Christian Life has 2 dimensions:

Faith in God

Love towards Men sum of the Ten Commandments

  1. Faith is an essential element in the Christian life:
  2. Without faith, it is impossible to please God –

He 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

  1. The Christian is saved by faith - Ep 2:8-9
  2. The Christian’s faith is going to produce good works,

Ephesians 2:10 We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”

  1. The Christian is to walk (live) by faith - 2Co 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight
  2. The Christian is to show faith out of love for God

Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

  1. Whatever we do apart from faith or against our conscience is described as sin

Ro 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. Explain

  1. It is important to realize, that there are different kinds of faith, but only one that is true "saving faith"
  2. In James 2:14-26, we find James discussing the different three kinds of faith, with an emphasis upon that faith which will save the soul

v14 If someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can this faith save him? is the key verse

James deals with Liberalism – Saved and can live any way you want to

Paul Deals with Legalism – Can be saved by works

Works are the proof of Salvation, not the path of Salvation

  1. DEAD FAITH (14-17)

   V15-16 Substitutes words for deeds (consider James' example)

  1. People with this kind of faith:

            1) Know the correct vocabulary for prayer and principles

            2) Can even quote the right verses from the Bible

  1. But their "walk" does not measure up to their "talk"!
  2. Is only an INTELLECTUAL faith
  3. In one's mind, he or she knows the way to get saved
  4. But they have never really submitted themselves to God and trusted in Jesus for salvation
  5. They know the right "words", but they do not back up their words with their "works"!
  7. NO! Three times in this passage, James emphasizes that "faith without works is dead" –

 James 2:17, 20, 26 – Uses three different examples of dead faith - No works, false compassion, shallow conviction

  1. Any declaration of faith that does not result in a changed life and good works is a false

declaration:  A DEAD FAITH!

  1. Dead faith is counterfeit faith and lulls the person into a false confidence of eternal life


  1. We do, if our life does not measure up to our TALK!
  2. We do, if our WORKS do not measure up to our WORDS!

Mt 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. [We need to beware of mere mental faith.

2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1Jo 3:17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.

As Warren Wiersbe said, “No one can come to Christ by faith and remain the same, any more than he can come into contact with a 220-volt wire and remain the same."

1Jn 5:12-13 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

  1. v18-19 DEMONIC FAITH shallow conviction


  1. They believe in God
  2. They even believe in the deity or divine nature of Christ

Mk 3:11-12 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, "You are the Son of God." 12 But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.

  1. They also believe in the existence of hell

Lk 8:31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.

  1. They believe Jesus will be the Judge! - Mt 8:28-29 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?"

V19 The demons "believe and tremble")they tremble out of fear of God, not respect

  2. NO! A person can be educated in his mind and even stirred in his heart and still be lost forever!
  3. True saving faith involves something more, something that can be seen and recognized: a changed life! (cf. Ja 2:18)
  4. Being a Christian involves repentance, trusting Christ and living for Christ!
  5. You first RECEIVE the life of Christ

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. The Spirit of Christ is the Holy Spirit

  1. Then you REVEAL the life of Christ living in you
  2. Do we have the same kind of faith as the demons?
  3. We do, if our service to God does not go beyond...
  4. Intellectually clinging to the right beliefs
  5. Emotional experiences while attending services



James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

  1.  Faith shows love v8-11


The “royal law” was given in Leviticus 19:18 and affirmed by Christ (Matt. 22:39): Love your neighbor as yourself. The law is royal or regal (basilikon, from basileus, “king”) because it is decreed by the King of kings, is fit for a king, and is considered the king of laws. The phrase reflects the Latin lex regia known throughout the Roman Empire. Obedience to this law, nonpreferential love, is the answer to the evident disobedience to God’s Law, prejudicial favoritism.[1]

Which is "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" is quoted from Leviticus 19:18 and is the most often quoted OT command (8 times in the NT) 3 in Mt alone

  This is one of the most fundamental laws that God has ever given!

  1. As proclaimed by Christ - Mt 22:36-40
  2. As taught by Paul - Ro 13:8-10

.Who is my neighbor: all people whom I come in contact with and have a chance to help spiritually or contribute to their well being.

Phil 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

V9 Showing partiality is sin (to miss the mark) Means if you keep on showing partiality the verb tense is a continuing action

and are convicted by the law as transgressors. A willful breaking of the law

 V10 And, as emphasized by James, by breaking one law, we become guilty of ALL the law!

The Law consists of Ten Commandments and God gave us the Law

To be a lawbreaker one does not have to violate all the laws, but he must keep all the law or be perfect to be saved

Ga 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."

 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them." 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 V11 To show partiality is to make one as guilty as if they committed adultery or murder!

 This illustrates just how terrible any sin is!

2.  Faith will be judged v12-13

This refers to the law of Christ, or the gospel, that sets us free to obey God

But if we: Apply man-made restrictions upon others like showing partiality

Gal 5:13-14 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

  1. Or If We Don’t show mercy toward others, then NO MERCY will be shown toward us!

Mt 6:14-15 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. This is an intentional act of not forgiving.

Prov 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22 For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the LORD will reward you.

Mt 5 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy

Most likely means they will end up in hell with no mercy being shown since they have never been saved.

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Mercy triumphs over judgment. Based on verse above.


  1. In view of all these things remember James says;

Don’t show partiality

Don’t judge others

Honor the poor and all others

Love your neighbors as yourself

Be forgiving and show mercy by doing so

Fellow brothers in Christ, we serve A GLORIOUS LORD, we serve for His glory; may we NEVER allow the sin of partiality, bias, prejudice, or racism to taint that wonderful glory in any way!

 Lewis Smedes says we put labels on people the way designers sew labels on clothes. And then we let those labels tell us what people are and what they are worth.

Lets honor Jesus Christ  this season by our actions

Now a concluding word for the NON-Christian:

   1) Notice that in our text James speaks of:

  1. The terribleness of even one sin (2:10) Sin in one point, guilty of all

DL Moody compared God’s law to a chain of 10 links. If all 10 links break the man falls to his doom, if 5 break he falls to his doom, if any one of the ten fall the man falls to his doom just the same

  1. b) The fact of judgment (2:12)

   2) Won't you accept the mercy God offers to you in the gospel of His Son Jesus Christ?

Accept His mercy in obedience to the gospel today!

Acts 3:19  "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord


In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India.

So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. When he entered the sanctuary, however, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested that he go worship with his own people. Gandhi left the church and never returned. “If Christians have caste differences also,” he said, “I might as well remain a Hindu.”

That usher’s prejudice not only betrayed Jesus but also turned a person away from trusting Him as Savior.

Our Daily Bread, March 6, 1994



James 2:1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?


 Partiality is being intolerant, prejudiced, or racist it literally means to lay hold of one’s face or to judge by appearances

In the first century, A.D., people were either rich or poor, slaves or free, Jew or Gentile, Greek or barbarian However, part of the good news of the gospel was that in Christ Jesus social barriers were removed. As Paul wrote in.

Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

But it took a while for this truth to sink into the hearts of those who were Christians; even the apostle Peter had to be told this truth through a vision and then a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit

Ac 10:34-36 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 "But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 "The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ----He is Lord of all----

From the second chapter of the epistle of James, apparently showing partiality was still being practiced and its sinfulness needed to be pointed out

It’s a lot like today, we tend to dislike anything that doesn’t look like us, dress like us, act like us or live the same way we do.

The Motion Picture Association of America gave the Billy Graham film the Prodigal a PG rating because they said no one under teen age should be exposed to Christianity without their parents’ consent.  They can get abortions without parental consent, but not learn about Christ.

Discrimination is based on two false ideas

  1. Prejudice 1-7
  2. Presumption 8-13

Presumption 1 - Discrimination is not sin

Presumption 2 - Discrimination is not significant

Presumption 3 - Discrimination is not serious

We know from other scriptures that Jewish Christians often showed partiality to the Gentiles which included the hated Samaritans

But here the problem was one of showing partiality between the rich and poor


  1. By showing partiality between rich and poor by giving preferential treatment to people based upon their clothing or money
  2. By showing partiality between people of different races
  3. By despising people because of handicaps or looks
  4. By not allowing people whose past was bad(drugs, prostitute, crimes etc.) to live that down and not having anything to do with them
  5. Kosovo – Serbs and Croatians – Rada
  6. Blacks - light skinned vs dark skinned

1 Sam 16:6 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, "Surely the LORD'S anointed is before Him." 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Psalms 139:21-22 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

We need to hate the sin and love the sinner

Godly hatred is marked by a brokenhearted grieving over the condition of the sinner.

[Sadly, the sin of partiality is probably just as common if not more so than it was in the days when James wrote his epistle!


  1. Faith does not show partiality v1-3


Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,

As Christians our goal is to imitate Christ

Lk 6:40  "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

   people may believe this is what Christ is like or teaches

Want to trust in the false glory of riches rather than God’s true Glory

  1. Faith does not Judge v4-7
  2. v4 We become judges with evil thoughts…better translated judges with evil intentions. The real sin of this passage is the way we judge people based on appearance.

One day we will be judged by our words, our actions, and our attitudes.

God has always hated unjust judges and Jesus Himself warned about the dangers of judging

Mt 7:1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.

Mt 7:12 "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

V5 Both then and today God has chosen to honor the poor

If we judge against the poor due to our prejudice against them, we will find ourselves fighting against God!

Ps 109:31 For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, To save him from those who condemn him.

The gospel was proclaimed to the poor

Lk 7:22 Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.

The majority of those who responded were from among the poor

1 Co 1:26-29 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.


  1. The rich were doing this to the Christians in James' day and might be the ones most likely to do it in this time since they have the resources to do it.



James 1:24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

V-24 Hearer and not a doer, You are like a man who after looking in mirror soon forgets what he looked like

"He glanced at himself and off he has gone and straightway forgot  what sort of a man he was". The tenses present a vivid and lifelike picture of the careless listener to preaching (Christ's wayside hearer).

Compare Luke 12:24, 27; Heb. 3:1. So that the contrast is not between a hasty look and a careful contemplation (ver. 25, looketh). It is not mere careless hearing of the word, which James rebukes, but the neglect to carry into practice what is heard. One may be an attentive and critical hearer of the word, yet not a doer.[1]

Lu 6:47 "Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:

You need to apply what you heard to your life,

If God convicts you of something, you need to do it.

Ro 7:9 "I was alive without the law; that is, I took all to be right with me, and thought myself not only clean, but, compared with the generality of the world, beautiful too; but when the commandment came, when the glass of the law was set before me, then sin revived, and I died--then I saw my spots and deformities, and discovered that amiss in myself which before I was not aware of; and such was the power of the law, and of sin, that I then perceived myself in a state of death and condemnation."

2Co 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

V25 Blessed is the man – Psalm 1

One who looks into(intense examination)

 The perfect law of liberty and continues in it...

Joh 13:16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

The Gospel is a law of liberty it frees us from sin and frees us to do the will of God

The saved man delights to do the will of God

John 8:36 "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

The ceremonial sacrifices a yoke of bondage

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

"Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

The Bible is "perfect" because it is inerrant. It contains no factual errors or misrepresentations. It perfectly reveals the will of God for man. It will not allow for any distortions of reality. It will not allow us to fool ourselves into thinking that we are better than we are.

"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple" (Psalm 19:7).

Liberty and license are different. Biblical liberty is the freedom to live within the principles of God. License gives free rein to the flesh.

"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!" (Galatians 5:13-15).

  • Is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work

It is one thing to have an extensive knowledge of the Bible but it is another to expansively apply it to experience.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

  • Will be blessed in what he does

I believe it Refers back to verse 12 blessed is the man who overcomes

Matthew 5:3-12 The Beatitudes

  1. Be Pure v26-27

V26 If you think you're religious, shows that it refers to the external observances of public worship, such as church attendance, almsgiving, prayer, fasting (Mt 6:1-18). It is the Pharisaic element in Christian worship

A religious person here is a pious person, someone who is devoted to or worships God. He perceives himself as a godly person.

But do not bridle your tongue Ps 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit.

Ps 39:1 To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David  I said, "I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me."

When we detract from others in order to make ourselves seem superior, we enter into the vanity of religion.

"Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3).

"But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).

1Pe 3:10

Jas 3:12

you deceive only your heart, In verse 17 be not deceived, here deceive not yourself

He plays a trick on himself.

(Jeremiah 17:9) "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it?"

v27. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this... James now shows a genuine Christianity that is "pure" and "undefiled" instead of the formal religion of the previous verse.

Undefiled (ἀμίαντος). See 1 Pet. 1:4. The two adjectives, pure and undefiled, present the positive and negative sides of purity.[1]

  1. To visit orphans and widows in their trouble
  2. To visit (ἐπισκέπτεσθαι). See on Matt. 25:36. James strikes a downright blow here at ministry by proxy, or by mere gifts of money. Pure and undefiled religion demands personal contact with the world’s sorrow: to visit the afflicted, and to visit them in their affliction. [1]

The idea is to oversee orphans and widows in their trouble, "Take responsibility for them."

Helping everyone any way you can is what is meant, not just widows and orphans, although they most of the time are the most needy

Isa 1:16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.

Isa 58:6 "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Joh 14:18 "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Taking care of orphans and widows (conduct) is a duty that lies close to the heart of God (cf. Exod. 22:22-24; Deut. 10:18; Jer. 5:28; Ezek. 22:7; Zech. 7:10). Yet many who professed to love Him neglected it (Ps. 68:5; Eccles. 4:1; Mark 12:40)

  1. To keep oneself unspotted from the world

"to keep on keeping oneself un-specked from the world" (a world, kosmos, full of dirt and slime that dirties the best of men).

We need to stay away from things we know are wrong but the world says is okay.

  1. Stay away from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

Deut:8:3 Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

We are given Spiritual Strength and Power by trusting in Jesus Christ and feasting on His Word

We need to read, study, and memorize the Word

The Word will give you

1. Deliverance from sin

  1. Victory over Satan
  2. Spiritual prosperity
  3. Personal Guidance
  4. Help for Others


"To summarize, vv. 22-27 insist that a person's religion must consist of more than superficial acts. It is not enough to listen to the statement of spiritual truth (vv. 22-25), nor is it sufficient to engage in formal religious activity (v. 26). The person whose religious experience is genuine will put

spiritual truth into practice, and his life will be marked by love for others and holiness before God."85

 If you died today, do you know for sure you would go to heaven?

If God asked you why should I let you in My heaven what would you say

Can you say that you know your faith is real?

What are you trusting in to get you to heaven?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Acts 3:19  "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,




James 1:19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

 James has told us in verses 1:1-12 that he is a willing slave to God and the Lord Jesus Christ. He has told us that we will fall into trials and that we should count it all joy because of the reasons for trials, the results of our trials, that we can count on God in our trials and when we have overcome trials, we will receive eternal life. Because if we depend on God in trials he will sustain us and we will not only make it through the trials but also be better people because of them. Instead of being VICTIMS, we can become VICTORS In verses 13-18 he tells us that God allows trials and Satan causes temptation, but when we are drawn away by our own desires, it causes sin and sin causes physical death. James says that God is creator and giver of every good thing and that God never changes. God saved us by his word as a promise of the future glory we will have in the new heaven and new earth. Based on these wonderful things, James says how then ought we to live our lives if we are Christians!

1:17-18. The solution for temptation is to be found in a close relationship with the Father and a constant response to His Word. One must rest in the unchangeable Lord of light and rely on His life-giving “Word of truth” (cf. Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:15).[1]. In stark contrast with the morbid scene of death that descends from unbridled lust is the bright scene of new life that emanates from the Word of truth (v. 18; of Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:5). The father of darkness—Satan (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13)—generates the offspring of sin and death. The Father of the heavenly lights (i.e., God, who created the starry universe) gives salvation and life and is unchanging. [1] V18 - Ac 17:28 "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'

What do I have - v17-18, What do I need - v19-20, and how do I get there - v21-27

It is implanted; divinely given, in contrast with something acquired by study-Compare Matt. 13:19, “the word of the kingdom — sown in his heart.” Grafted or graffed is expressed by a peculiar word, employed by Paul only, ἐγκεντορίζω, from κέντρον, a sharp point, thus emphasizing the fact of the incision required in grafting. See Rom. 11:17, 19, 23, 24.[1]

V-19 So then my beloved brethren

  1. Be Disciplined v19-21

Go back to verse 4- let patience have it’s perfect work

Be patient not letting passions control you

An angry and hasty spirit is soon provoked to wrong things

be ready to hear and consider what God's word teaches

We should be swift to hear reason and truth on all sides, and be slow to speak any thing that should prevent this: and, when we do speak, there should be nothing of wrath; for a soft answer turns away wrath. 

We need to learn to be more disciplined and we will if we belong to Jesus Christ

  1. v-19 Let everyone be swift to hear

They did not have the whole word of God written down like we do today, where it is available to everyone. It was not until the 14th century John Wycliffe in England had the whole Bible translated into English for the common man, but copies were still made by hand. Then Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440 so that Bibles were able to be mass produced for the common man to have and read for the first time in 1456. It was actually declared illegal by the council of Toulouse in 1229 AD for anyone but a church leader to have a copy of the Bible.

We need to be swift to

  • Hear the word of truth and apply it to our lives

1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

"Whereas men often pretend zeal for God and his glory, in their heat and passion, let them know that God needs not the passions of any man; his cause is better served by mildness and meekness than by wrath and fury."

Solomon says, The words of the wise are heard in quiet, more than the cry of him that rules among fools, Ec 9:17.

  • What God says about trials and temptations.. don’t blame him

James1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

  • In relationship to Christian disputes

Open our hearts and our ears to hear what God says to us

  • Slow to speak..Hear others out, meditate on the word before you decide that you know everything the word says

Pr 10:19; 14:7; 16:32; 17:27; Ec 5:1-2; 7:9

Mark 4 soils, had no root in themselves – Implanted word

  • Slow to wrath

Don’t get angry with others when they treat you bad, admonish you or especially when they preach the word. They are only speaking what God has laid on their heart and what is in the bible

Luke 4:28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.

Don’t get angry with God

V20 For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God

Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.

"Give room for the wrath" of God instead of taking vengeance in your own hands.

V21. What to lay aside, and what to receive

  • Lay aside all filthiness (pride, vanity, wrath, and evil speaking) and overflow of wickedness (malice is ill will towards someone or the desire to injure them) malicious disposition toward one’s neighbor.
  • filthiness speaks of taking off a filthy garment

metaphor of removing clothing as in Ro 13:12; Col 3:8; Eph 4:22,25; 1Pe 2:1

We are called upon to suppress other corrupt affections, as well as rash anger: Lay aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, Jas 1:21. The word here translated filthiness signifies those lusts which have the greatest wickedness and sensuality in them; and the words rendered superfluity of naughtiness may be understood of the overflowings of malice or any other spiritual wickedness. Hereby we are taught, as Christians, to watch against, and lay aside, not only those more gross and fleshly dispositions and affections which denominate a person filthy, but all the disorders of a corrupt heart, which would prejudice it against the word and ways of God.


  1. Sin is a defiling thing; it is called filthiness itself.
  2. There is abundance of that which is evil in us, to be watched against; there is superfluity of naughtiness.
  3. It is not enough to restrain evil affections, but they must be cast from us, or laid apart. Isa 30:22, Thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say, Get you hence.
  4. This must extend not only to outward sins, and greater abominations, but to all sin of thought and affection as well as speech and practice; --all filthiness, every thing that is corrupt and sinful.
  5. Observe, from the foregoing parts of this chapter, the laying aside of all filthiness is what a time of temptation and affliction calls for, and is necessary to the avoiding of error, and the right receiving and improving of the word of truth: for,
  • Receive or welcome with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls

We need to be meek and mild

Psalms 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Mt 15:13 But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.

Which is able to save (τὸν δυνάμενον σῶσαι) Compare Rom. 1:16, “the power of God unto salvation.”[1]

  1. Be Doers (22-25) Rather, "But keep on becoming

v22 Be doers of the word, and not hearers only

Jas 4:11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Mt 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

1Jo 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.

Ro 2:13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified

  • Otherwise you deceive yourselves

Our Faith is shown by how we treat others

An unknown author captured eloquently the way in which we so religiously fall short of Christ’s demand of service for others:

I was hungry and you formed a humanities club and discussed my hunger.
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release.
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so holy, so close to God.
But I’m still very hungry and lonely and cold.




