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Romans 9:1-33

Surpassing Victory Through Faith

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • January 21, 2024

Romans is filled with great encouragement to strengthen our faith and our relationship to God. It’s also filled with some of the deepest theological truths in the New Testament. That’s especially true in Romans chapter 9.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Surpassing Victory Through Faith
Romans 9:1-33
January 21, 2024

Romans is filled with great encouragement to strengthen our faith and our relationship to God. It’s also filled with some of the deepest theological truths in the New Testament. That’s especially true in Romans chapter 9. Many books have been written debating the meaning and theological implications of these verses, but the most helpful way to understand this chapter, and frankly all chapters of the Bible, is to understand the book as a whole. That’s why it’s so important to go verse by verse, chapter by chapter through this amazing book.

Chapter by chapter, Paul has been building up to Romans 8, building the case that we really can be victorious. Yes, we live in a broken and evil world, but we do not need to be discouraged or defeated, if God is for us, who can be against us? But we also have this flesh of ours; we were born with it and will die with it, but it must not master over us, we can be victorious because we have God as our Abba, Father and He sends His Holy Spirit to ignite our soul and strengthen us in our walk so we can have life and life abundantly.

The capstone of the entire book of Romans is found in the verses, “In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In other words, God doesn’t just want us to be victorious, He wants us to have surpassing victory.

In Romans 9, Paul begins by expressing his deep sorrow and unceasing grief in his heart because his own brethren, the Israelites, do not have this surpassing victory. They are still stuck with the Law, trying to obtain their own righteousness rather than receiving the righteousness that God gives as a gift. Paul knows all about the frustration of living under the Law, he himself was one of their leaders, a Pharisee trained under the famous Gamaliel.

The Law is no help at all, it doesn’t make a man closer to God and it only makes the flesh worse. Surpassing victory is for those who have faith, who believe God and take Him at His word, and stand on those amazing promises from Romans 8.

Paul then makes the point that it’s always been about faith, even going all the way back to the beginning. God’s promises and purposes are not received by the flesh, they are received by faith. It is a gift from God. That’s how you have surpassing spiritual victory.

I. Receive Promises by Faith

  • Paul has great sorrow and unceasing grief in his heart because the Israelites had so much, and yet they didn’t receive those great promises by faith.
  • Paul’s great sorrow and unceasing grief was so great that he said, “I could wish that I myself were accursed; separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren.” It takes a deep love to wish for something like that.
  • That is the love that Jesus acted upon. There is only one that was separated from God to make way for us. Jesus did it willingly, taking our punishment on Him so that we could receive the gift of restoration to God.
  • Verse 32 – Israel had such great promises, but, “They did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone…”

A. Israel had great promises

  • If Israel could’ve only seen what they had and taken hold of those promises by faith.
  • They had the adoption as sons – he is referring to Israel as a nation.

Exodus 4:22, “Israel is my son, My firstborn.”

Hosea 11:1, 3, When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son… It is I who taught him to walk, I took him in My arms; but they did not know that it was I who healed them.

  • Israel had the glory. The presence of God is seen in His glory. From the beginning, His heart has been for intimacy, for relationship.
  • God walked with Adam in the cool of the evening, what a beautiful picture of that relationship.
  • When Moses was on Mount Sinai in the presence of the Lord, God’s glory was visible on his face. God wanted to reveal His glory, but Israel did not want to draw near.
  • God gave Israel the tabernacle; the Temple, as a place for His glory to dwell, that they might visibly see that He was in their midst.
  • Israel had the covenants, the giving of the Law and the Temple service, and the promises, and from them is the Messiah.
  • All these were unique to Israel, God chose them amongst all the nations of the earth.

Deuteronomy 7:6, The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession.

  • God called this nation as His own to be the beacon and the sign of His Lordship and goodness. A nation kept Holy so the Messiah could in the flesh come from them. Even the temple, the covenants, and the prophecies they received were to prepare the way and point to the Messiah.

B. We have even better promises

  • How tragic that Israel had such amazing promises, but did not receive them by faith. But we have even greater promises; what an even greater tragedy if we do not receive greater promises by faith.

Illus – It’s like bringing your own tuna on crackers…

  • We have received the Spirit of adoption, not as a nation, but as true adopted sons so that each of us can cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)
  • Israel received the glory of God, but we have received a greater glory, a glory that does not fade.

2 Corinthians 3:7-8, If the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory… how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?

  • The glory Moses received faded away, but the glory we receive is inside the soul, the Spirit changing us and giving us a transformed life.
  • We have the joy, the peace that surpasses understanding, and a sure and steadfast hope as an anchor for the soul.
  • But now it is not as a collective, although the church collectively is the bride of Christ. These things are dependent on the individual relationship with God. Because of that relationship through faith, you are then grafted into the body of Christ.
  • We have a better covenant based on better promises.

Hebrews 8:5-6, They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things… But [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

  • We have a better covenant, based on better promises, but the promises are received when we open our hearts, receive our adoption as sons, and then live in relationship with God as our Father.

II. The Promise comes through His Son

  • In verse 6 Paul says, “It is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.”
  • There are many Jews who are convinced that they are saved simply because they are descended from Israel. They are missing the point. The law could not save. It was given to point out the need for a Savior.
  • Everything they received was a shadow pointing to Christ, pointing them towards receiving the gift of grace made available by the Messiah through faith.

Galatians 3:6-7, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.

  • We do not replace the physical nation of Israel, as God still has a purpose for them in the last days, but to be part of God’s kingdom, both Jew and Gentile need to enter in through faith in Jesus the Messiah.

