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Thread: Romans 9: Nations or Individuals?

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    Romans 9: Nations or Individuals?

    As stated in another thread, I wanted to make a new thread out of this.

    My original question (title could not hold it all) was posted to Musterion.

    It was: In Romans 9, is Paul speaking of a temporal, national election, or his he speaking of an eternal, personal election unto salvation?

    Here is his response:http://www.theologyonline.com/forums...&postcount=261


    Here is my initial post on Romans 9 (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums...2&postcount=90) which Musterion said was flawed.

    And below is my interaction with his post attempting to demonstrate that Romans 9 is speaking about nations.

    It will serve as the first post in this thread. And sorry for the length

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    I want to state up front that if Romans 9 can be made to support the assumptions of reformed theology, which are stated quite clearly in Orr's question, then there are two places above all in this chapter where we should see that stated by Paul: in the cases of the men he mentions by name. It's not enough to assume that's what was in Paul's mind, as the reformed do. Let us see if Paul actually SAID so, or if he did not…
    An important aspect that was missed was what chapter 8 was about, which led to the reason why Paul wrote chapters 9-11. So, a recap is needed, for what happened in 8 sets the stage, the proper context, for chapter 9

    Chapter 8:

    • In chapter 8, Paul shifts from his argument from the end of chapter 7, comparing death in Adam and life in Christ and the struggle between the holy law and sin in the believer (vv. 5-7), to the life of no condemnation bought by Christ and realized by the Spirit.
    • He emphasized the gospel of Christ (8:1-4).
    • Then he focused on what it means to walk by the Spirit as opposed to walking by the flesh (8:5-11), which is what we can now do in Christ because he satisfied the law of righteousness (8:4).
    • In verses 9-12, Paul makes use of Trinitarian language, demonstrating the unifying work, yet distinct roles, of the Father, Son, and the Spirit in redemption and sanctification.
    • In 8:13-17 Paul tells us that the Spirit makes known to us through his witness in our lives and in our prayers that we are adopted sons and daughters of God, heirs with Christ, “providing that we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (8:17b)
    • In 8:18-38 Paul shifts into an eschatological focus, demonstrating the eagerness of creation in its awaiting for redemption, as well as we await our new redeemed bodies. But it is the Spirit that guides us and enables us to hope in what we cannot see because we who walk by the Spirit have the Spirit, and the Spirit is God. And through him, we are assured of his love and mercy, and the fulfillment of his promises as we were called to in order that we might be conformed to the image of Christ.
    • Nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God.

    Chapter 8 is probably the key chapter for assurance, showing us what he have as Christians in Christ. What Paul shows that we have as Christians is what prompts the objection that he goes to deal with in Chapter 9.

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

    Paul, as a Jew, is here speaking of Jews as a whole. He longs to see them all come to Christ, as they must do individually if they’re to do it at all, but he’s laying the groundwork for why Israel as a whole was even then being set aside in blind unbelief, as that’s the question (which Paul anticipates) any Jew was bound to ask.

    9:6But not as though the word of God hath come to naught. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel:
    9:7neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
    9:8That 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.
    9:9For this is a word of promise, According to this season will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
    9:10And not only so; but Rebecca also having conceived by one, by our father Isaac--
    9:11for 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,
    9:12it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

    The context here is the adversarial nations these men fathered (a conflict which impacts us even today), for Esau never personally served his brother. If Paul was speaking of the men themselves, the prophecy is false and Paul was not correct. But as a ex-pharisee, Paul knew better.
    Musterion fails to even address the purpose in God’s election, which Paul is trying to demonstrate. In verses 6-13, Paul takes us back to the beginning, to Genesis, to expound on the doctrine of election, demonstrating the wisdom and sovereignty of God, to show the Jews that not all children of Abraham are his offspring. It is through Isaac that his offspring shall be named. Not from but through Isaac shall the offspring be named—there is a difference. In verse 8, Paul says, “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of promise are counted as offspring.” Musterion mentions “adversarial nations,” but Paul is speaking of the children of promise. Those to whom Chapter 8 is speaking to!

