Lesson 79: "They Are Not All Israel, Which Are of Israel" (Romans 9:6)
Welcome! This is lesson # 79. Before we read in Ch. 9, let's take another minute or two back in Rom. Ch. 8. Paul said so many glorious things; it's hard to pass it by. There's no condemnation to them in Jesus! i.e. if we walk in the Spirit. That means our manner of life is directed by faith in our Lord Jesus and we follow the N.T. which was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
"If ye live after the flesh [Paul said], ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (8:13)
To live in that verse, means life, eternal life with God in heaven. It's the alternative to spiritual death, discussed back in Ch. 5. To mortify the deeds of the body means to put to death all the sins we have committed, it's a reference to baptism. It goes back to Ch. 6:6;
"our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that hence-forth we should not serve sin."
Reckon yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God...6:11. There is no reason to doubt we shall be saved if we do these things. This is just a re-statement of (1:16), if you get it in focus:
"the gospel...is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." Or to put it another way: The just shall live by faith."
In quoting that from the O.T., Paul showed the whole bible harmonizes to teach salvation by this plan, God's plan in the Christian age.
"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (v. 14).
Faith in Jesus and baptism into his death makes us children of God. Do you remember John's prologue? "As many as received him, to them gave he the power to become..."
God gives to them that believe in Jesus the power to become... "power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12) But, that's not all of that sentence! John said, "which are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but.. [But by what John?] But by the will of God." (John 1:13)
To be born of the will of God, there in John, has reference to baptism for the remission of sins. John covered the point when he got down to Nicodemus in John Ch. 3. You see the book of John and Paul's book of Romans all harmonize to teach baptism for the remission of sins just as Peter taught it on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). When one becomes a Christian, "ye have received the Spirit of adoption..." (Rom. 8:15). "We are the children of God" (v. 16) When you are baptized into Christ, you are the adopted son or daughter of God.
"If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." (v.l)
What a glorious thought! Paul said:
"I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us," (v.18)
i.e. a home in heaven. Nothing will compare to it. Oh! But, Bro. Horsley, it's just too hard to be a Christian! My job! My home! My Car! My husband! My-my-my! Down in v.35, Paul asked the question:
"WHO shall separate us from the love of Christ?" Please take the time to answer Paul's question. Apply it to your case! WHO? Who shall separate you from obeying Christ? Will you let your husband, your wife, or your family separate you from Christ and eternal life? Paul asked about "tribulation", i.e. troubles (v.35). Ask people what keeps them from obeying the gospel and you get all kinds of excuses: Lord just as soon as I get a new car, I'll be there every Sunday. Lord, just as soon as we get some better clothing for the kids, we're going to join the church! Lord, just as soon as! Have you heard that? It's just an excuse. It's the devil's sales pitch! It's not even rational thinking. Then others make slurring statements and remarks about baptism for the remission of sins and make their little jokes about pie in the sky. Paul said, (in v.38) "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities [that's government, like Uncle Sam and Johnny Bull], nor powers
who can separate us from the love of Christ. People will fly or drive all the way across the United States when there's a death in the family. But, the least little headache keeps us from the worship services. Oh, I can't come, my, my, my. Do you remember what Jesus told the man that said he couldn't follow Jesus because he had to go bury his father? That's in Luke 9:60,
"Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God."
Jesus in that verse said in essence, leave such things to non-Christians, we have more important things to do. If that shakes you a little; let it be said: I sense that most of us have missed the urgency in obeying the gospel and the urgency in Christianity. It's not because Paul left it out of Romans Ch. 8; because, he said we can be more than conquerors (v.37); but, we can also let other things (v.38-39) "separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (end of v.39)
I don't believe Jesus said that because he is against adequate burial or because he does not expect us to do those things; but, he said that to help us get our priorities straight and to show us how strongly Jesus feels about our faith and our obedience. Think about it! How urgent is your Christianity? Read Romans Ch. 8 again. But right now, we need to get to Ch. 9. Do you remember back at the beginning of Ch.3 in this book; Paul asked the question: "What advantage then hath the Jew?" After pointing out that the Jews were disgusted with the Gentiles because the Gentiles worshiped idols and indulged in what Paul termed "uncleanness" (1:24) or what we would call homosexuality: Paul then, said in essence, it was true the Gentiles disobeyed God and he condemned that; but, Paul said while the Jews were fingering the Gentiles with blame (i.e. while the Jews were being so judgmental), Paul said the Jews were just as guilty of disobeying God as were the Gentiles. Thus, the bottom line came to the same thing. Then, Paul went on to discuss the righteousness of God and how one is justified by faith in Christ Jesus and not by the law of Moses. Paul illustrated with Abraham and David. He has now taken several chapters to develop: justification by faith, the righteousness of God, how we are free from the wrath of God through the sacrifice of Jesus and how we can be free from sin, freedom from the law and finally freedom from death, i.e. spiritual death (in ch.8). Well, as Paul wrote (or dictated this letter), that day, to Tertius the scribe there in the home of Gaius which was either in or near Corinth; here (in what we call ch. 9-10-11), Paul finally got back to the thought and subject of his Jewish brethren (that he referred to back in, Ch. 2 & 3). Thus, in the next three chapters (here) Paul lamented that his own people, the fleshly descendants of Abraham, had rejected God by going about to establish their own righteousness, as he put it. Now, this, of course, does not mean all Jews did that. Some Jews became Christians. But, by in large, the Jewish race and the Jewish nation had rejected Jesus as their saviour and had gone about to establish their own righteousness instead of obeying God. So, you must rotate your thinking now back to Ch. 2-3 and see this discussion (in Ch. 9-10-11) as branching out from there and of course integrated into all that has been said thus far. O.K.! What did Paul have Tertius write on that scroll, that day? Are you ready? We're going to take a big bite. We'll begin with v. 1 of Ch.9 and read down through v.29. Can you handle that much? V.I, lets read! Here's Brother Paul! He's writing to the Roman brethren: "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: 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. Nlot as though the word of God hath taken non 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. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are accounted 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, (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. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I wiU 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 showeth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show 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. Thou will say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay, but, 0 man, who art thou that replieth 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 honor, and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make bis power known, endured with much long-suffering 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, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Hosea, 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. 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 wiU the Lord make upon the earth. And as Isaiah said before, Except the Lord of Sabbath had left us a seed, we had been as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrah."
