Drinking Deeply

Saturday, February 03, 2007 at 5:05 PM

TULIP (14) - Not all Israel are Israel

In my previous post I sought to establish the problem that Paul is dealing with in Romans 9 (I'm on my way to using that passage to establish unconditional election). In short, Paul is dealing with the question, "Has God's Word failed? If nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39), how come the Jews are currently distant from Christ? They were given the "adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises" (Romans 9:4-5). How is it possible for us to believe God when it the Jews, God's chosen people, have fallen away?

Romans 9:6-13
6It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."[b] 8In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. 9For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."[c]

10Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."[e]
Paul answers no, God's word has not failed. Not all who are descended from Israel (ethnically Jew) are Israel (God's chosen people). He then proceeds to cite two examples of this: Isaac and Ishmael and Jacob and Esau.

With Isaac and Ishmael, even though at the time Ishmael had already been born, Isaac was the one with whom the promises were made about. Verses 7-9 are referring to Genesis 17, where God promises Abraham a son and establishes the covenant with him. Though God hears Abraham's prayer for Ishmael, he doesn't establish his promise through Ishmael, but rather through Isaac, giving Paul his first example that not all of ethnic Israel is spiritual Israel.

Romans 9:8 "In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring."

The second example is the clearest cut. One might say "well, that's because Ishmael was not descendant from Sarah that he was not part of God's promise." Paul's second example of Jacob and Esau, puts all those issues to rest, presenting God as one that chooses some of Israel for Israel and some of Israel to not be in Israel.

Romans 9:10-13
10Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."[e]
They have the same father and mother. They start on level grounds to all other observers. But Paul writes that one was of Israel and the other was not, "in order that God's purpose in election might stand." Jacob and Esau were going to be differentiated, not by who their parents were (v.10), not by what they had done or would do (v. 11), but by God's choice. So that His purpose in election would stand He would love Jacob and hate Esau.

This is our unconditional election. Before we are born, before we had done anything good or bad, God chose us. (Eph. 1:4-5) It was not our faith to come that was the determining factor, but God and God alone decides who ends up having faith, and who does not.

Our response, as to all things about God, is praise. How amazing is it that long before I thought of choosing God, He chose me?

Romans 11:33-36
33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"[j]
35"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"[k]
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

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Blogger ts said...

But isn't Paul talking about Jews and Gentiles in this chapter? He's talking about nations, not individuals.  

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