    To clarify further, beginning in verse 9, he explains what the promise said.
    He writes, “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,

    though they were not yet born
    and had done nothing either good or bad

    —in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls
    she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    Key Point: It has nothing to do with nations, for that understanding was the mistake that Paul was correcting! The Jews thought of themselves as God’s people, as a nation, according to the flesh, according to the law. However, Paul just made it clear that those who are of promise, to whom “belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the law, the worship, and the promises,” (9:4) were never intended for the nation of Israel; rather, it was for the children of promise through faith, through God’s purpose in those whom he calls. That was the blow that Paul was trying to soften.

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:13 Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.

    Here anticipating another false objection a self-righteous Jew was sure to raise...

    9:14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
    The objection he is preparing to address is the fact that the promises that the Jews (as a people )thought were for them ultimately were only for those who were the children of promise. That is why he is addressing this, to show that God’s Word has not failed. Then he goes into the how it is so . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:15For He saith to Moses,

    I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.

    God's mercy as found in the Gospel is to ALL, without distinction or exception (Calvinism notwithstanding). But that is not Paul's point here.
    Really? Is not the issue that God specifically chose a people for himself—he made a distinction and an exception—for his own purposes (See Deuteronomy 7), and the objection Paul is addressing is that Israel is no longer that distinct chosen people? Rather, Paul is showing them that is those who are of promise, which has now been opened to the Gentiles, that are truly his people? You didn't address Paul’s point in 9:6-8, which you completely failed to take into consideration in Paul’s argument. The argument from 9:13-9:15 Paul is addressing is that, “Is it fair that God has given what ‘we thought was ours’ to Gentiles?” That is why Paul inserts 33:19 in verse 15. God extends his blessing to those whom he decides to. If he wants to have compassion on one group of sinners and not another, then it is totally up to his sovereign and perfect will as Creator to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    Now Paul begins to shift to other examples of God’s sovereign use of nations.

    9:16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.

    Esau came to claim his father’s blessing and ran to help secure it (by fetching food), then bawled and begged his father to change his mind re: Jacob, but it made no difference. In the purposes of God, the people Esau would father in his rejection were necessary. Esau, at least, attempted to repent. Israel did not; they didn't see the need. Instead they were seeking righteousness by faithless works of the Law (Rom 9:32).

    But did Paul make either Jacob’s or Esau’s soul salvation in Christ the issue here?

    NO.
    How is 9:16 speaking about nations? Because you failed to pick up the grounding context in 9:6-8, you are missing the whole point. 9:16 is a supportive statement to 9:15; its really a recapitulation, a Hebraic parallelism if you will, to demonstrate that God gives his blessing to those he so chooses. So, those who he gives his Spirit to as we saw in Romans 8, he has done so according to his grace, not by man’s will or desire to so. John 1:12-13 echoes this same point: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    Those who are born of God, those who are of the children of promise, did not become part of that family by their own will or working, nor through flesh and blood, but by God’s sovereign election into his family.

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:17For 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.

    Pharaoh represented all of Egypt. His refusal to obey -- remember, he hardened himself before God did -- and possibly God literally "raising him up" [healing him from the plagues] sealed the fate and made an example of the whole nation.
    I think that you, and Desert Reign as well, have decided to re-interpret God’s raising up Pharaoh to fit your presuppositions. After all, if the idea or context was truly to keep Pharaoh alive or heal him from the plagues, why is it not translated that way to make it so apparent on the surface that that is what was meant by the author? Furthermore, in the context of Romans 9, the two previous texts refer to God’s sovereign purposes in extending mercy and hardening whom he will, emphasizing that those who are the children of promise are because of God, not by man’s will or works. Your use of it seems to be out-of-context, for taking the words at the face value as written, supports 9:15-16. Your positions derails Paul’s argument in justifying God’s actions in not extending his mercy to Israel in Jesus Christ; rather, as he says later on, God puts a partial hardening over them until the fullness of the Gentiles are grafted in (11:25).

