Romans 9-10 (Part 2 of 3): God's Plan for Israel

#1   Romans 9:25-26   (from Hosea 1:10 and 2:23)

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

Over 700 years before Christ came to earth, God told the Jews through the prophet Hosea that, in the future, many Gentiles would come to be a part of God's people. Paul continues to show us that this was all part of God's plan from the very beginning.

#2   Romans 9:27-28   (from Isaiah 10:22-23)

Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth."

Many Israelites falsely believed that their nation alone would be saved, and that they had to earn that salvation by keeping God's law. Now that Paul has shown us how all of Abraham's descendants were not saved but salvation came through Isaac (Romans 9:7), and how God chose Jacob over Esau before either of them were born, in order to demonstrate His purpose of election that is based on nothing we do (Romans 9:11), he now goes further, showing how the prophet Isaiah told the Israelites that many of them would not be saved, but that only a small remnant would actually be saved by God.

#3   Romans 9:29   (from Isaiah 1:9; Genesis 19)

And as Isaiah said before: "Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah."

Paul reminds the Israelites that they (and the same is true for all of us) can do nothing apart from God's will. God chose to save some of them for His own good pleasure, but had God made a different choice, the nation of Israel might have just as easily been as wicked as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which God destroyed for their sins.

#4   Romans 9:30-31

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.

Based on everything he has written so far to the Romans (especially what we have read in chapter 9), Paul concludes that God is now saving many Gentiles, just as He said He would throughout many Old Testament prophecies, while most of the Jews have not received God's gift of salvation. Why? Paul answers that for us in the next two verses.

#5   Romans 9:32-33   (from Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16)

Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 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."

Many of the Jews did not seek God by faith, but instead tried to earn their salvation by keeping God's law. But none of us can earn salvation (Isaiah 64:6), and God gave us His law to show us that we cannot keep it and we need a Savior (Galatians 3:24). Jesus Christ is the stone that God laid that many stumble over, missing out on true salvation.

#6   Romans 10:1-3

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

Paul, who himself is a Jew, a descendant of the nation of Israel, shares the burden that rests on his heart for his fellow Jews, that they might be saved. He even admits that they are passionate about serving God-but they don't serve God according to knowledge. Instead, they try to keep the law, rather than submitting to Jesus Christ.

#7   Romans 10:4

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

For those who believe in Christ, we are not required to strictly keep the law. We should try to be obedient to God, so that we might be a good witness of Him to others and that the world would notice a difference in us, but we cannot earn salvation in that way.