Sunday, January 29, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Romans 9-10
Paul’s discussion of the natural unsaved man’s dilemma with sin and its condemnation in Romans 7 and his declaration of salvation through Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice for our sins in Romans 8, is enriched by the doctrine of “justification by faith” in Romans 9.
We have learned no man, Jew or Gentile, is justified in God’s sight by keeping the law; indeed, Paul has declared, “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). How might a sinner merit God’s favor and be justified and accepted in His sight?
Paul answers that important question by declaring salvation is not determined by physical lineage or good works (9:6-13).
The Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were proud of their physical heritage and their election as God’s chosen people. They were heirs of God’s covenant promises and stewards of His Law and commandments (Romans 9:4-5). However, the Jews were not spiritual children (i.e. “children of God”) by lineage (9:6-10) or by keeping the law and good works (9:11-13).
A sinner becomes a child of God, not because he has kept God’s law and merited His favor, but because of God’s mercy (9:16). As an illustration of God’s sovereign will in this matter of salvation, Paul shares the example of God’s dealings with Pharaoh and Moses (9:17-18). Both men were sinners; however, Moses believed God and God bestowed His mercy on him. Pharaoh heard Moses’ declaration that the God of Israel was the One True God; however, the king of Egypt refused God’s Word, hardened his heart (Exodus 8:15, 19, 32) until God hardened the heart of Pharaoh (Exodus 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27).
What is the spiritual lesson from this passage? It is that God is sovereign over all men, Jew and Gentile. He is merciful and longsuffering toward sinners, Jew and Gentile (2 Peter 3:9). As sovereign God, He is also just and shows mercy to one sinner while hardening the heart of another (note: that fact does not remove human responsibility for one’s sins, but declares the sovereignty and wisdom of God). Man is in God’s hands like clay in a potter’s hands; as long the clay is soft it is pliable and conforms to the will of the potter (9:20-21). Such is the heart of man; as long as a sinner’s heart is tender and not hardened by sin and rebellion, God is able to extend His mercy and grace. Reject God and you become the object of His wrath (9:22).
The promise of salvation and the forgiveness of sins is not subject to one’s physical lineage or good works, but is a matter of simple faith (9:30-33).
How about you, my friend? We were born sinners and the nature of sin and rebellion is deeply rooted in our souls from conception (Romans 3:10, 19-20, 23). Apart from God’s mercy and grace, we are subject to God’s wrath and judgment (Romans 6:23); however, through faith in Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice for our sins we become the objects of God’s grace and mercy (Romans 10:10).
Romans 10:9-10, 13 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation…
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith