Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
1 I speak the truth in Christ— I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Chapters 9-11 we begin another major section of Romans: The Defense of the Gospel: God’s Faithfulness has not failed.
As we work through the chapters we’ll see Paul talking about Israel’s past, present, and future and how it related to the Gospel.
Remember in Chapter 8 Paul has just told us about God’s glorious provision for all who are in Christ, but now as he moves into Chapter 9, you can feel the distress he has for Israel, God’s own specially chosen and privileged people.
So what brings about this distress? Here are a few things to keep in mind. First, remember that in Paul’s ministry he always started out going to his own people, to the synagogues. Even though he preaches the good news and some Jews receive the truth, many don’t. Instead what he finds is that the Gentiles are responding eagerly to the Gospel—while the Jews are not. How could they refuse to believe in their own promised Messiah? Remember that in his argument he has quoted the Old Testament again and again, especially when it comes to his teaching on justification by faith in the Old Testament promises. So, if these promises are true, then what about the promises that affirmed the Jews as God’s own people? The question many of his readers would have had becomes: is there no place for them in the way God works out history?
As we will see, Paul takes these questions head on in Chapters 9-11. As we work through the chapters we’ll see Paul explain that even though the majority of Jews rejected Jesus, the promises made to them are not null and void but continue to be valid. Paul rejects the possibility that Israel’s denial of the Gospel means that God’s promises have failed and that God is therefore unjust.
Know this as well – Romans 9 is one of the key passages in the Bible on the sovereign election of God. This will be coming up in the next few weeks as well. Chapter 10 sets forth the balancing truth—the responsibility of man—with equal vigor. It should be a fun and challenging few weeks as we work through these chapters.
This week we’ll look at the first five verses… you can think of them as an introduction to the section. Notice too the sincerity with which Paul writes. You can feel the deep emotions he has for his kinsmen.
Today I just wanted to lay the groundwork for the next few weeks. We’ll look specifically at verses 1-5 over the next few days and look for ways to make personal application.
For our application today take some time and just think about the sovereignty of God. Think about the things that are all under His control. In what ways do you find this comforting? Now think about the things that are out of your control. Think about the limits you have personally on exercising true power. Think about how much we really don’t control.
Now ask God to speak to you about your life.
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.