God allows trials in order to strengthen our faith and mature us

Temptation comes from satan to cause us to sin

God tests us to bring out the good

Luke 22:31-32  And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32  "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

Satan tempts us to bring out the bad and embarrass God

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

The mission of satan is to Kill, steal, and destroy

Read 1 Whatever Happened to Sin by Karl Menninger

  1. V-13 Who is the author of temptation

Temptation is Desire + Opportunity

God cannot be tempted because he is Holy

  • .. look at Job. He lost his children, livestock, servants and his health
  • God allowed this to happen, he even brought the subject up of Job and his uprightness
  • This was a trial from God and a temptation from satan

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

6-12 Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." 8 then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" 9 So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? 10  "Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11  "But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" 12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

  1. What causes us to sin v 14-16

v-14 His own desires

Who is tempted? Every man......Noah's drunkeness, Abraham lied, David's sin, Peter's denial

Benjamin Franklin said It is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it.

A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:

  1. Materialism.
  2. 2. Pride.
  3. Self-centeredness.
  4. Laziness.
  5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness.
  6. (Tie) Sexual lust.
  7. Envy.
  8. Gluttony.
  9. Lying.

Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when they had neglected their time with God (81 percent) and when they were physically tired (57 percent). Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).

Discipleship Journal, November / December, 1992.

Why is he tempted?

Holiness consists of two parts:

Romans 12:9 Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

So sin consists of two parts: we are drawn away and enticed

Sin is Desire + Opportunity + Action

  • Drawn away by his own desires or craving.
  • Drawn away pictures fishing.. the word means to be hooked like a fish
  • Enticed is to catch fish by bait or to hunt with snares
  • Sin is the union of the will with lust
  • Believe me satan and his demons watch us every minute and they know all our weaknesses and exactly when and how to tempt us

1Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

  • Who' s fault is it when we sin...ours

2corinth 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

  • God told Cain that sin crouches at your door

Adam- Gen 3:12 Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." Blamed the woman and ultimately God

Eve - Gen 3:13 And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." And the serpent did not have a leg to stand on.

Job's response     Job 1:20-22, Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD." 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

Job 2:10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

V-15 Satan gives us a thought, then we act on it if we dwell on it

  • The desire gets the best of us when we continue to think about the thing which we are tempted by
  • John Gill says of this: instead of resisting and rejecting the motion made, he admits of it, and receives it,  and cherishes it in his mind; he dallies and plays with it; he dwells upon it in his thoughts,  and hides it under his tongue,  and in his heart,  as a sweet morsel,  and forsakes it not,  but contrives ways and means how to bring it about; and this is lust's conceiving.
  • 2Co 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

When desire has conceived it gives birth to sin.. this is the picture of childbirth

  • Sin exists just as an egg in the woman, when it is dwelt on then it grows and grows until fullgrown or complete
  • Sin must be stopped at the beginning, the first thought we have about doing something we know is wrong must be stopped. Replace that thought with a good one or ask God to remove that thought

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy----meditate on these things.

  • Then once we have done it, satan says now you've done it God will never forgive you or want anything to do with you again
  • Then you are get caught in a pattern of habitual sin and become enslaved by the devil
  • V-12 when we overcome we receive eternal life
  • V-15 when it is full grown-- we habitually sin we receive death, premature death-- physical not spiritual

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • God won't let us embarrass Him

1John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.

1corinth 11:30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

Read 3 How Sin Silences the Conscience by Chuck Colson

  1. Who is the author of every good thing v-16-17

v-16 Do not be deceived.    Don’t blame God, it is your fault

Mt 7:9-11 "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10  "Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11  "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Every good gift and every perfect gift—James uses two different Greek words here the first word gift means the act of giving and the last word means the object given

Jews called God the father or creator of lights (stars, sun, moon)

1John 1:5-7 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow

  1. Why are we tempted v-18

We belong to God and satan wants to destroy our witness

Of his own will

by the word of truth

If we can sin habitually without guilt we do not belong to God

First fruits Ex 22:29-30 "You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. 30  "Likewise you shall do with your oxen and your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.

Giving God the first fruit was an act of faith that he would fulfill his promise of a full harvest

So we are the promise of the new creation

2Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

 How to avoid sin

Stay away from people who will encourage you to do wrong

Stay away from situations and places that will expose you to wrong desires

Fell in the Hole Story

Psalms 101:3 I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.

Study the Bible

Ps 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

Ps 119:104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

Have a quiet time where you read the Bible and Pray to God

Mt 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Mt. 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

By studying you will grow as a Christian and will want to serve the Lord and not do those things which do not please Him

Read 7 Hacking Agag to Pieces by John Owens

1Sa 15:1-33 Samuel also said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the LORD.

Do you know the Lord

You can’t stay out of sin unless you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour

Many years ago, Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, bright with flowers. There he fasted. But on the third day, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one tall rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow. I will test myself against that mountain, he thought. He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the peak. When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world. He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride. Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, he saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke.  "I am about to die," said the snake. "It is too cold for me up here and I am freezing. There is no food and I am starving. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley."  "No," said the youth. "I am forewarned. I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me."  "Not so," said the snake. "I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you."  The youth resisted awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass, when suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and leapt, biting him on the leg.

"But you promised..." cried the youth.  "You knew what I was when you picked me up." said the snake as it slithered away."  Bits and Pieces, June, 1990, p. 5-7.

 Our mission is to spread the gospel and to go to the least of these with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ; We reach out to those the World has forgotten




James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

 V5 -8 Count on God in your Trials

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.

  • God is willing and able to help people who turn to Him no matter what their situation
  • Ask for Wisdom from God with Single mindedness
  • Wisdom is the ability to make the right decisions based on knowledge

God will give generously

He is the true source of wisdom

1 Kings 3:28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

1 Kings 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.

Without Reproach

You can come to Him as often as you want or need no matter what the problem is and He will be there for you

  • V6 Ask in Faith believing God

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

V6-7 Not doubting... You will receive nothing if you do

Proverbs 24:10 If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.

V8  Double minded an unsaved man who is a hypocrite who cannot trust God when trials come

  1. V9-11 Consider the Way You React to Trials

This section is a reminder that our eternal status, not our earthly status should be our main concern

  • V9 Let the Poor Exalt God and give Him glory

The poor can give glory to God because of their standing before God and their eternal riches in Him

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

  • V10 Let the Rich be Humbled

Trials will bring the rich to a point that they realize that true happiness and contentment come from God, not material wealth and things

  • V11 A picture of how quickly death and judgement from God can take away wealth and possessions
  1. V12 Consider the Rewards of your Trials
  • V12 Blessed is he who endures Temptation...Shows we are truly saved 1Corinth 10:13
  • He will be approved
  • Receive the crown of life or eternal life with God in Heaven



James 1:1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.  2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

  1. V2 Count it all joy when you fall into Trials  Hebrews 12:2, 12:8, John 16:33

When you encounter trials not if

We need to look at trials from God's perspective

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

God is control of everything,

Look at Job 1: 12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

2.     Count the Results of your Trials v 3-4

3.      V3 Trials produce endurance and patience

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

  • V4 Trials produce maturity and makes you complete or whole

1John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

2Corinth 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

  • God gives us the ability to overcome trials

John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world----our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

3.  Consider the Reason for your Trials V-4 Martyrs died singing           Russian guy and the KGB

  • You are Rewarded in Heaven for your Good Deeds to others for God

1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

Mt 25:40  "And the King will answer and say to them, `Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

  • Faith turns trials into glory for God

1Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

John 11:3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." 4 When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."

  • Testing reveals the genuineness of your faith - Matthew 13 soil and seeds

1Peter 1: 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith----the salvation of your souls.

Mark 4:15-20 15  "And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16  "These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17  "and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble. 18  "Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19  "and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20  "But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."

Revelation 21:7  "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

John 11:14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. 15 "And I am glad for your sake that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him."




Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. In these verses, Paul stated the content of that message concerning faith. Confessing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord is mentioned first to conform to the order of the quotation from Deuteronomy 30:14 in Romans 10:8. The confession is an acknowledgement that God has been incarnated in Jesus (cf. v. 6), that Jesus Christ is God (Yahweh – the self-existent One). Also essential is heart-faith that God raised Him from the dead (cf. v. 7). The result is salvation. The true order is given in verse 10: For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified (lit., “it is believed unto righteousness”), and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (lit., “it is confessed unto salvation”).

Yet these are not two separate steps to salvation. They are chronologically together. Salvation comes through acknowledging to God that Christ is God and believing in Him.

The normal chronological order is that one believes and then acknowledges his or her belief (i.e., confesses; cf. v. 10; 2 Cor. 4:13-14).

"Confess" means to say the same thing about something as someone else does (Gr. homologeo; cf. 1 John 1:9). In this context, it refers to saying the same thing about Jesus Christ as other believers in Him do. It is an acknowledgment of one's faith in Christ. Obedient Christians in the early church made this confession verbally and in water baptism, as we do today (cf. Matt. 28:19-20).

     Notice in verse 10 something that's very basic.  The word "righteousness" is equated with the word "salvation."  They are referring to the same thing.  With the heart man believes unto righteousness, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  It doesn't take a great scholar to figure out then that righteousness equals salvation, salvation equals righteousness.  You confess unto righteousness, you believe unto salvation.  You believe unto righteousness, you confess unto salvation.  They're synonymous.

     In the early church the phrase, "Jesus is Lord" was one of the most common and simple expressions by which believers confessed their faith in Christ (cf. Acts. 2:36; 1 Cor. 8:6; 12:3; Phil. 2:11). It is a confession parallel and very similar to Israel's basic confession of faith in Yahweh: "Yahweh our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4, the Shema). In the Roman world, faithful citizens were increasingly being expected to acknowledge that Caesar was Lord (divine). So the original recipients of this epistle, especially, had to face the issue of who really is divine, Jesus or Caesar.

We take it that, for Paul, the confession that Jesus is Lord meant the acknowledgment that Jesus shares the name, the nature, the holiness, the authority, power, majesty and eternity of the one and only true God." Paul is speaking of the fact of the lordship of Christ, which is the very cornerstone for faith, something without which no one could be saved."

The fact that Jesus is Lord (God and Savior) became clear when He arose from the dead (cf. v. 7). Jesus' resurrection was the proof that He really was the divine Messiah, God's Holy One (cf. Ps. 16:10-11). Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ meant belief that Jesus is Lord.

Ro 1:3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Ac 8:37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

Mt 10:32 "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.

The contrast between mouth and heart needs to be observed. But we may not tone down the importance of confession with the mouth. Confession without faith would be vain (cf. Matt. 7:22, 23; Tit. 1:16). Likewise faith without confession would be shown to be fake. Our Lord and the New Testament in general bear out Paul’s coordination of faith and confession (cf. Matt. 10:22; Luke 12:8; John 9:22; 12:42; 1 Tim. 6:12; 1 John 2:23; 4:15; 2 John 7). Confession with the mouth is the evidence of the genuineness of faith and sustains to the same the relation which good works sustain (cf. 12:1, 2; 14:17; Eph. 2:8–10; 4:1, 2; James 2:17–22).

1Jo 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

     10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.

Belief in Jesus Christ in one's heart results in acceptance by God (i.e., imputed righteousness, justification, and positional sanctification). Testimony to one's belief in Jesus Christ normally follows and normally is verbal. Paul was describing the normal consequence of belief. Witmer wrote that the confession is to God. One's confession that Jesus is Lord would be to God initially (i.e., expressing trust in Christ to the Father), but most interpreters have believed that the confession in view goes beyond God and includes other people as well. This seems to be a reasonable conclusion since the confession is to be made with the mouth.

Righteousness has to do with what we become.  Salvation has to do with what we don't become.  Righteousness has to do with what we receive.  Salvation has to do with what we don't receive, punishment.  Righteousness has to do with entering into blessedness.  Salvation has to do with escaping cursedness.  Two great terms describing two sides of God's saving work.

When you're saved, you receive a new kind of life.  What kind of life?  Righteous life, holy life.

Ro 4:22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness." 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

Ac 13:29 "Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 "But God raised Him from the dead. 31 "He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 "And we declare to you glad tidings--that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus.

Verse 32 he says, "We declare unto you good news, glad tidings, the promise which was made to the fathers, God has fulfilled the same unto us their children."  How did God do it?  "In that He raised up Jesus again."  In other words, he says God's promises are all fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Acts 16:30, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shalt be saved.’"  But what were they to believe?  What was the point of their faith?  What was it about Jesus Christ that they were to accept?

You say, "Well, Paul must have told them something.  What did he tell them?"  Well, what did he do to them immediately after this?  Verse 33, "He took them the same hour of the night, washed their stripes and was baptized."  The jailer took care of them and he was baptized.  What does baptism signify?  When you go down in the water and you come out, what's that an identification with?  The resurrection of Jesus Christ.  They must have gotten very clearly the message of resurrection. 

Acts 17:30, "God commands everyone everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained concerning which He has given assurance unto all."  How did God give assurance to all that this in fact was the Messiah, that this in fact was the Lord that this in fact was the judge and the coming king?  How did He do it?  "In that He raised Him from the dead, raised Him from the dead."  That's the key.

     1 Peter 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."  And you can read the whole fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. The resurrection was the ultimate approval, substantiation, verification of the ministry of Christ.  It showed that He indeed was God in human flesh, able to conquer death, hell, Satan.  It showed that He had lived a perfect life for death had no right to hold Him. There was no sin for which He must pay.  It showed that He conquered death, all of that, that the Father approved of His work on the cross and took Him out of the grave and set Him at His own right hand.  Philippians 2 tells us that He humbled Himself, took upon Himself the form of a man, found in fashion as a servant.  And He went through all the suffering that He went through and then it says God has Highly exalted Him, given Him a name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.

     The resurrection was the Father's stamp of approval. An infinitely holy God put His stamp of approval on the work of Jesus Christ.  That is what you say when you believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead

Back to Romans 10 — that you believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you're saying something that's far more than just believing in an isolated event.  In essence, what you're saying is that you believe that this is the incarnate God who came into the world, God in human flesh, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, went into the grave and conquered death, came out the other side having purchased salvation for us, is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, and someday will come again as the Father's appointed judge and King to judge men and to rule the world forever.  That's all bound up in the resurrection.

     If Paul had picked any other event, it wouldn’t have been as significant as this.  The resurrection says He is Son of God.  The resurrection says He is Messiah, He is Savior.  He is the ultimate Lamb, the sacrifice for the sins of the world.  He is the perfect one, the sinless one, the one exalted at the right hand of God, the one to be the judge, the one to be the King. The only Savior, the judge of all men, the conqueror of death, the coming King, the eternal monarch of glory; all of that is bound up in the resurrection.  And that's what we're called to believe.

     In other words, you couldn’t say, "Well, I believe that Jesus rose from the dead. It just doesn't matter to me."  No, that's not the kind of belief we're talking about. It's when your heart affirms all that the resurrection is intended to affirm.  Affirming that the resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact won't save you.  It is when you see in the resurrection the divine verification of all that Jesus claimed to be and do, that's the issue, it's believing that. 

The Greek word in one form or another for faith and believing is 484 times in the New Testament.  That's a lot of times.  It's the key to salvation. 

John 8:30 Jesus is talking to the population there, the area around Jerusalem.  And He says things to them about Himself, about the Father. Then in verse 30, "As He spoke these words, many believed."  Well there wasn't any resurrection yet so they couldn't believe that.  What did they believe? Well they believed He was a prophet, they believed His words were true. They believed that He was a messenger from God.  They believed He was a miracle worker.  They believed He was a teacher.  Whatever.  But Jesus said to those Jews who believed, "If you continue in My Word then you're My real disciples."  Something more than believing, right?  There's continuing.  In other words, it isn't enough that you've accepted Me as a miracle worker, or that you believe I'm a teacher from God, you've got to continue to believe everything else that I have to say about Myself.  And that's what cut them out.

     There are people who believe Jesus is the Son of God.  And they may believe that He died on a cross and that He came out of the grave.  But that's not saving faith because it doesn't imply that they embrace in the deepest part of their being all that His work meant.  Do you understand that?  All that it meant.  All that it implied.  In John 2 it says some people believed but He didn't commit Himself unto them because He knew the heart of man and He knew what their thinking was.  And it wasn't adequate.  It wasn't sufficient.  James talks about the kind of faith that is dead faith. Because it has no product.  What kind of believing is this?  Well it's superficial believing.  It's shallow believing.  It doesn't encompass everything.  And that's why in Romans 10 Paul says you must believe in the fullest sense from the deepest part of your person that God raised Him from the dead.  In other words, all that that implies must be believed.

          Believes means an ongoing condition not a one-time event of belief. True faith is a way of life.

Saving faith consists of three elements:

  • Mental - The mind understands the gospel and truth about Christ
  • Emotional - one embraces the truthfulness of those facts with sorrow over sin and joyfulness over God's mercy and Grace
  • A volitional or voluntary submission of the sinners will to Christ and trusts in Christ alone as the only hope of salvation.


Jas 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

     Lu 4:33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"

The words of Thomas are very familiar to us, when he sees Jesus he says "My Lord and My God."  “God” has to do with deity, “Lord” has to do with sovereignty.  And if they both meant the same thing then he was repeating himself.  “Lord” is the word that indicates sovereign power, sovereign control.  “God” is the expression of deity.

The point is that the true heart that really believes, understands the fullness of who Christ is and willingly submits to His authority.

In the book of Acts, He is called “Savior” two times and “Lord” 92 times.  And in the whole New Testament the word, "Lord" appears 634 times.  “Savior,” appears 24 times, and never before “Lord,” but always after 116 times.  God and Savior twice.  Therefore, the context here of Romans 10 fits right into the standard understanding of this word kurios, that it is a word of sovereign ruler ship.

Tit 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

 2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Salvation is to believe that He is all of that and to affirm that you take your place under His sovereign ruler ship.

     Demons believe the right stuff, but have no capacity to submit to the lordship of Christ.  That's why the Bible in Romans 1 calls it the obedience of faith.  It is faith that leads to obedient submission to the lordship of Christ.




Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them."  6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or," 'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach):


Ro 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them."

That is to say, Moses speaks of the righteousness which is of the law and defines what it is and he also speaks of the righteousness of faith. For the former Leviticus 18:5 is quoted and for the latter Deuteronomy 30:12, 14

If a Jew or anyone is to receive righteousness by keeping the demands of the Law, that would be human achievement; it would not be from God. However, a Jew or anyone would need to keep the entire Law perfectly all his life—an impossible task

Jas 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

But then Paul also quoted Moses in support of his righteousness-by-faith position centered in Christ as “the end of the Law” and the means by which righteousness is available for everyone who believes. It does not seem appropriate that Paul was merely borrowing Moses’ words and applying them to something foreign in Moses’ thought. This says that righteousness by faith is not a new concept, but had been proclaimed to Israel by Moses.

Paul quoted from the Old Testament to prove to his readers that they did not even understand their own Law. He began with Leviticus 18:5 which states the purpose of the Law: if you obey it, you live.

“But we did obey it!” they would argue.

Galatians 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law,” as many people as want to live by the works, as many people want to live by law, want to be self-savers, “are under the curse."  They are all accursed.  "For its written, cursed is everyone that continues not in all things written in the book of the law to do them."  So if you've ever not done something you ought to do, or ever done something you should not have done, you're out, you're cursed. 

               “You may have obeyed it outwardly,” Paul would reply, “but you did not believe it from your heart.” He then quoted Deuteronomy 30:12–14 and gave the passage a deeper spiritual meaning.

               The theme of Moses’ message was “the commandment” (Deut. 30:11), referring to the Word of God. Moses argued that the Jews had no reason to disobey the Word of God because it had been clearly explained to them and it was not far from them. In fact, Moses urged them to receive the Word in their hearts

When we think of the truth expressed in Deuteronomy 30:12–14, we can see the appropriateness of the use of this passage to show that the same principles over which the Jews stumbled are the principles which verify to the fullest extent the truth of the passage from which the apostle quotes.

De 5:29 'Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever

De 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.13:3

De 30:6 "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.). The emphasis in Deuteronomy is on the heart, the inner spiritual condition and not mere outward acts of obedience.

