Archive for September, 2010

Romans 9:6b-8 – True Israel

In order to prove his point, Paul next appeals to the national history of Israel – the families of Abraham and Isaac.

6 . . . For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 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.

 In verse 7, Paul writes that “not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring.” He explains what he means by this when he brings Isaac into the equation. Abraham had two sons: Isaac and Ishmael. These two then had sons of their own. However, Paul tells us here that it is only “through Isaac shall [Abraham’s] offspring be named” (9:7b). To be related to Abraham physically does not guarantee that you will be a child of God. The Pharisees believed this to be the case, as seen in their interaction with Jesus in John 8:37-40:

37 “I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” 39 They answered him, “Araham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.”

Finally, Paul tries to explain his point as clearly as possible in verse 8: “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.” God could have done it differently but He is free to do as He wants. The promises and privileges Paul mentioned in the first five verses are for the “children of the promise” but not “children of the flesh.” The “children of the flesh” are physical descendents whom God has not chosen and “children of the promise” are physical descendents whom God has chosen to be beneficiaries of the covenant.


 Romans 9:9-13 – The Promise

What does it mean when Paul talks about “the promise”? Again, he anticipates the question and answer plainly:

9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 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– 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

In the verses above (6-13), Paul points to the three patriarchs of the Jewish faith – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – as examples of God’s election. They became what they were by God’s choice (election).


By Jeff Spry (www.monergism.com)


***This is part of a blog series on the Sovereignty of God.  This topic has been highly mis-understood throughout much of evangelicalism.  Some will say they believe that God is sovereign, yet deny its many implications.  Others will completely deny God’s Sovereignty because of it’s implications.  We hope that you will stick with this extensive study on the Sovereignty of God.  We will be including resources from a variety of Theologians and Authors, that will hopefully be able to answer many of the misnomers and questions that you may have***


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