Read: Romans 9:6-13
When I was born, I did not have to work for my parents’ love. I did not have to do any magic tricks or accomplish any feats to earn their love. Instead, my parents loved me purely because I was their child. Neither did they stop loving me when I robbed them of sleep as a crying infant in the middle of the night. While this sadly cannot be said for everyone, a parent’s love for their child is nearly unconditional. It is similar, on a much grander scale, with God.
God does not choose to be in relationship with anyone based on their works but rather based on His gracious choice. Paul makes the point that, in the Old Testament, God had a grander purpose in mind when He chose one person over another. The language of “love” and “hate” in verse 13 simply marks the difference between choosing and non-choosing in His covenant relationship. Whereas God loved (chose) Jacob, He hated (did not choose) Esau. This is all to make the point that it is not purely physicality that warrants the calling of God, but it is God’s own promise.
In Romans 9:6-13, Paul begins tackling some tough questions: Is God trustworthy? Can we trust Him to keep His promises? In Paul’s day, the church in Rome was mostly made up of Gentile Christians (Christians who were not Jewish). These Gentile believers were being told that they needed to observe the Jewish rite of circumcision in order to be considered a true child of God. This doctrinal dispute made some in the church wonder whether they could rely on the promise of the gospel.
Paul answers this question by making a distinction that will be important for the rest of Romans 9. Not all of those who are descended from Abraham are heirs to the spiritual promises made to Abraham. According to the apostle, there is a difference between the biological descendants of Abrahan and Abraham’s spiritual offspring.
Within Israel itself, there were Jews who were true descendants of Abraham. These descendants were descendants of promise because they had placed their faith in Jesus Christ. So in Romans 9, Paul makes the point that it is not surprising after all that some Jews had rejected the Messiah. This was foreseen in the Old Testament. Therefore, God’s promise has not failed and He can be trusted. This demonstrates the power of God and the grace that He displays in choosing. Let us give thanks that we do not have to earn our relationship with God, but that it is initiated by Him.
Have you ever doubted God’s promises? His promises never fail even when they seem like they do. Write down the promises you have doubted in the past and be honest with God about why you had. Ask Him to reveal to you the truth of Romans 9:6-13.