Study of Romans, Chapter 9 Israel, Selected By God And Their Disbelief

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Jesus

God’s selection of Israel and their disbelief laid a burden on Paul.  The Israelites had preconceived notions of what would be when the Jewish Messiah arrived.  They believed that Israel would be delivered from the oppression of other Gentile nations.  When Jesus came, and this did not occur, they could not believe that Jesus was who they were watching for.  Doubt began to fill their minds, and their trust in God faltered.  They questioned that if Jesus really was the Messiah, but yet they were still in oppression, then how could they believe the rest of the promises that God had given them?  Paul answers these doubt in chapter 9-11 from three different perspectives:  firstly, Paul discusses the viewpoint of divine sovereignty (ch 9); secondly, he looks at the human responsibility (ch 10); and lastly, we see Paul share the viewpoint from God’s final purpose (ch 11).

Romans 9:1-3Romans 9:1-3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: accursed: or, separated  

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1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

3 For I could wish that myself were accursed cursed and cut off] from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen [people] according to the flesh:

Paul is troubled by the Jewish unbelief and displays much sorrow for Israel by expressing that he would gladly give up his salvation if it meant that it would save the people of Israel; Paul’s kinsmen.  Paul is tackling a tough question:  Has God failed Israel?  Could God’s promises to us also fail?

1 Timothy 2:71 Timothy 2:7
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7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.  

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Whereunto I am ordained [appointed] a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity [truth].

Romans 10:1Romans 10:1
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10 1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  

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Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

Paul was willing to lay down his life for Israel and be a sacrifice for another, just as Jesus was.  Would you be willing to give your life for another to know Jesus Christ?  Are you willing to give up your time and energy, money, comfort, and safety to show another the love of Jesus Christ?  People wander aimlessly, day after day, trying to find what is missing in their life.  How are you playing a part in that person’s life?  Are you inviting them to church?  A Bible study? or maybe just being there, sharing the Word with them?  Our Pastor shared a story with us:  two neighbors, one is saved the other is not.  Every Sunday morning, the one neighbor would ask the other if they would like to join them for church, always being politely turned down.  Many years later, a testimony was given.  It began with the story of a neighbor who faithfully asked them to go to church every Sunday morning.  They shared that this neighbor loved them so much that they took the time to invite them every Sunday, and eventually they felt drawn to find out what, or who, filled them with so much love to care about another that they didn’t even know.  The morale of the story is simple…do we put ourselves aside to allow God to shine through us?  Do we seek every opportunity that God gives us to reach out and touch another, or do we just stay in our comfort zones?

Romans 9:4-5Romans 9:4-5
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4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; covenants: or, testaments 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.  

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4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

The word Israel means ‘God strives’, or ‘he who strives with God’.  This was the name that God placed upon Jacob [Genesis 32:28Genesis 32:28
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28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. Israel: that is, A prince of God  

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].  There is no question surrounding the privileges that Israel received as a nation because of their relationship with God.

Deuteronomy 4:13Deuteronomy 4:13
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13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.  

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And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.

Deuteronomy 29:14Deuteronomy 29:14
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14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;  

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Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;

Deuteronomy 7:6Deuteronomy 7:6
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6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.  

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For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God:  the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

Ephesians 2:12Ephesians 2:12
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12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  

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That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Hebrews 9:1,6Hebrews 9:1,6
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9 1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. ordinances: or, ceremonies 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.  

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1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

Genesis 17:2Genesis 17:2
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2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.  

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And I will make my covenant between me and the, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

Luke 1:72Luke 1:72
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72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;  

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To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;

Acts 3:25Acts 3:25
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25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.  

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Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

Psalm 147:19Psalm 147:19
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19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. his word: Heb. his words  

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He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.

Romans 1:3Romans 1:3
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3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;  

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Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

1 John 5:201 John 5:20
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20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.  

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And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God, and eternal life.

 Paul briefly addressed these privileges in Romans 3:1-2Romans 3:1-2
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3 1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.  

