Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on June 24th, 2018.
Let us begin this morning with our June memory verse, which also happens to be a portion of our text for this morning’s message. Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Before we read our Scripture passage in its entirety, I want to tell you a brief story about a conversation I had with someone in this community this week. We began by discussing general topics and we transitioned into talking about the gospel. I made a reference to the Catholic Church’s false teaching; this particular person was a Catholic. They took offense to my comment and began to push back in a very common catholic way, specifically claiming that works are necessary to be saved, specifically that you can’t just believe in Jesus and that is it. I responded with, do you believe in the Bible, he kind of shook his head yes, and then I stated that the Bible tells us that you are saved by believing in Christ. I quoted him John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” I then pointed out that this verse expressly states that eternal life is dependent upon believing, and Jesus does not mention anything about works being necessary.
I would like to say that my quotation of John 3:16 caused him to change his view, but it didn’t. At the end of the conversation, he said something to the effect that my way is not the only way to love God. And that statement of his stuck with me, for therein lies the problem with many people, this particular man included. They have created “their way” to get right with God, and “their way” is not God’s way as revealed in the Bible. And that is what is crucial. It doesn’t matter what your dogma is, if it is not God’s dogma, then it is vanity. The Bible makes it explicitly clear that it is through faith by grace that justifies us before God. It is the one and only way to love God. In addition to John 3:16, I could have quoted numerous Biblical text, such as:
Call on Him
First call on him. In verse 14. Paul says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?” So what is the big deal about calling on him? What is important about calling on Jesus. The big deal is found in verse 13, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved?” The act of calling on Jesus saves you. Saves you from what? Saves of from God's wrath against us due to our sin. This is the wrath of God that we read about in Romans 1. The wrath of God that is comprised of spiritual death, physical death, and then the second death, more commonly known as Hell. The act of calling on Christ, saves us from this wrath.
So what does it mean to call on Christ? The Greek word of call is epikaleō (e-pē-kä-le'-ō). Which means, to request help, to appeal to, to cry out in dependence. To call is to recognize that you are unable in your current circumstance to help yourself, so your call out to another who has the power to provide the aid you need.
Perhaps imagine a being swept away down a raging river with a knowledge that just around the bend lies Niagara falls. You know that if you go over those falls, death is inevitable, yet you find yourself completely helpless due to the power of the current of the River. You realize that you cannot do a thing about your situation, so what do you do? You call for help. In fact, you call with every once of your being, “Help! Someone save me!” This is what it means to call.
Verse 13 is actually a quote from the Old Testament book of Joel 2:32. Which happens to also be the same verse quoted by the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost, the day that the Holy Spirit rushed upon the scene and convicted 3,000 people of their sin. After being convicted of their sin, they understand their situation and their powerlessness, so they called out for salvation in Christ. And this call on Jesus saved them from God's wrath, nothing more and nothing less. Christ alone has the power to save. This is why his name is Jesus for Jesus means the Lord Saves.
Believe in Him
So what would cause someone to call on Christ? Believing in Him, which is the next backwards step in the progression. Look at verse 14 again, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? Belief produces a calling. A true calling on Christ comes out of a heart that truly believes in Christ. Without belief there would be no call the saves.
This seems to be pretty straightforward, but unfortunately, for many people this is where they go wrong. There are people who call upon Christ, but do not actually believe in Christ. These would be people whom Jesus speaks about in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” These people are not truly calling on Christ, for they don't truly believe in him, specifically his Lordship.
These are the people that Paul speaks about in 2 Timothy 3:5, “having the appearance of godliness, but deny it's power.” They go through religious motions such as going to Church, saying hail Mary's, taking communion, or praying periodically, but lack true faith in the sufficiency of Christ.
These are the people who practice Pharisaical hypocrisy that we talked about this morning in Sunday School, the leaven of the Pharisees, those who claim Jesus but live a life inconsistent with that belief, sexually immoral, greedy, liars, etc..
These are the people who Jesus refers to in Revelation 3:16 when he says, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” In summary, those who inadequately call on Christ because they don't truly believe in Christ are those who we call false converts in the Church.