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:18So then He hath mercy on whom He will, and whom He will be hardeneth.

    God offered mercy to Pharaoh by giving him repeated opportunities to obey. When he refused and hardened himself against God, God hardened him even more to make an example of Egypt for all time.

    But did Paul make Pharaoh’s soul salvation the issue here?

    Again, NO.
    To my point again. 9:18 is a continued argument from 9:15-17—God extends mercy to whom he will (in this case those who have received the blessings of salvation in chapter 8, through Jesus Christ) and hardens those whom he will (the Jews that delivered Christ over to be crucified and ultimately those he has hardened). Paul speaks of this as well in 2 Corinthians 3:14, “But their minds were hardened [the Jews]. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.” Paul’s point was not to discuss Pharaoh’s salvation; rather, it was show that those who are saved are only because God has had mercy on those he chooses; mercy being in revealing his Son to them, calling them unto salvation. While you are making reference to Pharaoh’s hardening of his own heart, the emphasis Paul is making is God’s action of hardening a heart according to his will and purposes. Why else would Paul choose to emphasize that aspect?

    Furthermore, when you look at the entire context of the OT, where do you see much reference to salvation at all for anyone, specifically as we understand it in the NT? You really don’t get a more developed understanding of it until the NT. Again, as I have mentioned to Desert Reign, the NT is the ultimate context to see the OT. That was my point with the reference to Genesis 3:15 and who the seed of the woman truly is and to add to that look at marriage. We have a truly complete and richer understanding of Genesis 2:23 because of Paul’s mystery in Ephesians 5:31-32. My point is that we could not have truly understood Genesis 3:15 and Genesis 2:23. So, you choice to look over certain texts and remain in the OT context is causing you to miss Paul’s point.

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth He still find fault? For who withstandeth His will?

    This is Paul anticipating the dishonest objection of a self-righteous Jew (“O man,” Romans 2:1) who now sees Paul’s point: just as God justifiably made examples of faithless Esau, who contemptuously sold his birthright for stew, and unrepentant Pharaoh, who hardened himself against God before God did so, Israel nationally was now coming under impending judgment for rejecting Christ, as the sign of tongues was warning them on top of the warnings they’d received from Peter and Stephen.

    What does 9:19 have anything to do with your point? The issue that Paul has to address now, after giving his arguments in 9:15-18 is “If that is the case with Pharaoh, then how can God find fault? Who then can resist God’s will if it is him alone who gives mercy to whom he wills and hardens whom he wills?” If God is the one who makes the choice, how can he fault those who disobeyed him? It goes back to your question about how can God judge those who cannot believe, and originally referred you to read Romans 9-11. That is the objection that Paul has to deal with now.

    In your response you are forcing a point into the text that doesn’t belong there. Did Paul refer to ‘faithless’ Esau? Did Paul’s purpose in mentioning Esau have anything to do with his failings? No. Paul’s point of mentioning Jacob and Esau was to show that not all of Israel is Israel!

    9:6But not as though the word of God hath come to naught. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel:
    9:7neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
    9:8That 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.

    This is Paul’s context before going into his example of Jacob and Esau, for it shows that he chose Jacob over Esau as the one through whom the line of promise would continue on through. And that though Esau is a by blood a son of Abraham, he is not the one of promise. And as the verse says, in 9:9, God’s choice of Jacob over Esau had no bearing on him doing anything either good or bad; rather, it was on the basis of him who calls. Your reference to faithless Esau has nothing to do with it. You are trying to force a view of nations into the chapter that doesn’t belong.

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:20Nay 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?

