Day 323: Romans 7-9

(So far, everything we have read in the Book of Romans contradicted grace being "unmerited favor" and contradicted Salvation being against the will of the individual. God gives us an influence via the Holy Spirit (Biblical Grace) and we are responsible (faith) for choosing to ignore it or allowing it to direct our actions, which would lead to Salvation. Calvinists have taken these next three chapters and interpreted them to mean grace is "unmerited favor" and God saves and condemns people against the will of the individual. We will see it is only possible to misinterpret these chapters if the context of the first six chapters are ignored.)

Romans 7
1 Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth?

(Paul stated in parenthesis that he was speaking to people who knew the Law, to the Jews.)

2 For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband.
3 So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God.

(Doctrine: Christ's death brought about the death of the Law so that we could focus on the spiritual (Biblical Grace). Paul stated this was similar to what physically happened when a spouse became a widow and was able to marry another. Basically, Christ's death killed our first spouse (physical), so that all of us (including the Jews) could be (spiritually) married to another (Christ) so that we could bring fruit (profit) towards God.)

5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

(Doctrine: Sin brings forth fruit unto death.)

6 But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.

(Doctrine: We serve by newness of the spirit (grace) not by the Law. Grace is "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.")

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet:

(Doctrine: The Law brought objective knowledge of sin. Before the Law, people knew sin in response to sinning, by feeling guilt. The Law brought knowledge of sin so that we would objectively know sin before it was committed. However, Paul stated the Law did not cause sin, it made us objectively aware of sin.)

8 but sin, finding occasion, wrought in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the law sin is dead.
9 And I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died;
10 and the commandment, which was unto life, this I found to be unto death:
11 for sin, finding occasion, through the commandment beguiled me, and through it slew me.
12 So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.

(Doctrine: The Law is holy. The commandment holy, righteous, and good. This verse proved that the Law was not at fault for man sinning. The Law did not cause sin.)

13 Did then that which is good become death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, by working death to me through that which is good; --that through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful.

(Before the Law, people did not know what sin objectively was until they experienced guilt after they sinned. The Law was intended for good. The Law was intended to help people avoid sinning. However, what actually happened was that telling people the objective sins to avoid actually led to the people wanting to do these objective sins. The Law was intended for good. People (specifically the sin within people) used the Law to sin more.)

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do.

(We know that we do evil things even though we want to do good things, and we are aware of this contradiction. Paul was specifically speaking about his being (Mind/Soul) wanting to do good, but what physically came out was not good. This was a key point to realize before reading further: verse 15 was speaking about two different entities while using the same word. Verse 15 could be stated as, "For that which I physically do I didn't intend to do: for not what my Soul would, that do I physically practise; but what my Soul hates, that I physically do.")

16 But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good.

(Key point: verse 16 is an if/then statement. Paul was not writing about an unbeliever: the person whose being (Mind/Soul) intends to do bad. Paul was writing about a believer: the person whose being (Mind/Soul) intended to do good by grace (the influence of the Holy Spirit). Paul stated that if what his being (Mind/Soul) didn't want to do what he actually physically did, then he agreed that the law was good. Why? Because the law would objectively make him aware that what came out wasn't good. He may not realize he was doing bad because his intention was good.)

17 So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not.

(Doctrine: When we want to do good and we do not, then it is the sin within us that does evil, not our being nor God. In the flesh there is no good thing. Paul did not say that the being that God created in him was not good. Good comes from God, so this action couldn't be what God intended via grace. If what Paul wanted to do was good and good did not come out, then the reason wasn't due to Paul's being (Mind/Soul). The reason was due to his flesh: more specifically, due to sin in his brain.)

19 For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise.

(From the earlier verses, we see that the Law could actually cause Paul's flesh (brain, thought process) to focus on trying to do the Law without sinning and end up causing him to sin even though his (Mind/Soul) intention was to do good.

Doctrine: Laws make the flesh want to break them. This is the flesh's fault, not the Law.)

20 But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.

(Paul blatantly concluded this portion by stating it was the sin within believers that did evil, not our being if our Mind/Soul was intent on doing good.)