Unfortunately, the American church is full of false converts who claim Christ, but do not truly believe in Christ. Their “calling” on Christ is one that is born out of culture, born out of tradition, born out of their family. Their calling or claiming Christ comes from the flesh, not from the Spirit. And as Jesus says in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
The word believe in Greek is pisteuō (pē-styü'-ō). It means to have faith in something. In fact, many times this word is translated to faith. In fact, we see this in verse 17. It is the same core word. Verse 14 translated to believe, verse 17 translated to faith. So what does it mean to have faith in Jesus? Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith (pistis) is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is having assurance and conviction. It is something we have deep inside of us. It is more than just an intellectual recognition. Other translations use the word confidence. Perhaps another word that could be used, and commonly is, is the word trust.
This leads to the question, trust in what? It means to have 1) a trust in the wrath of God that is, and is to come, and to 2) a trust that Christ is the only means to be saved from this wrath. Once again, think about Niagra falls. You must believe the falls are coming and you must believe Jesus has the power to save. You cannot have one without the other. They are both necessary.
If you do not have faith in the upcoming wrath of God, you will not call out to him or anyone for that matter for salvation. You will float through life without a care in the world, admiring the scenery before you plunge to your death. , storing up treasures in this world, living for the passions of your flesh, oblivious to the crushing water falls that lie ahead.
If you don't believe in Christ being the only means for salvation, then you will not be pulled from the water. Jesus explicitly says that he alone is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus says that he alone is the doorway into Paradise. Jesus says he alone is the bread of life, the living water. Jesus says he alone is the resurrection and the life. It is Jesus who came to seek and save the lost. He does not need anyone's help, including yours. As Jonathan Edwards once said, “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.”
If you do not believe in the power of Christ to save you single handedly, then you do not truly believe in him, have faith in him, trust in him. You lack confidence in Christ. This is what the entire book of Galatians is all about. Paul says in Galatians 5:4, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” If you trust in your works, even in the slightest, to justify you, then you are severed from Christ. And to be severed from Christ is to have no hope for salvation. You must let go of the paddle of your good works and cling to the hand of Jesus.
To believe in Christ is to put your complete, one hundred percent trust in his life, death and resurrection to save you from God's wrath.
Hear of Him
Which leads to a question, and the next backwards step in our progression. In order to cling to Christ, we must hear of Christ. Verse 14 again, “And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” The only way people can believe in God's coming wrath and God's saving grace in Christ, is by hearing the message of this crucial truth.
These fundamental truths must be communicated. Verse 17, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.” Faith is necessary to call out to Christ, and faith does not appear out of nowhere, it is a result of hearing the Gospel. This is why earlier in the letter to the Romans it says that the gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), because faith comes from hearing. And this is why we must preach the gospel. They must hear and we must preach.
Sadly, so many so called Christians don't understand this basic truth. They believe that people will put their faith in Jesus because of their behavior. These are the people who say things like, I don't like to preach to people, I just like to show Christ in my good works. Are good works good? Sure, but your works won't save anyone. Verse 17 does not say that faith comes from observing. It says that faith comes from hearing. This is they way God chose to expand his Kingdom, through the speaking of the Gospel. If you want your loved ones, your co-workers, your neighborhood, the world to be saved you must preach to them. They must hear before they can believe.
Hear what? They must hear about the Lord's coming judgment and Jesus who has already paid the price for their sin. This two truths must be communicated. Unfortunately, often times they are not. Many Christians do not proclaim the full Word of Christ. They leave out the most important aspect of the Good news, and that is the bad news. The good news of the Gospel is not good news if the bad news of our sin and judgment is not proclaimed to the lost.
Sent by Him
And at the very beginning of our logical progression to convert the sinner we find the catalyst. Verse 15, “And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
In order for the lost to hear, the saved must speak. Why would the saved speak? Because we are a people who have been sent. Sent by whom? Sent by Jesus Christ, our Lord. This is our great commission. Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”
This is why we, saved sinners, are still in this world, we have work to do. The Lord has saved us and sent us. He has sent us to our families. He has sent us to our neighborhoods. He has sent us to our friends. He has sent us to the nations to preach the gospel.
