Introduction: Do you have friends or family that deliberately make
your life difficult? Have they also rejected your faith? How do you
feel about them? You want them to be saved and stop trying to hurt
you? Paul feels this way about the Jewish people. He wants them to be
saved – and it would be great if they stopped trying to hurt him!
Let’s jump into our study of Romans 9 to discover lessons about
dealing with friends or family who sometimes seem to be the enemy.

  1. Comfort

    1. Read Romans 8:31. We know that Satan is against those who
      follow Jesus. Perhaps you have people in your life who are
      “against” you. How do you understand this text? (We may
      have opponents, but Paul’s point is that they can hardly
      overcome the power of God.)

    2. Read Romans 8:32. How can we be certain that God is on our
      side? That He is willing to help us against our enemies?
      (He gave His own Son for us. What more could He do to show
      His love and care?)

      1. When we say that God is “on our side,” does that mean
        that He will do what we think is best? (If we have
        any sense, we want God to do what He thinks is best.)

    3. Read Romans 8:33-34. What is Jesus current role in heaven?
      (He is interceding for us! This brings to mind the book of
      Hebrews which tells us that Jesus is our great High Priest
      in the heavenly sanctuary interceding on our behalf.)

    4. Read Romans 8:35-39. How does this discussion make you
      feel? (It should give us great comfort and confidence. God
      is with us, God loves us, and the person who “condemns” us
      is interceding on our behalf! We are “more than

      1. As you contemplate these verses, does it seem to you
        that the life of the Christian is always easy? (This
        refers to many adverse things that will not separate
        us from the love of God – thus suggesting that those
        loved by God may face serious problems in life.)

  2. Anguish

    1. Read Romans 9:1-5. After writing that we are more than
      conquerors, how can Paul say that he has “great sorrow and
      unceasing anguish?” (These wonderful promises, this great
      comfort, has been largely rejected by his people, the
      Jewish people. They reject the idea that Jesus died for
      them and is interceding for them.)

    2. Read Romans 9:6. Why would Paul feel the need to defend
      the promises of God? (Consider the obvious, God gave His
      special blessings and revealed His will specifically to
      the Jewish people – who then rejected Jesus.)

      1. What does Paul mean when he writes “not all who are
        descended from Israel are Israel?” (Read Romans 9:7-9. Israel is not defined by race. Rather, it is
        defined by those who are offered and accept the
        promises of God. If you accept God’s promise, then
        you are Israel.)

  3. Election

    1. Read Romans 9:10-14. What do you think this means about
      the ability of Esau to be saved? Did God “hate” him before
      he was born? (It is hard to accept that is Paul’s point.
      Why would Paul express great sorrow and anguish (Romans
      9:2) if God made the executive decision that most of the
      Jewish people would reject Him? How do you explain the
      tone of Romans so far, that grace is a matter of humans
      accepting it? How do you explain Romans 5:18 that says
      Jesus’ righteous act “brings life for all men?”)

    2. Read Romans 9:15-18. Do you think that God has shown mercy
      to you? Or, has He hardened your heart?

    3. Read Romans 9:19. Isn’t this our question? Isn’t this the
      obvious question about the fairness of God?

    4. Read Romans 9:20-21. What do you think about Paul’s
      answer? (It is obviously correct, but hardly comforting.
      Paul first tells us to shut our mouth. Then he says that
      clearly God has this authority. He made us. We obviously
      agree with the authority question.)

      1. Is being in authority and being fair the same thing?

        1. Or, is the fact that God created us the answer
          to the fairness question?

      2. Let’s go back to where we started. Re-read Romans
        8:32. How does this fit into the idea of an arbitrary

    5. Re-read Romans 9:3-5. Let’s reconsider what is being
      chosen and elected. Were you originally elected if you are
      not Jewish? (No. If we go back to the beginning of Paul’s
      conversation, we see that he is not talking about
      salvation, but rather the vehicle for salvation. God chose
      Abraham, He chose Isaac and He chose the Jewish people to
      be His special representatives. He chose Pharaoh to
      demonstrate His saving power.)

      1. Does this mean that Jews are saved and we (gentiles)
        are not? (Obviously not! This is Paul’s point in
        Romans 9:6-8. We are saved even though we were not
        originally chosen. Esau and Pharaoh could be saved.)

      2. How important are your works to your salvation?
        (Isn’t this the elephant in the room? Salvation and
        mercy are all God. We think our works are so
        important. How foolish we are.)

      3. Are you still troubled by the idea that God might
        choose you (like Pharaoh) to demonstrate His power?
        Let’s explore that next.

  4. Mercy

    1. Read Romans 9:22. What do we deserve? (Our sins cause us
      to deserve eternal death.)

      1. If you use that conclusion as the context, we can see
        that God has shown humans, even those who reject Him,
        great mercy. This is why Pharaoh, and those like him,
        have no grounds to complain. What we all deserve is
        death. God gave us all the gift of the opportunity
        for eternal life!)

    2. Read Romans 9:23-26. What is the great good news for us?
      (That we are now God’s people. The accounts of Esau and
      Pharaoh highlight the mercy of God. Even those not chosen
      originally can enjoy the blessings of being “sons of the
      living God.”)

    3. Read Romans 9:27-28. What other attribute of God, other
      than mercy, does Paul describe? (God is also the Judge who
      will impose judgment on those who reject him. He will do
      it “with speed and finality.”)

      1. What does the use of the word “finality” suggest
        about the idea of the lost being in an eternally
        burning hell? (Eternally burning doesn’t sound very

    4. Read Romans 9:29. What does this suggest about the idea of
      an eternally burning hell? (Since Sodom and Gomorrah are
      not burning today, it suggests that hell consumes those
      who reject God. Consistent with the argument that we have
      a merciful God, the lost do not have an eternal life of

    5. Read Romans 9:30-32. Why would anyone pursue righteousness
      by works? (Because they thought they were better at it
      than others. The Gentiles, who the Jews thought inferior,
      obtained righteousness!)

    6. Read Romans 9:33. Who is the Stone in Zion? (Jesus!)

      1. What does God call us to do when it comes to Jesus?
        (To trust Him. If we do, we will never be put to

        1. What if we don’t trust Him? (Then we will
          “stumble” in life and miss life eternal.)

        2. Would you like peace and joy? Would you like to
          avoid shame? Accepting Jesus as your Savior is
          the path to those blessings!

    7. Friend, recall that we started out talking about friends
      and family who hurt us. We end up with the promise that if
      we accept Jesus as our righteousness, we will never be put
      to shame. God gives ultimate victory to those who trust
      Him. If you would like that, why not accept Jesus by faith
      and become part of the family of God?

  5. Next week: Overcoming Evil With Good.