21 I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.

(Paul summarized the issue: The Mind/Soul that intends on doing good would delight in the Law because it not only was intended to help people avoid bad, the Law also objectively made the person aware when they had done bad they didn't intend to do! However, this perspective of the Law in the believer's Mind/Soul was not shared by the sinful elements in the believer's flesh/body/brain.)

24 Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?

(Paul stated the conflict: How are we to resolve the problem that a believer's (Mind/Soul) intent on doing good could still result in sin?)

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

(Doctrine: With the believers' MINDS/SOULS (BEING) they serve the Law of God (through grace). Again, this can only be done through Christ. However, the flesh/body/brain that does not serve the Law of God is focused on doing sin.)

(Theme of Chapter 7: Paul built on the foundation of the previous chapter that if our flesh is dead and buried with Jesus, then we ought to be resurrected with Jesus: able to walk in freedom from sin and towards eternal life. Throughout this chapter, Paul explained that if believers intended on doing good but their actions continued to be evil, it was the sin within their body/flesh/brain that did the evil, not their Mind/Soul/Being. Paul continued to explain that the difference between being a believer or an unbeliever was whether we chose to want to do good and chose to serve God through our being. Furthermore, the ultimate difference between a believer and an unbeliever was how they responded to the sin in their life: did they admit they were wrong and make up for it?...did they confess and repent?)

Romans 8

(Remember, context was crucial. Paul continued to speak about believers who, even though they do evil because of the sin within themselves (body/flesh/brain), chose to serve God with their being (Mind/Soul) through Biblical Grace.)

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.

(Doctrine: Believers have no condemnation. The Holy Spirit convicts; the flesh condemns. When we condemn ourselves or others we are stating that Christ's sacrifice was not enough. This verse was a specific conclusion for the specific application presented in the previous chapter. There would be no condemnation to the person's being (Mind/Soul) in the specific example presented in the previous chapter: a believer intent on doing good from their Mind/Soul but actually doing bad because of sin in their body/flesh/brain.)

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.

(Doctrine: "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ" is grace and it has made us free from the "law of sin and death.")

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

(Doctrine: The Law was weak to result in people doing good because of the flesh. The Law couldn't team up with the Soul to know specifically what to do. The Law focused on what not to do. However, now the Soul is able to allow the Holy Spirit to direct the actions: to know what to do, which is grace.)

4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

(Doctrine: God sent Christ in the flesh to give us the ability to overcome our flesh so that the Righteousness of the Law would be fulfilled in us. This is possible only by walking after the Spirit, which is living by grace: the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.)

5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:

(Being physically minded as a cause brings death as an effect which would be seen by others as sin, and the person's response would be to pridefully justify their sin. Being spiritually minded as a cause brings life and peace as an effect and that even though sin could result (because of the flesh), the person's response to the Law (and others) pointing out the sin would be confession and repentance: the person humbly and joyfully removing and repairing the sin in their flesh while not getting in condemnation because they know they are actually their Mind/Soul and not their body/flesh/brain. Notice, God is able to give you an influence intended for good that may end up with you doing sin because of your flaws. God could even do this in order to make you aware you need to remove and repair this sin in you. Which is your focus?)

7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:
8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

(Doctrine: The "mind" of the flesh, the flesh as a being, is against God. Those in the flesh cannot please God. The flesh thinks short term and is without faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Notice how the being of the individual is the Mind/Soul and what the being of the individual chooses to focus on (the Holy Spirit through their spirit or their flesh/body/brain) is the responsibility of the individual with respect to Salvation.)

9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

(Doctrine: If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ (Holy Spirit) he is not Christ's. God provided the Holy Spirit to all and it is the choice of the individual to be influenced by the Holy Spirit (grace) that determines if a person is saved or not.)

10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.

(Doctrine: Righteousness brings life. This verse was stated with an if. This verse was spoken only to those who chose to follow Biblical Grace.)

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh:
13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

(Doctrine: Those who are led by the Holy Spirit (grace) are sons of God because they have received the "spirit of adoption.")

16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God:
17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

(By this adoption, believers are joint-heirs with Christ if we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified together. Again, the if implied that this was a choice.)

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.