Yet, sadly, so few of us are willing. So few of us are obeying. We put our own comfort ahead of God's explicit commands. So often I hear people say things like, “I just wish I knew what God's calling for me in my life was?” You want to God's will for you? ““How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” When you, out of love for Christ, and a love for the elect, go to the lost sheep and preach the Gospel, God sees your act of gospel obedience as beautiful.
Wouldn't it be great if God looked down at Cornerstone Church and the words he used to describe us and what we were doing here as beautiful? There is no reason this can't be achieved. It simply takes a love for the Lord, and obedience to do his will, and a voice to proclaim the good news.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on June 17th, 2018.
Let us begin this morning with our June memory verse, Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” I hope that this verse has pricked your heart over the last several weeks. As we will see next Sunday, this verse is an admonish to us all, for is salvation is through faith in Christ, and faith in Christ can only come through hearing then Word of Christ, then shame on us who have this Word of Christ and do not proclaim it.
This morning we are going to be talking about this Word of Christ that we are called to proclaim. As always, we have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s jump right in. Please stand for the reading of God’s Word.
Let me begin by reading a couple of those canonical statements put forward by the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent.
Canon 9: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."
CANON 12: "If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified...let him be accursed"
Canon 14: "If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema."
These teachings have never been changed. This is still the official position of the Roman Catholic Church. They teach that if you believe, and if you teach, and if you proclaim that a person can be justified before God by simply believing in Jesus Christ, then you should be dammed to Hell, for that is what “anathema” means.
Shall Live by Them
With these Romans catholic canons in mind, let us turn our attention to Romans 10:5-13 to find out what the Word of God says. First let us look at verse 5, “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.”
Verse 5 is in response to Paul’s statement in verse 4, which says, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” This means, when we see Christ for who he is, specifically the righteousness of God, we stop trying to get right with God through our good works, and instead we cling to Christ for our salvation. Believing in Christ means that the law ends, it stops, it terminates. No more pursuing righteous through law.
In verse 5, the apostle Paul is quoting Leviticus 18:5, no doubt a common verse he has heard his entire life as a Jew. Leviticus 18:5 says, “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.” The question before us this morning is, “Is this true?” Is it true that if someone does the law, out of that law keeping comes life? Does law keeping produce the blessings of life now and life to come?
To that question, the answer is yes. If you keep the law, you will have life, now and forever. However, do not forget what Paul has already unpacked and we know to be true through our own experiences. No one can keep the law. Remember our memory verse from Romans 3:10-12, “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11no one understands; no one seeks for God.12All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” As we have learned through our evangelism class on Wednesday, we all fall short of God’s glory. We are liars, thieves, blasphemous, adulterers. Romans 3:20, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
There is only one person who has ever existed that was able to keep the law of God, and that is the Son of God. Jesus says in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Jesus is the fulfillment of Leviticus 18:5. He fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law and therefore He lives. And in him we can also live. John 1:4, “In him was life”. John 14:6, He is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” Law keeping equals life. Law breaking equals death. Christ kept the law therefore has life. We have broke the law therefore are dead in our trespasses.
Righteousness Based on Faith
Therefore, if we are dead because we are void of righteousness, we lack it, we must seek a righteousness elsewhere. And if the only person who has righteousness is Christ, how do we get it from him? Faith. Look at verse 6, “But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”
Paul is showing that there are two ways to obtain righteousness: 1) Keep the law and 2) believe in Christ who kept the law. One is the righteousness that is based upon the law and the other is a righteousness that is based on faith. Faith is the instrument, or means, that gets us access to the righteousness of Christ that we so desperately need.
In verse 6, Paul quotes from two more Old Testament passages. First, the phrase “Do not say in your heart” is a quote from Deuteronomy 9:4, which says, “Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land.” In Deuteronomy 9:4 God is telling the Israelites during the day of Moses, I am giving you the Promise Land, not because of your righteousness, not because you have done anything good to earn this gift. Why is this so? Because Israel didn’t have a righteousness, never have, never will.
The second phrase in Romans 10:6 that says, “‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” Is a quote from Deuteronomy 30:12-13. Let us look at look at that passage in its context.
Deuteronomy chapters 29 and 30 is the renewal of the Mosaic covenant that God had with the nation of Israel. This renewal occurs at the end of the 40 years of wandering in the dessert, right before Moses dies and Joshua takes over and leads God’s people into the promise land. This is right before they cross the Jordan.
