus was born … only those Jews who not only believe but have personally experienced Jesus as the Messiah … God’s only Son … sent for us.
IF Israel is God’s Chosen people [and they are] … and if not all of Israel have come to faith In-Christ [and they haven’t] … if all who are chosen by God come to Christ [and they do] … then why hasn’t Israel come to Christ?
And SO … Who is the REAL ISRAEL? It’s those God has chosen! It’s those who God has called and who have come to Faith … and as we said last summer … we’re justified by God [and only God] and 1 day, He’ll complete the process by Glorifying us as we enter into His Presence for eternity.
It’s not a Physical Ancestry … but Spiritual Birth that matters.
And those whom God chooses, who enter into the covenant relationship w/ God, [Paul talks a lot about the Election here] and whether we fall on the side of God has pre-selected those who will come to experience faith in Jesus. Whether God simply knows who is going to respond, and there are people on both sides of this issue whom I respect … no matter which you believe … our Salvation … and our experience w/ God is of ZERO doing of our own! This is a GIFT given to those who experience it … and totally at the mercy of God’s Sovereignty!
BUT … no matter where we land on the ELECTION part … we can’t argue w/ the truth that each and every person will 1 day stand before God. Each and every person [Israel included] will give an account for our story … and our life … and the journey we experienced.
ARMINNIAN VIEW: And for those who believe … you know what, every single person in the world has a choice to experience Forgiveness and to be restored into a Righteous Standing w/ God … but they need to hear the story of what God has done and is doing … so let’s go tell everyone.
CALVINIST VIEW: Or whether you think … You know what … Paul [and others] see to give an indication that God has chosen some and not others. Why? I’m not sure, because I’m not God. But it’s what we get from His Word, and so we have to go with that.
BUT … we don’t know who God has chosen and who God hasn’t. so … we better tell everyone and let God sort that out.
Either way … the end result for us is the SAME isn’t it? For those of us who are Followers of Jesus and have been forgiven … and restored … and made new in the image of God … it was all the work of God that allowed us to experience that … nothing we did or deserved or nothing we worked for or gave or any of that.
I said this earlier … God doesn’t do things because they are “just”. Things are “just” because God does them.
The question is … are we doing anything with it? Are we telling anyone? Is our heart so broken for those that don’t yet know … right here in our own nation even …
- Paul was broken for HIS PEOPLE!!!!