“Wrestling With Romans”
The Promise is Good (Romans 9 Verses 19-29)
The question is posed with an imaginary presumptuous arrogance (v19), for this is how some cynics would think, isn’t it? We’ve seen a classic example of the same in our studies in John’s gospel with the Jews (John 8.33-59), in the end they turn to slander (v48), and finally to stones (v59). But Christians are not beyond such a mind-set either. Paul answers (vv20-21). Is it our place to stand in judgment upon God? To put ourselves in God’s place? Dare we? Not even the Jews could blame the Lord, when after all God’s gracious dealings with them (vv3-5), the Lord Jesus’ patient ministering to them, simply and continually hardened themselves, and eventually given over to that hardening process in God’s judgment. Who’s to blame? God? No way! In fact so great is the mercy and compassion of God (v22), that he puts off, holds back his hand of retribution, in phenomenal patience (2Peter 3.9, 15). And what if his purposes in doing this (v23), were simply to display in the shop window of created humanity, his great and glorious mercy, by patiently waiting for, and ministering to, those who deserved judgment and not mercy (v24). Yes, even to us, gentiles? What of it? Can he, the Potter not do as he pleases, with what he has created? Who’d have known about God’s mercy if God had snuffed out Pharaoh at the drop of a hat? Who’d know about God’s mercy if he had ignored the gentiles, and just packed us off to hell? God in his saving plan, is about him publishing his glory, his fame throughout the nations, the very universe (John 17.15; vv20-23; 1Peter 2.9-12). Argue with him? No, fall down before him, worship and adore him, for great is his name.
The Old Testament passages are quoted to display the obduracy of the Jews (vv25-26), and God’s patience in not destroying them (v22), preserving a remnant and displaying his glorious riches upon them. God promised to Abraham that from him he would call himself a people (Genesis 22.17) a promise repeated to Jacob (Genesis 32.17), the promise did not, has not failed (v6). The time came when the mercy of God in Jesus Christ would be taken into the whole world (v28), and these words spoken through Hosea would be fulfilled, ”I will call them my people who are not my people” (v25; 1Peter 2.10; v29). And that promise (vv1-13, the mercy of God (vv14-29) must be received, by faith.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)