And Moses reminds the people of the blessing and curses that are directly tied to their obedience of the law, and then listen to what he says starting in verse Deuteronomy 30:11.
Now, back to Romans 10:6. The Apostle Paul writes, “‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)” Paul is equating the revelation, or the message, of the requirement to fulfill the law with the person of Jesus Christ. He is saying that Christ is the message of the Mosaic Covenant. He is saying that we don’t have to go get the message of a righteousness that is based on faith in Christ, the message came to us. How did this message come to us? It came into the world through the incarnation of the Son.
John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Hebrews 1:1, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,” Luke 2:10, “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Jesus is the good news. Jesus is the Speech of God. Jesus is the Word of God that came to us.
Word of Faith that We Proclaim
And as it says in verse 8? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim). This “word” is the Word of Christ. Just think of our memory verse, Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” The word that is near is the Word of Christ, the gospel, the good news of salvation in Christ alone.
This statement, in your mouth and in your heart is, once again, a quote back to Deuteronomy 30, specifically Deuteronomy 30:14, “But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” So what does this mean in your mouth and in your heart?
If you go back to Deuteronomy 30:6, before saying that this word is in your mouth and in your heart it says, “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” If you notice, the circumcision of the hearts of the Israelites is a future event. Verse 6 says, “will circumcise.” When will this circumcision of the heart occur? It occurs with the coming of the Holy Spirit after the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
Paul has already spoken of this Romans 2:29, “But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.” The Apostle Paul speaks of this again Colossians 2:11 -”In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,”
The circumcision of the heart by the Spirit of Christ, is the cutting away of your old dead spiritual self. Circumcision of the heart is God doing a supernatural work in your soul to cause you to repent of your sin and place your faith in the work of Jesus Christ.
And this is what it means that the Word of God is near to you in your heart and in your mouth. This Word of Faith in Christ that is proclaimed to you is the gospel. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation. When the gospel is proclaimed to God's elect, Christ the Great Physician, circumcises our heart and causes us to believe this Word of Faith. This gospel seed takes root in our heart and bears fruit, causing us to walk in his way. And one of the first fruits that it bears is a confession of Christ, for we know that out of the heart, the mouth speaks. We perhaps see this most vividly with the theif upon the cross. As he hung their dying, with a front row view of the Son of God dieing for the sins of his bride, hearing him recite the psalms, his hear was circumcised by the Spirit of Christ and what did he do from his cross he bore? He confessed Christ as his one and only Savior. Luke 23:42, “And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And what was Jesus response? Verse 43, “And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
If you are a born again Christian, and your heart has been circumscised by the Spirit of God, you will speak Christ and him crucified. Your faith will not be a personal matter, it will be something you desire to testify to anyone who will listen. Is confession necessary for salvation? No, but it is a product of salvation. Confession flows out of salvation.
And what does Paul say about that this word in your heart and confession in your mouth? Look at verse 9, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You will be saved. Folks, you can't get any more clear than that. Belief in the Lordship and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the only requirement for salvation. You don't have to do anything but believe in Jesus. Now why does Paul say resurrection instead of crucifixion? Because the resurrection is proof that God accepted, payment in full, the death of Christ. That nothing else is required to pay the penalty for our sins.
Then the Apostle Paul goes on and says it again and again to make sure everyone understands this fundamental gospel truth of the Word of Faith. Verse 10, “ with the heart one believes and is justified.” Justified means not guilty. If we believe we are not guilty. Verse 11, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Put to shame means the shame of rejection by God. It means the shame of trusting in a false heretical doctrine. The Word of Faith is trustworthy. Verse 12, “bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” The riches of Christ are the riches of his grace of forgiveness, eternal life, and the inheritance of his father. And it is available by simply calling on Christ. Nothing more is required except to call out to Jesus and depend upon the work he has already done on your behalf. Verse 13, “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This is the Word of Faith we proclaim. This is the testimony of a true born again, follower of Jesus Christ. We are saved through faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone. This Word of Faith not anathema, as the Roman Catholic Church heretically claims, this is the gospel, and the gospel has the power to save. So let us go out and proclaim it. Proclaim it in your families, proclaim it in your workplace, proclaim it in the schools, proclaim it your community, proclaim it in the streets, proclaim it in Guatemala. Wherever God has you, use your mouth to share the good news that Christ has come and he comes clothed in righteousness that can be ours if we turn to him and trust in him.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on June 3, 2018
Let us begin this morning by reciting our brand new June memory verse. This is a short verse, which will be good. It will give you a chance to spend this month reviewing all our past memory verses. Let us recite this verse together, Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
This morning we find ourselves winding down Romans 9. Next week, Pastor Jim Edgell, our candidate for Preaching and Teaching Pastor here at Cornerstone will be preaching the beginning of Romans 10. I want to take a second to prepare you for his sermon.