  1. Involves the mouth and the heart (6-8)

               Ro 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or," 'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

               The material in Deuteronomy was part of Moses’ charge to the generation of Israel about to enter the land of Canaan. This exhortation was the conclusion of Moses’ prophetic description of God’s dealing with Israel. Blessing was promised for faith and obedience, and chastisement would result from rejection and disobedience. If Israel forsook God, Moses said, she would face worldwide dispersion and affliction. When the people then finally do turn to God in faith, He will restore them to blessing, prosperity, and prominence among the nations (Deut. 30:1–10). The point of Moses’ exhortation (Deut. 30:11) is that the generation to whom he was speaking had the message (it was very near you and in your mouth, Deut. 30:14) and they could respond by faith (in your heart, Deut. 30:14) and walk with God in obedience. Since the Israelites in Moses’ day had the message, they did not need to ask that it be brought down from heaven or that someone “cross the sea to get it” (Deut. 30:13). Instead, the word (Moses’ instructions) was “near” them (Deut. 30:14).

De 30:10 "if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

The Jews were trying to do the impossible.  They were trying to ascend to heaven. That's what a works system does; save yourself, get up, and crawl up to heaven on your own.  Descend into the deep. 

               Those are two Jewish proverbs.  In fact, to be high and afar off was a Jewish way of saying something is unattainable.  Thou art high, it says of God, that art very high.  It says of the wicked, God sees them afar off, that is there's no way to reach them.  To the Jew to be high in the heavens or deep in the depths, to ascend to heaven, to go down to hell was to do what was impossible.  So he reaches back to Deuteronomy 30 and says Moses says that the righteousness of faith is not available just for those who can do the impossible.  It's available for anybody.  It's right there. 

               Paul assures us that the intent of this passage in Deuteronomy is a call to faith.  He even calls it in Romans 10:8 the word of faith.  It is a call to a heart response.  It is a call to faith.  It is the obedience of the heart that he is after, not just some external behavior.  A call to faith, a call to a true heart relationship to God in Deuteronomy, is based on the covenant of grace. Deuteronomy is not simply a call to legal externalism; it is a call to respond in faith to a covenant of grace.

De 9:4 "Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, 'Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land'; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you. 5 "It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 "Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.

It is better, therefore, to take the statement as implying that the Jews are saying Jesus never came down from heaven and the preceding question as the taunt of unbelief. What Paul is insisting on is the accessibility, the nearness of revelation. That Christ came down from heaven and tabernacled among men is the most significant proof of this fact. We dare not say: who shall ascend to heaven to find the truth? For this question discounts the incarnation and is a denial of its meaning. In Christ, the truth came to earth.

Ro 10:7 or," 'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

The other statement: “that is, to bring Christ up from the dead” (vs. 7) should be interpreted as a denial of the resurrection. The question: “who shall descend into the abyss?” echoes the same kind of unbelief as that of verse 6. It is to the effect: who shall go down to the abyss to find the truth? The abyss as representing that which is below is contrasted with heaven as that which is above. The question, as the language of unbelief, discounts the significance of Christ’s resurrection. The second phrase means that Jesus went to the realm of the dead and returned to life again. We do not need to go down to the abyss to find the truth any more than we need to ascend to heaven for the same purpose. For as Christ came from heaven to earth so also did he come again from the lower parts of the earth and revealed himself to men.

Eph 4:8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." 9 (Now this, "He ascended" --what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

               1Pe 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

               In effect, Paul indicated that the same truth applied to his generation, with the added fact that Christ had come in the flesh (John 1:14) and had been resurrected. Therefore there was no need for anyone to ask to bring Christ down (in His Incarnation) or to bring Christ up from the dead; He had already come and had been resurrected. The message of righteousness by faith in Paul’s day was “near” his readers (available to them) and this was “the word” (rhēma, “saying”) of faith he was proclaiming (rhēma, “the spoken word” is also used in Eph. 5:26; 6:17; 1 Peter 1:25). Thus the gospel, “the word of faith,” is available and accessible

Isa 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek Me in vain'; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Ro 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Verse 8 is the affirmation of what is the burden of Deuteronomy 30:12–14 and is, with slight alteration, quotation of verse 14. Paul now specifies what this word is: it is “the word of faith, which we preach”. So the word of Deuteronomy 30:14 is applied directly to the message of the gospel as preached by the apostles. “

The word of faith” is the word to which faith is directed, not the word which faith utters. It is the word preached and therefore the message that brings the gospel into our mouth and heart.

Deut 30:10 Original Context if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 11 "For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 "It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?'

               Paul gave us the spiritual understanding of this admonition. He saw “the commandment” or “the Word” as meaning “Christ, God’s Word.” So, he substituted “Christ” for “the commandment.” He told us that God’s way of salvation was not difficult and complicated. We do not have to go to heaven to find Christ, or into the world of the dead. He is near to us. In other words, the Gospel of Christ—the Word of faith—is available and accessible. The sinner need not perform difficult works in order to be saved. All he has to do is trust Christ. The very Word on the lips of the religious Jews was the Word of faith. The very Law that they read and recited pointed to Christ.

               God doesn't scorn the lost soul by mocking him with an offering of salvation that is utterly unattainable and expecting him to go on an impossible quest.





Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.


 1) To see the importance of combining zeal with the right kind of knowledge

 2) To understand that Israel had plenty of opportunity to heed the gospel of Christ, but for the most part they had rejected it


 As Paul continues to explain God's dealings with the nation of Israel, he repeats his expression of love towards them (1).  Though as a nation they had plenty of zeal, unfortunately their zeal was not according to the right kind of knowledge (2).  Thus they rejected the righteousness of God while trying to establish their own righteousness through the Law of Moses.  But Paul explains that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law and has brought it to an end (3-4).

 The righteousness God now offers is based upon faith in Christ, not keeping the Law.  It involves not the accomplishment of some great feat (like ascending to heaven or descending to hell), but such things as confessing Jesus as Lord and believing that God raised Him from the dead (5-10).  As foretold by Scripture, it is offered to all, both Jew and Gentile (11-13).  And it is offered through the medium of preaching the Word (14-15).

 The problem with the nation of Israel, then, is that not all of them received the gospel message, even when they had ample opportunity (16-18).  But as Moses predicted, the day would come when God would provoke Israel to jealousy by another people, who Isaiah said did not seek God yet found Him, while Israel was constantly rebelling against Him (19-21).

 The theme of this chapter is Israel’s present rejection. Paul moved from divine sovereignty (Rom. 9) to human responsibility. He continued the theme of righteousness introduced at the end of the previous chapter (Rom. 9:30–33) and explains three aspects of Israel’s rejection


The Reasons for Their Rejection (Rom. 10:1–13)

 You would think that Israel as a nation would have been eagerly expecting the arrival of their Messiah and been prepared to receive Him. For centuries they had known the Old Testament prophecies and had practiced the Law, which was “a schoolmaster” to lead them to Christ (Gal. 3:24). God had sought to prepare the nation, but when Jesus Christ came, they rejected Him. “He came unto His own [world] and His own [people] received Him not” (John 1:11). To be sure, there was a faithful remnant in the nation that looked for His arrival, such as Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25–38); but the majority of the people were not ready when He came.

How do we explain this tragic event? Paul gives several reasons why Israel rejected their Messiah.


  1. That Israel be saved, for they have zeal but not real knowledge (1-2)

Ro 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

They did not feel a need for salvation (v. 1). There was a time when Paul would have agreed with his people, for he himself opposed the Gospel and considered Jesus Christ an impostor. Israel considered the Gentiles in need of salvation, but certainly not the themselves. In several of His parables, Jesus pointed out this wrong attitude: the elder brother (Luke 15:11–32) and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9–14) are two examples. Israel would have been happy for political salvation from Rome, but she did not feel she needed spiritual salvation from her own sin.

Ro 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

They were zealous for God (v. 2). Ever since Israel returned to their land from Babylonian Captivity, the nation had been cured of idolatry. In the temple and the local synagogues, only the true God was worshiped and served, and only the true Law was taught.

So zealous were the Jews that they even “improved upon God’s Law” and added their own traditions, making them equal to the Law.

Paul himself had been zealous for the Law and the traditions (Acts 26:1–11; Gal. 1:13–14).

Ac 22:3 "I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers' law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.

Ga 1:13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers

               it was as if Paul had been considering himself a 100-watt light bulb, surrounded by people who were only 75-, 60-, and 25-watt light bulbs. But, when Jesus appeared to him, the righteousness of Jesus was like the brightness of the sun. When Paul realized that, he gave up trying to create his own righteousness and instead placed his faith in Jesus, which was the only sensible thing to do.[1]

               But their zeal was not based on the right kind of knowledge; it was heat without light. Sad to say, many religious people today are making the same mistake. They think that their good works and religious deeds will save them, when actually these practices are keeping them from being saved. Certainly many of them are sincere and devout, but sincerity and devotion will never save the soul. “Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Rom. 3:20).

  1. Through ignorance, they seek to save themselves by the Law, and do not submit to God's righteousness in Christ which brings an end to the Law (3-4)

Ro 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

               They were proud and self-righteous (v. 3). Israel was ignorant of God’s righteousness, not because they had never been told, but because they refused to learn. There is an ignorance that comes from lack of opportunity, but Israel had had many opportunities to be saved. In their case, it was an ignorance that stemmed from willful, stubborn resistance to the truth. They would not submit to God. They were proud of their own good works and religious self-righteousness, and would not admit their sins and trust the Savior. Paul had made the same mistake before he met the Lord (Phil. 3:1–11).

The godly Presbyterian preacher, Robert Murray McCheyne, was passing out tracts one day and handed one to a well-dressed lady. She gave him a haughty look and said, “Sir, you must not know who I am!”

In his kind way, McCheyne replied, “Madam, there is coming a day of judgment, and on that day it will not make any difference who you are!”

 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

They misunderstood their own Law (vv. 4–13). Everything about the Jewish religion pointed to the coming Messiah—their sacrifices, priesthood, temple services, religious festivals, and covenants. Their Law told them they were sinners in need of a Saviour. But instead of letting the Law bring them to Christ They worshiped their Law and rejected their Saviour.

 Ga 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

               The Law was a signpost, pointing the way. But it could never take them to their destination. The Law cannot give righteousness; it only leads the sinner to the Saviour who can give righteousness.

Christ is “the end of the Law” in the sense that through His death and resurrection, He has terminated the ministry of the Law for those who believe. The Law is ended as far as Christians are concerned. The righteousness of the Law is being fulfilled in the life of the believer through the power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:4); but the reign of the Law has ended (see Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14). “For ye are not under the Law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).

Ga 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Mt 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,  14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

               Whether you're reading in the Old Testament passages such as 1Kings 9, Deuteronomy 28, or the NT in Luke 21, you hear these passages that promise tragedy to Israel.  And in the lifetime of the Old Testament prophets and people, these tragedies came to pass.  And in the lifetime of the New Testament writers, these tragedies also came to pass.  And it continues even to our own time that we see the devastation, the destruction, the lostness of the nation Israel.  And we ask ourselves the question, what happened?  And that's the very question that Paul is posing in this part of Romans.  How is it that the people of God have missed the blessings?  How is it that the nation Israel to whom were given the very covenants of God and promises of God and laws of God and the Holy Scriptures and the prophets, how is it that they have missed out on God's blessing?  How is it that they have been set aside for judgment and punishment?  And Romans chapter 10 is written to answer the question.  And basically it is because of Israel's ignorant unbelief.

Because of their ignorant unbelief, they forfeited God's blessings as all men and women do who live in unbelief, and bring upon themselves God's judgments. 






  1. Though they had not actively been looking for it (30a)
  2. Yet many have attained righteousness through faith (30b)

Once again Paul asked his familiar rhetorical question, What then shall we say? (cf. 4:1; 6:1; 8:31; 9:14) preparatory to his summation of this situation[1]

Ro 1:17; 4:11; 10:20

The unbelief of Israel does not violate the prerequisite of God.  And what is the prerequisite of God for a relationship to Him?  What does God require from us to be related to Him?  What's the one word?  Faith. 

This section is a welcome balance to the heavy dose of sovereignty we've been exposed to because this section talks about our responsibility, human responsibility, faith, faith.  It puts us back in the divine tension where we're more comfortable, right?  We get too heavy on the end of sovereignty and we really get confused, we really start bearing some heavy loads.  And we need another side of that tension, that human responsibility, that faith.  We need that apparent paradox, we need that balance again.

          Now these are mutually exclusive things, the absolute and utter sovereignty of God planned before the world began, all worked out according to His plan, and our faith and our responsibility.  They're mutually exclusive. They appear to us to be contradictory and opposite. They are in truth, however, not.  It's just that our minds are too limited, we can't perceive it.  In God's mind they have perfect harmony.

 Paul moves from divine sovereignty to human responsibility. Note that Paul did not say “elect” and “nonelect,” but rather emphasized faith. Here is a paradox: the Jews sought for righteousness but did not find it, while the Gentiles, who were not searching for it, found it! The reason? Israel tried to be saved by works and not by faith. They rejected “grace righteousness” and tried to please God with “Law righteousness.” The Jews thought that the Gentiles had to come up to Israel’s level to be saved; when actually the Jews had to go down to the level of the Gentiles to be saved. “For there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22–23). Instead of permitting their religious privileges (Rom. 9:1–5) to lead them to Christ, they used these privileges as a substitute for Christ.[1]

Now Paul's been saying the Jews have no claim on salvation. . Only a remnant was supposed to be saved.  So we're not surprised at that.  It's no change in God's promise.  It's no violation of His person and it's no alteration of His plan.  And now he says what we've been waiting to hear. It was also their own fault.  That's right. It was also their own fault.  And if you can't figure how those two go together, just be happy that you're like every other person who ever faced this doctrine.  We can't figure it out either.  We just believe it.

       He shows that unbelief was their responsibility and due to their own unbelief and their own rejection, they were guilty and they were judged on the basis of their own guilt.  Ro 9:30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;

 There's no article here, that Gentiles who followed not after righteousness, who didn't pursue it, diōkō, to run swiftly after something, to run earnestly endeavoring to acquire it.  That the people who never even chased it, who never even pursued it got it.

          "What does he mean by that?"  Just this, Gentiles are without God, without hope, without the Word of God, empty, abandoned to their sinful life.  Read Romans 1, given over to lust, given over to evil, given over to reprobate mind.  You think that the Gentiles, you think the mass of people in the world are pursuing the true God and His righteousness? 

 How to be right with God is not the main pursuit of the world, is it?  The world is not madly trying to get right with the true God.  And here is the world, all these Gentiles, who weren't pursuing it and when the gospel came, far more of them believed it than the Jews did.           

Paul says isn't that shocking that the Gentiles who never even pursued righteousness as a way of life attained it.  Galling to the Jew to hear him say this, by the way.  But when the gospel came, that's exactly what happened.

          Why?  Here's the answer to the question I gave you at the beginning.  Because the greatest obstacle to salvation is self- righteousness.  You understand that?  Because you can't get saved if you don't know you need it, right?  And that's what hung up the Jews. They thought they were already righteous.  You see, they had spent their whole life pursuing a right relationship with God through their own efforts. So when the gospel came and condemned their sin, it did not compute because they thought themselves righteous.  So the Jews rejected, except for a small remnant, small remnant.

          The Gentiles who followed not after righteousness have attained to righteousness, How did the Gentiles get saved?  How did the Gentiles come to righteousness?" Sovereign election; God chose them before the foundation of the world. That's not what it says.  It says, they attained to righteousness, watch this in verse 30, the end of the verse, even the righteousness which is by election.  Is that what it says?  No.  Which is what? Faith.  Aren't you happy to see that?  Doesn't that relieve some of the pressure?  Now you're back in balance again, aren't you?

          He says this, "Even the righteousness (should be) which is by faith."  Did they get it by works?  No.  Does he talk about sovereign election?  He's now turned a corner and he's talking about human responsibility.  He says, "Hey, the Gentiles who never even as a way of life pursued a right relationship with God got one by faith."  Believing, that's the heart of the gospel, beloved.  That's the heart of the gospel.  Go back through Romans, chapter 1 verse 17, chapter 3 verse 21, verse 22, verse 28, verse 30, chapter 4 verse 3, verse 9, verse 10, verse 11, verse 12, verse 16, 17, 18, 19, all the way to 25, chapter 5 verse 1, chapter 10 verses 3, 6, and 10, on Philippians 3:9,

How many places can you read in the Bible where the writer talks about salvation by faith?  It's the heart of the gospel. We are justified by faith. And there's the human response.  The Gentile got it not because he was elect, but because he believed.  That's the balance of human responsibility.

  1. FOR ISRAEL (31-33)
  2. Though diligent for the Law, did not have the attitude of faith (31-32a)

31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.

Ro 10:2; 11:7; Ga 5:4

Verse 31: "But Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness." 

Did they do that?  The word "law" means principle, or standard.  They pursued the principle of righteousness.  It was a way of life, we must be righteous, we must be righteous, we've got to do this and not do that and do this and not do that. And they had all this countless prescriptions pursuing the principle of righteousness, pursuing the standard of righteousness incessantly as a way of life they did that.  And they did it all by what?  By works. Proud-hearted legalists pursuing self-righteously a right relationship to God and it says they went after the law of righteousness and they did not attain it.  They didn't get it.

          32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law

You say, "They weren't elect, weren't chosen."  It's not what it says.  You say, "Why didn't they get it?"  Verse 32, that's what Paul says, why?  Why didn't they get it?  Because they sought it not by what? By faith."  That simple.  There is salvation by seeking with faith, not pursuing by works.  I'm going to get better, I'm going to do better, I'm going to act better, I'm going to think better, I'm going to talk better and God will like me better and then I'll be okay with Him. 

 No, it's saying, the only thing that you can do to be saved is to believe that you can do nothing to be saved and cast yourself on the mercy of God.

          Some of the Gentiles did that, great numbers of them.  A few Jews did.  But Israel, who all their life had pursued a standard of righteousness, never got it because they sought it not by faith. But it says, as it were, "by the works of the law."  They tried to get it by law keeping, by their own abilities.  In fact, a gracious, merciful salvation given as a free gift was an offense to a self-righteous Jew, because it said none of your works matter, none of your works count and he couldn't handle that.  That's why they rejected Jesus with such anger, such bitterness, such hatred because they were so offended that all their life-long of all these righteous deeds added up to Zero and when they looked at the cross and they were told this man is dying for your sins, the cross was to them what?  First Corinthians 1, foolishness, foolishness, it offended them, it offended them.

          Paul says, "Well, they didn't get it because they didn't believe.  And the Gentiles got it because they believed.  And that's how you get it, by believing."  And that's the perfect balance to the sovereignty of God.

          Now Paul wants to sort of affirm his point so he does what he's done through the whole chapter, he quotes two Old Testament prophetic texts.  One prophet, two texts.  He quotes from Isaiah 8:14 and Isaiah 28:16. Verse 32, the end of the verse, "For they stumbled at that stumbling stone."  That's drawn from Isaiah 8:14.  Isaiah predicted that they would stumble on a stumbling stone.  That's right.  He predicted it.  So we're not shocked.  We're not surprised that the Jew didn't believe because Isaiah said they stumbled at the stone.  And that's what they did.  Jesus came and said He was the cornerstone, didn't He?  The chief cornerstone, but for some He was a stone of what? Stumbling, a stone of stumbling.

          The Isaiah 8:14 passage directly refers to God.  God is the stone in Isaiah 8:14.  In the New Testament, Christ is the stone.  What does that tell you about Christ?  He's God.  Another affirmation of His deity.  For 1 Peter 2:8 affirms that Christ is that stone over which the Jews stumbled.

  1. And therefore stumbled over Christ, as foretold by Isaiah (32b-33)

32bFor they stumbled at that stumbling stone.

Lu 2:34; 1Co 1:23

 33 As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

Ps 118:22; Isa 8:14; 28:16; Mt 21:42; Ro 10:11; 1Pe 2:6-8

Paul closes out the chapter with a reference to one other text in Isaiah, Isaiah 28:16, and he combines it with his Isaiah 8:14,15 passage.  He just puts them together.  "As it is written from Isaiah 28:16 and 8:14 to 15, Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense and whosoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed."  He puts those together.  Jesus Christ for some is a stumbling stone and a rock of offense.  He offends.  He causes people to fall over.  And the stumbling stone can have, I think, the primary imagery of they trip over Him.  They don't notice His significance.  That's one element of it.

