Lesson Overview: Romans 9:1-33
This is lesson 5 of 7 in Life – Giving Justification.
- Main Point of the Passage: Paul explained to the Roman Christians that Israel’s rejection of Christ did not mean that God’s promises to Israel had failed.
- Main Point of the Lesson: The fact that many Jews have not received Christ does not mean that God’s promises to the Israelites have failed.
- Main Application of the Lesson: Main Application of the Lesson: Participants will base their assurance of salvation on the faithfulness of God, not their own obedience.
- Key Verse: Romans 9:31-32, “But Israel, pursuing the law for righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.”
- Word Studies: Election in Romans 9:11 and Harden in Romans 9:18
To prepare for this lesson, write your own answers to each of the questions below. You will share some of your answers with the group, but make it your goal to talk less than 20% of the Bible study time. Ask the questions, listen to your group, and let them carry the Bible study. You’ll be amazed.
Once everyone in your group is sitting in a circle, say, “Here’s the first question. Everyone answers the first question, and it’s just for fun.” Then read the first question, pause, and listen to your group’s answers.
Smile Question: What was your favorite chewing gum or bubble gum when you were a kid?
Share Question: How would you respond to a Christian who says, “Many of the Israelites missed out on God’s promises. I’m worried that will happen to me too.”?
Introduce the Passage: The fact that many Jews did not receive Christ does not mean that God’s promises to the Israelites have failed. In Romans 9, Paul explained that Israel’s rejection of Christ did not mean that God’s promises to Israel had failed.
In the previous chapter, Paul’s purpose was to fill the Christians in Rome with unshakable hope that God will redeem their bodies. Chapters 9, 10 and 11 address a major question that could undermine the hope that Christians have—if God made all these promises to the people of Israel, why does it seem like God has rejected them? Why aren’t the people of Israel receiving the promises of God through Jesus? Paul will take three chapters to answer this question. Today we’re going to study chapter 9.
[ Read Romans 9:1-5. ]
- Optional:Have a member of your group either recite the passage from memory or give a detailed summary of the passage from memory.
- Optional: Have a member of your group present their word study on the following word(s): Election in Romans 9:11 and Harden in Romans 9:18
Study Question: As we read this passage, let’s find answers to this question: Why haven’t all the Israelites received the promises of God?
Not all descendants of Israel (Jacob) are Israel. (v. 6-7)
Only the “children of the promise” are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. (v. 8-9)
God has mercy on and conversely hardens whomever he chooses (v. 10-18)
- God has a right to make vessels for honor and vessels for dishonor from the same lump of clay (v. 19-21)
- God could have a good purpose for creating both objects of wrath and objects of mercy (v. 22-24)
- Even in the Old Testament, God made it clear that many non-Israelites would become his people and many Israelites would not be saved (v. 25-29)
- The Israelites who “stumbled” did so because they pursued righteousness as if it were by works, not faith (v. 30-33)
Connect-the-Dots Question: In verse 16, Paul said God’s mercy “does not depend on human will.” Then in verse 32 he said the Israelites didn’t obtain righteousness “because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works.” Verse 32 seems to mean that human will is a factor in God’s mercy. How would you explain the tension between these two verses?
Count-the-Cost Question: Paul said these things to strengthen our hope that God’s promises and mercy are for us. What are some reasons a Christian might fail to draw hope from this passage?
Let’s-Do-It Question: Which verse in this passage gives you the most hope?
Prayer: Father, teach us to place our hope only in your mercy and not in our own obedience to the law. Thank you for having mercy on sinners. Amen.