I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them be- long the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall 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.”
One common argument against the doctrine of predestination is that it leads to a heartless Christian life that is not motivated to do evangelism or love non-Christians. Sadly, in some instances this criticism is deserved. Yet, in Paul’s writings and in his own life, which he gave wholeheartedly to evangelism and church planting, we see a man who believes in both predestination and passionate evangelism.
Here Paul is speaking of Jews who had blessing and instruction from God yet did not come to know and love Jesus as Paul had. Under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, Paul anticipates five questions that people in his day and every day since have asked. The remainder of Romans 9-10 is Paul’s effort to explain each of these questions in succession, which we’ll look at in the next few days.
What does evangelism look like for you? Are you a good missionary in this fallen world?
This is an excerpt from Pastor Mark’s Romans 8-9 commentary Duck Duck Doom. You can get a free e-book copy at realfaith.com or get a physical copy for a gift of any amount during the month of March here.
To find the new, free Romans 6-11 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.