(The suffering believers experience now is not worthy of comparison to the glory believers will see.)

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
24 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?

(Doctrine: We are saved by hope/faith. Hope that is seen is not hope, just as faith that is seen is not faith. Faith, according to Hebrews 11:1, is "a belief in something you cannot see" either because it is invisible or it hasn't happened yet.)

25 But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered;
27 and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

(Doctrine: The Holy Spirit prays for us when we do not know what we ought to pray for.)

28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

(Doctrine: If you love God and follow His influence, He can turn any situation you are in to something that bears fruit. Notice, there were two qualifiers:
1) love God
2) called according to His purpose, which is Biblical Grace.
Also, "good" meant it bore fruit, it was profitable. This verse was similar to when Paul previously stated that where sin abounds, grace abounds more, enough to result in something being created.)

(Some misinterpret this verse to say that God can unilaterally make situations what they were meant to be regardless of what anyone did. This not only denies the existence of the two qualifiers, it denies the context of the previous seven chapters. More subtly, God will not restore a situation to what it could have been if we originally acted apart from His influence. A way to see this is to imagine God intended for you to do something that would have resulted in you gaining $100. Instead, you did what you wanted and ended up spending $5. If you love God and listen to His influence, God will be able to make the situation result in you gaining at least $1 instead of it costing $5. However, it will not result in the $100 that God originally intended for you.)

29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren:
30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

(Remember this chapter was concerned with believers. God foreknew everyone, otherwise He is not God. We have seen Paul made the case that God provided everything a person would need to attain Salvation...which meant God foreordained, called, and justified everyone.

We saw Paul stated Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross resulted in everyone having the ability to be justified. However, it was up to the individual to choose to believe this by faith. Every believer was glorified, justified, called, foreordained, and foreknown by God. However, every non-believer was foreknown, foreordained, called, and justified. What is missing for the non-believer? - being glorified.

The word "glory" means "intrinsic value" and resulted in "thinking well of." So, glorified would mean the individual recognized (perceived/thought of) the value within God, enough to let God's influence direct his actions, which would cause God to value (and think well of) the individual.

Remember, the critical passage in the first chapter stated the ultimate cause of people being non-believers:
"20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:
21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened."

Non-believers "glorified him not as God"! The non-believer's unwillingness to receive this justification by faith was the reason he was not glorified. God did not think well of non-believers, so His wrath was against them. God valued those who valued Him. Remember, this chapter was focused on those who chose to continually walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh. This was the cause of being "glorified."

What better "value" is there than continually walking according to the Spirit and not the flesh"? Whether or not you are "glorified" depends on whether or not you choose to see the value within God enough to walk by His Spirit. Is the divine influence upon your heart being reflected in your life?)

(Doctrine: The word foreordained or predestined meant "to limit in advance." This did not mean that every thought and action you ever had or will have was planned out before you were born. For example, males are foreordained not to bear children. In this passage, foreordained/predestined meant that everyone was limited in advance to end up in only one of two places for eternity: the new Jerusalem or the lake of fire. Everyone was limited to these two options in advance of anyone being born. Where you end up out of the two options is dependent on your choice.

Calvinists create their own doctrine of foreordained to mean that God decided every individual's eternal habitation ahead of their birth and there was nothing the individual could have done about it. People who were "foreordained" by God to end up in the new Jerusalem will end up there whether they want to or not. People who were "foreordained" by God to end up in the lake of fire will end up there no matter what they choose or want. Calvinists interpret verses 29 and 30 backwardsonly those who were glorified were justified, and only those who were justified were called, etc. Again, the only way to misinterpret these verses in this fashion is to ignore the previous seven chapters of the Book of Romans.)

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?

(Doctrine: Christ was delivered up for us all. God freely gave to us all..."All" meant every person who has, is, and will ever live. The other key to coming to a misinterpretation along Calvinist lines is to ignore the verses immediately before and immediately after the verses that are being taken out of context. We saw the previous seven chapters prevented verses 29 and 30 from being interpreted as Calvinistic. Now we see the two verses immediately following verses 29 and 30 also contradicted a Calvinistic interpretation.)

