Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "ROMANS"



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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible

The Righteousness of God REVEALED IN THE GOSPEL 1:18‑8:39

Subdivision I The NEED for the Gospel
Man's Lack of Righteousness
1:18 – 3:20
Subdivision II The Gospel in Relation to our SINS (acts)
God's Righteousness made Man's
3:21 – 5:11
Subdivision III The Gospel in Relation to Indwelling SIN
How to Live the Christian Life
5:12 – 8:39

SUBdivision I. God's PAST Dealings with Israel in Electing Grace, 9

1. Keep heaven and hell out of chapter 9.
2. Observe that the viewpoint is that of being in the place of providential privilege on earth, and the choice of God in this chapter relates to that sphere.


  1. Paul's Christ‑like sorrow for Israel, 9:l‑4a
    Note the tense: "I was on the point of wishing myself accursed from Christ. . ." But the Holy Spirit showed him the futility of going through with the prayer.

  2. Israel's position of privilege, 9:4b‑5
    Eight privileges: "Adoption, " "Glory. " "Covenants, " "Law, ""Service," "Promises," "The Fathers," "Christ" (the climax).

  3. Their privileges had been extended on the principle of electing grace, 9:6‑13

    1. The statement: Not all the fleshly seed are given the place of privilege on earth, 9:6

    2. The proof cases: 9:7‑13

      1. Isaac (7‑9)

        1. The Divine selection (7 and 9)

        2. The parenthetical explanation (8)

        3. The confirmation of history (10) (cp. Gen. 21:2‑3)

      2. Jacob (10‑13)

        1. The promise (10 and 12)

        2. The parenthetical explanation (11)

        3. The confirmation of history (13)
          (cp. Obadiah l:19a,21)

          Hundreds of years separated verses 12 and 13. Verse 12 was spoken before Jacob and Esau were born. Verse 13 (Obad.l:19a,21) looks back after hundreds of years of history on the experiences of the two nations which came out of Jacob (Israel) and Esau (Edom).

          Observe two things: The historical perspective and a play on words. It is as though Obadiah says: "Lord, if one were to contrast the lush land you gave Israel and the great spiritual treasures of the Scriptures, prophets, and temple with the bare rocky land you gave Edom, without one prophet, one might well exclaim: "God must have loved Israel (Jacob) and (relatively speaking) hated Edom (Esau). "The chart below will illustrate the idiomatic use of "love" and "hate" and the student should compare Matthew 10:37‑38 and Luke 14:26‑27 for guidance in understanding the idiom.

  God's Love   Human Love   Hate  
is to
as it is to
  +1   0   -1  
  1. God has a right to put whom He will in the place of privilege on earth, 9:14‑20

    1. First objection and its answer, 9:14‑18

      1. The objection: "Is not God unrighteous in assigning some to the place of privilege on this earth?" (14a‑b)

      2. The answer: "God forbid. " (14c‑18)
        God has the right of the JUDGE over the criminal (e.g., Israel, Ex. 33:19; Pharoah, Ex. 9:16‑17). None deserve mercy, so He may extend it to whomever He will.

    2. Second objection and its answer, 9:19‑20

      1. The objection: "If no one can resist His will, then what right has He to censure man?" (19)

      2. The answer: "What right have you, puny man, to challenge God, seeing He has the right of the Creator ("potter") over the creature ("clay"). (20) (cp. 21a)

  2. However, God has removed Israel from the place of privilege, not arbitrarily, but after prolonged disobedience culminating in the rejection of Christ, 9:21‑33

    1. Israel has no cause for objection, 9:21‑29
      The application of the symbol of the "clay" (which represents sinful humanity) runs like this:

      1. God has the Potter's right to make 'of the same lump' one vessel to honor and another to dishonor, since NONE deserve to be vessels to honor. The whole lump (race) is sinful, whether Jew or Gentile. (21)

      2. God would have the Potter's right to destroy arbitrarily an unsuited vessel of His own making (22).

        HOW MUCH MORE has He the right to judge those whom His mercy has long spared, even those who (like stiff and unyielding clay) have sinfully persisted in resisting His creational rights!

        Grain ‑ "Those who reject the Ideal after which His grace would form them are surely vessels quite fit for judgment. God's long‑suffering and patience with them makes this manifest."

      3. God has the sovereign prerogative to find delight in that part of the lump which submits to Him, and those who yield to the formative power of His grace are suited vessels in which to display the riches of His glory (23a).

      4. That Gentiles, as well as Jews, were to be such vessels was foreknown of God and prophesied through Hosea in 2:23 and 1:10 (23b‑26).

      5. While of the lump of sinful, disobedient Israel, it was prophesied through Isaiah (10:22‑23; 1:9) that there would be: (27‑29)

        1. A remnant submissive to His grace and

        2. A vast body resisting grace and cut off in judgment.

    2.  The conclusion: Israel's unbelief blinded her to the greatest of her privileges‑‑Christ, 9:30‑33

      1. Gentiles have received the righteousness of God through faith in the gospel message (30).

      2. Israel failed to get the message of the law (i.e., that man by his own power can never keep a holy and perfect law, and that man's only hope is in God's mercy through faith) (31a‑32b).

