Paraphrase of the Book of Romans
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

Chapter 9

Paulís Deep Concern for His Fellow Jews

1 Having expounded the glorious truths of the gospel to you Christians at Rome, I would like to share with you my deep concern for my fellow Jews. Realizing the negative reports you have been hearing about me, how I have turned against Godís Law, the temple and my own Jewish people [Acts 21:28]. I would like you to get the facts straight. Contrary to these false reports, I am telling you the absolute truth; as a Christian whose conscience is controlled by the Holy Spirit, I am not lying.

2 Deep down in my heart I am full of grief and greatly burdened ahout the eternal destiny of my own Jewish nation. 3 Believe me, I am willing to be actually cut off from Christ and be eternally lost, if this would in any way bring salvation to my people, 4 who by birth belong to Israel, the nation privileged to be called God’s covenant people, who were blessed with His unique presence during the Exodus and to whom He made special covenants, giving them His law and His wonderful plan of salvation through the sanctuary scrvice, plus many precious promises.

5 Furthermore, being descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they have been greatly blessed. Above all, it was through them that Christ, the Son of God, came in thc flesh to be the Saviour of the world. May God’s name be praised forever, seeing He must get the credit for all these blessings. Amen!

Who Constitutes True Israel

6 The fact that the Jewish nation no longer constitutes God’s church today does not mean that God has failed to keep His promise made to Israel through the patriarchs and prophets. For the truth of the matter is that not every one who happens to be a Jew really belongs to God’s true spiritual Israel. 7 Just as not all the descendants of Abraham, the Arabs for example, belong to the nation of Israel, but the promise made to Abraham was, “Only those who are in the line of Isaac, that is, born of God, are qualified to bc part of Israel.”

8 In other words, it is not the natural descendants of Abraham, or Isaac for that matter, who comprise God’s people, but it is those who have experienced the new birth through faith in His promised Son that constitute true Israel in God’s sight. 9 For according to Scripture, this is how God fulfilled His promise of a son to Abraham: Eirst, God waited almost twenty-five years until Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Then, when it was impossible for Abraham to produce a child through Sarah, God said to him, after He had entered into a faith-covenant with Abraham through circumcision, “About this time next year I will bless Sarah with a Son” [Gen. 17]. Thus Isaac, the promised son, represents, or is the prototype of all who, like him, are born of God through faith in Christ. 10 But this is not all; even Isaac’s wife, Rebecca, who had conceived twins, had an experience that reveals a vital truth.

11 Even before the twins, Esau and Jacob, were born, while they were still in her womb and therefore had not yet done anything good or bad, in order that it might be clearly established that it is by God’s grace and calling we are saved and not our performance, 12 God said to Rebecca: “The elder [i.e., first-born] will serve the younger” [Gen. 25:19-23]. This was in complete contradiction to Jewish tradition; but God did this to show that salvation is based on His sovereign will and not on one’s natural inheritance or human lineage. 13 This all agrees with the statement of Scripture: “Jacob I have accepted, but Esau I have rejected.”

God’s Sovereign Will

14 Does this mean God was playing favorites or that He was being unfair to Esau? Certainly not! God is never unfair in any of His dealings. 15 Actually, no one deserves salvation, but as God declared to Moses: “Who I have mercy and compassion on is my prerogative and not a human right; therefore I can bestow it on whomsoever I want.” [In reality salvation was offered to both Esau and Jacob, but in God’s foreknowledge He knew Esau would despise his birthright, or salvation in Christ, while Jacob would cherish it. Hence it was not really God who rejected Esau but vice versa and God only complied (Heb. 12:15, 16).]

16 Therefore, salvation is not ours by native right or inheritance, neither is it something we can earn either by choice or effort, but rather an unmerited favor based entirely on God's sovereign mercy and unconditional love [Tit. 3:4, 5]. 17 And to prove His sovereignty, we read in the Old Testament what God said to Pharaoh: “I allowed you to become the most powerful ruler in the ancient world for the express purpose of displaying my own greater power, when I delivered the Jews from Egyptian bondage. By this all mankind would realize there is none like me.” 18 Therefore, man is totally dependent on God’s sovereign will for His eternal hope; and God has the perfect right to have mercy on whomsoever He wants or to reject whomsoever He wills.

Godís Sovereign Will and Man’s Free Choice

19 I know exactly how some of you intellectuals will respond to this; you will say: “If everything depends on God’s sovereign will, He has to be responsible for anyoneís damnation, seeing we humans have no choice in the matter”! 20 Such a remark is preposterous; how can we created beings dare to question our all-wise and all-knowing Creator? 21 For example, does not the potter have absolute sway over his clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for royal use while another for menial or common use?

22 Likewise, Godís authority is absolute. However, in order to show His great displeasure against unbelief and exploitation, He revealed His mighty power against the Egyptians after having shown much patience with these proud, self-assertive people, who by their deliberate rejection of the God of heaven, clearly demonstrated they deserved destruction. 23 But, at the same time, God was merciful and patient with the enslaved Israelites, revealing through them His unconditional and self-emptying agape love, demonstrating to the world that He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins [2 Pet. 3:9].

24 That, in fact, is our situation—all of us who have positively responded to His saving grace in Christ irrespective of whether we are Jews or Gentiles, since salvation is Godís gift to all mankind and not just the Jews. 25 This is not my opinion but God Himself made it clear through the prophet Hosea when He declared: “Those who do not belong to literal Israel will one day be called ‘My people.í And the Gentile nations that were not considered my covenant people will be called ‘My Beloved’ (Hos. 2:23). 26 And instead of being told: ‘You do not belong,’ they will be called sons and daughters of the living God” [Hos. 1:10].

27 As for the nation of Israel, the prophet Isaiah had this to say: “Even though Israelís population multiplies bevond human computation, like the sand by the sea, only a few of them [that is, those who believe] will be saved. 28 And, because unbelief is becoming rampant, God will step in and end human probation, executing judgment on all unbelievers” [Isa. 10:22, 23]. 29 In fact, as lsaiah prophesied earlier: “If the Lord of eternal rest (sabbath) does not step in, even the Christian church will become like Sodom and Gomorrah, completely depleted of true believers” [Isa 1:9].

Judaism and the Gospel

30 So this is the real situation concerning my people, the Jews: The Gentiles who realized they could not save themselves by their own good works have obtained righteousness, the true righteousness that saves, that comes from God and is made effective by faith alone, 31 while the Jews, who thought they could save themselves by keeping God’s holy law, have failed miserably.

32 And why have they failed? Not because they have not tried, but because they refused to recognize Godís way of salvation, which is by faith in Jesus Christ. Consequently, they have not only failed, but the righteousness of Christ has become an insult to their own self-righteousness. 33 God, foreseeing this, predicted this very thing when He declared: “Look, I place in Zion [Israel] a stumbling-block that will become an offense to the self-righteous Jews. But whosoever realizes their sinfulness and the value of this Rock [Jesus Christ] and believes in Him will not be disappointed on judgment day” [Isa. 28:16; Phil. 3:7-9].
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