    God NOWHERE says this of individuals because NOWHERE does Paul say God makes any individual reject Him, as Reformed theology asserts or implies (depending on which Calvinist you ask). But He has and will again do so with nations. To extend that to individuals is a denial of the Gospel of the grace of God and makes Him a liar. Hence the blasphemy inherent in TULIP.
    And here is his answer to the objection against God’s choice in salvation. Who are we as creatures to question God in his choice of people? Shall we say to God why did you make me this way?

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:21Or 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?

    Absolutely He does! And the vessels Paul has been speaking of are nations.
    Doesn’t the Creator, the Potter, have a right to do what he wants with his own creation? He has made a lump of people and has chosen to use some of this lump for honorable use and another for dishonorable use. Again, because you bi-passed key texts in the beginning you have missed the argument. Paul’s point is that he can do as he pleases, and he doesn’t owe anything to anyone!

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:22What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction:

    God extended more than one chance for Pharaoh to repent. And He was being more than patient with stiffnecked Israel.
    Whoa! You are not dealing with this verse completely. Is not Pharaoh the vessel fitted unto destruction? Is he not the vessel of wrath whom God raised up [go look at the clay analogy in 9:21, a vessel formed for dishonorable use] for his purposes of making his power made known?

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:23and that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He afore prepared unto glory,
    This verse belongs with 9:22. He clearly speaks of vessels of mercy (those whom he elected to receive mercy) which were prepared unto glory. That was the specific purpose God made them for; likewise, the vessels of wrath were specifically made for that purpose. Why? To make his power and glory known to the vessels of wrath prepared for glory.

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post

    9:24us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?
    Paul brings the argument back into perspective with his words in verse 24. He goes back to the promise he first spoke of. He says, “—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” The promise is for those who are the called. The called are not those of the flesh of Israel; they are those called from Israel and from the Gentiles. That is how Abraham would be a blessing to the whole world. If the promise was by birth, by blood, and by works, the blessing to the world would of never been realized. That is the big picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    9:25As He saith also in Hosea,

    I will call that my people, which was not my people;
    And her beloved, that was not beloved.
    9:26And 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.

    9:27And 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:
    9:28for the Lord will execute His word upon the earth, finishing it and cutting it short.

    9:29And, 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 continues with this bigger picture in verses 25 and 26 once again looking back to OT references to support this mystery of God’s sovereign election. These two verses use language that is quite significant to Israel. The OT story of Israel has been one of anticipation in God delivering and renewing them. There is a reoccurring promissory formula speaking of God’s plan for Israel. The prophet Jeremiah writes, “And they shall be my people, and I shall be there God” (32:38). Jeremiah and Ezekiel both mention this three times as they speak of the New Covenant. And in this covenant, the LORD says, through Ezekiel, “They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Israel, while guilty of its syncretistic and idolatrous practices, haughtily separated itself from the pagans, placing emphasis on being a special people, because of its flesh and the Temple.

    Now look at the phrases and terms Paul chooses to employ.

    Paul continues:

    27) And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:

    “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,

    28) for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.”

    29) And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
    we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”

    So, Paul demonstrates that while sons of Israel are many, the sons of the living God will only be but a few. The offspring are the remnant; those who were not once called his people, the Gentiles, he will now call his people. And it was because of the children of promise, those to come through Issac, Jacob, David, and finally through Mary, that God stayed true to his covenant promise with Abraham so that the entire world might be blessed; otherwise, as he repeats from Isaiah, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah” (v.29).

    Recall Matthew 11:24.

    9:30What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, attained to righteousness, the righteousness which is of faith:
    9:31but Israel, following after a law of righteousness did not arrive at law.
    9:32Why? Because not by faith but, as it were, by works.

    Precisely where Israel failed nationally, and the whole point of this chapter.[/quote]

    You failed to even discuss the remnant. Why is that? That is an important point that Paul fleshes out in 10-11. The remnant that will be left, which will be grafted back in, is the key piece in Paul’s demonstrating to show Israel that God’s Word has not failed!