      3. Therefore, they failed to recognize Christ to whom the law pointed, and they stumbled over Him (32c‑33).


SUBdivision II. God's PRESENT Dealings with Israel in Governmental Discipline, 10

  1. Israel's present lost condition IS the result of wilful ignorance, 10:1‑4

  2. The essential difference between law‑righteousness and faith‑righteousness, 10:5‑10

    1. Law‑righteousness = do and keep on doing, 10:5
      Requires constant effort, but is unattainable by sinful man.

    2. Faith‑righteousness = believe it's DONE and confess Christ as Saviour, 10:6‑10
      Requires no effort to attain (i.e., bringing Christ from above or beneath). He came of His own accord and rose from the dead.

      There are not two steps here, but one. Confession is not to men after one is saved. Although there are passages that say we should confess Christ before men, this section is not referring to that. Rather "believe" (in heart) and "confess" (with mouth) are being used as synonyms (cp. v. 11, "believe" with v. 13, "call"), Note v.6, "speaketh. … in thine heart." A. T.Pierson described verse 9 as the cry of the newborn babe to his heavenly Father.

  3. The prophets expressly apply this gospel of faith‑righteousness universally without limitation, 10:11‑13 'Whosoever believeth/Whosoever calleth” whether Jew of Gentils

"Whosoever Believeth"  
  whether Jew or Gentile
"Whosoever Calleth"  
  1. Worldwide proclamation of the gospel is in harmony with God's plan, 10:14‑18 Those who are resisting worldwide proclamation of the gospel are nullifying the Word of God. "It is not a new thing for God to speak to Gentiles. He has spoken to all men ever since creation. All that is new is that God is now speaking more fully than ever before." (Ironside)

  2. Israel is fully without excuse for resisting Christianity with its worldwide appeal, 10:19‑21
    She had been faithfully warned by God through the prophets:

    1.  A. Moses warned: That God would provoke her to jealousy by those who are no people, 10:19. (Dt.32:21)

    2. Isaiah warned: That Gentiles would turn to God, whereas Israel would refuse the pathetic pleading of a merciful God, standing with outstretched hands, 10:20‑21. (Isa. 65:1‑2)


SUBdivision III. God's FUTURE Dealings with Israel in Fulfilmentof the Prophetic Scripture, 11

  1. If then Christianity does not nullify the Word of God, Israel's present rejection by God is only temporary‑‑not final, 11:1‑15

    1. The question: "Hath God cast away His people (Israel)?" 11: la

    2. The answer: "God forbid!" ll:lb‑6
      In times of the greatest apostasy God has always reserved a true remnant for Himself within the nation.

      1. The PRESENT: Paul himself and other Jews who have received Jesus as Messiah and Saviour (Ib, 2a, and 5)

      2. The PAST: Elijah and the 7000, 1 Kings 19:10, 14, 18 (2b‑4)

      3. The EXPLANATION: It is all of God's grace (6)

    3. The answer in harmony with the prophetic Scriptures, 11:7‑10
      The judicial blinding of the nation was foretold by the prophets.
      The purpose and benefit of the temporary setting aside of the nation (Israel), 11:11‑15

    4. They are down, but not out! (lla) God's purpose is:

      1. To give Gentiles the place of privilege ("salvation is come to the Gentiles") (lib)

      2. "To provoke Israel to jealousy" (lie, 13‑14)

      3. To provide an even more glorious future for the world (in the Kingdom Age) than Israel's present setting aside has provided in the Church Age (12,15)

  2. Gentiles warned of like failure, 11:16‑27
    Indeed, the Gentiles will make the SAME MISTAKE Israel did, and their subsequent setting aside from the place of privilege on earth will be the signal for Israel's restoration to that place.

    1. A. Paul warns Gentiles against unbelief and pride, 11:16‑22

      1. For they are not the NATURAL branches of the Olive Tree (16‑18)
        "Wild" (Olive Tree =Jer. 11:16, "broken off"; Jer. 11:17)

      2. Israel's judgment has made the Gentiles' blessing possible(19‑21)
        In her pride, Christendom has said, in essence: "God is done with the Jew. We are God's Israel now. "Beware lest a like judgment fall upon you for a like sin!

      3. Gentile blessing will be continued only as long as they walk by faith, and avail themselves of goodness of God ("continue in His goodness") (22) Christendom has already gone into apostasy and will be judged (Rev. 17) after the true Church is raptured.

    2.  Israel to be reinstated, 11:23‑27

      1. God is able to graft in Israel (the natural branches) again (23‑24)

      2. And He WILL do it‑‑AFTER the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (25‑26a)
        "God's Israel" will be saved; the rest will be purged out (Ezk.20:33‑38).

        "The spiritual 'fullness' (pleroma) of the Gentiles" is the rapture, but the political "fullness" is evidently the completion of "the times of the Gentiles" which our Lord said would continue while Jerusalem was trodden underfoot (of Gentiles). Evidently His Coming to earth and the defeating of Israel's enemies is the event completing "the times of the Gentiles. "I take it that "the fullness of the Gentiles" includes both the spiritual and political climaxes.

      3. To this the prophets agree (26b‑27)

  3. Conclusion of argument of dispensational division: God's covenant kept and mercy manifested, 11:28‑32

    1. A. Israel's temporary condition of partial blindness does not annul the covenant, 11:28‑29 B. Their present condition is a wonderful opportunity for saved Gentiles to be channels of mercy to Jews, 11‑30‑32

  4.  DOXOLOGY: God's wisdom and mercy magnified! 11:33‑36 What a great and wise God we have!


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