Paul longs for the redemption of his physical kinsmen, Israelites. (Rom 9:1-13)
Witnessing is motivated by grief over lost souls.
Knowing the glory that is the inheritance of those that are in Christ, Paul had great heartache and grief, like we should have for those that don’t believe, that resulted from a love of other Israelites, his people, who did not believe. So deep was his anguish that in the same way that Christ Jesus bore our sins on the cross and was momentarily separated from the Father, Paul would wish the same separation from Christ on himself if it would mean the salvation of his people.
To them, by the sovereignty of God, belonged countless blessings including the adoption as sons, the glory that we look forward to, the covenants, the laws, the worship of the true God, the promises, the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who God said He was their God), and into that people was Christ Jesus born in the flesh.
But despite the unfaithfulness of the Israelites, God’s word has not failed. God did not lie and He has not rejected Israel. His words can not be broken. This is because not all who descend from Jacob are Jacob’s children and not all who descend from Abraham are Abraham’s children. How is this? After Abraham had sired Ishmael, God said to Abraham, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.” (Galatians 4:22-23) From this, we understand that it is the children of the promise and not the children of the flesh who are called children of God. The promise to Abraham recorded in Genesis 18:10 was, ‘The LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.‘
Another promise was similarly given to Rebekah when she conceived twin sons by the patriarch Isaac. Even though these two were still in the womb and had not done anything good or bad, God demonstrated and continued in His work of election, calling people, not because of their works but by His grace, by saying to Rebekah in Genesis 25:23, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” Later in Malachi 1:2-3 we read, ‘“I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”‘
The act of God choosing some and rejecting others is righteous (Rom 9:14-33)
It is the divine will of God that saves us through Christ Jesus and not human exertion.
Is God unjust when He chooses to love some and hate others in this way? He is not and this is why. When Moses asked God to reveal His glory to him, God said, ‘And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.‘ As the creator, it is His right to choose.
God exercises His right to choose by freely giving salvation as a blessing and since it is His to give, it is not acquired by human will or exertion. He also exercises His right to reject and an example is the case of Pharaoh during the time of Moses. In Exodus 9:16 we read, ‘But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.‘
God has mercy on whoever He wills and softens their hearts to His truth. He also hardens the hearts of whoever He wills. But if it is God who hardens the heart, how can He find fault in sinners who are helpless in His will? He is guiltless because He is God and like a potter, He can create some vessels for honorable use and others for dishonorable use. One of the uses of the vessels that God creates is that through His patience with the wicked and their future destruction to demonstrate to those that He has called His wrath and power and in the process demonstrate the fullness of His glory and His goodness.
God has not only called people from Israel but also from the Gentiles and to explain this In Hosea 2:23 God says, ‘and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”‘ Also in Hosea 1:9-10 He says, ‘And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”‘
We also read in Isaiah 10:20-23, ‘In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord GOD of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth.‘ And in Isaiah 1:9 we read, ‘If the LORD of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.‘
From all these scriptures we understand that Gentiles who lived in darkness and sin and who were ignorant of the true living God, have been called and attained righteousness by faith. While Isreal, pursuing after the law with works and not faith, even though the law could lead to righteousness did not attain the righteousness.
They stumbled by being offended by Christs Jesus. They were offended by the fact that their works did not count to salvation but only believing in Christ Jesus did. As it is written in scripture, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”