    Quote Originally Posted by musterion View Post
    They stumbled at the stone of stumbling;
    9:33even 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.

    10:1Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved.
    10:2For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
    10:3For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

    Paul desires to see ISRAEL saved but boils it down so there's no mistake and no further possible argument: Where exactly did Israel fail? Answer: They refused to repent nationally. They’d been called to do so by Peter, they were indicted by Stephen, and were now being provoked to jealousy by saved Gentiles, but it wasn't working. We, looking back, NOW know Israel, nationally, never repented, but that had not yet happened as Paul wrote this. At the point he wrote Romans, he still held out hope for the nation that God's signs and wonders through Gentile "dogs" would provoke them to believe. But they didn't. Thus the door closed in Acts 28. That is why we see no references to Israel being dealt with or even acknowledged as Israel in Paul’s later epistles.

    Conclusion

    The context of Romans 9 is God’s dealing with and sovereign using nations, not the salvation from sin of individuals (or damnation of individuals) on the basis of what they do with the Gospel, much less on the basis of the Calvinistic gnosticistic concept of individual election/reprobation. To read such into this chapter is exactly that: the polite word for it is eisegesis. The reality is, adding to the Word of God.
    You made many missteps in that you failed to interact with other key texts in the chapter, only commenting on and stringing together those texts that support your nations theory. My first post, which you did not interact with to show I was wrong, gave a thorough treatment to this chapter, as well as this response to your treatment. If you would like to establish better credibility, I suggest that you interact with my points and refute those points while providing an alternate explanation of those texts while maintaining your nationality only context.

    And lastly, I ain’t no Bible scholar and would recommend that you read and interact with John Piper’s The Justification of God with your nations theory.
    —Romans 11:36


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    Brian, What do you believe "election" to mean? __ how 'bout the "very elect" as well?

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    In Romans 9, is Paul speaking of a temporal, national election, or his he speaking of
    Its speaking of individual salvation within the nation, for the nation wasnt chosen of God, not the physical nation !

    Paul makes a distinction between the physical nation of israel and the election within it right here Rom 11:7

    What then? Israel[nation] hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest[the nation] were blinded

    So there was no national election of the physical nation of israel !
    "... I have my own private opinion that there is no such a thing as
    preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what now-a-days is
    called Calvinism. I have my own ideas, and those I always state boldly. It is
    a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else."

    Charles Spurgeon !

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    Is there a way to modify a thread title after the fact? I did not know it would get cut off like it did.
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    I shall give a few brief pointers on the issue.

    In Romans 9, Paul is finally completing what he began in chapter 3:

    What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
    “That You may be justified in Your words,
    And may overcome when You are judged.”


    I think 'chiefly' is not the best translation. It is 'firstly'. In other words, Paul intends to begin a list of reasons why being Jewish is great. But he only gives one. In Romans 9 he gives several more:

    to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

    But let's go back to Romans 3. What is Paul worried about here? His worry is clearly that his previous teaching about faith nullified anything worthwhile about being Jewish.

    What advantage then has the Jew,

    In other words, it is implied in the teaching about faith that being Jewish is a waste of time. So what is this teaching about faith that makes being Jewish (potentially) a waste of time? The answer is already clear:

    16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

    The phrase 'from faith to faith' could be rendered more idiomatically with 'from beginning to end by faith'. Note that 'everyone who believes' is just the present participle of the verb translated 'faith'. In other words the only requirement of the Gospel is to believe. And by implication, being born Jewish and keeping the law and circumcision and all the traditions and so on are irrelevant to the Gospel. And after a lengthy expansion of the issue of God's righteousness, Paul concludes in 2:11 with

    11 For there is no partiality with God.

    In other words, not only does salvation (on the positive side) not depend on you being Jewish or gentile but God's judgement of wickedness (on the negative side) doesn't depend on being Jewish or gentile either.