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, and now begins to list them [Exodus 4:22, 13:20-22, 16:10Exodus 4:22, 13:20-22, 16:10
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22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. wilt: or, shouldest  

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; Genesis 12, 13Genesis 12, 13
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13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.  

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; Deuteronomy 30; 2 Samuel 7; Jeremiah 31; Exodus 19-31; Hebrews 10:1-5Hebrews 10:1-5
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10 1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. would...: or, they would have ceased to be offered, because, etc. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: hast...: or, thou hast fitted me  

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; Genesis 3:15, 49:10Genesis 3:15, 49:10
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15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  

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; Numbers 24:15-19Numbers 24:15-19
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15 And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: 16 He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: 17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. smite...: or, smite through the princes of 18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. 19 Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.  

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; Deuteronomy 18:15-22Deuteronomy 18:15-22
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15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.  

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]

 The greatest of all privileges bestowed upon Israel is that Jesus came to earth as the incarnation of God in Jewish flesh. 

Romans 9:6Romans 9:6
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6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:  

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6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect.  For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

God’s promises were made to Abraham, but these promises did not just cover his biological children, but his spiritual children as well.  All of us who believe and trust in God and recognize what Jesus Christ has done for them are covered under God’s promises.

Numbers 23:19Numbers 23:19
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19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?  

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God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent:  hath he said, and shall he not do it?  or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Galatians 3:7Galatians 3:7
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7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  

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Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

Galatians 6:16Galatians 6:16
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16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.  

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And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God

We should never assume that just because promises were made to Israel in the Old Testament, that all who lived there were recipients of those promises.  We shall see this proven true in the following verses.

Romans 9:7-9Romans 9:7-9
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7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.  

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7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children:  but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God:  but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.

Through Hagar and Keturah, Abraham had children, but it was the son that he and Sarah borne in their old age, Isaac, who the promised line was through.  Isaac was a fulfillment of a promise made by God to Abraham.  It was Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, who gave birth to Jacob, who later became the father of the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Genesis 18:10, 14Genesis 18:10, 14
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10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.  

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10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.  And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

14 I any thing too hard for the LORD?  At the time appointed, I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

Genesis 21:12Genesis 21:12
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12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.  

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And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Hebrews 11:11, 18Hebrews 11:11, 18
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11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: of: or, to  

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11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Galatians 3:16Galatians 3:16
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16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.  

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Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Galatians 4:23, 28Galatians 4:23, 28
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23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.  

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23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

By natural means, Sarah should not have been able to bear a child at such an old age, but through God’s promise she became pregnant; Isaac’s birth was a result of a divine promise.  Paul relates to all Christians as children of promise.  Our salvation does not rely on our biological descent, nor our works, but by our faith in the promises God has given us.

Jacob and Esau

Romans 9:10-14Romans 9:10-14
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10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. elder: or, greater younger: or, lesser 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  

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10 And not only this;but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then?  Is there unrighteousness with God?  God forbid.

God’s promise to work through Jacob came even before the twins were born, and was not based on anything good or evil.  It was God’s sovereign choice to work through Jacob.  Paul is making the point here that regardless of their heritage or good works, that no one can claim to be chosen by God.  God chooses to save whomever He wills, through His grace and mercy and not by our own works.

Genesis 25:21, 23Genesis 25:21, 23
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21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.  

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21 And Isaac intreated [pleaded with] the LORD for his wife, because she was barren:  and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in the womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Romans 4:17Romans 4:17
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17 before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. before him: or, like unto him  

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(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth [gives life to] the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

Romans 8:28Romans 8:28
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28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  

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And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Malachi 1:2-3Malachi 1:2-3
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2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, 3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.  

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2 I have loved you, saith the LORD.  Yet ye say, Wherein has thou loved us?  Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?  saith the LORD:  yet I loved Jacob,

3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

Deuteronomy 32:4Deuteronomy 32:4
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4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.  

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He is the Rock, his work is perfect:  for all his ways are judgment:  a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

The choice of Jacob over Esau is representative of the nations of Israel and Edom.  Even though Jacob continued the family line of the faithful, God did not refuse Esau the opportunity of knowing and loving God.  God works for our good in everything He does, and He promised that He will save everyone who believes in him.

hardened heart

Romans 9:15-18Romans 9:15-18
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15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.  

