Monday, March 7, 2011

Romans 9:2-3 (NLT)
My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief [3] for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters....

- Paul starts on a new track here... But perhaps the previous passage about how nothing can separate us from Christ's love has set the scene for this upcoming discussion of his struggles with his fellow Jews.

Romans 9:8-10 (NLT)
This means that Abraham's physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham's children. [9] For God had promised, "I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son." [10] This son was our ancestor Isaac. ...

- I hadn't realized this fully before, that even as physical descendants of Abraham, only the branch of Isaac are considered by Psul as heirs of God's promises to Abraham...

Romans 9:14 (NLT)
Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not!

- It looks like Paul is working out an explanation as to why some people respond positively to his message of the Good News of Jesus Christ, while others vehemently oppose it. To set the scene Paul goes right back to the origins of the nation of Israel - which of course is derived from Jacob (renamed Israel) - who was only one of Abraham's descendants.

His theme seems to be that all along God chooses certain people for his own reasons -not for their good or bad works, as just stated in the previous verses:

Romans 9:11-12 (NLT)
... (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; [12] he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.)

Romans 9:16 (NLT)
So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

- This seems now to confront beliefs about predestination, vs. freedom of choice...

I'll stop here for today as I want to look at these next passages carefully, especially in light of Open Future theology I've recently been studying.

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