    Clearly, if this is the Gospel Paul is preaching, then he needs to come up with a lot of very convincing answers to the many Jews who will be reading him and wondering why they bothered with being Jewish in the first place. It is an imperative question. The Gospel would fail if Paul can't answer it. Well, of course he can, and I am sure that he always knew the answer and certainly recognises the question (But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. 9:6) but the Gospel based on faith cannot be avoided or glossed over just because some of your readers might get upset about it.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; April 9th, 2015 at 08:25 AM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    Is there a way to modify a thread title after the fact? I did not know it would get cut off like it did.
    not if you wait too long to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I shall give a few brief pointers on the issue.

    In Romans 9, Paul is finally completing what he began in chapter 3:

    What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
    “That You may be justified in Your words,
    And may overcome when You are judged.”



    I think 'chiefly' is not the best translation. It is 'firstly'. In other words, Paul intends to begin a list of reasons why being Jewish is great. But he only gives one. In Romans 9 he gives several more:

    to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

    But let's go back to Romans 3. What is Paul worried about here? His worry is clearly that his previous teaching about faith nullified anything worthwhile about being Jewish.

    What advantage then has the Jew,

    In other words, it is implied in the teaching about faith that being Jewish is a waste of time. So what is this teaching about faith that makes being Jewish (potentially) a waste of time? The answer is already clear:

    16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

    The phrase 'from faith to faith' could be rendered more idiomatically with 'from beginning to end by faith'. Note that 'everyone who believes' is just the present participle of the verb translated 'faith'. In other words the only requirement of the Gospel is to believe. And by implication, being born Jewish and keping the law and circumcision and all the traditions and so on are irrelevant to the Gospel. And after a lengthy expansion of the issue of God's righteousness, Paul concludes in 2:11 with

    11 For there is no partiality with God.

    In other words, not only does salvation (on the positive side) not depend on you being Jewish or gentile but God's judgement of wickedness (on the negative side) doesn't depend on being Jewish or gentile either.

    Clearly, if this is the Gospel Paul is preaching, then he needs to come up with a lot of very convincing answers to the many Jews who will be reading him and wondering why they bothered with being Jewish in the first place. It is an imperative question. The Gospel would fail if Paul can't answer it. Well, of course he can, and I am sure that he always knew the answer but the Gospel based on faith cannot be avoided or glossed over just because some of your readers might get upset about it.
    Why is it always taken to be about intitial salvation when discussing the scriptures? Lets move on.

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    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
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    To avoid long posts, I am splitting this up.

    Onwards. Paul begins his answer in chapter 3:

    What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

    But this is not really an answer. It is rather an anti-answer. It is just reinforcing the point that keeping the law did not fulfil God's righteousness. So this answer pointed out the demerits of being Jewish, not the merits of being. It is only in chapter 9 that Paul begins to tackle the question more thoroughly. And along with this question comes another question: given that as a matter of fact most Jews rejected the Gospel, doesn't this make the point of being Jewish all the more useless, so much so as to bring into question God's calling of the Jews in the first place?

    Paul answers this question very categorically:

    The calling of the Jews was not a calling to faith.

    Let me repeat that: the calling of the Jews was not a calling to faith.

    And Paul's argument is that because the calling of the Jews was not a calling to faith, the success of that calling can't be judged on whether x percent of Jews believed the Gospel. If even not one of them believed it would not be a failure because it was not a calling to faith.

    Paul proves this by citing the selection of Jacob over Esau as one of several examples given where the selection was not based on anything good or bad the twins had done. This proves that it was not a calling to faith. Jacob could have turned out to be a thoroughly bad person for the rest of his life and it would not have changed that calling. Jacob would still have been the progenitor of the Israelite nation.

