Underline how many times the word Spirit is used in this chapter.
Romans 8 is one of the most loved chapters in all of Scripture. Paul begins and ends this passage with statements about the absolute security of those who are in Christ. First, there is no condemnation, at all, for those in Christ. Last, nothing will ever be able to separate us from God’s love for us in Christ. By this, he refers to those who have been saved by their faith in Jesus (Romans 3:23–26). As Scripture makes clear, the promise of salvation is only given to those who believe in Christ. Those who reject Jesus reject God, and will not be saved. For those who come to faith, their salvation is absolutely secure. Hardships may test their faith and strengthen it, but they never imply that God has abandoned His children.
We also share in Christ’s suffering, including the everyday suffering of living on this fallen planet. Paul is quick to say that our suffering here and now is not worth comparing to the glories of eternity, but he doesn’t say that this suffering doesn’t hurt. Until then, we wait and we suffer. But we don’t do it alone. God is with us spiritually in the form of His Holy Spirit, who helps us many different ways. For one, he helps to take our prayers, even our unformed ones, to God’s ears. The Spirit intercedes for us to a God who is searching our hearts (Romans 8:26–27).
While we wait, we can also be absolutely sure of one thing: Our God is for us. He is working out every circumstance for our ultimate good.
That brings us back to where we started. Nothing, no matter how terrible, no matter how powerful, can ever separate us in any way from God’s love for us in Christ (Romans 8:37–39).
Chapter 9 (Difficult chapter for sure!)
Paul begins by declaring how heartbroken he is about the state of his people Israel. Paul was both Jewish and a Roman citizen. He and his father both served as Pharisees. Paul was truly a child of Israel. He was in such anguish for his people because they had, as a nation, rejected Christ. A few had believed, but Paul knew the majority of Jewish people were trusting the law to save them from God’s wrath. Paul has gone to great lengths in Romans to show that the law cannot save. Shockingly, Paul says that he could wish that he would be cut off from Christ if, presumably, his people would come to Him (Romans 9:1–3).
Paul finds Israel’s rejection of the Messiah all the sadder because God has given to her so many privileges as His chosen people. These include:
- national adoption,
- showing them His glory,
- the covenants,
- the law of Moses,
- the worship at the temple,
- the promises,
- the patriarchs,
- and the ancestry of Christ.
Paul insists that God will keep all His promises to Israel, but that not everyone physically born an Israelite will be saved from God’s wrath (Romans 9:4–7).
To show that God can give His mercy to whomever He likes, Paul gives three examples from Israel’s history in Scripture.
- God chose to give His promises to Abraham’s son by Sarah and not by any of his other wives.
- God chose to give the promises to one of Rebekah’s twin sons and not the other before they were even born.
- God hardened Pharaoh’s heart while He was raining down plagues upon Egypt in order to increase His own glory.
Finally, Paul quotes from Scriptures in Hosea and Isaiah to show that God has called out some Gentiles to be His people, while also calling out a remnant—but not all—of Israel. He has called all of these out through faith in Christ. The Jewish people have stumbled over the stumbling block of Christ because they have sought to reach righteousness by their works instead of faith (Romans 9:25–33).
Israelites continue to try to be declared righteous by God for their religious law-keeping, despite how they continue to break that law. Then we read one of the most quoted scriptures in the church probably:
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
BUT THEN hits them with the whole point: God shows NO favoritism:
11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
For me it is not about Jew or Gentile, it is about not having a single thought that God shows favoritism for the Deacon and not to the person on death row at a prison.
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 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.”
19 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.”
20 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.”
21 But concerning Israel he says,
“All day long I have held out my hands
to a disobedient and obstinate people.”