33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth;
34 who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

(Doctrine: God justified all and Christ also makes intercession for us. Again, two more verses that showed that God does not condemn people against their will. These verses specifically stated that God and Jesus supplied everything necessary for Salvation.)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

(Paul referenced Psalm 44:22.)

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Verses 35-39 listed things which cannot separate us (believers) from the love of God which is in Christ. Notice that "you" (Mind/Soul) were not in this list. You are the only thing that can separate you from the love of Christ. This happens by you (Mind/Soul) choosing not to live by the Spirit. If Calvinism were true, this verse would especially have stated that "not even you can separate yourself from the love of God.")

(Theme of Chapter 8: Paul built on the foundation of the previous chapter that the difference between being a believer was whether we (Mind/Soul) recognized the value within God enough to choose to want to do good and choose to serve God through our being. This chapter more specifically assured us of our Salvation, if we love God and live in the Spirit according to grace. God would take any unprofitable situation and work it for good. Nothing would be able to separate us (Mind/Soul) from the love of God if we choose to believe our justification by faith.)

Romans 9
1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit,
2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were anathema from Christ for my brethren's sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

(Paul began this critical chapter expressing his continual sorrow for the Jews and their choice to not except Christ's sacrifice as their justification through faith. A critical perspective to have in order to understand Paul while reading this chapter is how Paul preached sermons. In the Book of Acts, Paul (and Peter) had a two step method for presenting their sermons:
-1st Step: Present the premise (effect) and reason (cause).
-2nd Step: Support it with scripture, usually three verses.

Here is more Resolution: Paul's 1st Step actually consisted of two sentences - premise and reason.

-The premise was the what.
-The reason was the why.
-The scriptural support was the how.

This critical chapter in the New Testament was actually presented in this same sermon format.)

(Remember, at the time Paul wrote this letter he had yet to visit Rome. Also, Romans 1:8 stated that Paul thanked them for their faith that had been proclaimed throughout the world. Paul had heard of their faith, which meant he would have known what they needed to be taught. This chapter was his sermon to the Romans as he would have preached if he was physically there. The key to correctly interpreting this chapter is to make sure your interpretation of Paul's premise was proven by the scriptures Paul referenced. It is fairly easy to come up with a misinterpretation if you only focus on Paul's premise and ignore the foundation Paul presented previously in this letter and ignore the scriptures Paul referenced to support his premise.)

6 But it is not as though the word of God hath come to nought. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel:

(Premise: Just because Israel was unable to become Righteous, it did not mean God's Word was wrong or useless. In the previous two chapters, we saw that the individual's flesh/body/brain could cause what was intended for good (God's Word) to result in sin.)

7 neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed.

(Doctrine: Not all Israelites were of Israel. Paul's reason for his premise (that God's Word was not wrong or useless) was that it was the individual's choice to recognize the value within God and to humble himself and accept justification by faith, which determined if he was saved.

Verse 8 was really a restatement of the reason. Paul's reason removed the belief that birth determined Salvation. Being a Jew did not mean you were automatically, and against your will, a child of God. Being a child of God depended on the individual's choice to live after the Spirit instead of the flesh. Those who chose to be children of the flesh were not children of God, even if they were born a Jew. Notice, Paul specifically began this portion of his presentation being in sorrow over the Jews and their decision not to accept Christ. If Paul was expressing Calvinistic doctrine, he would not be in sorrow for the Jews refusal to believe in Christ because it would be "God's Will" and Paul completely supported God's Will. Next, Paul supported this premise and reason with a reference to Genesis 18:10.)

9 For this is a word of promise, According to this season will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
10 And not only so; but Rebecca also having conceived by one, even by our father Isaac--
11 for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth,

(The word election came from the Greek word eklektos (Strongs #1588) which meant "select; by impl. favorite." These "elect" were children of God. Why? Because they walked after the Spirit. These people were God's "favorite" because they were the best or the "select" just like some products are considered the "select" because they are the best, not because the manufacturer and consumer believes that declaring something "select" makes it the best. Remember, the reason behind the premise was that people were not believers because of their birth, but because of their choice to think well of God (glorify Him as God), humble themselves and accept justification by faith. Paul then gave his second scriptural support with Genesis 25:23.)