          The other one is that He gets in the way of their pursuit.  He's bothersome.  He's an irritant.  The rock of offense, He offends them.  Christ came and He caused them to stumble in their self-righteous pursuit.  He confronted them and they tripped all over the place and He offended them. 

 But whoever believed on Him shall not be ashamed. What does that mean?  Well, a better way to translate that, comparing it with Isaiah 28:16 would be "shall not be fearful."  I like that.  Shall not be fearful.  Whoever believes, whosoever believes, how did this get in Romans 9?  Whosoever believes... Did Paul convert to Methodism at the end of the chapter?  Did he get Arminian?  Whosoever?  That's the balance. Whosoever believes has no reason to fear.  He'll cause some people to stumble.  He'll cause some people to be offended.  And He will be a crushing and a smiting stone in judgment.  But for those who believe on Him, whosoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed. 

          The issue then is faith.  Do you believe or don't you believe?  That's the issue.  You must decide about Christ.  You're going to run along saying, "I'm okay, I'm okay the way I am, I'm okay."  And Christ is going to get in the middle of your road and going to say, "No you're not.  You're a vile, wretched sinner and all your righteousness adds up to is filthy rags and you can't get to God by your own works."  And He's going to make you stumble in the path.  And He's going to offend you.  And you can just be offended and call it all foolishness and try to get around it and pursue it and then He's going to be a smiting stone, the Bible says, in judgment. Or, you can say, "Hey, I believe it."  And if you believe it you have nothing to what? To fear, no judgment to fear.

          So justification by grace through faith is true. And the unbelief of Israel doesn't in one sense violate God's promise, His person, His plan or His prerequisite.  His prerequisite has always been the same. We're saved by Faith. There is a remnant because God chose a remnant. There is a remnant because it is only a few who believe.  And that's the way God knew it would be and that's the way He planned it to be and that's the way it works out, so it doesn't do away with the truth of the gospel. 


  1.  You can pursue God, without finding God if it is done in the wrong way and not by faith, but by works.
  2.  God has not abandoned Israel even though only a remnant are saved
  3.  The church is like Israel, there are only really a few, a remnant that are truly saved




  1. Not of Jews only, as foretold by Hosea (24-26)

24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

God’s plan always was for Gentiles to be saved.

Isa 11:10, Isa 42:1, Isa 42:6, Isa 49:6 Indeed He says, 'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'"

Isa 60:3, Ro 3:29

25 As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved."

 So here is Hosea, he marries a woman, she becomes a prostitute. She gives him three kids, one named "scattered," the other named "not pitied," and the other named "not My people."  Now what do those names have reference to?  God's attitude toward adulterous Israel.  The children of adulterous Israel are scattered and not pitied and not the people of God.  That's what it's saying.  They are not any longer My people.  They're not My people.  So Israel was not God's people.  The relationship was severed, even in the time of Hosea.  And Hosea 2:23 just simply points that out.  They're not My people, not My beloved.

 In Hosea 2 God is going to bring them back. 

Now when you read in verse 25 of Romans 9, "I will call them My people who were not My people and call her beloved who was not beloved," you know what he's talking about, don't you?  He's talking about Israel.  There's no other way to explain it.  He has to be talking about Israel because that's who Hosea is talking about. Now when you read in verse 25 of Romans 9, "I will call them My people who were not My people and call her beloved who was not beloved," He's talking about Israel.  There's no other way to explain it.  He has to be talking about Israel because that's who Hosea is talking about.

Jer 30:10 'Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,' says the LORD, 'Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, And your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, And no one shall make him afraid.

Isa 41:13; 43:5; 44:2; Jer 3:18; 46:27-28

when Hosea wrote, that had an immediate historical fulfillment, didn't it?  As the people were severed from God, and carried off into captivity from which eventually God brought back the southern kingdom and a remnant of the northern kingdom.  So the prophecy was historically fulfilled in the restoration after the Babylonian captivity.  But that was only the first and historical fulfillment.  There was yet a future prophetic perspective.  And Paul here identifies it with the unbelief of the Jews during the time of Christ.  He says, "Look, we are not surprised now when we see Jewish unbelief and we see them separating themselves from God and we see them denying the gospel. We are not surprised now when they enter into unbelief and sever themselves from God.  Because Hosea said that that's the kind of people they were.  And Hosea saw it in the immediate sense and the Spirit of God saw in the very words He gave to Hosea the future sense."

 So the Holy Spirit applies through Paul what Hosea saw historically to the time of Christ.  And the Israel of Christ is also a prostitute, also a harlot who has abandoned God and forsaken God.  And the truth was in 70 A.D. what happened to them?  Scattered, not pitied and not My people. The whole historical scene took place again at the devastation of Jerusalem when the Jews were scattered.  And have they suffered?  Have they suffered?  It's as if God does not pity them, isn't it?  They're not His people for this period of time.

And so when we read the passage in Hosea then, we say yes, God anticipated the unbelief of Israel both in Hosea's time and here the Holy Spirit tells us even in the time of the apostle Paul, the time of Christ. So the unbelief of Israel doesn't violate God's plan, it does what? It fits it.  It's a tremendous thing.  It fits God's plan.  Israel is not now the people of God. They are a not pitied people.  They are a scattered people.

No it's not permanent, look back at verse 25 again and see what it says.  "I will call them My people who were not My people and her beloved who was not beloved."  It even refers to the time of restoration, doesn't it?  It even refers to the time when they'll be called back.  Israel is not now the people of God but they will be.  Look at chapter 11 verse 1.  "I say then, hath God cast away His people?"  I mean, is this permanent?  "God forbid."  Verse 2: "God hath not cast away His people."  Look at verse 26 in the same chapter.  "And so all Israel shall be (What?) saved."  And verse 27 says, "For this is My covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins."

 In other words, those who are not now a people will become a people.  Those who are not now beloved will become beloved.  But the point of the text is just to show you that for the time we are not surprised at the unbelief of Israel.  We saw it historically.  And that historical unbelief became prophetic of the unbelief that exists since the time of Christ until their belief comes during the time of the tribulation prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  So we're in the time when Israel fulfills the prophecy of Hosea.  They are a scattered, not pitied, not My people.

Now Peter refers to this same idea, this same concept in 1 Peter 2:10.  He refers to it indirectly and identifies it with the church.  And that's kind of an interesting thing.  I don't think he directly quotes Hosea, in my opinion.  I think he alludes to the same concept only in this case it's the church.  Now listen to what I say.  Because we also were a scattered, unpitied people who were not the people of God when we were saved, right?  That's right.  So Peter applies the same principle to us, for Gentiles outside the covenant are a scattered, unpitied people without a relationship to God.

How can Peter take something clearly referring to Israel and apply it to the church?"  Very simple, are you ready for this?  When Israel becomes scattered, unpitied and has no relationship to God, they're just like the Gentiles, right?  They're just like the Gentiles, no difference.  Jew and Gentile in unbelief are equally not God's people, are equally not pitied by God in a special covenantal way, are equally scattered and unsaved.  And so Peter sees the general truth of the state of Israel as a general truth also true of the Gentiles.

  So, Hosea directly applies the prophecy historically in his time.  Paul directly applies the prophecy in his time.  And Peter indirectly associates the concept with the identification of the church as a no people become the people of God.

  26 "And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God."

Now just notice in verse 25 that there's a beautiful set of terminologies, "My people, My people, My beloved," and the end of verse 26, "sons of the living God."  Beautiful terms.  The Lord's going to bring those people back.  Now Paul while he's in Hosea comes to another verse and quotes it in verse 26, "It shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not My people, there shall they be called the sons of the living God."  Now he got that out of chapter 1 verse 9 of Hosea where it says, "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea which cannot be measured nor numbered, it will come to pass in the place where it was said to them, You are not My people, it shall be said to them, You are the sons of the living God."

          It's kind of interesting because he simply paraphrases Hosea 2:23 but he does a direct quote of Hosea 1:9.  It's almost verbatim quote. And again this text affirms the same thing.  Look at verse 26 of Romans 9 "It will come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, You are not My people."  Where was that place?  Where was it said to them, "You're not My people?"  Every place, they were scattered.  "In that place it will be said to them, You are the sons of the living God."  In other words, you who were scattered will be re-gathered, Hosea 1:9 says.  And that happened historically.  After the captivities God gathered His people back from the lands of the Gentiles. They were re-gathered to be called again the sons of the living God.  And that, by the way, is a title that stands in opposition to sons of idols, sons of dead gods, sons of no gods, sons of dumb gods that can't talk and deaf gods that can't hear and blind gods that can't see.  We are sons of the living God. It's such a great phrase, isn't it?  Not some dumb idol.

          So please note that the use of Hosea's prophecies is not particularly to emphasize Israel's restoration, though that appears in the prophecies that He'll call them back to be His people, His beloved sons of the living God.  The particular point in using the prophecies is to show that a future restoration of Israel demands a falling of Israel, right?  You don't have to restore what hasn't been lost.  And the point is that Paul is saying we're not shocked by Israel's unbelief, quite the contrary.  We expected it because God promised their restoration from that unbelief.  So when you look at the gospel being presented and you ask yourself the question as I have been asked by Jewish people, if your gospel is true, why didn't the Jews believe it?  I say it was planned in the prophecy...in the plan of God that the Jews would have to be restored from unbelief so we're not surprised they've entered into unbelief from which they'll be restored.

          Have they gone into that unbelief and become a scattered, not pitied people without a relationship to God except for a few?  Is that true?  Then if we've seen that come to pass, what else must we see come to pass?  Their restoration.  And I fear that many Bible students are willing to see Israel enter into the prophesied unbelief but refuse to let Israel be restored.  And you can't pick prophecy apart like that.

          But only a remnant of Israel, as foretold by Isaiah (27-29)




Romans 9:19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

 The rightness of God’s choice

God's right to choose the objects of His mercy and His wrath (19-23)

Paul replies with a parable about the potter, borrowed from Jer. 18:1–6. God is the Potter, and the nations of the world (and their leaders) are the vessels. Some are vessels of wrath that God patiently endures until their time of destruction.

Ge 15:15 "Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 "But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."). Others are vessels of mercy that reveal His glory. Paul then quotes Hosea 2:23 and 1:10 to show that God promised to call a “people” from among the Gentiles, a people to be called “children of the living God.” This is the church (see 1 Peter 2:9–10). He also quotes Isa. 10:22–23, showing that a remnant of Jews would also be saved (see Isa. 1:9). In other words, God’s purpose in election makes it possible for both Jews and Gentiles to be saved by grace. Neither Jew nor Gentile could be saved any way other than by the grace of God.[1]

19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?"

Paul posed the question in this verse and then answered it in the verses that follow.

John 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"

In other words, it is blasphemous even to question, not to mention deny, God’s right to hold men accountable when they are captives of His sovereign will.[1]

In the first place, it is presumptuous for human beings, the objects of divine judgment, to sit in judgment on their Judge. Judging is God's prerogative, not ours. Creatures have no right to complain about their Creator's behavior.

It is obvious from Paul’s wording that the ones who might be asking such questions would not be seeking God’s truth but rather self- justification. Attempting to excuse their own unbelief, sinfulness, ignorance, and spiritual rebellion, they would be apt to accuse God of injustice.

But because human understanding is so limited, even sincere questions about God’s sovereign election and predestination ultimately must go unanswered. As already noted, it is one of the many truths about God that we must accept by faith, simply because He has revealed it in His Word.[1]

  1. Man and God. The first contrast is more apparent in the Greek text than in English, for the verse begins with the words “O man” and ends with the words “the God.” Yet it is apparent enough in English. You and I are mere men and women set over against the God who made not only us but all things. It is ludicrous for creatures as small, ignorant, impotent, and sinful as we are to question the propriety of God’s moral acts. We may not understand what God is doing in any particular case. In fact, most of the time we will not, because ‘my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isa. 55:8). We can ask God to explain what He is doing, if He will. But for us to suggest that he is wrong in what he does is patently absurd.
  2. What is formed and he who formed it. The contrast between man and God, the first, stresses the insignificance of one and the greatness of the other. This second contrast brings in another matter, namely, that we are mere creatures—God is the Creator—and therefore everything we are and have comes from him, including even our ability to ask such questions.

Robert Haldane is particularly wise in the way he deals with this matter. “Any wisdom the creature possesses must have been received from the Creator; and if the Creator has the power of forming rational beings, must he not himself be infinite in wisdom? And does it not insult the Creator to pretend to find imperfection in his proceedings? … The reason and discernment between right and wrong which he [man] possesses is the gift of God; it must, then, be the greatest abuse of these faculties to employ them to question the conduct of him who gave them.”

Once again, we must stress that “Paul does not here speak of the right of God over his creatures as creatures, but as sinful creatures, as he himself clearly intimates in the next verses.”[1]

Men are not lost because they are hardened; they are hardened because they are lost; they are lost because they are sinners.

21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Who are we to argue with God? This is a logical argument. God is the Potter and we are the clay. God is wiser than we are and we are foolish to question His will or to resist it. (The reference here is to Isa. 45:9.) To be sure, the clay has no life and is passive in the potter’s hand. We have feelings, intellect, and willpower, and we can resist Him if we choose. (See Jer. 18 where this thought is developed.)

But it is God who determines whether a man will be a Moses or a Pharaoh. Neither Moses, nor Pharaoh, nor anyone else, could choose his parents, his genetic structure, or his time and place of birth. We have to believe that these matters are in the hands of God.

However, this does not excuse us from responsibility. Pharaoh had great opportunities to learn about the true God and trust Him, and yet he chose to rebel. Paul did not develop this aspect of truth because his theme was divine sovereignty, not human responsibility. The one does not deny the other, even though our finite minds may not fully grasp them both.

The illustration in this verse clarifies the inappropriateness of this critical attitude. Clearly Israel is in view as the vessel in the illustration (cf. Isa. 29:16; Jer. 18:6). Israel had no right to criticize God for shaping her for a particular purpose of His own choosing. Really, Israel had nothing to complain about since God had formed her for an honorable use. Obviously, the same is true of individuals.

The Reason for God’s choice

 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

God has every right to act gloriously in such judgment, but He has, by His mercy, endured with much patience a world of sinners. He has endured their unbelief, rejection, hatred, blasphemy, and iniquity, while patiently allowing time for repentance (cf. Ps 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

Ex 34:6-7; Nu 14:18; De 5:10; Ne 9:17; Ps 86:15; Jer 32:18; 2 Pet. 3:9).[1]

Ezekiel 18:1-6 deal with the nation Israel as do all the other passages related to this verse

Isa 29:16 Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; For shall the thing made say of him who made it, "He did not make me"? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"?

Isa 45:9 "Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' Or shall your handiwork say, 'He has no hands'?

Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. 9 Do not be furious, O LORD, Nor remember iniquity forever; Indeed, please look-we all are Your people!

Eze 18:23 "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

People prepare themselves for destruction by pursuing sin (ch. 1; cf. Matt. 7:13; 1 Thess. 2:15-16; 2 Thess. 2:3;

Php 3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things.).

Passive verb in 22 and active in verse 23 which means God does the action on salvation but not the lostness in verse 22

Paul had in mind those in Israel who had opposed the gospel in his day. God was patient and merciful with them (cf. 2:3-4; Acts 2:38; 3:19-20; 2 Pet. 3:9).

God has His purposes (vv. 22–24). We must never think that God enjoyed watching a tyrant like Pharaoh. He endured it. God said to Moses, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people … and have heard their cry … for I know their sorrows” (Ex. 3:7).

The fact that God was long-suffering indicates that He gave Pharaoh opportunities to be saved. The word “fitted” in Romans 9:22 does not suggest that God made Pharaoh a “vessel of wrath.” So, it should read: “fitted himself for destruction.” God prepares men for glory (Rom. 9:23), but sinners prepare themselves for judgment. In Moses and Israel God revealed the riches of His mercy; in Pharaoh and Egypt He revealed His power and wrath. Since neither deserved any mercy, God cannot be charged with injustice.

Ultimately, of course, God’s purpose was to form His church from both Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 9:24). Believers today are, by God’s grace, “vessels of mercy” which He is preparing for glory, a truth that reminds us of Romans 8:29–30.[1]

The Results from God’s Sovereign choice

23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

Ex 14:31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.

Those who believe the gospel are those in whom God will display the riches of His glory, not His wrath.

These vessels include both Jews and Gentiles (cf. 1:16; 2:10-11; 3:22).

God allowed sin to enter the world not only to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known but also to demonstrate the riches of His glory by bestowing His grace upon vessels of mercy (cf.  Eph 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,).

These are people, which He prepared beforehand for glory. In this instance, the Greek verb rendered prepared is in the active voice, and the subject doing the action is specifically God (He). The great work God did in saving us puts His glory on display before all angels and all men (cf. Rev. 5:9–14).[1]

Believers are saved without any merit or work of their own, in order that God may have a means of displaying His glory, which is seen in the grace, the mercy, the compassion, and the forgiveness that He alone grants to those who come to Christ.[1]

Men fit themselves for hell; but it is God that fits men for heaven."

      2 Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.[1]


  1. Do we have a right to question God’s ways?

    1. Habakkuk is the doubting Thomas of the OT and asks God so many questions
    2. Is the question sincere or insincere? Insincere questions are sin
  2. Is man truly free if God still sovereign?
  3. What is the process whereby someone develops a hard heart?
    • Sin is the reason we harden our hearts

Rule and reign of Christ in 1Th 2:10-12 God sends a deluding influence




Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!  15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.


The question of fairness arises whenever someone makes a choice to favor one person or group over another. Paul dealt with the justice of God in doing what He did in this section.

Paul reverts to the diatribe style, with its question-and-answer format and references to a dialogue partner, that he has utilized earlier in the letter (see 2:1—3:8; 3:27-31; 6—7)."

 Salvation is only possible only through His Mercy (14-16)

“God is unjust if He chooses one and leaves another!” ignorant people often say. But the purpose of God goes beyond justice; for if God did only what was just, He would have to condemn all of us! Paul uses Moses (Ex. 33:19) and Pharaoh (Ex. 9:16) as proof that God can do what He wishes in dispensing His grace and mercy.

Nobody deserves God’s mercy, and nobody can condemn God for His choice of Israel or His bypassing of other nations.[1]

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!

The apostle first flatly denied the charge that God is unjust. God cannot be unjust because He is God

As soon as Paul asks the question, “What then shall we say? Is God unjust?” he answers by an emphatic denial: “Not at all!” It is the strongest denial he can muster. The King James Bible has “God forbid!”[1]

 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion."

Paul quoted Exodus 33:19 to show that God’s mercy and compassion are extended according to God’s will and not man’s will. All of us deserve condemnation—not mercy.

The reference in Exodus 33 deals with Israel’s idolatry that occurred in chapter 32 while Moses was on the mount receiving the Law. The whole nation deserved to be destroyed, yet God killed only 3,000 people—not because they were more wicked or less godly, but purely because of His grace and mercy.[1]

"The grace of God has been spoken of in this Epistle often before; but not until these chapters is mercy named; and until mercy is understood, grace cannot be fully appreciated."

 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

God is under no obligation to show mercy or extend grace to anyone. If we insist on receiving just treatment from God, what we will get is condemnation (3:23).

  1. Just as Pharaoh was the object of His Wrath (17-18)

17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth."

God said He raised Pharaoh up. God had mercifully spared Pharaoh up to the moment when He said these words to him, through six plagues and in spite of his consistent opposition to God. God did not mean that He had created Pharaoh and allowed him to sit on Egypt's throne, though He had done that too. This is clear from Exodus 9:16, which Paul quoted.

The NASB translation of raised you up makes this clear by translating Exodus 9:16, ". . . for this cause I have allowed you to remain." Pharaoh deserved death for his opposition and disrespect. However, God would not take his life in the remaining plagues so his continuing opposition and God's victory over him would result in greater glory for God (cf. Jos 9:9 So they said to him: "From a very far country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God; for we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt;

Ps 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; With the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself. Here is another example similar to the one in verse 15 of God not giving people what they deserve but extending mercy to them instead.

