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Bible Reading: Romans 9.6-13

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.” And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.” Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” Romans 9.6-13

The love of God should make us tremble in reverential fear. God unfolds His love for us in a way here that should make us tremble before His majesty. As Paul says, God’s word has not failed, but instead what is revealed is the free, sovereign, unconditional and electing love of God.

God’s love is based on a promise, not on the physical or flesh. Not all ethnic Israel will be secured with salvation. In fact, God’s chosen instrument to bring His name and glory to the nations, His covenant people are mostly accursed and cut off from Christ according to Paul in Romans 9.1-5, which is most sad. So, ethnic Israel is not the true Israel, nor are all the descendants of Abraham the children of God, nor the children of the flesh the true children of promise. Paul uses the example of Isaac as God had promised to Sarah that she would have a son and the fruit of that promise was Isaac. Through Isaac would come Christ and not Ishmael’s line.

Romans 2.28-29 says, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” God brings into being the true Israel, the one He has loved and not passed over, by sending Jesus. Now everyone who trusts in Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile (all non-Jews), is united to Him and becomes part of the true Israel in Christ (the children of the promise). When it comes to salvation it has always been about grace, not race.

Paul quotes some strong and shocking language from God to speak of His great love when He says, “The older will serve the younger” (Genesis 25.23); and “Jacob I loved but Esau I hated” (Malachi 1.2). Through Isaac’s descendants we continue to see the free, sovereign, unconditional and electing love of God revealed, as before they are even born, while still in the womb the word about the older, Esau will serve the younger, Jacob. God’s choice of Jacob was God’s choosing and not based on anything Jacob had done, as he was still in the womb. It was based solely on God’s sovereign grace. So, as Christians read the shocking words in Malachi that Paul quotes (9.13) we hear God saying, I have loved you, my people, the church with a free, sovereign, unconditional and electing love.

Does that not cause you to tremble? It does me. Praise God for His free, sovereign, unconditional and electing love.

Weekly Memory Verse: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20