12 it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

(Verses 10-12 made up a crucial sentence. At this point there were two ways this sentence could be interpreted. The Calvinist would say God declared the younger good and the older bad, and that declaration made Jacob good and Esau bad. Ignoring everything in this book that preceded this sentence would also lead to the conclusion: God did this to make sure we knew that our being good and attaining Salvation had nothing to do with what we chose to do, but with God irresistibly calling Jacob and believers to be good.

On the other hand, the person who interpreted this verse in context with the rest of this book would say God saw the younger would be better at humbling himself and better at having faith than the older, so God declared it ahead of time to emphasize the fact that our Salvation had nothing to do with our works, but instead on our ability to humble ourselves. However, this still would not mean that the younger would end up having faith in God and the older would not have faith in God. It just meant that the older would end up serving the younger because the younger was better before he had the ability to do anything. This also introduced the idea that we are not all created equally. At this point, we don't know if the elder and younger are "good" or "bad," we just know the younger will be better than the elder. The key to understanding which interpretation was closer to Paul's intent depended on the third scripture he referenced.)

13 Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.

(Paul referenced Malachi 1:2-3. Please read all of Malachi 1 from this commentary to get the full explanation, especially if you do not agree with the following: hated meant "loved less." So, this verse also showed that everyone was not created equally: God loved Esau, but He loved Jacob more.

In the Malachi verses immediately after Malachi 1:3, God called His people "Jacob" and the nation of Edom "Esau." The rest of the Malachi passage showed God treated Jacob better than Esau. In Malachi 1, both Jacob and Esau responded to God's different level of love by being disobedient. So, the closest interpretation for the previous verses had nothing to do with being "good." Here is the summary that is written in this commentary for Malachi 1:
Esau was "hated" (loved less) than Jacob. Both responded poorly, which justified God. There was nothing God could have done to cause Esau and Jacob to be righteous and focus on Him because He tried both methods, and both chose to focus on themselves. God's loving response was to punish both of them. All of the calamity that came upon Esau and Israel was in response to how each of them chose to live. Also, both of their responses justified God's decision to turn His focus to people outside of His people: Gentiles.

The passage from Malachi showed that even though God loved Jacob, it did not result in Jacob choosing to be obedient to God. That point blatantly contradicted the Calvinistic interpretation above because God calling Jacob (His people) did not result in the Jews choosing Salvation, which was why God said He would offer Salvation to the Gentiles. The Malachi passage supported the contextual interpretation from above.

Paul referenced the scripture from Malachi to support his point (reason) that being Jewish did not equate to being Righteous as well as God loving Jacob more from birth did not result in all the Jews attaining Salvation. Remember, we are all "children of the promise" and it is up to us to walk by the Spirit in order to be "elect." Paul showed that God stopped having mercy on the Jews and reached out to the Gentiles because He was looking for people who would recognize the value within Him (glorify Him as God) to accept justification by faith. Notice, how this interpretation continued to fit the context of the following verses.)

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

(Paul addressed his premise in contrastive fashion. Paul spoke for people who would oppose his premise by stating his opposition's premise: God was unrighteous to stop having mercy on the Jews.

Doctrine: There is no unrighteousness with God. God is always completely Right and always completely Just. Predetermining an individual's Salvation would not be Right nor Just.

Key Point: No matter what rationalization is stated, God predetermining an individual's Salvation would be making God responsible for a person's Salvation and justifying man. God would be to blame for people spending eternity in the lake of fire, which would not be a reason to recognize the value within God. Paul supported his perspective on this second presentation of the premise by referencing Exodus 33:19.)

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.

(Doctrine: God's mercy is an effect of God being always completely Right. Whomever God has mercy on will be as an effect of it being Right to have mercy on them in that moment. Also Matthew 5:7 stated that those who showed mercy would get mercy. That meant God's mercy was also an effect of God being always completely Just. God's Nature (Right and Just) guides God's mercy. Remember, as Paul focused on the Doctrine of God's mercy, it must fit the context of everything we have read so far.)

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.