Paul then quoted Exodus 9:16, using Pharaoh as an illustration. Moses was a Jew; Pharaoh was a Gentile; yet both were sinners. In fact, both were murderers! Both saw God’s wonders. Yet Moses was saved and Pharaoh was lost. God raised up Pharaoh that He might reveal His glory and power; and He had mercy on Moses that He might use him to deliver the people of Israel. Pharaoh was a ruler, and Moses was a slave; yet it was Moses who experienced the mercy and compassion of God—because God willed it that way[1]

 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens

This statement summarizes Paul's point. In chapter 1, the apostle had spoken about the way God gives people over to their own evil desires as a form of punishment for their sins. This is how God hardens people's hearts. In Pharaoh's case, we see this working out clearly. God was not unjust because He allowed the hardening process to continue. His justice demanded punishment. Similarly, a person may choose to drink poison or he may choose not to, but if he chooses to drink it, inevitable consequences will follow.

          "Neither here nor anywhere else is God said to harden anyone who had not first hardened himself."

God's    hardening   does   not,   then,   cause  spiritual insensitivity to the things of God; it maintains people in the state of sin that already characterizes them."357

Before leaving this section, we need to discuss the “hardening” of Pharaoh (Rom. 9:18). This hardening process is referred to at least fifteen times in Exodus 7–14. Sometimes we are told that Pharaoh hardened his heart (Ex. 8:15, 19, 32), and other times that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27).

             By declaring His Word and revealing His power, God gave Pharaoh opportunity to repent; but instead, Pharaoh resisted God and hardened his heart. The fault lay not with God but Pharaoh.

The same sunlight that melts the ice also hardens the clay.

             God was not unrighteous in His dealings with Pharaoh because He gave him many opportunities to repent and believe.[1]

God speaks to what was going to happen

Ex 4:21 And the LORD said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. (NKJV)

Ex 7:13 And Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 7:14 So the LORD said to Moses: "Pharaoh's heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go.

Ex 7:22 Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 8:19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had said.

Ex 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.

Ex 9:7 Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go.

Ex 9:12 But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.

Ex 9:34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants.

Ex 9:35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the LORD had spoken by Moses.

 Ex 10:1 Now the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him,

Ex 10:20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.

Ex 10:27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.

Ex 14:4 "Then I will harden Pharaoh's heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD." And they did so.

Ex 14:8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness.

 2Ch 36:13 And he also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear an oath by God; but he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the LORD God of Israel.

 "Neither here nor anywhere else is God said to harden anyone who had not first hardened himself."

 "God's hardening, then, is an action that renders a person insensitive to God and his word and that, if not reversed, culminates in eternal damnation."

 God's    hardening does  not,   then,  cause  spiritual insensitivity to the things of God; it maintains people in the state of sin that already characterizes them."

 We say boldly, that a believer's heart is not fully yielded to God until it accepts without question, and without demanding softening, this eighteenth verse.

 Paul did not mention the fact that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, which Moses stated in Exodus. Paul's point was simply that God can freely and justly extend mercy or not extend mercy to those who deserve His judgment.

 "The reconciliation of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility is beyond our power. The Bible states and emphasizes both, and then leaves them. We shall be wise if we do the same."


  1. It’s foolish to test God’s patience
  2. It is unbelief to doubt the love of God
  3. One day you will stand before God. Do you know Him as your Savior?





Romans 9:7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 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 when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called."

The first example shows that God made a sovereign choice among the physical descendants of Abraham in establishing the spiritual line of promise.

God was choosing which nation He would bless not individuals

Ishmael, born to Hagar (Gen. 16)—and the six sons of Keturah as well (Gen. 25:1–4)—were Abraham’s descendants but they were not counted as Abraham’s children (“born ones”) in the line of promise. Instead, as God told Abraham (Gen. 21:12), It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned (lit., “in Isaac seed will be called to you”). Paul repeated the principle for emphasis in different words: It is not the natural children (lit.,“the born ones of the flesh”) who are God’s children (“born ones of God”), but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring To be a physical descendant of Abraham is not enough; one must be chosen by God (cf. “chosen” in Rom. 8:33) and must believe in Him (4:3, 22–24). God’s assurance that the promise would come through Isaac, not Ishmael, was given to Abraham: At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son Gen. 18:10 from the LXX[1]

He distinguishes between the seed of Abraham and children.  Children here refers to those who enter into salvation, those who enter into covenant blessing, those who enter into the promise, life eternal.  He says just because you are the seed of Abraham — that's a phrase that has to do with racial identity — just because you're Jewish, just because you descend from Abraham doesn't mean you are a child of salvation, doesn't mean you're a child of blessing, doesn't mean you're a child of promise, doesn't mean you are a child of God. 

Here is his illustration.  "In Isaac shall thy seed be called."  Now this is most important.  Because we know that everybody who descended from the loins of Abraham is not automatically in the covenant, everybody descending from Abraham is not automatically in the promise, everybody descending from Abraham is not automatically in salvation blessing, and the best way to prove it is to go right back to Abraham and look at his own biography.  Who was the first son born of Abraham?  Ishmael, he was a son of Abraham.  But Ishmael was excluded from the promise.  He was excluded from the covenant.  The second son and the first legitimate son born of Sarah was Isaac.  And Isaac was included.  Was Isaac better?  Did he earn it?  No, it all happened before Isaac was ever born or Ishmael.  It was the calling of God, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called."

Paul's argument is very simple.  Ishmael and Isaac demonstrate that God never intended all those naturally descending from Abraham to be a part of the line from which the covenant blessing came. 

The point is, God is selected one nation to be the people whose line contained the promised Seed Jesus.

Ishmael did not go to hell based on these scriptures, so he was not predestined to hell because he was not chosen of God

Ge 25:8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.

 Ge 25:17 These were the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.

 Ge 35:29 So Isaac breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people, being old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

 Ge 49:33 And when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

 Nu 20:24 "Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah.

 Nu 20:26 "and strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; for Aaron shall be gathered to his people and die there."

 De 32:50 "and die on the mountain which you ascend, and be gathered to your people, just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people;

     8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

It starts out "that is," which indicates to us that he's giving us a further explanation.  "That is they who are the children of the flesh," that is equal to the phrase "Abraham's seed" in verse 7, or the seed of Abraham.  Those who are physically descending from Abraham, these are not the children of God, that's equal to the children of verse 7. 

In other words, just being physically from the loins of Abraham does not mean you're a child of God.  "But the children of the promise,” that's another way to say the children of God, or the children of verse 7 “are counted as the seed."

     Who are the true children of God?  It's the children of promise.  They're called that because they were called by God to receive the promise of salvation.  They are considered the true seed.  They are regarded as the recipients of promise.  And Isaac is the illustration. 

     It was not all the natural children of Abraham that God had in mind when He spoke of blessing Abraham's seed uniquely. It was only of the children born supernaturally in fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham about seed that He was speaking, namely, Isaac's descendants.

Isaac is a perfect illustration of a believer because he was born by a special act of God, he was born by supernatural power, and he was born according to a divine promise.  He's a picture of anyone who is redeemed.

 9 For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son."

The word of promise was given in Genesis 18:10, "And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. That's the word of promise, Verse 14: "Is anything too hard for the Lord?  At the time appointed I will return unto thee according to the time of life and Sarah shall have a son."  The word of promise is repeated, verse 10. It's repeated in verse 14.  And here in verse 9, "This is the word of promise, at this time will I come and Sarah shall have a son," quoted right out of Genesis 18:14That's the promise.  Sarah shall have a son.  Not Hagar shall have a son, and not Keturah shall have a son, Sarah shall have a son.  And so God is selective.  Isaac was born at a special time, born by the special power of God, and born by the promise of God. He is the child of divine choice as God acts in human history.

Just as it is said of Ruth that she was uniquely set by God in a special place, chapter 1:6, just as it is said of Esther that she had come to the kingdom for just such a time as that, just as the Bible tells us God acts through various human beings at special times in history, just as it says of Christ in Galatians 4 that He came at appointed time in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son made of a woman, made unto the law and so forth, so it is that in the right moment in the right time by the right choice God chose to give a child of promise, Isaac.  And this is all just an illustration, simply pointing out the fact that God is selective.

     It's very difficult for the Jews to accept this because what it says to them is that within the Jewish race there are some that are to be the children of the promise, not all. So wholesale Jewish unbelief doesn't make us panic like God has overturned His promises. 

God has always worked through a remnant, a saved minority.

10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac

But there's even a stronger illustration here in verse 10: Rebecca was the daughter of Bethuel, remember, from Padan-Aram, chosen as a wife, as a bride for Isaac.  You remember that great story of how the servant went to find a bride for Isaac.  Genesis 24.  And she was to be the bride.  And she came back and was the bride.  And according to Genesis 25, she gave birth.  And you remember, she gave birth to twins, Genesis 25. You can read it in verses 19 to 24.  Their names were Jacob and Esau.  And from those two God chose one through whom would come the line of promise and the one was whom?  Jacob.  Esau was first born and he should have had the right of primogenitor (the first born privileges), which meant a double blessing and double respect.  But God chose Jacob, and what it means is God is selective.  And He's not only selective but sometimes He chooses what doesn't seem to be the way you should choose.  He has that sovereign right.

So when Rebecca had conceived by one, that's one man, that is by our father Isaac, jump to verse 12, "It was said to her," verse 11 is a parenthesis, "It was said to her, ‘The elder shall serve the younger.’"  Who said that?  Who said that?  Genesis 25 says God said it.  God says I choose Jacob. I choose the younger to be set over the elder.  And that was against the normal course of life.  But that was God's choice.

     Now if you read Genesis 25 you find a lot of interesting things about these two men, Jacob and Esau. 

11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),

           According to God's purpose, whose choice was not based upon works (11)

Esau was the one who was first born.  He was not chosen of God.  And his life confirmed that, didn't it?  You see, when God chooses that's only part of it.  God rejected Esau as the line of promise.  And Esau also rejected God.  And you can be sure that God only rejects those who reject Him and only chooses those who choose Him. That's the divine mystery. 

 12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger."

The other one was Jacob, he was the younger.  And verse 12 says that the text said the elder shall serve the younger. You can read it in Genesis 25, God said that.  The elder is going to serve the younger.  He bought the birthright from Esau.  He received the blessing.  Oh, he received it by deception, didn't he?  He pretended to be Esau.  His mother put him up to it.  Stupid.  What would Rebecca do that for?  She knew God said the elder will serve the younger.  She knew God said Jacob is the one I choose. Why do you do that?  Why don't you trust God if He says it's going to be that way that He'll make it happen without being a deceiver?  Isn't it sad the way people take things into their own hands?  His mother put him up to it in spite of the Word of the Lord.  All they had to do was wait and God would have worked it out that he received the blessing, but they tried to deceive and get it on their own.  Consequently, poor Jacob had a life of pain and sorrow and trouble.

     Jacob did seek God.  He's the one who wrestled with an angel and out of that wrestling God changed his name from Jacob to what?  To Israel.  And he did seek God.  He had a heart for God.  But he suffered because of his sin.  He was chastened by the Lord.  He was hated by his brother.  His life was full of pain and sorrow.  But he did seek God and there was a righteousness in him.  And he was God's chosen child.  So the point that Paul is making is the same point only he's using a different illustration. When it came to Jacob and Esau, God made a choice, too.  So it shouldn't be surprising to us that all of the Jews don't believe. All of Abraham's sons weren't chosen as children of promise nor all of Isaac's either.

 13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

"The strong contrast is a Semitic idiom that heightens the comparison by stating it in absolute terms."

it is evident that in this case the word hate means to love less, to regard and treat with less favor. Thus in Gen. 29: 33, Leah says, she was hated by her husband; while in the preceding verse, the same idea is expressed by saying, “Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah,” Matt. 10: 37. Luke 14: 26, “If a man come to me and hate not his father and mother,” &. Joh 12:25 "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.


That is a direct quote from Malachi 1:2-3.  "I hated Esau, laid his mountains and his heritage waste."  He hated Esau.  Verse 2, I love Jacob.  Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.  Now listen carefully.  I do not believe that this is a primary reference to the individual Jacob and the individual Esau. I don't think that's the point.  Because that's never said in the Old Testament.  That is never uttered in the book of Genesis.  God never says when those young men are born, "I hate Esau."  He never says it during the life of Jacob and He never says it during the life of Esau.  There's no such statement made.  In fact, it is probably nearly a thousand years later when the prophet says, "Esau have I hated."  And the Esau of His hatred is the idolatrous, pagan kingdom of Edom that's come from the loins of Esau.  And the Jacob He loves is the Israel, the Israel of God, His people, His nation, the people of blessing.




  1. God did not base His election on the physical. Therefore, if the nation of Israel—Abraham’s physical descendants—has rejected God’s Word, this does not nullify God’s elective purposes at all.[1]
  2. God chose Jacob before the babies were born. The two boys had done neither good nor evil, so God’s choice was not based on their character or conduct. Romans 9:13 is a reference to Malachi 1:2–3 and refers to nations (Israel and Edom) and not individual sinners. God does not hate sinners. John 3:16 makes it clear that He loves sinners. The statement here has to do with national election, not individual. Since God’s election of Israel does not depend on human merit, their disobedience cannot nullify the elective purposes of God. God is faithful even though His people are unfaithful.[1]
  3. We cannot explain the relationship between man’s choice and God’s purpose, but we know that both are true and are taught in the Word.[1]
  4. We cannot help but admire Paul’s burden for Israel. His words remind us of Moses in Ex. 32:31–32. Do we have that kind of a burden for lost souls? Christ loved us so much He became a curse for us.
  5. Keep in mind that the election discussed in Rom. 9–11 is national and not individual. To apply all the truths of these chapters to the salvation or security of the individual believer is to miss their message completely. In fact, Paul carefully points out that he is discussing the Jews and Gentiles as peoples, not individual sinners.



Romans 9:6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel.



Paul's train of thought unfolds as follows in these verses. Because God's election of Israel did not depend on natural descent (vv. 6-10) or human merit (vv. 11-14), Israel's disobedience cannot nullify God's determined purpose for the nation.

The failure of the Jews to respond to the gospel of Christ did not mean God’s Word had failed. Instead, this rejection was simply the current example of the principle of God’s sovereign choice established in the Old Testament. Paul reminded his readers of a truth he had presented earlier: For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel, that is, spiritual Israel (cf. 2:28–29).[1]

  1. They are not all Israel who have descended from Israel (6)

Ro 9:6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel

The word of God that was in Paul's mind was evidently God's revelation of His plans for Israel in the Old Testament. God revealed that He had chosen Israel to be a kingdom of priests (Exod. 19:5-6). The Israelites were to function as priests in the world by bringing the nations to God (cf. Isa. 42:6). They were to do this by demonstrating through their life in the Holy Land how glorious it can be to live under the government of God. Israel had failed to carry out God's purpose for her thus far and consequently had suffered His discipline. It looked as though the word that God had spoken concerning Israel's purpose had failed. The Greek word translated "failed" means "gone off its course," like a ship. Paul proceeded to show that God would accomplish His purpose for Israel in the rest of chapters 9—11.

Romans 9—11 contains 11 occurrences of the term 'Israel,' and in every case it refers to ethnic, or national, Israel. Never does the term include Gentiles within its meaning. The NT use of the term is identical with the Pauline sense in this section."

Saved Gentiles are also Abraham's seed, but they are not in view here. Paul was considering only two kinds of Israelites: natural (ethnic) Israelites, both saved and unsaved, and spiritual Israelites, saved natural Israelites.

The failure of the Jews to respond to the gospel of Christ did not mean God’s Word had failed. Instead, this rejection was simply the current example of the principle of God’s sovereign choice established in the Old Testament. Paul reminded his readers of a truth he had presented earlier: For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel, that is, spiritual Israel (cf. 2:28–29).[1]

That is a very important statement: For they are not Israel who are of Israel.  What does he mean by that?  He means that God never promises unconditionally to each offspring of Abraham covenant blessing just because he is an offspring of Abraham.  Did you get that?  You see, the Jew believes that because he is fleshly descending from Abraham he therefore is included in the covenant; because he is a Jew by birth, he is therefore a child of promise.  He is therefore redeemed, if you want to put it in our manner of speaking.  He is therefore saved.  He is therefore going to go to heaven.  Nevertheless, God never intended that all Israel would be redeemed Israel, for they are not all the true Israel who are of the fleshly Israel.

The nation was elected to privilege but only individuals are elected to salvation.  The real Israel is the Israel of faith and throughout all of the history of Israel, there have been faithless Jews.  It is not anything just common to the time of Christ.

In fact, if you go to chapter 11 you will find that in verse 4 during the time of Elijah, go way back, in the time of Elijah, verse 4, God says, "I have reserved to Myself seven-thousand men who've not bowed the knee to the image of Baal."  But what about the multiplied tens of thousands of others?  They had bowed the knee to Baal, they had entered into paganism.  Even in Elijah's time all Israel was not true Israel.

This is merely an application of our Lord’s words, That which is born of the flesh is flesh. It is not what we get from our fathers and mothers that ensures our place in the family of God.”[1]

Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 4, Hebrews 11:4, the great chapter on faith. It says in verse 4, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.  Righteousness did not come because he was born of Adam.  Righteousness did not come because he offered a sacrifice.  Righteousness came because he trusted in a Christ to come and offered an excellent sacrifice that was born of his righteousness,

John chapter 8, same concept, verse 39, but here Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders and their hope, of course, is in their Abrahamic descent.  They believe they are part of the kingdom because they were born of the seed of Abraham.  They say in verse 33, "We are Abraham's seed," that is their claim to fame.  In verse 39, they answered and said, "Abraham is our father.” That makes us invincible.  Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children you would do the works of Abraham."  Now what does he mean by that? They were Abraham's children physically but he says if you were really Abraham's children spiritually, you would do the things that he did.  And what did he do?  He did righteous things. 

Look at Galatians chapter 3 for another scripture that will help us understand this.  Chapter 3:6, "Even as Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness, know ye therefore that they who are of faith the same are the children of Abraham."  Verse 9: "So then they who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham."  That is the point.  So when we go back to Romans chapter 9 we really are hearing an echo of what he said in Romans chapter 2 verses 28 and 29, for he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh but he is a Jew who is one inwardly and circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit and not in the letter whose praise is not of men but of God.

Galatians 3:29 it says, "If you are Christ's then are you Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.”  If you are Christ's then you are really Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise. 

  1. Christians believe in Christ. The Christ of the early Christian community and of all true Christians everywhere, is the Christ of the New Testament, which means that he is the Son of God who became a man for our salvation. This is the one on whom the Christians believed. Moreover, this belief was no mere intellectual conviction. I have often said that faith (or belief) has three elements. The first is its intellectual content: who Jesus is and what he has done for our salvation. The second is the emotional part being broken over our sin and being moved by Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. The third is personal commitment, the most important part of all. It means giving oneself to Jesus, becoming his, taking up his cross, being a disciple.

This is what the believers in Antioch had done. They had committed themselves to Jesus so thoroughly that the pagans who looked on said, “They are Christ ones, Christians.”

  1. Christians follow Christ. There was a second characteristic of these first Christians, which is also characteristic of all true Christians at all times. It is wrapped up in the matter of commitment, as I have just indicated: Christians are followers of Jesus. That is, if they have believed on him in a saving way and not merely by some mere mental intellectual assent to his deity, then they are following him on the path he sets before them. That path is the path of obedience, and as they walk along it, they become increasingly like the one they are following and obeying.

This is an important dimension of what it means to be a Christian. To be a Christian means to believe on Jesus, surely. But it also means to be following Jesus and thus becoming increasingly like him. A true Christian is someone who is becoming like Jesus Christ.

  1. Christians witness to Christ. I think there must have been another reason why the early Christians were called Christians, and it is that they were apparently always talking about their Savior. The name of Jesus was constantly on their tongues, his gospel consistently on their hearts, and his glory uppermost in their minds. They were always looking for others whom they could tell about him, and they were always praying and working at their witness so that these others might be saved.

It is significant in this respect that the first great missionary movement of the church began in Antioch. We are told about it in Acts 13: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off” (vv. 2–3). Paul undertook three missionary journeys at the direction of this church and with accountability to it, for at the end of each assignment he reported to the congregation what God had done to save other Gentiles and some Jews through him.