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15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

It is not by luck that we follow God, but because He draws us near; He invites us, and we accept.  God will not force himself upon us and will give us opportunities to submit our life to Him, but after a time of rejection after rejection, our hearts will be hardened.

Exodus 33:19Exodus 33:19
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19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.  

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And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

Ephesians 2:8Ephesians 2:8
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8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  

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For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:

Galatians 3:8Galatians 3:8
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8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  

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And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Exodus 9:16Exodus 9:16
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16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. raised...: Heb. made thee stand  

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And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

Paul used the story of Pharoah to show how God had foretold that Pharoah would be used to reveal God’s name and power, so that one true God would be known.  But Pharoah believed himself to be the incarnation of the sun god Ra.  In Exodus 7:3Exodus 7:3
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3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.  

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and Exodus 8:15Exodus 8:15
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15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.  

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we see that Pharoah’s heart was hardened and he rejected God.  The consequences of his actions would be his own punishment.

Romans 9:19-21Romans 9:19-21
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19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? repliest...: or, answerest again, or, disputest with God? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?  

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19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault?  For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?  Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Paul disregards the questions posed to him, recognizing that they are from those who lack understanding of the sovereignty of our God.  We will never fully understand God and the reasons behind why He does what He does, until we are together with him in heaven, I suppose.  This is one of many mysteries of the Bible.  God is our Creator, and has total control over all beings.

2 Chronicles 20:62 Chronicles 20:6
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6 And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?  

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And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven?  and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

Job 9:12Job 9:12
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12 Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou? hinder...: Heb. turn him away?  

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Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him?  who will say unto him, What doest thou?

Daniel 4:35Daniel 4:35
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35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?  

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And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing:  and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth:  and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Isaiah 29:16Isaiah 29:16
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16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?  

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Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay:  for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not?  or shall thew thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

Isaiah 45:9Isaiah 45:9
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9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?  

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Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!  Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.  Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?  or thy work, He hath no hands?

Jeremiah 18:6Jeremiah 18:6
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6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.  

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O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?  saith the LORD.  Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

2 Timothy 2:202 Timothy 2:20
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20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.  

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But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

Proverbs 16:4Proverbs 16:4
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4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.  

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The LORD hath made all things for himself:  yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Knowing our characteristic as human, we must realize that we are limited in our understanding of an unlimited God.  We must always keep in mind that our existence depends on our Creator, God, and that we must avoid any temptation to take pride in personal achievements.  Everything that we are, everything that we have, comes from our Creator and is much to be thankful for.

sand of the sea

Romans 9:22-29Romans 9:22-29
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22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: fitted: or, made up 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. 27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: 28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. the work: or, the account 29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.  

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22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering [patience] the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee [Hosea], I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness:  because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

29 And as Esaias [Isaiah] said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

Even though God has the right to His anger and His power, he also shows extreme patience with us, especially those who God’s anger falls upon and they are destined for destruction.  Through God’s patience, the riches of His glory shine even brighter on all of those that He shows mercy upon, who were prepared in advance for glory.  We are among those whom he selected, both from Jews and from Gentiles.  In verse 25, Paul shares the prophecy of Hosea 2:23Hosea 2:23
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23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.  

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, and again in verse 26 and 27 he shares Hosea 1:10Hosea 1:10
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10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. in...: or, instead of that  

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and Isaiah 10:22Isaiah 10:22
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22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. of them: Heb. in, or, among, etc with: or, in  

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.  In verse 29, Paul shares Isaiah 1:9Isaiah 1:9
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9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.  

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1 Thessalonians 5:91 Thessalonians 5:9
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9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,  

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For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Peter 2:8 101 Peter 2:8 10
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8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.  

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8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient:  whereunto also they were appointed.

10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God:  which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Isaiah 42:6-7Isaiah 42:6-7
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6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.  