Alright, before we start this discussion; it's obvious we won't be able to finish this much material in this lesson. So, we'll go as far as we can and then we'll pick up there next time. But, before we start; let me give you a little assignment (some reading I would like for YOU to do between lessons). ReadJere. 18:1-10. The first part of that reading is sometimes called the parable of the potter and the last part of that reading is God's application of that parable. Please read that before our next lesson. Now, back to the beginning of Ch.9; the first sentence, that's v. 1-2. Paul said his feelings and his conscience agree with the Holy Ghost and Paul described those feelings as sorrow and pain in his heart. Why Paul? Well, Paul himself was a Jew. His heart's desire was that his Jewish brethren and those of his own nation would obey God,
"my kinsmen according to the flesh" (end of v. 3)
This is one of the hardest things we have to deal with; i.e. to become a Christian and learn the urgency of obeying Christ as we have already discussed; believe, repent, confess, be baptized for the remission of sins and begin the Christian journey; but, then to have some member(s) of your own family, in spite of all passioned pleas they continue in the world and dabble in fleshly indulgences and ignore any encouragement you try to give them along spiritual lines. Others in your family glory in denominational names and instead of obeying from the heart that form of simple N.T. doctrine (that Paul touched on back in 6:17); they try to compete with you and put you down with what they think is great worldly wisdom spelled out in their creed books and taught by the promoter of those creeds. I think, undoubtedly one of the saddest moments in my life was once when I was leaning on a garden fence with an old brother well above 80 years old. He told me how he had played the fiddle at every dance and every so-called church gathering in that country in the earlier days of his life. But, he said when he was about 60 years old, after his family was grown and he had grandchildren; some of the very people he himself had taunted as being religious bigots in his earlier life, finally got an opportunity to talk with him and discuss the bible on a one-to-one level. He said as he observed their attitude and as they studied from the bible together: he said to himself, Lord help me to correct my own errors and teach and encourage these good people in a honest way. I need not tell you the rest of the story. I trust you've got it. The bottom line is he obeyed the gospel and began the Christian life. I went to church with this old brother only about three years; but, I know for a fact, that when there was a scheduled assembly; he was always there a half hour before anyone else. He enjoyed worship and bible study as much as any person IVe ever seen. It was his life. But, that day on the fence; his tears were for his wife and for his sons and for his grandchildren. They thought he was a kook and he understood why they felt that way. He understood why they wouldn't listen. Some of the things he said was some of the most heart rending things IVe ever dealt with. Later, I tried to talk with one of his sons. You could sense, yards away, the competition this man in his 50's felt in his heart. You could cut it with a knife. I got a real feel, and a real sense of where the old brother was coming from. As I drove away, I don't think I ever had sadder moment in my life. Those who indulge in and dabble in cafeteria style religions, i.e. pick and choose what they will obey and what they will not obey; they even imply that God wants them to pick and choose. Anything you don't enjoy; skip it! It's your religious diet; choose the recipe you like. Such people have no comprehension, not even an inkling, of the sorrow that Paul felt as he poured out his heart to the Roman brethren (here in Rom. 9:2). But, my friends, Jesus understood! As Jesus prepared the twelve for the limited commission in Matt. 10:34-36, Jesus said to them: "Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth: I am come not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in- law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."
It's not that Jesus didn't want to bring peace. It's not that an observance of the gospel message he delivered wouldn't bring peace. The point is, Jesus knew his message would not be accepted by the messengers of Satan. Jesus knew that very few would believe Him and serve as Paul described at the end of Rom. Ch. 8. In the next verse (Matt. 10:37), Jesus said to the twelve:
"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
What can I say? Think on these things. I'll be with you in our next lesson. Have a good day.