As we have repeatedly stated at Cornerstone Church, the preaching and teaching of God’s Word is preeminent in the life of the Church. It is the Word of God that reveals to us who God is. It is the Word of God that brings us to a knowledge of salvation. It is the Word or God that sanctifies and equips a believer.
It is because of the central role the Word of God, that one of the distinguishing marks of an elder as laid out in 1 Timothy 3:2 is the “ability to teach.” Likewise the qualifications of Elder is discussed in Titus and this is what it says in Titus 1:9, “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
A Biblical Elder is one who with a white knuckle grasp clings to the Scriptures. He does not deviate from God’s inspired and inerrant Word. A true Pastor is one who knows that he has no authority except that which is laid down in the Bible. A godly Pastor is one who proclaims God’s Word, not his own. And they way that he is to do it this is by way of instruction. The Word must be understood by those who are being taught. It must be exposited in a way where people are actually learning about God, about Christ, about themselves, about the gospel.
Having said this, next Sunday we should not be evaluating Pastor Edgell on his attire, on his tone, on his charisma, on his ability to be funny, or to entertain. We should be evaluating him based on his ability to rightly handle the Word of God and teach the Scripture that is before him.
Between now and then, I would encourage all of you to be in prayer. Pray that God would give us spiritual ears and spiritual eyes. Pray that God would give us discernment. Pray that God would lead us not to be tempted to look at worldly and superficial matters, but to evaluate based upon God’s commands as found in his Word.
Now with that said, let us now turn our attention to our text for this morning. Romans 9:25-33. I titled my sermon Pursuit of Righteousness, but that was before I wrote must of it. This morning we will spend most of our time in verse 25-29, and just briefly look at verses 30-33. I believe this will work out well in light of what Pastor Edgell we preach on next week, for the end of Romans 9 is continued into the beginning of Romans 10. So with that said, let us stand in honor of the reading of God's Holy Word.
Paul, in support of this answer uses the Scriptures. He begins by looking in Genesis and unpacks the relationship of Ishmael and Isaac. God choosing Isaac because he is of the promise. Paul then looks at the relationship of Jacob and Esau, focusing on God's selection of Jacob over Esau even before they were born. These two Biblical examples proves that it is God who chooses who is Israel, not man.
Paul then directs his readers to the Book of Exodus and God’s conversation with Moses on Mt. Sinai regarding God’s glory. As we saw from that text, Moses asked God to show him God's glory. God responds by saying that his glory is best seen in his sovereign choice of who receives mercy and who does not receive mercy. Therefore, to truly see, or know, the living God is to know him as the one and only being that has Ultimate free will. No other being in all of God’s creation has ultimate free will, only God does. And this truth is a manifestation of his glory. And this is summarized in the heart of Romans 9 with verses 15 and 16, “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
From that point the Apostle Paul moves to the Book of Isaiah and refers to Isaiah 45 when he says in verse 21, “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” Showing, once again, from the Scriptures that God has authority to do whatever he desires with men because he is the Creator. God is the one who thought up the idea of Creation. God is the one designed the idea of Creation. God is the one who implemented Creation. It is his and his alone. This gives him absolute right to do what he desires with Creation.
Which brings us to our text for this morning. And what does the Apostle Paul do in verse 25? He goes back to Scripture, specifically Hosea and continues his argument proving that the Word of God has not failed. Paul is showing the consistency of God in Scripture. He is showing that Christ-centeredness of Scripture. Paul is showing that there is not a God of the Old Testament and a God of the New Testament, there is merely God. And His plan has always been his plan, before the ages.
