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Romans Chapter Nine

Paul writes in this chapter that He is much moved with passion for his brethren in the physical lineage of Abraham, without lying (v1) that he is greatly swayed towards their own benefit. (v2) Even wishing to the point of separating Himself from Christ in the hope that they could bear fruit also in eternal life by their creator whom they claim to worship. (v3) To them were given every promise of the adoption as heirs into eternal life by Christ (v5) Whom were under the law - who suffered captivity and ongoing refinement and from whom a remnant was continually spared for the sake of Christ's coming, (v4)

For the jews of physical Israel who believed not were also the ones to whom Christ came and them only, having received the same law by which He is justified blameless and is judge. (v5). For it is not true that all of them did not believe on Him. For by the remnant elected of grace, there is some of spiritual Israel preserved from physical Israel - because not all called "Israel" are truly Israel.(v6) Likewise, they are not the seed of Abraham that are called the seed of Abraham (by flesh, being not justified by faith) now Christ has come whom they rejected. (v7)

Because faith is a work of man grounded upon the promises of God, even so it is in those (to whom God makes His promises) that faith becomes justification, and not by physical lineage aside from faith (v8). For Israel was rooted in the promise of Isaac to Sarah, (v9) and not only, but by promise in Rebecca that a son would be given Isaac. (v10) These promises, that the lineage of Israel to whom the promises were to be fulfilled - were given to them as tokens upon which to appreciate their faith in God and tokens to make them separate. They were not upon the contingency of the good behaviour of the children that had not yet been born. In so doing, the election by faith which is the will of God is upheld, rather than any justification by physical lineage or the law after the flesh. (v11)

It was said, contrary to the laws of physical lineage that Isaac would be the child through which justification would be given (v12) and through whom the grace and mercy of God would be shown. (v13) So, is there any unrighteousness in God who did not respect the natural order of the family (to be as His heir) after His own model? God's liberty to declare His character is His own affair, not ours! - It is to show a model of grace for the forgiveness of sins though His mercy more perfectly to us than would He otherwise. (v15) So truly it is not given by men to their own heirs, as by themselves or done by any man as fully to his own credit (v16).

There is a similitude in pharaoh through the service of Joseph here - For through Joseph was pharaoh made exceeding rich and to whom all the world came to be fed, (including those members of Joseph's true family Israel) so that God could show mercy and compassion despite the misdeeds of Israel's lineage, (doing so through a Son that was despised and rejected by his co-heirs) - a model of Christ rather than of good works.(v18) Because the gifts and mercy of God are without repentance and extended to all God calls - and even over those who do not respect Him but at present count Him an enemy - that the mercy might be more extended. In the end, a pharaoh within his line over Egypt was knocked down hard for God's own people's exodus. A vessel of dishonour with hardened heart appointed to wrath defeated by God's own mercy to His people.

But if God has respect and mercy to some, and hardens the hearts of others amongst His own people against Himself - If God is so at work and it is His will, why are there yet any judgements upon physical Israel? Who has resisted Him if they are led into grace or fall into a trap of sin to be followed by grace for all? Does not God have the right over His people to mould them as clay (v20) into justification by faith under grace or to cut them off as sinners under condemnation of the law leading to unbelief? That "all Israel is saved" is testament to the remnant of faith itself being Israel in all fullness of the sense, whereas those cut off are cut out of the new covenant by their unbelief.

Thus we find that Israel historically was formed as potters clay, some clay being selected as worthy for grace, elected to salvation through Christ, and other lumps of clay were marred and found to be unworthy to continue in Israel. (v21) For Christ was sent to Israel, but even through great works their hearts were hardened by disputations of law and a mind deserving the indignation of God. Even so, by cutting off some as unworthy God shows His temperance and patience (v22) for there have been great swathes of time when His wrath was due but His hand was stayed from Israel's complete destruction. Again and again the potters clay that was marred was formed into a worthy vessel by separating out the worthy clay - as all Israel shall be saved and in Christ. Israel has been translated from under the one law of God to grace under a law of faith. The worthy potters clay being taken from within the other (the marred), but with Israel as only one vessel made again. (v23).

By adding into that vessel the law of faith the righteousness of Christ has been extended over all, (v24) so that there is now a greater abundance of clay to be added, as the potter continues His work, for the vessel is not yet marred. Those that were not His people are added into His people (v25-v26) Even Esias protested to God only He was left, but God had reserved a remnant in Israel of worthy clay not to add in, but from which to form the one work, the body of Christ. (v27-v28). For the prophet Esias knew that if there were no remnant, the work would be over and Israel would be destroyed were it not for the Lord's mercy.(v29 cf. v22)

So, if the gentiles that had not sought God out are now able to be justified and Israel who had sought God out is not (v30,v31) why is this so? Because the gentiles seek out God by faith, unlike descended Israel (v32) who sought it out by law-keeping. In so doing they were leading themselves into the captivity from the law of faith's condemnation under unbelief (the analogy of sin) rather than justification by faith in Christ. It is Christ who is that stumbling block to God's marred clay, because in judging Christ as a law breaker after the likeness of their own sinfulness (made as to their own god) they made the perfection of God into the model of the opposite of the grace they required. (v33). In not recognising the most Holy, they extinguished within themselves the faith by which they themselves could be translated and remain within the potters goodly vessel. For no potter keeps a vessel that is unfit or dishonourable unless the clay is not presented as a complete work. Yet the work of the potter is to those vessels that are shaped with good clay into the form He has shaped it.

The wisdom of God however is that the one work of a good vessel should make the unworthy clay also into a dishonourable vessel so that His work be greater, to separate the worthy from the unworthy. In this way, he preserves an 'exodus' from unworthiness to worthiness. That there is one good vessel made of good clay, made from a former marred vessel that was made again, shows that there is one remnant of Israel surviving today, the body of Christ.


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