Study Guide

Epistle to the Romans Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

  • So, everything is good and happy now, right?
  • Wrong. Paul is sad. Very, very sad.
  • See, Paul is a Jew who believes in Jesus, but, unfortunately, not all Jews are like him. Even though Jesus and his original followers were Jewish and their message was first given to the Jewish people, Christianity is increasingly becoming a Gentile religion. Jews are just not getting the message. Maybe try email next time?
  • This puts Paul in a real pickle. He thinks everyone needs to believe in Jesus—both Jews and Gentiles—so what's going to happen to all the Jews who don't believe? Let's see…
  • First, the Jewish people are obviously very special to God. He gave them the patriarchs and the law and his promises. Tons of good things have come from them. Bagels, for example.
  • But, Paul concludes, the ones who haven't accepted Jesus aren't truly God's people then. This means that being born Jewish isn't enough to get in good with God.
  • You can't just follow God's law; you have to believe in his promise.
  • Paul goes back to Abraham again. Abraham believed God when he promised that he would have a son.
  • And that son, Isaac, was the second born, but God liked him better. Way to play favorites, Lord. The same goes for Rebecca, who had twins, Jacob and Esau. Even though Esau was the first-born, God took a shining to Jacob.
  • So, is God allowed to choose sides? Is that all totally unfair?
  • Nope, Paul replies. God can like whoever he wants to. He's God. It's sort of part of the deal. Hmm… still kind of seems unfair just a bit…
  • Hey, Paul says, who are you to question God? He created the world and he can do what he wants with it. When a potter makes a clay bowl, does the bowl start complaining, "Oh, no! Why did you make me a cereal bowl? Milk makes me chilly." No, it doesn't. It just shuts up.
  • So if God lets evil people be evil in order to show off his wrath, what's it to you?
  • And maybe God smiles on certain people sometimes. He can totally do that if he wants to.
  • Even the Bible says that God loves non-Jews and that not all Jews are going be saved. We're sure that's in there somewhere.
  • Some Gentiles, who weren't trying to do right by God, have now ended up believing. And some Jews, who are supposed to be doing what God asks, have rejected him. Sucks to be them.

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