(Doctrine: God is the source of mercy and Salvation. People are responsible for choosing to show mercy and choosing to receive Salvation by faith. Paul continued to support this premise by referencing Exodus 9:16.)

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth.
18 So then he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will be hardeneth.

(Paul used Pharaoh as an example of God ceasing to show mercy. Do not get distracted by the phrasing of God hardening Pharaoh's heart. If you need the full explanation for how God hardened Pharaoh's heart as an effect of Pharaoh's choices, begin reading in this commentary from Exodus 5. Pharaoh's heart being hardened was all in response to Pharaoh's response to what he thought was an injustice. Pharaoh did not think well of God, he did not see value within God. Furthermore, remember in 1 Samuel 6:6, the Philistines warned each other not to be like Pharaoh and instead chose not to harden their hearts. Instead, they recognized God's value and made offerings.

Doctrine: Mercy is the time between the unjust act and the equaling out of Justice. Paul used this verse to support the premise that God stopped showing Pharaoh mercy, God did not allow an indefinite time between Pharaoh's unjust acts and the equaling out of Justice. However, Paul also referenced that God did initially show mercy to Pharaoh for a long enough time that Pharaoh was raised up. Basically, Paul just gave an example where God showed mercy to Pharaoh, even though God knew Pharaoh would not humble himself, so that God could demonstrate His power when He stopped showing mercy. Remember, God can also give you a good influence because He knows it will result in bad because of the sin in your body/flesh/brain in order to make you aware of this sin. Your response to your sin would prove whether you were a believer (valued God) or not (value yourself above God): either confession and repentance or pride and self-justification.)

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he still find fault? For who withstandeth his will?

(Next, Paul's third presentation of his premise took the form of two philosophical questions from a contrastive perspective: If God could unilaterally make His will happen, why did God find anyone guilty? Paul showed these two statements were inexorably linked: Not being able to withstand God's Will would lead to God not being able to condemn anyone! Paul blatantly showed Calvinism is contradictory regardless of any rationalization Calvinists present for God not being unrighteous when He condemned people against their will. As Paul had done with the first two presentations of his premise, he supported this third presentation of his premise by referencing scripture. This time it was Isaiah 29:16.)

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus?
21 Or hath not the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?

(Paul referenced scripture to make the reader aware that God is the Creator and we are the thing that is created. Some could misinterpret this to support Calvinism: God does whatever He wants and His reasons do not have to make sense. If Paul supported Calvinism or did not believe we could understand the reason, this would have been the end of his explanation. However...)

22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction:
23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he afore prepared unto glory,

(As Paul's fourth presentation of his premise, Paul stated the conclusion we saw earlier: God initially showed mercy to Pharaoh so that God could show His power when He stopped showing His mercy. This tied into the other point Paul made: It was Right and Just for God to initially show mercy even though He knew Pharaoh would never humble himself, it was not wrong for God to continue to show mercy even though He knew Pharaoh would only choose to harden his own heart. God was not showing mercy to Pharaoh for Pharaoh's benefit, as if God thought Pharaoh would actually humble himself. God showed Pharaoh mercy in order to do more miracles for the Israelites. Was it wrong to do that? Paul's answer was "no, God's decision to show mercy, then not to show mercy was Right and Just, there was not a better option than the way God handled Pharaoh.")

(Summary: So far, Paul has made the point that everyone was perfectly deserving of punishment/destruction in response to choices they made, to not recognize the value within God and actively walk according to the flesh. For anyone at this point to conclude that our existence was predetermined would contradict everything Paul had written to this point and make God Wrong and Unjust. Verses 22 and 23 showed Paul stated it would be Right and Just for God to show mercy to people He knew were not going to humble themselves in order to show His power when He stopped showing mercy. However, Paul had not concluded this sentence.)

24 even us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?

(Look at verses 22 through 24 again. Paul's point in this sentence was to liken what God did with the Christians to what God did with the Israelites in Egypt. Paul began this chapter stating his sorrow for the Jews not accepting justification by faith. Recall, the Jews continued to reject God during the times of the kings, despite God appealing to Israel through the prophets. Paul stated the same questions that people could ask about Pharaoh could also be asked about the Israelites prior to Jesus' resurrection. Why did God extend mercy to the Jews for so long, when God knew that it would never result in the Jews completely humbling themselves before God? Paul's answer was, "So that God could demonstrate His power and call another people out once He stopped showing mercy to Israel." Like we saw Paul do with the first three presentations of his premise, he supported this premise with scripture.)