We cannot forget that Jesus himself said that his followers would be witnesses: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

  1. Christians learn more and more about Christ. Here is a fourth thing that is characteristic of true Christians. They want to learn more about Jesus. We are told of the Christians at Antioch that after Barnabas had gone to their city to encourage the infant church in its faith, he then went to Tarsus in Turkey to look for Paul, whom he remembered from earlier days (Acts 11:22–25). When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch so that “for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people” (v. 26a). It is significant that it was immediately after this, after the Christians at Antioch had been carefully taught about Jesus, that they “were first called Christians” (v. 26b).

As they learn about Jesus Christ, Christians naturally become more like him, intensify their love for him, and witness about him to others.[1]

A Time for Self-Examination

The point of all this is that each of us who calls himself or herself a Christian should be led to self-examination. And what we should ask ourselves is: “Am I a true Christian, or am I a Christian in name only?” This is a serious question and a necessary one. For if Israel—with all the spiritual advantages that Paul mentions in Romans 9—could be composed of thousands or even millions who were not true Israel, it is certain that the visible church of Jesus Christ in our day is filled with many who are actually unbelievers.

Paul told the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5a).

Peter told his readers, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10a).[1]



  1. the receiving of the Law (Deut. 5:1–22),

This would refer to (1) Moses’ receiving the Law on Mt. Sinai (cf. Exod. 19–20)

One of the chief criticisms of Paul by his Jewish countrymen seems to have been his alleged disregard for the law, since he taught that salvation was by grace through the atoning work of Christ and not by law-keeping.

However, Paul does not discount the law’s value. In fact, he has already affirmed its superlative value in Romans 3, where he first raised the matter of Jewish advantages. “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew?” he asked. The answer: “Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God” (vv. 1–2). The phrase “the receiving of the law” means the same thing here.

This extraordinary advantage was possessed by no other nation until the Christian era, when the gospel of God’s grace in Christ and the books that taught it were deliberately taken to the entire world by the apostles and early missionaries in obedience to Christ’s express command.[1]

  1. the temple worship (latreia, “sacred service,” which may also include service in the tabernacle),

David’s developing the Temple service, and (2) possibly the Tabernacle of the Wilderness Wandering Period (cf. Exod. 25–40 and Leviticus).

This phrase refers to the extensive set of regulations for the religious rituals to be practiced first at the tabernacle and then at the temple in Jerusalem. It involves the construction of the temple itself, the laws governing the various sacrifices, and the times of the year for and nature of the specified holy days of Israel.                           

            The importance of these things is that they were designed to show the way in which a sinful human being could approach the thrice holy God. God must be approached by means of a blood sacrifice, which testified to the gravity of sin (“the wages of sin is death,” Rom. 6:23) and to the way in which an innocent substitute could die in the sinner’s place. Eventually all such sacrifices, which were only figures of the ultimate and true sacrifice, were brought to completion and fulfilled by Jesus Christ.[1]

Jer 31:35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name): 36 "If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the LORD, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever." 37 Thus says the LORD: "If heaven above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel For all that they have done, says the LORD.

  1. and the promises (esp. of the coming Messiah).

Since “the covenants” are mentioned earlier, “the promises” speak of those promises contained within the covenants and also refer to the Messiah (e.g. Gen. 3:15; 49:10; Deut. 18:15, 18–19; 2 Sam. 7; Ps. 16:10, 22; 118:22; Isa. 7:14; 9:6; 11:1–5; 53; Dan. 7:13, 27; Micah 5:2–5a; Zech. 2:6–13; 6:12–13; 9:9; 11:12.

These promises (covenants) are both unconditional and conditional. They were unconditional as far as God’s performance (cf. Gen. 15:12–21), but conditional on mankind’s faith and obedience (cf. Gen. 15:6 and Rom. 4). Only Israel had God’s self-revelation before the coming of Christ.[1]

Ro 9:5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

V (5) Also the Israelites were in the line of promise from its beginning in

  1. the patriarchs (cf. Matt. 1:1–16;

The “patriarchs” are the three fathers of the Jewish nation, namely, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, though in a looser sense such distinguished ancestors as Moses and David should also be included. These were all illustrious men to whom God revealed himself in special ways and through whom he worked to call out and bless his ancient people. To have such devout, saintly, and influential men in one’s past is rightly regarded by Paul as a significant national distinction of which Jewish people could all justly be proud[1] Genesis 12–50 (cf. Rom. 11:28; Deut. 7:8; 10:15).

  1. “From whom is the Christ according to the flesh” This referred to the physical lineage of the Messiah, the Anointed One, God’s special chosen servant who would accomplish God’s promises and plans, (cf. 10:6).

The term “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew “Anointed One.” In the OT, three groups of leaders were anointed with special holy oil (1) kings of Israel, (2) high priests of Israel, and (3) prophets of Israel. It was a symbol of God’s choosing and equipping them for His service. Jesus fulfilled all three of these anointed offices (cf. Heb. 1:2–3). He is God’s full revelation because He was God incarnate (cf. Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2–5a; Col. 1:13–20).[1]

Ro 1:3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, to its fulfillment in the Messiah,

The human ancestry of Christ. Everything Paul has said to this point would have been thoroughly echoed by his Jewish opponents, for they, too, regarded all these spiritual advantages highly, though they misunderstood and misused some of them. This is not the case with the last item Paul mentions, for they would have understood at once that Paul is referring here to Jesus of Nazareth, and they had no intention of recognizing Jesus as their national Messiah. Yet Paul cannot leave this matter out, if for no other reason than that everything he has mentioned thus far leads up to Jesus.

This is not a random collection of items. There is actually a very close connection between these advantages, according to which each rightly leads to the one following and all lead to Christ. Adoption is the right starting point, for it places the source of salvation in God’s electing grace, just as is the case also for believers in Christ. Having chosen to enter into a special relationship with his people, the next step was for God to reveal himself to them in a special way, which is what the word glory describes. God has done that for us in Christ, for he is where God’s glory must be seen today (John 2:11; 2 Cor. 3:18). When God revealed himself to the people, as he did at Mount Sinai, it was to enter into special covenants or agreements with them, to give them the law by which they were to live, to show the way of salvation through the temple rituals, and to point forward the full realization of their spiritual inheritance when the Messiah should at last be revealed.

The flow of God’s actions reaches back to the patriarchs, with which it began, and forward to the coming of Jesus, in whom it culminates (v. 5). These verses are as full and reasoned a statement of the blessings of God to Israel and the spiritual advantages of Old Testament religion as could possibly be given. Israel truly lacked nothing. The nation was enriched with every spiritual blessing and advantage.[1]

 Who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. This is a clear affirmation of the deity of Messiah.[1].

Paul does not use Theos for Jesus often, but he does use it (cf. Acts 20:28; Titus 2:13; Phil. 2:6).

All the early church Fathers interpreted this text as referring to Jesus[1]

This is a very striking statement. For Paul is not only saying that the Messiah was born of Israel, that is, that he was a Jew. He is also saying that this Jewish Messiah, born of Israel according to the flesh, is, in fact, God. And he is saying it in plain language. If we substitute the name Jesus for Christ, which we can do, since Paul is obviously writing about Jesus, we have the statement: “Jesus, who is God over all, forever praised!” Or, to simplify it even further, “Jesus … is God over all.”

 The sentence means that Jesus is himself the only and most high God.

 “Who is over all” This also could be a descriptive phrase for God the Father or Jesus the Son. It does reflect Jesus’ statement of Matt. 28:19 and Paul’s in Col. 1:15–20. This majestic phrase showed the height of Israel’s folly in rejecting Jesus of Nazareth.

Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

“Forever” This is literally the Greek vernacular phrase “unto the ages” (cf. Luke 1:33; Rom. 1:25; 11:36; Gal. 1:5; 1 Tim. 1:17).[1]

We have to admit at this point that there is an obvious restraint among the New Testament writers to say starkly that “Jesus is God.” And for good reason. Without explanation, a statement like this might be understood as teaching that God left heaven in order to come to earth in the person of the human Jesus, leaving heaven without his presence. Each of the New Testament writers knew that this is not an accurate picture. Each was aware of the doctrine of the Trinity, according to which God is described as being one God but existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since Jesus is the Son of God, it was customary for them to call him that, rather than simply “God,” reserving the unembellished word God for God the Father.

This is why Jesus is not often called God explicitly.

Yet, although it is unusual to find Jesus called God for the reasons just given, it is not the case that he is never called God.

At the very beginning of that, Gospel of John writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (vv. 1–2, emphasis added).

A bit later, “the Word” is identified as Jesus (v. 14), so the text says that Jesus is God. True, the verses are written so as to distinguish the persons of the Father and Son within the Trinity. But they nevertheless identify Jesus as God explicitly.

Later in John’s Gospel, we find the same thing in Thomas’s great confession, which is the Gospel’s spiritual climax. “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ ” (John 20:28).

Acts 20:28 is another important passage. Here Paul is speaking to elders of the church at Ephesus, telling them to, “be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” The blood that was the price of our redemption is the blood of Christ, but here it is called the blood of God. The only way Paul could make this identification is by thinking of Christ as being God so directly and naturally, that what he posits of one can without any forcefulness be said of the other.

Hebrews 1:8 calls Jesus “God” by applying Psalm 45:6–7 to him: “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever. …”

The best example of an identification of Jesus with God in Paul’s writings, apart from our text, is Titus 2:13–14, where Paul writes, “We wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. …” Apart from the context, the words God and Savior could mean only “God the Father and God the Son.” But since Paul is writing of the second coming and sudden appearance of Jesus, both words must refer to him, for it is not God the Father who is going to appear suddenly but rather “our great God and Savior,” who is Jesus.

Therefore, it is not true that Paul never identifies Jesus with God explicitly. He does, as do other New Testament writers, in spite of the discretion and care with which they usually write. However, even if it were the case that Paul nowhere else explicitly identifies Jesus as God, that fact alone does not prove that he cannot do it here—which, in fact, he does.

I like what John Calvin says of the attempt to separate God from Christ by splitting up the text in the way I have described. He writes wisely, “To separate this clause from the rest of the context for the purpose of depriving Christ of this clear witness to his divinity is a bold attempt to create darkness where there is full light.”

Even better is the judgment of Robert Haldane: “The Scriptures have many real difficulties, which are calculated to try or to increase the faith and patience of the Christian, and are evidently designed to enlarge his acquaintance with the Word of God by obliging him more diligently to search into them [sic] and place his dependence on the Spirit of truth. But when language as clear as in the present passage is perverted to avoid recognizing the obvious truth contained in the divine testimony, it more fully manifests the depravity of human nature and the rooted enmity of the carnal mind against God, than the grossest works of the flesh.”

Like many other commentators and Bible teachers, I find Romans 9:5 to be one of the most beautiful testimonies to the full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ in the entire Bible.


  1. To whom much is given, much is required

Lu 12:46 "the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 "And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 "But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

2.     To be saved, you have to believe that Jesus is God and in Him only can you be saved




Romans 9:4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

 So immediately after having expressed his great love for his people, he writes two sentences that explain the genuine and admirable advantages they possess. [1]

In this chapter Paul is going to say that salvation is of God’s grace entirely. But before he does, he reminds us that there are nevertheless very great advantages even to the outward forms of God’s revealed religion.

 This series of NOUN PHRASES spells out in graphic detail the privileges of Israel. Their unbelief was all the more blamable in light of these advantages. To whom much is given, much is required Luke 12:48![1]


Ro 9:4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;

  • Paul then listed the spiritual privileges which belonged to the people of Israel as God’s chosen nation:
  1. “Israelites” - This was the OT covenant name for Abraham’s seed. Jacob’s name after a pivotal encounter with God was changed to Israel (cf. Gen. 32:28). It became the collective title for the Jewish nation.[1]
  2. the adoption as sons - (cf. Ex. 4:22 “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.),

This is the only place in the New Testament where adoption is used of Israel. Normally it is used of believers in Jesus Christ, which is how Paul has used it thus far in Romans (Rom. 8:15, 23). When it is used of believers it refers to their new status before God as his spiritual sons and daughters resulting from redemption and the new birth. When it is used of Israel, as here, it refers to God’s selection of the Jews as an elect nation through which he would bring salvation to the world.

In the OT the PLURAL of “sons” usually referred to the angels (cf. Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Dan. 3:25; Ps. 29:1; 89:6–7), while the SINGULAR referred to (1) the Israeli King (cf. 2Sam. 7:14); (2) the nation (cf. Exod. 4:22, 23; Deut. 14:1; Hosea 11:1); (3) the Messiah (cf. Ps. 2:7); or (4) it can refer to humans (cf. Deut. 32:5; Ps. 73:15; Ezek. 2:1; Hos. 1:10. Gen. 6:2 is ambiguous; it could be either). In the NT it refers to one who belongs to the family of God.[1]

De 7:7 "The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8 "but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Paul’s major metaphor for salvation was “adoption,” while Peter and John’s was “born again.” They are both family figures of speech. It is not a Jewish, but a Roman, figure of speech. Adoption was a very expensive and time consuming legal procedure under Roman law. Once adopted the person was considered a new person who could not be legally disowned or killed by their adoptive father.[1]

  1. the divine glory - The Hebrew root meant “to be heavy” which was a metaphor for that which was valuable. Here it refers to (1) God’s revealing Himself on Mt. Sinai (cf. Exod. 19:18–19); or (2) the Shekinah cloud of glory which led the Israelites during the Wilderness Wandering Period (cf. Exod. 40:34–38). YHWH uniquely revealed Himself to Israel. YHWH’s presence was referred to as His glory (cf. 1 Kgs. 8:10–11; Ezek. 1:28).[1].

In the Old Testament “glory” usually refers to the visible symbol of the presence of God described by later Judaism as the Shekinah, and that this is what “glory” probably refers to here.

This visible symbol of God’s presence seems to have taken a variety of forms. It appeared first at the time of the exodus from Egypt, when it was a great cloud separating the fleeing nation from the pursuing Egyptians. This cloud guided them during the years of their desert wandering, protecting them from the sun by day and turning into a pillar of fire by night to give both light and warmth to their encampment. Later the glory descended on Mount Sinai as a dark cloud accompanied by thunder and lightning when the law was given to Moses (Exod. 24:16–17). Later it filled the tabernacle (Exod. 40:34–38) and rested over the Ark of the Covenant within the Most Holy Place. Still later it settled down as an intense light above the Mercy Seat of the Ark between the wings of the cherubim (Lev. 16:2). From there, in the time of Ezekiel, it departed and returned to heaven in response to the escalating sins of the people (Ezek. 10; 11).

John Murray wrote, “This glory was the sign of God’s presence with Israel and certified to Israel that God dwelt among them and met with them.”

Ex 16:10 It came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 24:17; 40:34; 1Kings 8:11),

  1. the covenants (a covenant is defined as promises, agreements, contracts, bond, pledges, treaties, bond)- (Gen. 15:18; 2 Sam. 7:12–16; 31:31–34),

Covenant is the means by which the one true God deals with His human creation. The concept of covenant, treaty, or agreement is crucial in understanding the biblical revelation.[1]

  1. The Types of Covenants

There are two types of covenants in the Bible: conditional and unconditional. It is important to distinguish between these two types of covenants in order to have a clear picture of what the Bible teaches.

  1. Conditional Covenants

A conditional covenant is a bilateral (two-sided) covenant in which a proposal of God to man is characterized by the formula: if you will, then I will where God promises to grant special blessings to man providing man fulfills certain conditions contained in the covenant. Man's failure to do so often results in punishment. Thus one's response to the covenant agreement brings either blessings or cursing’s. The blessings are secured by obedience and man must meet his conditions before God will meet His.

Two of the eight covenants of the Bible are conditional: The Edenic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant.

  1. Unconditional Covenants

An unconditional covenant is a unilateral (one sided) covenant and is a sovereign act of God where He unconditionally obligates Himself to bring to pass definite blessings and conditions for the covenanted people.

This covenant is characterized by the formula: I will which declares God's determination to do as He promises. Blessings are secured by the grace of God. There may be conditions in the covenant by which God requests the covenanted one to fulfill out of gratitude, but they are not themselves the basis of God's fulfilling His promises.

 Six of the eight covenants are unconditional: The Adamic Covenant, the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Palestinian or Land Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant.

Five of these eight covenants were made exclusively with Israel while the others were made with mankind in general. Only one of the five covenants made with Israel is conditional: The Mosaic Covenant. The other four covenants with Israel are all unconditional: the Abrahamic Covenant, the Land Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant.

Four things should be noted concerning the nature of the unconditional covenants made with Israel.

     First: they are literal (actual) covenants (promises) and their contents must be interpreted literally as well.

     Second: the covenants that God has made with Israel are eternal and are not in any way restricted or altered by time.

     Third: it is necessary to re-emphasize that these are unconditional covenants that were not nullified because of Israel's disobedience; because the covenants are unconditional and totally dependent upon God for fulfillment, their ultimate fulfillment can be expected.

Fourth: these covenants were made with a specific people: Israel. This point is brought out by Paul in Romans 9:4: who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.

This passage clearly points out that these covenants were made with the covenanted people and are Israel's possession.

This is brought out again in Ephesians 2:11-12 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

  1. The Covenants with Israel

Five of the eight Bible covenants belong to the people of Israel and, as this passage notes, Gentiles were considered strangers from the covenants.

  1. The Principle of the Timing of the Provisions

A covenant can be signed, sealed, and made a specific point of history, but this does not mean that all the provisions go immediately into effect.

In fact, three different things happen once a covenant is sealed:

first, some go into effect right away;

second, some provisions go into effect in the near future, which may be twenty-five years away or five hundred years away:

third, some provisions go into effect only in the distant prophetic future, not having been fulfilled to this day.




Romans 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.  3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh


9:1–2 Verses 1 and 2 form one sentence in Greek. Paul is giving several reasons how they (the church at Rome) could know that he was telling the truth: (1) his Spirit-led conscience, v. 1; (2) his union with Christ, v. 1; and (3) his deep feelings for Israel, v. 2.

It was the tragic contrast between the Jews’ fierce unbelief and the joys of the gospel that brought tears to the eyes of both Jesus of Nazareth and the apostle Paul.[1]

Ro 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 9:2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.

  1. Christ, his conscience and the Holy Spirit bear witness to his great sorrow and grief (1-2)

Paul states three reasons why he believed he spoke the truth.

  1. Christ
  2. his conscience
  3. Holy Spirit (cf. 8:14, 16
  1. He would even be willing to be cut off from Christ for their sakes (3)

It is true that Paul knows he cannot actually be separated from Christ. That is what the previous chapter has proclaimed so forcefully. Paul’s words in chapter 9 are only hypothetical. But they are genuine nevertheless. For he is saying that, if it were possible, he could wish himself accursed from Christ if only his condemnation could achieve the salvation of the people he so fervently loved.

     When Paul looked at Christ, he rejoiced; but when he looked at the lost people of Israel, he wept. Like Moses (Ex. 32:30–35), he was willing to be cursed and separated from Christ if it would mean the salvation of Israel.

What a man this Paul was! He was willing to stay out of heaven for the sake of the saved (Phil. 1:22–24), and willing to go to hell for the sake of the lost.[1]

Philippians 1:22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.

Like Moses

Ex 32:32 "Yet now, if You will forgive their sin-but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written."33 And the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.

God had been giving the 10 commandments, but the people whom he had freed from slavery were doing precisely what he was prohibiting. They were even ascribing their liberation to the idol. Besides, their idolatrous celebration was undoubtedly leading to transgressions of each of the other commandments, too. They were dishonoring their parents, committing adultery, coveting, and doing many other evil things.

God said, “Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation” (Exod. 32:10).

Instead, Moses interceded for the people, saying, (v. 11) Why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand. If the situation were not so grim, the words would be funny, because God had just spoken to Moses of “your people” and here Moses was speaking to God of “your people.” It was as if neither wanted to be identified with the nation in its rebellious state.

Moses offered to give himself for his people to save them. But Moses could not save even himself, let alone them. He, too, was a sinner. On one occasion he had even committed murder. He could not be a substitute for his people. He could not die for them.