    However, the calling to faith does very much depend on what a person does and that is the difference between the calling of the Jews and the calling of the Gospel. The Gospel depends on us believing and is thus completely impartial as to nationality, sex or social status. This is the only explanation sufficient to justify God in the face of the fact of Israel's falling away.

    A couple of observations. The issue of whether there is an individual or national calling is only incidental to this question. The real issue is that the calling of Israel was a calling determined solely and unilaterally by God to fulfil his plans in history and had nothing to do with eternal salvation, whereas the calling to faith had to be a 2-way operation, requiring faith on the part of the individual. Whether Jacob and Esau were individuals or whether they represented nations is not the issue. The only issue is that God did his calling unilaterally in their case.

    The other is one which arises from Paul's argument: if God called Israel unilaterally, then is this not by definition an unfair act, a racist act? On the contrary, God is entitled to order history to his own ends. Paul makes a clear distinction between the calling by God of Israel and the manipulating of history to fulfil God's purpose independently of anything man could do and the calling by faith which is very much related to man's own will in choosing to receive the Gospel by faith. It is amazing to me how Calvinists manipulate these arguments to say the exact opposite to what Paul himself clearly says when they argue that the calling of faith is exactly the same as the calling of Israel. If this were so, then Paul hasn't answered the question at all: why isn't Israel saved as well? Why did God call Israel and not save them if it was in his power to do so?
    Last edited by Desert Reign; April 10th, 2015 at 12:22 AM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    Is there a way to modify a thread title after the fact? I did not know it would get cut off like it did.
    A moderator can do so, I believe. PM one and give them the rename and link to this thread.
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

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    Over 1500 post club themuzicman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    As stated in another thread, I wanted to make a new thread out of this.

    My original question (title could not hold it all) was posted to Musterion.

    It was: In Romans 9, is Paul speaking of a temporal, national election, or his he speaking of an eternal, personal election unto salvation?
    Technically, neither. Paul is speaking of whether the Word of God has failed with respect to Israel. See vv4-6. Paul lays out all of the things given to Israel, after lamenting that they were not coming to Christ.

    Why is the word of God in question? Because in Romans 8, Paul just promised Christians that nothing could separate them from the love of Christ. So, the question naturally rises about what happened/is happening with Israel.

    And Paul begins by speaking of two groups in Israel, the children of the flesh and children of the promise, and then embarks on several analogies to describe these two groups.

    One area of confusion is the "election" of Jacob over Esau. It IS true that this was an individual election, however, it wasn't an election to eternal life, but rather an election to fulfill covenant by being the connector between Abraham and the nation of Israel. We see other examples where individuals are chosen for particular purposes (Jeremiah, Paul, etc.), but, again, these aren't election to eternal life.

    And this analogy is brought up here for the same purpose. One would expect Esau to be the one through whom the covenant would be fulfilled, being the eldest, but God chose (twice actually, Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau) to fulfill covenant in a way other than expected. And that's the point, here. Everyone expected the New Covenant to be fulfilled in Israel, but God chose in an unexpected manner, blinding most of Israel (John 12:40,cf Isaiah 8), and only drawing a few.

    The remaining analogies speak to God's right to extend compassion or to harden as He chooses (again, applied to the two groups in Israel, and not individuals), and speaks to the objection that those hardened could not overcome the will of God.

    Which brings us to the potter/clay analogy, which comes directly from Jeremiah 18. In Jeremiah 18, God speaks as the potter and of Israel (as a nation) being the clay. Paul's point is that God has now formed two pots from the one lump of clay, one for wrath, another for glory.

    So, Romans 9 isn't about the election of nations or individuals, but rather a beginning of describing how God's word has not failed with respect to Israel, and this is further exposed in Romans 11:1-7, where God saves the remnant. Just as the remnant were saved in Elijah's day, so only a remnant come into the New Covenant in Jesus' day.
    I don't care how systematic your theology is, until you show me how biblical it is.

    2 Tim 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

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