25 As he saith also in Hosea, I will call that my people, which was not my people; And her beloved, that was not beloved.
26 And it shall be, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, There shall they be called sons of the living God.

(Paul quoted Hosea 2:23 to support his premise. This scripture proved that God knew His People would never choose to humble themselves and He would have to call out another group of people. The New Testament (Greek) word for "church" was ekklesia which meant "the called out ones.")

27 And Isaiah crieth concerning Israel, If the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that shall be saved:
28 for the Lord will execute his word upon the earth, finishing it and cutting it short.

(Paul referenced Isaiah 10:22-23 as the second support: Not all of Israel would be saved; just a remnant. Again, Paul's premise in this chapter was that God knew not all of Israel would choose to humble herself, but that did not stop God from showing mercy and then stop showing mercy.)

29 And, as Isaiah hath said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We had become as Sodom, and had been made like unto Gomorrah.

(Paul referenced Isaiah 1:9 as the third support: Not all of Israel would be saved, just a remnant. This verse gave a reason why God stopped showing mercy: if He had continued to show mercy, no one would have chosen to humble themselves. No one would have recognized the value within God. If God had delayed Jesus' birth long enough, there would have been no one who would have believed on Him! Paul had brought his focus back to the Gentiles.)

30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith:
31 but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.

(Paul's observation was that the Gentiles ended up being Righteous when they did not begin with the cause of Righteousness, while the Jews who had the cause of Righteousness (the Law) did not end up being Righteous.)

32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works. They stumbled at the stone of stumbling;

(Paul's premise: The Jews did not seek God by faith, they sought God by works. Everything Paul wrote up to this point supported this premise. Every premise and example in this chapter supported this premise. The Jews chose to justify themselves in pride rather than humble themselves, recognize the value within God and accept justification by faith. Paul even supported this final premise of this chapter with a scripture.)

33 even as it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.

(Paul referenced Isaiah 28:16 to show that God knew the Jews would not humble themselves and believe on Jesus.)

(Theme of Chapter 9: Paul built on the foundation of the previous chapter which more specifically assured us of our Salvation if we love God and live in the Spirit according to grace. In this critical chapter, Paul presented in sermon form his premise that God was Right and Just to show mercy to the Jews (and Pharaoh) even though He knew they would not humble themselves, glory in (and obey) God, so that He could show His power when He stopped showing mercy. All of God's actions were in response to the choices of the individual, otherwise God would not be always completely Right and always completely Just.)

Day 324


  1. 15 For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do.

    (We know that we do evil things even though we want to do good things...and we are aware of this contradiction...)

    This is the BEST explanation in the shortest amount of words I've ever read for this verse...THANK YOU!

    nathan wayne

  2. Wow, this is the most incredibly sound interpretation of this Book I've ever come upon.

    Do you think God still allows us this time of mercy to see for ourselves and learn through experience that acted apart from faith (apart from Grace) won't work?

    Even when God may see the causes in me shows I'm going to act apart from Him I think He may still allow me to follow through because He ultimately wants to show MORE of His Power and Glory and Love through me. It's up to me to believe in what I already have by justification through faith :)


    nathan wayne

  3. Hi nathan,

    I do think God still allows EVERYONE this time of mercy...both believers and unbelievers.

    I believe we ought to use this information to help people state their will and then leave them alone because the Holy Spirit can then work on them.

    Getting people to state their will and then saying ANYTHING more after that is really an attempt to justify ourselves and actually only prevents the Holy Spirit from helping the person.

    It is painful and takes patience to watch someone have to slowly come to the realization they are wrong when they think they are right and believe it so strongly they feel justified to do even more damage in order to attempt to feel settled with their sins. However, the only way we are able to help these people (and have patience ourselves and bear their pain) is to let the Holy Spirit do it through us.