Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1
February 3, 2009
Lincolnton, N.C.

<470> Thesis: In God's plan, the "last" have become "first" and the "first" have become "last". Introduction: In our studies of Romans 9 we have been shown that God has a "Plan" that exceeded the expectations of both Israel and the Gentiles in respect to His development of a group called "vessels of mercy". For Paul and first century people (both Jews and Gentiles) the twists and turns of the inscrutable will of God were becoming more and more clear in terms of the broad outlines. He had opened the doors of mercy in two highly significant ways. On the one hand, He was bringing the ministration of the Law to an end so that its condemnation was to be muted by the provision of a Redeemer Whose actions could both fulfill the Law and set it aside. And on the other hand, He was bringing an end to His deliberate focus upon Israel in terms of isolating Himself from the inhabitants of the nations. The first action actually opened the doors of mercy by offering forgiveness on the basis of faith rather than flawed performance, and the second action opened those doors to all of the inhabitants of the world by the creation of a cadre of missionaries who would take the message of the open doors to the uttermost parts of the earth. These are the things that Paul declared by his focus upon the "vessels of mercy" and his claim that they consist of "the called, not only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles". In our most recent study we saw that the extension of the open doors to the Gentiles had two Old Testament precedents. One was Hosea's prophecy that God was going to call those "My People" who had not formerly been His people. The other was Isaiah's frank acknowledgment that Israel was substantially no different from the Gentiles even after 1500 years of a special divine focus of effort, except for a "remnant" that God Himself had preserved. If Israel was not going to be especially "godly" as a result of God's Self-revelation in the Law, there is really no rationale for God's "focus" upon it, and if there is no special rationale for a focus upon only one nation in the world, God might as well release His Word to all of the inhabitants of the world. This evening we are going to look at Paul's "conclusion" to this matter. In Romans 9:30 he calls his readers to a significant "conclusion" and we are going to turn our attention to it for a few minutes.