Her Who Was Not Beloved I Will Call Beloved.
So let us begin by looking at verse 25 and 26, “As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” 26“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
My guess is that many of you have not read the Book of Hosea. If that is the case, your assignment this week is to read Hosea. The Book is only 14 chapters, therefore you can read two chapters a day and finish by next Sunday. If you have your Bibles with you, turn with me to Hosea 1.
The Book of Hosea is a Book in the Old Testament. It is considered a Book of the Minor Prophets, not because it is minor in its importance or relevance but because it is shorter compared to the other Prophetic Books like Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
The Book of Hosea was written by the prophet Hosea around the year 725 B.C. In this book, God has Hosea use the institution of marriage as a symbol to show the nation of Israel that they are an adulterous people. Hosea is commanded to marry an unfaithful woman, a wife who was bound to cheat on him, and Hosea was to remain faithful to her no matter what. In this marriage, Hosea had three children and God was going to use those three children as symbols to the people of Israel. So with that said, let us read chapter 1 in its entirety.
In this section Paul is referring to God calling Gentiles. This is the point of the quoting Hosea. Gentiles were considered not God’s people, but now they are. However, in Hosea, this book is not about Gentiles it is about Israel. Now Paul is not stupid, he knows that Hosea is about wayward Israel, so why does he use this text to show that God is calling Gentiles?
It is because Israel in the mind of God is not physical, it is spiritual. The Apostle Paul is saying that Hosea is about Gentiles, for the Gentiles who are God’s elect are Israel in the mind of God. If you recall back in Romans 4:16, the Apostle Paul said, “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” Abraham is the father of us all, both Jews and Gentiles, who have faith in Christ.
Jesus spoke of this truth in Matthew 3:9 when he said, “And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” Jesus is clearly teaching that it is God who determines who is a descendant of Abraham. It is God who determines who is true spiritual Israel and this includes Gentiles.
Galatians 3:7 says, “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” It is not physical attributes that make you a son of Abraham, it is a spiritual attribute, namely faith, that makes you a descendant of Abraham. We see it again in Galatians 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Therefore, Gentiles who put their faith in Jesus Christ are Spiritual Israel.
We who were not God's people have become God's people through the blood of Christ. We who were not beloved have become beloved through the blood of Christ. Today we can confidently say that we are children of Abraham.
A Remnant of Jews
However, Jesus is not just a savior for the Gentiles, he is also the savior for the Jews. Paul, after quoting from Hosea goes back to the book of Isaiah. Look at Verse 27, “And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” This is a quote from Isaiah 10. And this time, the Apostle Paul does not say that this text in Isaiah points to the Gentiles, but that it points to the prophecy that only a few Jews will be saved through Christ.
The Greek word for remnant is hypoleimma (hü-po'-lām-mä) which means a remainder, a few, a small part. Last night I was curious about how many Jews in the nation state of Israel are Christians. According to Wikipedia, 2% of Israeli citizens are Christians. What does that sounds like? It sounds like a small part, a few, a remnant. Therefore, even Israel's disbelief proves that the Bible is true. It is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, and this is all a part of God's divine plan.
But why does a remnant believe in Jesus, when the rest will not? Look at verse 29, “And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” The only reason that 2% believe in Christ is because the Lord of host has left an offspring. Israel deserves to be annihilated like Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin, but God has shown them mercy, he has allowed them to continue as a people so that the remnant may be saved. This is the Lord's doing. He is the one who preservers the Jews and saves the remnant.
Made us Both One Through Faith in Christians
Which leads us to the conclusion of Romans 9. How does God apply his purpose of election, how does he pour out his love on Jacob, how does he have mercy on us; how does he call a people who are not his people, how does he keep his remnant?
We see the answer in verses 30 to the end of the chapter. It is through faith in Jesus Christ. Christ is the cornerstone that is the foundation of God's elect. It is through placing your faith in Christ for a righteousness that is not our own. Christ is the keystone that holds the Church together, both the Gentiles and the Jewish remnant. This is the plan, and it has always been the plan. Before the ages, God's chosen people would be redeemed through his beloved Son. The Word of God has not failed. As it says in Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”