But there was one who could. Thus, “when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Gal. 4:4–5). This was the only adequate substitute for sinners, the Son of God himself. And Jesus’ future, yet foreseen death was the reason God did not destroy the people then and why he does not destroy people who believe on Jesus Christ today. Paul knew this, which is why he speaks hypothetically and not exactly as Moses did, though he echoes his words. He knew that Jesus died to receive the full outpouring of God’s wrath against sin so that those who come to God through faith in him might not experience God’s just wrath but rather grace. He knew it was the only way God saves anyone.





  1. There have been two ways of understanding this literary unit’s relationship to chapters 1–8.
  2. It is a totally separate topic, a theological parenthesis
  3. There is a drastic contrast and lack of logical connection between 8:39 and 9:1.
  4. It is directly related to the historical tension in the church at Rome between believing Jews and believing Gentiles. It was possibly related to the growing Gentile leadership of the Church.
  5. There was misunderstanding about Paul’s preaching concerning Israel (and the Law) and his apostleship to the Gentiles (offer of free grace), therefore, he deals with this topic in this section.

But I believe that:

  1. It is the climax and logical conclusion of Paul’s presentation of the gospel.
  2. Paul concludes chapter 8 with the promise of “no separation from the love of God.” What about the unbelief of the covenant people?
  3. Romans 9–11 answers the paradox of the gospel concerning Israel’s unbelief!
  4. Paul has been addressing this very issue all through the letter (cf. 1:3, 16; 3:21, 31 and 4:1ff).
  5. Paul claims that God is true to His Word. What about His OT word to Israel? Are all those promises null and void?[1]

 Romans 9–11 forms a literary unit. It must be interpreted together as a whole. However, there are at least three major subject divisions.

  1. 9:1–29 (focusing on God’s sovereignty)
  2. 9:30–10:21 (focusing on human responsibility)
  3. 11:1–32 (God’s inclusive, eternal, redemptive purpose)

 This section is as much a cry from the heart as a presentation from the mind.  Its passion reminds one of God’s heart breaking over rebellious Israel in Hosea 11:1–4, 8–9.

In many ways the pain and goodness of the Law in chapter 7 are paralleled in chapters 9–10. In both cases Paul’s heart was breaking over the irony of a law from God that brought death instead of life!

This text, like Eph. 1:3–14, deals with the eternal purposes of God for the redemption of humanity. At first it seems to describe God choosing some individuals and rejecting other individuals (supralapsarian Calvinism), however, I think the focus is not on individuals, but on God’s eternal plan of redemption (cf. Gen. 3:15; Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; and 13:29).

The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 2, “The New Testament,” edited by Joseph A. Fitzmyer and Raymond E. Brown, says:

“It is important to realize from the outset that Paul’s perspective is corporate; he is not discussing the responsibility of individuals. If he seems to bring up the question of divine predestination, this has nothing to do with the predestination of individuals to glory” (p. 318)[1]

Related Insights to Chapter 9

  1. What a drastic change of attitude occurs between chapter 8 and chapter 9.
  2. This literary unit (9–11) deals with (1) the basis of salvation, (2) the electing purpose of God, and (3) the faithlessness of unbelieving Israel versus the faithfulness of YHWH!
  3. Chapter 9 is one of the strongest NT passages on God’s sovereignty (i.e. the other is Eph. 1:3–14) while chapter 10 states human free will clearly and repeatedly (cf. “everyone” v. 4; “whosoever” vv. 11, 13; “all” v. 12 {twice}). Paul never tries to reconcile this theological tension. They are both true! Most Bible doctrines are presented in paradoxical or dialectical pairs. Most historically developed theological systems are logical, but they proof-text only one aspect of biblical truth. Both Augustinianism and Calvinism versus semi—Peligianism and Arminianism have elements of truth and error. Biblical tension between doctrines is preferable to a proof-texted, dogmatic, rational, theological system that forces the Bible onto a preconceived interpretive grid!
  4. 9:30–33 is a summary of chapter 9 and the theme of chapter 10.[1]



Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)

Ro 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Ro 8:34;

1Ti 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

Even He cannot do both, accuse and justify at the same time. And since our justification resides in a Person, the Lord Jesus our righteousness, in whom we stand as uncondemned and unchargeable as the Son Himself, it is impossible, after having been justified, that we be again accused—and brought under condemnation.”[1]

Jesus Christ is God’s appointed Judge

Joh 5:22 "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 27 "and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.

Ac 17:31 "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."

So Paul answered this question by stating, Christ Jesus. But Jesus is the very One whom the believer has trusted for salvation[1]

Paul cited four reasons.

  • First, He died for us and thereby removed our guilt. 1Th 5:10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
  • Second, He arose from the dead and is therefore able to give life to those who trust Him (cf. John 11:25;

John 14:19 "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.).

  • Third, He has ascended to the position of supreme authority in heaven where He represents us (v. 29).
  • Fourth, He presently intercedes to the Father for our welfare Heb. 4:14-16;

Heb 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.; cf. Rom. 8:26).

1Jo 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

Peter sinned against the Lord, but he was forgiven and restored to fellowship because of Jesus Christ. Luke 22:31–32 “Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has asked permission to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed especially for you that your own faith may not utterly fail”. He is interceding for each of us, a ministry that assures us that we are secure.[1]

Certainly the Judge will not condemn His own who are in Him by faith! (cf. Rom. 8:1)[1]

We may accuse ourselves, and men may accuse us; but God will never take us to court and accuse us. Jesus has already paid the penalty and we are secure in Him.[1]

 Through such love we are more than conquerors over all things (35-39)

In Romans 8:31–34 Paul proved that God cannot fail us, but is it possible that we can fail Him? Suppose some great trial or temptation comes, and we fail? Then what? Paul deals with that problem in this final section and explains that nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ.[1]

Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Joh 10:29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.

           Present trials and sufferings are not an indication that God has withdrawn His love from us. The context (vv. 37, 39) shows that “the love of Christ” is His love for believers (not their love for Him; cf. 5:5)[1] Even though the Father allowed His Son to suffer, He did not stop loving Him. The Father deals with His adopted sons as He dealt with His Unique Son (cf. John 16:33). Paul suggested seven things, in increasing intensity, that a believer might experience—and he experienced them all (2 Cor. 11:23-28)—that some might think could come between a believer and Christ's love.

trouble (thilpsis, “pressure or distress”; mentioned frequently by Paul in 2 Cor.) or hardship (stenochōria, lit., “narrowness,” i.e., being pressed in, hemmed in, crowded) or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword. These things—stated in increasing intensity—do not separate Christians from Christ; instead they are part of the “all things” (Rom. 8:28) God uses to bring them to conformity to His Son.

             Then Paul quoted Psalm 44:22 in verse 36 to remind his readers that in this life the people of God must face much affliction (cf. John 16:33) including even martyrdom for some. In the early days of the church one or more Christians were martyred every day, or faced the possibility of it. Their persecutors valued Christians’ lives as nothing more than animals to be butchered.

 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."

Suffering has always been the portion of the righteous (Ps. 44:22). The sufferings in view are the consequence of our identification with Christ.

Ac 5:41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.; 1 Pet. 2:21-25; 4:14-19).

 Ro 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

In all these adversities (cf. “all things” in Rom. 8:28 and “all things” in v. 32 with all these things in v. 37), rather than being separated from Christ’s love, believers are more than conquerors (pres. tense, hypernikōmen, “keep on being conquerors to a greater degree” or “keep on winning a glorious victory”) through Him who loved us. Jesus Christ and His love for believers enable them to triumph (cf. 2 Cor. 2:14).[1]

 Verses 37-39 express very eloquently the impregnability of our position as believers. "In all these things" is possibly the translation of a Hebraism meaning "despite all these things."

             The Greek word hypernikomen suggests "hyper-conquerors." Our victory is sure! The Cross is the great proof of God's love for us, and it is the basis for our victory. It proves that God is for us (v. 31).

Ro 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

God will continue to love us when we die, and He will continue to love us whatever may befall us now. He loves us on both sides of the grave. Helpful or hostile angelic beings cannot change God's commitment to us. Nothing that the present or future may hold can do so either. No force of any kind can remove us from His loving care.

             Paul listed the extremities of existence in this verse and the next.

Paul then ended his discussion on believers’ safety in Jesus Christ and the certainty of their sanctification with a positive declaration—For I am convinced (perf. Tense (something that is completed), “I stand convinced”; cf. 15:14) that nothing can separate believers from the love of God (God’s love for them, not their love for God; cf. v. 35).

Paul’s list of 10 items begins with death, where the list of 7 items in verse 35 ended. These elements in God’s universe include the extremes of existence:

The items mentioned are those that people dread (life, death, supernatural powers, above, below, any creature to cover any omissions).[1]

(1) death

             (2) or life, believers are in God’s presence); the extremes of created spiritual armies:

2Co 5:8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

             (3) angels and (4) demons (angels would not and demons could not undo God’s relationship with His redeemed ones);

             (4) the extremes in time:

(5) the present and

(6) the future (nothing known now, e.g., the hardships listed in Rom. 8:35, or in the unknown time to come); spiritual enemies:

(7) powers (perhaps Satan and his demons; cf. Eph. 6:12; or possibly human governments);

39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(8) height and

(9) depth (nothing overhead or underneath can suddenly come swooping down or up to sever believers from God’s love); the extremes in space: Space cannot separate us from His loving care either.

Paul may have used height and depth as astrological terms that were familiar in his day, hupsōma (height) referring to the high point, or zenith, of a star’s path, and bathos (depth) to its lowest point. If so, the idea is that Christ’s love secures a believer from the beginning to the end of life’s path. Or perhaps he used the terms to signify the infinity of space, which is endless in every direction. Either way, the basic meaning is that of


(10) and everything in the entire created realm. Absolutely nothing in His Creation can thwart His purpose for believers in Christ. What a climactic way to affirm the certainty of believers’ salvation![1]

             Finally nothing in all creation can drive a wedge between the loving God and His redeemed people. That must include the behavior and belief of His own children as well. Not even the redeemed can remove themselves from God's love, which Christ Jesus has secured for them!

A review of this great chapter shows that the Christian is completely victorious.


 We are free from judgment because Christ died for us and we have His righteousness.

  1. We are free from defeat because Christ lives in us by His Spirit and we share His life.
  2. We are free from discouragement because Christ is coming for us and we shall share His glory.
  3. We are free from fear because Christ intercedes for us and we cannot be separated from His love.

If God be for us, who can be against us!

Donald Grey Barnhouse told a personal story that beautifully illustrates death’s powerlessness over Christians. When his wife died, his children were still quite young, and Dr. Barnhouse wondered how he could explain their mother’s death in a way their childish minds could understand. As they drove home from the funeral, a large truck passed them and briefly cast a dark shadow over the car. Immediately the father had the illustration he was looking for, and he asked the children, “Would you rather be run over by a truck or by the shadow of a truck?” “That’s easy, Daddy,” they replied. “We would rather get run over by the shadow, because that wouldn’t hurt.” Their father then said, “Well, children, your mother just went through the valley of the shadow of death, and there’s no pain there, either.”




Read Ps 90 by Moses

  1. James discusses the subject of making plans, something very relevant for us
  2. Making plans, in of itself, is not wrong...
  3. Paul often made plans in regard to his travels - Ac 15:36; 18: 20-21; 1 Co 16:5-9
  4. Making plans or setting goals is a key to success in life
  5. But there is a right way to plan, and a wrong way;

[First, let's consider the "right" way

  2. We can make our plans, but we should make them conditional to God's approval - "if the Lord wills" (15)

Ps 39:5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah 6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them. 11 When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth; Surely every man is vapor. Selah

  1. This is what Paul did
  2. "God willing" - Ac 18:21 but took leave of them, saying, "I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing." And he sailed from Ephesus

Ro 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established--

  1. "if the Lord permits" - 1Co 16:7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.

Nu 14:8 "If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.'

De 19:8 "Now if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as He swore to your fathers, and gives you the land which He promised to give to your fathers,

 1Co 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.

 1Co 16:7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.

 Jas 4:15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."

  1. Saying "if the Lord wills" assumes our faith in two things:
  2. That God does have a will for us

Ec 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

  1. That God can intervene (by divine guidance) to carry out His will
  3. To a great degree, this is possible, for God wants us to:
  4. Understand His Will - Ep 5:17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is
  5. Be filled with His Will - Co 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
  6. Prove His Will - Ro 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
  7. When we know God's "revealed" will from our study of the Bible, then we can act or plan accordingly
  8. The right way to plan is to show our submission to God by leaving our plans subject to His will – Do we pray, God will this bring you Glory

  Mt 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

  1. There is also God's "permissive" will

Now let's look at the "wrong" way in "Making Our Plans"

  1. WE CAN IGNORE GOD'S WILL – What are our motivations
  3. Because life is COMPLEX (v13)
  4. So many decisions to make, so many mistakes might be made

If it's possible to know God's will on any matter, that would increase the likelihood that our decisions and plans will be correct

  1. Because life is UNCERTAIN (v14a)
  2. No one has a guarantee of tomorrow

Luke 12:16-26 – Parable of the rich man – your soul will be required

Pr 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Gal 1:6-7 Sow you reap

  1. Only God can bring about what He wills for the future without fail
  2. Because life is FRAGILE (14b)
  3. It is like a "vapor"
  4. How quickly we can succumb to sickness or an accident illustrates how frail we really are
  5. Because life is BRIEF (14c) About 18 different descriptions in the Bible for how brief life is.
  6. "appears for a little time “Job 9:25-26 Now my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, they see no good. 26 They pass by like swift ships, Like an eagle swooping on its prey.

Job 14:1 "Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.

  1. v15 Life is short, so it is important that we do God's will and not our own - cf. 1Jn 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
  2. v16 TO PLAN THIS WAY IS BOASTFUL ARROGANCE and Sin – Wrong Priorities

The word arrogance comes from the word wanderer, the person who wanders around like those who sell cure alls for everything. A person who mounted a platform or soapbox to sell phony things.

  1. To plan without taking into consideration God's will is to set ourselves up above God Himself!
  2. How could one be more arrogant than that?

Ps 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Mt 6:33 Seek ye first

  1. TO PLAN THIS WAY IS SIN (v16-17)
  2. v16 It is sin because it involves arrogance and boasting which is evil
  3. v17 It is sin because we who are Christians know better
  4. We know what is good: to plan with God's Will in mind
  5. To do otherwise is to sin!


  1. How do we make our plans? – deo Volente – Means If God Wills was found on the letters of people who wrote them 100 years ago.
  2. If we plan without considering the will of God, then we are foolish, arrogant, and sinful!
  3. If we make our plans subject to the approval of God, then we are wise, submissive, and righteous in God's sight!
  4. What about your "plans" for eternity?
  5. There is no doubt what the Lord's will is on his subject - cf. Mt 28:19-20
  6. We can be certain if we submit to God's will He will take care of our needs

But to ignore His will is trouble

  1. Have you done "as" the Lord wills?

We need first a willingness to do God’s will when we find it

Know that His will is always in Harmony with His Word

We need to come to Him earnestly in prayer seeking His guidance in all matters

Lu 11:2 So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Psalm 40 and verse 8 he said, "I delight to do Thy will, O my God,

 The psalmist also says in Psalm 143 verse 10, "Teach me to do Thy will for Thou art my God." It's as if he is saying in one place I want to do it, and in another place I'm not sure I know how. I delight in doing it, teach me specifically how. Basic to one's relationship to Christ then is doing the will of God.




Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.

 Ro 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

This carries Paul’s challenge to all doubters. There is no one on a par with God. The first question is general, What, then, shall we say in response to this? (cf. 4:1; 6:1; 9:14, 30) The obvious response to 8:28–30 would be to say “Hallelujah,” or to stand in open-mouthed amazement.[1]

8:31 The key to the believer's security is that, "God is for us." What He has done for us through His Son in the past and what He is doing for us through the Spirit in the present should give us confidence. He will certainly complete His work of salvation by glorifying us in the future (cf. Phil. 1:6). Nobody and nothing can stand in His way.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Ps 27:1-6

God is making all things work for us (Rom. 8:28). In His person and His providence, God is for us. Sometimes, like Jacob, we lament, “All these things are against me” (Gen. 42:36), when actually everything is working for us. The conclusion is obvious: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

The believer needs to enter into each new day realizing that God is for him. There is no need to fear, for his loving Father desires only the best for His children, even if they must go through trials to receive His best.

        Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’ ”[1]

This leads to a series of six more specific questions. The first is, If God is for us, who can be against us? Obviously, Satan and his demonic hosts are against believers (cf. Eph. 6:11–13; 1 Peter 5:8), but they cannot ultimately prevail and triumph over believers. God is the self-existent One and the sovereign Creator and, since He is for believers, no one can oppose believers successfully.

He is for believers to the extent that[1]

Ro 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Spared not- old verb used about the offering of Isaac in Gen. 22:16. See Acts 20:29[1]

God's plan for us cost Him dearly. He did not spare His own Son (cf. Gen. 22). Having made the greatest possible sacrifice for us already, we can know that He will also do whatever else may be necessary to conform us to the image of His Son (cf. 2 Pet. 1:3).

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

             Romans 5:8-10 and 8:32 appear to be unanswerable texts for those who deny the scriptural teaching of Christ's substitutionary atonement. These passages state plainly that, if Jesus gave Himself for us in atonement, everything else must follow because, having done the most that He could do in dying as our substitute, the lesser things—such as conviction of sin, repentance, grace, faith— must inevitably follow. God's great eternal purpose, expressed so beautifully in 8:28-30, must reach its end in glorification for all those for who trust in Him

The argument here is from the greater to the lesser. If when we were sinners, God gave us His best, now that we are God’s children, will He not give us all that we need? In Mt 6 Jesus used this same argument when He tried to convince people that it was foolish to worry and fear. God cares for the birds and sheep, and even for the lilies; surely He will care for you!




This is a most wonderful section of scripture in that we see that God foreknew (predetermined to save us) us so that He might conform (make us like Him) us to His image.  The purposes of God are so much greater than our puny mind can comprehend.  Isaiah 55:8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. We use the Bible and come up with beliefs about what it teaches that put everything in a nice neat little box and call them theology.  Many of these are really good, but when we begin to read between the lines and say things that God never said then it becomes a problem.  This has been done to this wonderful passage and many others in the Bible.  Remember the Bible always teaches that God is sovereign, but man is responsible.  How this works is the mystery that is spoken of in the Isaiah 55:8-9 passage above and many others.  Many times we think we have God all figured out and yet we don’t.  Paul said it well in Philippians 3:12-14.  He said he had not attained, he had not arrived, but he pressed on towards the reason he was saved to be like Jesus Christ.  If Paul, the greatest Christian who has ever lived hadn’t figured it all out after 30 years of being a Christian then I really think we have a long way to go.  Also if Peter writes in his epistle of things being hard to understand and that people twist the scriptures to their own destruction then we need to really come down off of our opinion that we have it all figured out.  2 Peter 3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. The bottom line in this passage getting past all the controversy that can be brought up in this section, is that God decided (predetermined) in the past to save people that they would be made like his Son so that He (Jesus) would have the highest position among all those that He would save.  That is the thrust of the passage in a nutshell.

How God determined and who He determined would be saved is is a debate that only causes division in the body of Christ. I think the fact that it is absolutely the most wonderful gift that God could ever give us that He would save us and make us like Him.  That is the point.




Matthew 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

              Please help His Love Ministries reach out to those the World has forgotten.  Everyone we minister to is locked up in some way, shape, or form.  Some are locked up in bodies that don't work and in the Nursing Home facility or in the wheelchair or bed they cannot get out of.  We minister to children and youth who are locked up because of behavioral problems or their parents aren't doing right and their cry is we want to have a “REAL FAMILY”. Other kids are locked up because they have committed crimes.  We also minister to those locked up at the jail/prison; to those locked up in addictions to drugs, alcohol, depression, and suicidal thoughts and a variety of other things that keep them from becoming who Jesus wants them to be.  He came to give us life and set us free and these folks are not free that we minister to, but we can set them free through Christ Jesus at least in their minds and spirit.




Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 ALL THINGS - This means everything that happens to us.

Some people want to limit that to suffering or to pain. Verse 18 talks about suffering. But it's not limited in this context. Let’s just define it a little more.

First of all, good things work for our good. We all know that, but what about the other times?

A.    Suffering works for our good

·        Suffering teaches us to hate sin.

·        Suffering also teaches us to see the evil that is in us.

