Enshrined in Old Testament prophecies, was the concept that a new movement would emerge, uniting both Jew and Gentile in one body. In the Roman World the Church was the only body to offer a alternative to the ruthless religious and social sectarianism that divided the Jew from the Gentile. Today Christianity remains the only body to offer the world the true message of peace under Christ the Prince of Peace.
God’s Plan For Israel
(e) Lessons From Hosea and Isaiah
Romans Chapter 9 – The Story So Far
Some belong to Israel which were not born of Jewish stock – v6.
Not all born of Abraham are in the covenant – v7.
It is not birth but God’s grace which confers blessing – v8.
Membership of God’s family begins with God who predestines some to everlasting life (v11,v13,v15-16).
God therefore chooses some to everlasting life and passes others by (v13, v17).
God has the right to do this and is Just in doing so because he is God (v14, v20,v21).
God’s actions towards man, however are characterised by patience and mercy (v22-23).
We should be humbled because he has saved us, “even us” (v24)
In this way he calls both Jew and Gentile (v24).
Paul is now coming to the close of the argument that he has been setting forth in this chapter; that God according to his sovereign grace is establishing a church drawn from both Jew and Gentile. As he does so he draws from two Old Testament prophets to prove his case.
On a general principle this teaches us that every New Testament truth is erected upon the foundation laid down in Old Testament Theology. This is borne out by the multitude of Old Testament references and analogies that are scattered throughout the New Testament. Paul is not presenting his own novel ideas, as some liberals have suggested, but is rather expounding the Word of God. He is clearly a man with a profound knowledge of the Bible. If we are to understand God it is vital that we too spend time with both the Old and New Testament Scriptures.
1: Hosea – God’s Redemptive Work Among the Gentiles
v25 – As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
Hosea 2:23 – 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.
Hosea 1:10 – 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.
Hosea’s wife gave birth to three children whose names were highly symbolic. Jezreel means to scatter teaching that God would scatter Israel. Lo-Ruhammah means not loved or not pitied teaching that God would remove his love from Israel. Lo-Ammi means Not-My-People teaching that God would cast off his people. The names of the daughters, however, were changed to teach that God would return and restore his people (Hosea 2:1). The negative “Lo” was dropped and those who were not loved became loved and those who were not God’s people would become God’s people. Jezreel too became associated with planting as opposed to scattering.
Paul takes this Old Testament story and uses it to show that the people who were scattered, unloved and not God’s people were the Gentile peoples. God’s relationship with them, however, was reversed and they were loved, adopted and planted. Scholars such as Charles Hodge and John Calvin believed that these people brought in, included Jewish people also, because they were not truly gathered and restored until God established the New Testament Church.
2: Isaiah – God’s Redemptive Work Among the Jews
v27 – 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:
Isaiah 10:22 – 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.
The word remnant would indicate that not every member of Israel will be saved but that there is an elect remnant whom God will call. God will finish this work not only of saving the remnant but of judging the remainder of Jewry who have spurned the Messiah. The reference to God making a short work is particularly solemn.
v29 – 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.
Isaiah 1:9 – 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.
If the “Lord of Sabaoth” (the Lord of Hosts), had not chosen the remnant, all of Israel would have been left like Sodom and Gomorrah. Apart from the Grace of God there is nothing for Israel but destruction and devastation.
Salvation is God’s work. Without the gracious intervention of God we are all, both Jew and Gentile without hope
Not everyone is saved.
Membership of Churches, Families, communities or organisations confers no spiritual benefit whatsoever. If not all Israel was saved in the New Testament, then it is a fallacy for anyone to think that Church membership or ordinances confer grace.
Without the saving power of the Gospel we too would have been no better than Sodom and Gomorrah.