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6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Isaiah 49:6Isaiah 49:6
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6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. It is...: or, Art thou lighter than that thou shouldest, etc preserved: or, desolations  

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And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel:  I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Colossians 1:27Colossians 1:27
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27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: in: or, among  

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To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Luke 2:32Luke 2:32
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32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.  

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A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Romans 3:29Romans 3:29
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29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:  

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I he the God of the Hews only?  is he not also of the Gentiles?  Yes, of the Gentiles also:

Deuteronomy 29:23Deuteronomy 29:23
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23 And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:  

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And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:

Jeremiah 49:18Jeremiah 49:18
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18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD, no man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it.  

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As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD, no man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it.

Amos 4:11Amos 4:11
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11 I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.  

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I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning:  yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

It is God’s great mercy that has kept Israel from suffering the destruction that Sodom and Gomorrha did.  Even when the nation of Israel has rejected Him, He will save a remnant; only a small amount will be called by God.

stumblingstone

Romans 9:30-33Romans 9:30-33
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30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. ashamed: or confounded  

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30 What shall we say then?  That the Gentiles which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

32 Wherefore?  Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.  For they stumbled at that stumblingstone.

33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence:  and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

 The Gentiles were not trying to keep the law, but were made righteous through their faith.  The Israelites, on the other hand, were desperately trying to get right with God by upholding the law but were not made righteous.  Why?  Because salvation does not come through following the letter of the law, but by grace through faith.  They were trying to ‘be good’ instead of putting their trust in God.  Over and over again, they stumbled over the great rock in their path.  They did not heed God’s warning about the stumbling stone, and continued to trip-up in their lives.

Galatians 2:16Galatians 2:16
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16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.  

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Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ , and not by the works of the law:  for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 3:24Galatians 3:24
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24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  

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Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Hebrews 11:7Hebrews 11:7
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7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. moved...: or, being wary  

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By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Romans 1:17Romans 1:17
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17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  

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For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:  as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Philippians 3:9Philippians 3:9
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9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  

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And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Galatians 5:4Galatians 5:4
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4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.  

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Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Isaiah 8:14Isaiah 8:14
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14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  

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And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 1:231 Corinthians 1:23
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23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;  

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But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

Isaiah 28:16Isaiah 28:16
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16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.  

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Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation:  he that believeth shall not make haste.

Matthew 21:42Matthew 21:42
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42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  

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Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner:  this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

1 Peter 2:6-81 Peter 2:6-8
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6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, precious: or, an honour 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.  

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6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious:  and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

7 Unto you therefore which believe his is precious:  but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient:  whereunto also they were appointed.

Romans 5:5Romans 5:5
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5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  

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And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Romans 10:1Romans 10:1
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10 1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  

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For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Paul is emphasizing that God’s plan is not for those of us who are trying to win God’s favor by being good.  Many attend church, volunteer their time for church missions and activities, make sure that they tithe each week, and behave throughout the week.  They are doing their very best to ‘be good’.  God’s plan of salvation is for those who recognize they will never be good enough and need a Savior; they need someone to depend on.  When we believe and put our faith and trust in what Jesus Christ did at the cross for us, we will never be disappointed, or ashamed.

Do not be deceived.  The Jews believed that if they were in strict accordance with the law, then God would have to accept them as his people.  God is the Creator.  He is in control of all things, not vise versa.  Not only in the New Testament, but the Old Testament, Genesis 15:6Genesis 15:6
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6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.  

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, taught that righteousness was through believing in the LORD, not through the following of the law or being good.  The Jews had a preconceived notion of what Jesus was supposed to look like and how they imagined he should act.  Jesus was the stumblingstone.  The Jews completely missed Jesus as the Messiah because he wasn’t what they expected he would be.  Many today, stumble over Jesus, just as the Jews did.  Whether it is because salvation by faith makes no sense to them; they prefer to work their way into heaven as some religions teach; some may even expect that if our God is a loving God, then He should just overlook their misdoings in life; some choose to follow the ways of the world instead of following the values of God; and some are plainly just to prideful and arrogant to ever humble themselves before God and be obedient.  For whatever the reason,  they are being blinded and deceived into rejecting the one true Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

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