·        Suffering also tends to drive out sin

·        Suffering also draws us closer to God, Jas 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

·        Suffering is good because it confirms our sonship. Hebrews 12:7 says, "All the sons of God he scourges as any loving father would do to discipline and to perfect.

·        Suffering is good also because it makes us long for heaven

B.    Temptation works for our good.

·   Because it sends us to our knees to pray. It drives us to God. It destroys our spiritual pride. It shows us where we're weak and vulnerable. Part of Peter's usefulness was that he lost the struggle so many times God could use him in his weakness.

·   It enables us to help others in the same struggle

·   Struggling causes us to lean on the strength of Christ. It causes us to learn the word of God so that we can defend ourselves. Struggling makes us desire heaven

C.    Sin is bad, but it works for our good because God overrules its power and its effect

·   Sins teach us humility, they teach us brokenness, self-distrust, they drive us to God, they make us long for heaven just like our sufferings do, they let God display his wonderful grace and they cause us therefore, to praise him.

What are we saying, good things like God's nature and God's promises, and the word of God and prayer, and angels and other saints, that all works for our good. And bad things like suffering and temptation and sin work for our good by teaching us to hate sin, to see our fallenness, to be broken before God, to desire him, to desire to conform to Christ, they cause us to pray, to be humbled, to be thankful, to praise God, to long for heaven, all of those things.

When you say God causes all things to work together for good, please don't limit that to this life. That would be to misunderstand this. The good here is ultimate glory. That's where the passage takes you.

Joseph – “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:19–20).

David – God stopped him from becoming another Saul

Job - at the end of the story, when God restored his wealth and gave him a new family. God was developing Job’s character and confounding the supposed wisdom of Satan, who had said that God’s people serve him only because he makes them prosperous.[1]

Peter - Peter was restored, he would be stronger for his fall and able to strengthen his brethren.[1]

1Pe 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.


Paul identifies us as those that love God. Nothing is more revealing of being a Christian than that you love God. The people who love God are the people who enjoy the promise that God is causing everything to work together for their eternal good.





      1. Helps in our weakness as we pray (26a)

He says, "The Holy Spirit helps us in our infirmity." Singular, it is our longing for release from this

earth. He helps us in that. He explains, "For we know not what we should pray for as is necessary, But the Spirit himself makes intercession for us, with unuttered groanings." And I think that means that the Holy Spirit down within us in ways that are not the ways of articulate speech prays for us in the present environment, and struggles. We have two divine intercessors. We have one in heaven, who is at the right hand of the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for us. Paul will refer to this in verse 34, and we also have the Holy Spirit within us, and he too prays that we might be released from the present troubles and trials, and he does it with groanings that are unuttered.

I do not know of any subject that has caused more perplexity for more Christians than the subject of prayer, unless perhaps it is the matter of knowing God’s will. And, of course, the two are related. They are related in this text as well as in other places, for the verses we are now studying speak of the Holy Spirit’s help in prayer, concluding that “he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (v. 27).

Christians who want to pray in accordance with God’s will find themselves asking: What should I pray for? How should I pray? Can I pray with confidence, “claiming” things by faith? Or do I have to make my prayers tentative, adding always, “If it be your will”?

What happens if I pray wrongly? Can prayer do harm? Does prayer get God to change his mind? Can it change God’s plans? If not, does it even matter if I pray?

I do not know any subject that has caused more perplexity and been more of a continuing problem for more believers than this one. But we have help in this area, the help of the Holy Spirit, which is great indeed. It is what Romans 8:26 and 27 are about.[1]

“In the Same Way”

These verses begin with the phrase “in the same way.” So we first need to ask what this refers to. It is a connecting phrase, of course, and most of the commentators link it to what immediately precedes. That is, they link it to the Christian’s hope. The idea seems to be that we endure sufferings in this life but that we are able to handle them in two ways: first, by hope, that is, by a sure and patient looking forward to the final redemption of our bodies; and second, by the help of the Holy Spirit in prayer.

That is a valid connection, of course. But I think that D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is right when he links the apostle’s teaching about prayer in verses 26–27 to his teaching about prayer in verses 15–17. The earlier passage taught that the Holy Spirit enables us to pray, assuring us that we truly are God’s children and encouraging us to cry out “Abba, Father.” That teaching was followed by an extensive digression dealing with the sufferings endured in this life before we come into God’s presence. But then, having dealt with sufferings, Paul returns once more to the Spirit’s work in enabling us to pray, adding that the Spirit also “helps us in our weakness” (v. 26).

In other words, Paul returns to the subject of assurance, which is the chapter’s main theme. The point of these two verses is that the Holy Spirit’s help in prayer is another way we can know that we are God’s children and that nothing will ever separate us from his love.


Notice that when Paul writes the word weakness he adds the word our, thereby putting himself in an identical position. In other words, the weakness that makes prayer difficult is not something that only new, baby, or immature Christians have. It is part of our common human condition. Even the greatest saints have had this difficulty.


The idea of the Holy Spirit coming alongside a Christian to help is the same in both cases. But the special meaning in the word used here in Romans is to help by bearing the Christian’s burden. It pictures our ignorance of what to pray for as a heavy load. We are struggling along under it, as it were. But the Holy Spirit comes alongside and helps us shoulder the load. He identifies with us in our weakness, as Jesus did by his incarnation, and he labors with us.

The second word Paul uses is intercession, saying that “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” An intercessor is a person who pleads one’s case. So the meaning is that the way the Holy Spirit comes alongside us to help and shoulder our burden is by pleading our case with God when we do not know how to do it. We do not know what to pray for, but the Holy Spirit does. So he prays for us, and God “who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit” and answers his very correct and powerful prayers wisely.

             But none of this is meant to suggest that we have nothing to do in prayer or have no responsibility to pray. We do have responsibility in prayer, which is made quite clear by the word helps. The apostle says that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” He does not eliminate our need to pray regularly and fervently.

                    Romans 8:26 and 27 imply or explicitly teach so many lessons about prayer that a number of them can be listed as a summary of what we have been learning.

1.       We are supposed to pray. Regardless of the problems we may have with prayer—and we are reminded that the saints have all had problems with prayer at times—we are nevertheless supposed to pray. In fact, the Word of God commands us to pray. Indeed, we are told to “pray continually” (1 Thess. 4:17). Anything God tells us to do is for our good, and we are poorer if we fail to do it. Prayer is one of the great spiritual disciplines.

2. Do not expect prayer to be easy. Why should it be? Nothing else in the Christian life is easy. Why should prayer be any different? We should not expect simple or quick-fix solutions. Our contemporary American culture has conditioned us to want easy cure-alls. In the area of our sanctification we expect immediate victories either by a formula or spiritual experience. But God does not work that way. We are called to a struggle, and our perseverance in that struggle is itself a victory, even if the results are not visible or spectacular. And the Holy Spirit will help us bear our burden.

You do not have to feel good about it, though you will in most cases. You do not even have to see results. What is important is that you keep on, and keep on keeping on. One bit of verse puts it like this:

We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;

We have hard work to do and loads to lift.

Shun not the struggle; face it; ’tis God’s gift.

3. Realize what you are doing when you pray. We are addressing ourselves to the great sovereign God of the universe and are presenting our adoration, confessions, thanksgivings and supplications to him. He is hearing these prayers and responding to them consistently, perfectly, and wisely out of his own inexhaustible abundance.

Does prayer get God to change his mind? Of course not! No reasonable person would want that—because if God’s way is perfect, as it is, to get him to change it would be to get him to become imperfect. If that ever happened, the universe would fall into disorder! Any thinking person wants God always to run things according to his own perfect will, not ours.

But here is a parallel question: Does prayer change things? The answer to that is Yes—because God who ordains the ends also ordains the means, and he has made prayer a means to those ends. He has promised us that prayer is effective. Because God has ordained that it should be this way. Jesus has told us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt. 7:7–8). James wrote, “… You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2), adding, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). Remember, too, that when we are talking about change the chief thing that happens in prayer is that prayer changes us.

4. Be encouraged by these verses. It is true that “we do not know what we ought to pray for.” But the Holy Spirit does, and the Holy Spirit has been given to us by God to assist precisely in this area, as well as in other ways. With his help we will make progress.

One commentator has compared learning to pray to a man learning to play the violin. At first he is not very good. But he gets the schedule of the classical music broadcasts in his area, buys the violin parts to the music that he knows will be played, and then tunes in the radio each afternoon and plays along as best he can. His mistakes do not change what is coming in over the radio in the slightest. The concertos continue to roll on in perfect harmony and tempo. But the struggling violinist changes. He gets better week by week and year by year, and the time eventually comes when he can play along with the orchestra broadcasts pretty well.

Prayer is like that. There are plenty of mistaken notes, and groans, too. But there is also progress and joy and encouragement, since God is continuing to conduct the perfect heavenly symphony, and the Holy Spirit is continuing to prepare us for the day when we will be able to take our place in the divine orchestra. In the meantime we can know that the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, like a wise and faithful teacher, is by our side.


His Love Ministries Sharing What We Do at Community Bible Church of Beaufort 8.24.16


We were invited to come to Community Bible Church of Beaufort to speak on August 24th 2016 about what His Love Ministries is all about and what God is doing through the ministry.

If you prefer the video is located at this site below.  We are at minute 25.


God is using His Love Ministries to reach the forgotten, Jesus speaks about the least of these in Matthew 25:40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' And in James1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from theworld.

Please take time to listen to this message and come alongside us to reach the forgotten if you are able to in anyway.  Thanks.





      1. Present sufferings don't even compare (18)

      2. The whole creation eagerly waits for the revealing and glorious liberty of the children of God (19-22)

      3. We also eagerly wait with perseverance for this hope (23-25)

Ro 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

8:18. In one sense this verse is the conclusion of the preceding paragraph in which believers are assured of being heirs of Christ’s coming glory. However, Paul reminded his readers that sharing in the glory of Christ in the future required sharing “in His sufferings” in this life. But after careful figuring (Logizomai, I consider) Paul concluded that our present sufferings are far outweighed by the glory that will be revealed in (as well as to and through) us. This future glory is so great that present sufferings are insignificant by comparison. Also the glory is forever, whereas the suffering is temporary and light (2 Cor. 4:17). Certainly this truth can help believers endure afflictions. Romans 8:18 also serves as a topic sentence for the following discussion on the relationship between believers and the whole Creation, both in their afflictions and in their future glory.[1]

·        "consider" This is literally "add it up." Paul continues to consider the implications of Christian suffering. This was an accounting term for arriving at a carefully researched conclusion. This is a recurrent theme in Romans (see note at Rom. 2:3). Believers must live in the light of the spiritual truths they understand.

·        "the sufferings" We get some idea of the sufferings involved in serving Christ from 1 Cor. 4:9-12; 2 Cor. 4:7-12; 6:4-10; 11:24-27; Heb. 11:35-38.

  •  "worthy. . .glory" Both of these terms are related to the OT concept of weight-heavy was valuable. "Worthy" was from a commercial term that meant "to weigh as much as." The Hebrew term "glory" was also from a root "to be heavy," in the sense of being valuable, like gold. See full note at Rom. 3:23.

Its basic meaning is that which is heavy. It was a commercial term used in transacting purchases (i.e., scales). It came to have a wide semantic field where the concept of heavy developed into the weight, worth of persons, places, and things.

     II. The Reality of all Suffering V19-21

      2. The whole creation eagerly waits for the revealing and glorious liberty of the children of God (19-22)

Ro 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God

 Suffering is only temporary

 8:19 "the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly" The physical creation is personified as a person with an outstretched neck searching the horizon. Creation was negatively affected when Adam and Eve rebelled (cf. Gen. 3:17-19). All creation will ultimately be redeemed (except for rebellious angels, unbelieving humans, and their prepared place of isolation,

The verb "waits eagerly" (present middle [deponent] indicative) appears three times in this context.

1. Rom. 8:19 - creation waits eagerly for the new age

2. Rom. 8:23 - believers wait eagerly for new bodies

3. Rom. 8:25 - believers wait eagerly in hope of the new age

Now, this is the man who has suffered so greatly and this is the individual who says, "I want you to know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." If here the greatest suffers says this, what must the glory be? This same individual is the person who said, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." So Paul, yes, you are the greatest of suffers, and if the greatest of suffers can say, the glory is not worthy to be even mentioned in this, the glory must be surely great

He said, in effect suffering is a drop. Glory is an ocean

Ro 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;  

 Suffering is a result of the fall

Ge 3:14-19

This is not the world that God intended it to be!

We stand by the Grand Canyon, and we are awed by what we see, or we for the first time, see the Atlantic, or Pacific oceans, as we are awed by that great body of water, or we're in the Alps, and we look and we see one of these magnificent peaks, and we are awed by that. Well, I want you to know, those great manifestations of the glory of God stand under the curse. That's what they look like, when they are under the curse. The creation is longing to be delivered from the curse. It brings forth thorns and thistles now, but it is truly to be beautiful in the future.

·        "the sons of God" This was a common familial metaphor used to describe Christians (cf. Rom. 8:14,16). It speaks of God as Father and Jesus as His unique son (cf. John 1:18; 3:16,18; Heb. 1:2; 3:6; 5:8; 7:28; 1 John 4:9).

In the OT Israel was God's son (cf. Hosea 11:1), but also the King was God's son (cf. 2 Sam. 7). This concept was first mentioned in the NT in Matt. 5:9 (also cf. John 1:12; 2 Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26; 1 John 3:1,10; Rev. 21:7).

   III. A Comparison of Suffering

 8:20 in hope. Ro 8:21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

 What a thrilling salvation we have: free from the penalty of sin because Christ died for us (chap. 5); free from the power of sin because we died with Christ to the flesh (chap. 6) and to the Law (chap. 7); and someday we shall be free from the very presence of sin when nature is delivered from bondage.[1]

               It's God who cursed the creation, but he did it in hope." Paul says, and the hope is the deliverance, and the he explains what that means in the 21st verse. "Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God." This creation about us is subjected to the bondage of decay because it is closely united with the history and destiny of man, and so when man fell, his creation is cursed. When man finally enters into the blessing of the Kingdom of God upon the earth, the whole creation shall enter into that blessing too, shall be renewed. We speak of this as the golden age

               Ro 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

8:22–23. In one sense verse 22 is an appropriate conclusion to the preceding paragraph, summing up the present cursed state of the physical creation. Paul said, We know (oidamen, continuing state of knowledge that grows out of perception) that the whole Creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth (lit., “keeps on groaning together and keeps on travailing together”) right up to the present time. The emphasis on “together” in these verbs does not include believers in Christ, who are specifically mentioned in verse 23, but involves the various parts of the natural Creation. At the same time verse 22 introduces this new paragraph, which sets forth the hope of future deliverance from suffering under the curse of sin.[1]

               Since God’s program of salvation for people is one of a new Creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), the physical world also will be re-created (Rev. 21:5). This will take place in two stages. First will be the renovation of the present cosmos in conjunction with the return to earth of the Lord Jesus and the establishment of the messianic kingdom on earth (Isa. 11:5–9; 35:1–2, 5–7; 65:20, 25; Amos 9:13). The second stage will be creation of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1; cf. 2 Peter 3:7–13).[1]

     IV. The Answer to Suffering  V23-25

Ro 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

We have the Spirit of adoption, but we are “waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of the body” (v. 23). The soul has been redeemed, but not the body. We wait in hope, however, because the indwelling Spirit is given as “the first fruits” of the deliverance God has for us in the future. Even if we die, the Spirit who has sealed us unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13–14) will raise our body to life (v. 11).[1]

 Isa 11:6-9 Isa

Isa 65:25

               Now, the Lord Jesus is called in his resurrection the first fruits of the resurrection. That means that there are others that are going to be resurrected. You remember he says, "First Jesus Christ, then they who are Christ's at his coming." That is you and I.

               A farmer’s “first fruits” were the initial harvesting of his first-ripened crops. This first installment was a foretaste and promise that more harvest was to come. Similarly God the Holy Spirit, indwelling believers, is a foretaste that they will enjoy many more blessings, including living in God’s presence forever.[1]

               You can never be satisfied with earth if you are a Christian reading the word of God.

But that is a problem, as we saw when we studied that verse. Sufferings? We would think that it would be the absence of sufferings, not their presence, that would prove we belong to Christ. If God loves us, shouldn’t he keep us from suffering? Or isn’t he able to? When things get hard it is natural that we begin to doubt God’s favor rather than being assured of it.

That, of course, is why Paul has digressed to talk about suffering and why he is talking about our groanings now. It is why he has explained the involvement of creation in our present distress. What he is saying is that the sufferings we and “the whole creation” endure are the sufferings of childbirth and are therefore proof that the new age is coming. And it is why, although we do groan, we do not groan hopelessly. On the contrary, our groanings intensify our hope and enable us to wait patiently for the consummation.

 Paul says, not only does the creation groan, but the children groan too.

we need to see two things about this human groaning if we are to understand the verses to which we now come.

               First, the groaning mentioned in verse 23 is that of believers in Jesus Christ and not that of all people generally.

Second, the groaning of Christians is not mere grief over the things. It is expectant grief, that is, grief that looks forward to a time when all that is causing pain will be removed and salvation will be consummated. Christian groaning is a joyful grief that gives birth to a sure hope and patient endurance.

Paul is saying that our griefs as Christians are like that. We groan, but we do so in expectation of a safe delivery.[1]

 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

What is striking about the Christian attitude of hopefulness is that it is a “sure and certain hope” and not mere wishful thinking. What makes it sure and certain is the content. The specific content is the return of Jesus Christ together with the things we have been mentioning in these verses: the resurrection of the body, the adoption of God’s children, and the gathering of God’s harvest. These things are all promised to us by God. Hence, the Christian hopes in confidence, a confidence grounded not in the strength of one’s emotional outlook but on the sure Word of God, who cannot lie. If God says that these things are coming, it is reasonable and safe for us to hope confidently in them.

2. We wait. More specifically, we wait for them, which is the second verb Paul uses. Verse 23 says, “We wait eagerly.” Verse 25 says, “We wait … patiently.” It is important to take the two adverbs together, because biblical “patience” is not passivity. This is an active, though patient waiting. It expresses itself in vigorous service for Christ even while we wait for his appearing.

Paradoxically, of course, it is only these heavenly-minded people who are able to make any real or lasting difference in the world.[1]

Looking to Jesus

What I am recommending to you is a Christian perspective on this life and all we know in it, what the theologians call a world-and-life view. And I am suggesting, as Paul does, that adopting it will rearrange your values and change your approach to suffering and the disappointments of life. If you learn to reason as Paul does, you will experience the following:

1. You will not be surprised when things go wrong in this life. This world is not a good place. We live in a fallen environment. Your plans will misfire, you will often fail, others will destroy what you have spent long years and much toil to accomplish. This will be true even if you are a Christian and are trying to follow Jesus. But your successes are not what life is all about. What matters is your love for God and your faithfulness.

2. You will not place your ultimate hope in anything human beings can do to improve this world’s conditions. This does not mean that you will fail to do what good you can do in this life as well as encourage others in their efforts to do good. As a Christian, you will. But you will not delude yourself into thinking that the salvation of the world’s ills will be brought about by mere human efforts. You will feed the poor, but you will know that Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11a). You will pray for your leaders, but you will know that they are but sinful men and women like yourself and that they will always disappoint you.

3. You will keep your eyes on Jesus. Where else can you look? All others are disappointing, and everything is crumbling about you. Only he is worthy of your trust. He has promised to return in his glory, and we know that when he does return and we see him in his glory, we will be like him (1 John 3:2). Moreover, when we are made like him in his glory, the creation that is also straining forward to that day will become glorious, too.

No wonder the early Christians prayed, “Maranatha!” Come, Lord Jesus![1]

Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

     My personal application for today is:

1.     Paul is personifying nature, of course, but he does not mean that inanimate nature has personal feelings that correspond to ours. He means only that nature is not yet all that God has predestined it to be. It is waiting for its true fulfillment. But if nature is waiting, we should be willing to wait in hope, too, knowing that a glorious outcome is certain. This is why Christianity is worth it.[1]

2.     We need to really consider the fact that this is a drop, the ocean is eternity

“Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17).

3.     Knowing that there is an eternal weight of glory waiting, I will try to do what pleases God and hang on in spite of anything