1-3: Paul expresses the deep sorrow he has for his fellow Jews who are not saved. He shares his painful desire to give his salvation to them, though no one but Jesus can take the penalty of God’s wrath for us. Paul is clearly heartbroken for his kinsmen who do not know Christ.
4-5: His fellow Israelites were God’s originally adopted people through which God made covenants with, revealed the law to, and fulfilled promises through. To them belong the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Because of this, the fact that some many Jews were rejecting Christ caused Paul such deep pain.
Question: God has done unbelievably much for Israel throughout their history, and yet they are turning their backs on Christ. Paul is clearly quite devastated by their lack of faith in Christ. Does this convict you to care more for those in your life who do not know Christ? It’s easy to simply not think, or not want to think about it. Who are some people in your life you desire to see come to Christ?
6-8: God never promised that all of Abraham’s children (the Jews) would come to saving faith. It is not merely all those who are children of Abraham, but the ones whom God has chosen that are children of God.
9-13: Recounting the story of Abraham and Sarah and Isaac in Rebekah, Paul is showing that God chose to work through them and their offspring. Not because of works but because of him who calls. God choses to work how he pleases, and our salvation is by his mercy and not our own efforts.
9:14-16: Is God unjust by choosing Jacob over Esau (verse 13), or in our context, when in comes to who will be saved? Since it depends not on human will or exertion but, on God, who has mercy. This means salvation rests on God’s mercy alone, not on anything we do.
9:17-18: Using the story of Pharaoh during Israel’s exodus from Egypt, we see that God is sovereign over all that happens and can use evil for his good.
Question: It is natural to think God is unfair for having mercy on those he choses to have mercy when it is clear not everyone will be saved (because not every trusts in Jesus). And it is unfair (luckily for us) because the reality is that no one deserves to be saved at all. This passage should push us to pray for God’s mercies on those we know who do not follow him. How can you be more intentional about praying for and reaching out to those people you want to see follow Jesus?
19-21: In the end, as finite beings, we are not in much of a place to tell God (an infinite being) what is right and how he should act. This does not mean we cannot have questions, but it shows us that we can either trust in our finite selves, or an infinite God.
22-24: God is patient and enduring with sinners. However, his wrath and power will ultimately be made known. How much more precious will it be for God to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of his mercy when we understand God’s wrath is what we deserve? This shows us the grace and love God has given us in Christ, for God does not owe any of us salvation.
25-29: Only those who trust in Jesus will be saved. To argue that one day God will eventually forgive everyone and that everyone will experience heaven is completely unbiblical. Otherwise Jesus would have ultimately died for nothing. This is why we must urgently pray for and share Jesus with others.
Question: Romans 9 shows us the mercy God us given to us, though it is completely undeserved on our part. To call God unfair for not saving everyone regardless or whether or not they pay him any mind is to incorrectly assume all of us are good and unless we do something we personally deem as awful, deserve to be saved. The Bible shows us that God is perfect and holy and we are not, therefore unless we are perfect, we do not deserve to be saved. If you follow Jesus, God has saved you due to nothing you have done and from the wrath you actually deserve. How does this cause you to be even more thankful for his grace and mercy?