A. A promise must be believed

  • Paul uses several examples to illustrate his point. It is not simply being born from Abraham that makes one a son of Abraham; Isaac was the child God promised and only through Isaac was the promise given.
  • God promised Abraham a son, but he was old and his wife was barren. At first, he tried to accomplish the promise in the flesh, by taking his wife’s maid. The result was Ishmael who became the father of the Arab nations and the Middle East is still bearing the result of Abraham faltering in faith.
  • Finally, 13 years later God came to him again and said that he would have a son through Sarah. As we know, this promise came to fulfillment.
  • The point he is making, is that when we try to be acceptable through our own works, it leads to failure. One cannot draw near to God on your own merit.
  • Blessing comes through the promise of God, taken hold of through faith.
  • Amazingly, Paul applies that story to you and me and says that we, like Isaac, are children of promise. Everyone who chooses to put their faith in Jesus.

Galatians 4:24, 28, Allegorically speaking these women are two covenants… Hagar is Mount Sinai… And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.

  • What is Sinai? It was where they received the law. Trying to through works be acceptable, like Abraham did, trying to do his own thing, make his own plan to get God’s promise fulfilled with Hagar.
  • Isaac is the son of Promise. It was received through faith, a miracle, not by their own power. This is a type of us, receiving God’s grace, being brought into His household by us placing our faith in Him.

Illus – Jesus used the example that He is the vine, and we are the branches. A branch needs to be grafted in by the gardener. When we place our faith in Christ, God grafts us into the vine.

  • Then Paul brings up Rebekah when she conceived twins by Isaac, but before the twins were born she received the promise, “The older will serve the younger.”
  • Here again, God chooses the son through whom the promise will be given according to His good pleasure, that His purpose might stand. Not through the traditional bloodline blessing. Showing it is not through your bloodline or works, but through faith.

App – Here’s the application; the promise of eternal life comes only through God’s Son. The Jews vehemently object, they want the promise through the Law that they might be rewarded for their efforts in the flesh.

Acts 4:11-12, “He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

  • It’s not politically correct today to suggest that there is no other name by which we must be saved; many stumble over the rock of offense.

B. Don’t harden your heart

  • Paul then quotes from the book of Exodus, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy…” Then in verse 16, “It does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”
  • In other words, a person may object to God’s way of salvation all they want, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to whether you accept God’s offer of mercy or reject it.
  • It would have been futile to run to God, trying by your own works to enter in if God did not make the way through Christ and call you in. He was and is the initial initiator. He made the way through Christ. Now, if we run to Him, we find His arms open wide. But one can also choose to run from Him.
  • Paul then uses the example of Pharaoh who hardened his heart against God over and over; and then when he became afraid, he began to waver, but God is not deceived, He knew Pharaoh’s heart, so He stiffened Pharaoh’s hard heart.
  • Note though, that Pharoah kept hardening his heart, over and over rejecting the God of heaven and earth, and then God gave him over to his desire and hardness of heart.
  • It shows the danger of having a hard heart against God.

Acts 7:51, “You men are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears and always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.”

Hebrews 3:15, while it is said, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.”

  • Some live with an entitlement attitude. As if saying, ‘God needs me. God can run after me. I am doing Him a favor to give Him a chance. I will decide if and when I give Him an audience.’
  • It is the attitude of a rebellious generation. And because God is long-suffering, people think it is a weakness. It is time that the truth is restored. God loves you, but He does not need you. He is not dependent on you, you are dependent on Him.

Illus – I saw a documentary the other day on when the US soldiers reached the Nazi concentration camps at the end of WWII. The prisoners were emaciated, starving, filthy broken, and caged like animals without hope. When they were freed by the soldiers, their gratitude was immense. They were saved from certain destruction and death. You didn’t find any of them shunning the soldiers, standing there pridefully, telling them to leave. Saying, “How do you dare come into the camp. Who do you think you are? Are you trying to force me to leave? I will come at my own time. Leave me alone”.

  • That would be absurd. Yet, that is how many people treat God. They sit in their own filth, oblivious of how broken they are and how much they need a Savior.
  • God has better in store. God made you for honorable use (verse 21) and desires to make known to you the riches of His glory (verse 23).
  • That is, if you receive His offer of mercy by faith.
  • If we understand that He is the highest authority, He ultimately has the right over our lives, He made us, and purposed us for His good pleasure, not the other way around, we understand our position in relation to Him.
  • But don’t stumble over the rock of offense. Don’t resist His hand on your neck, don’t kick against the goads.
  • He is God. Surrender to His will and His plan. Whatever plan He has for you and created you for. He has a purpose. That is where you will find true peace.

Illus – Imagine an appliance having emotions and a will. It would be at its happiest doing what it is supposed to do. Following the purpose and plan of its creator. A fridge can decide, ‘I want to see the world. I want to be a boat anchor.’  It might look glamorous to sit on the front deck of a ship, taking in the scenery, but it will quickly find nobody wants to use it as an anchor. It has no angles to keep the boat secure. It is not made from the right materials. The design is all wrong. Then it starts to feel rejected. It can say, “I will jump in the water and show them! I will define myself. I will be master of my own destiny.”. All the electronics short out. The pressure crushes its sides.  Death to the refrigerator. Its best life is purring away in a kitchen, doing what it was supposed to do.

  • The wonderful thing is that in the center of His plan is where you find His goodness. Receiving salvation and purpose, surrendering to Him is where you find true peace. Receiving this gift from God with gratitude is where you find true fulfillment. That is where you experience the surpassing victory in Christ.

Romans 9:1-33    NASB

1I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. 25 As He says also in Hosea,

“I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
26 And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; 28 for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” 29 And just as Isaiah foretold,

Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity,
We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written,

Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”


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