Recap of Romans 9
In the previous two posts (1,2) we looked at the context of Romans 9. It addresses the question: Has God broken his promises to the Jewish people? We noted that Jacob and Esau (9:11-13) were nations, and that the election described was for the human ancestry of Christ (9:5). We observed that both Pharaoh and Israel were chosen by God to proclaim his name to the world, and that God showed mercy to Pharaoh (Exodus 9:13-16).
More to the story: Romans 10 and 11
Typically, Calvinists are only interested in a portion of Romans 9. However, Romans 9, 10, and 11 are one argument. Romans 10 and 11 teach a very non-Calvinistic view of faith.
The opening of Romans 10 shows that Paul still has Israel in mind. We now learn why not all of Abraham’s descendants are God’s children (first addressed in Romans 9:6). It is because Israel is depending on its own works, instead of the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus. God offers salvation to everyone who has faith in Jesus and calls on his name.
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
How are we saved?
Salvation and justification are presented in Romans 10:9-13. To be saved one must confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Importantly, anyone can be saved.
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Amen! No wonder the Calvinists never go on to read Romans 10. There is nothing here about “secret decrees” or the elect being zapped with faith. Instead we see that it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Irresistible Grace Refuted?
In Romans 10:16-21 the Calvinistic teaching of “Irresistible Grace” is contradicted by the word of God. God genuinely desired to save Israel. Not only that, Israel heard and understood the message of Christ. Yet they still resisted.
Romans 10:16-21: But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
“Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” And Isaiah boldly says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
God desired for Israel to accept Christ. In fact it states that God was holding out his hands to them all day long. Israel heard the good news, and they understood the message. If “Irresistible Grace” was true they would have been saved. But Israel did resist. They remained disobedient and obstinate.
Next up: Romans 11.