(1) “In order that God’s purpose according to election might continue, not by works, but by the One who calls”: (A) Again, Paul offers a retelling of Israel’s story, beginning with Patriarchs and passing through the Exodus on to the Judgment-of-Exile, to make his point. Here, Paul is addressing the crucial problem of “Israel’s unbelief”. Briefly discuss your understanding of the ‘flow’ of Paul’s argument in Romans 9:1–29. (What is God’s purpose of ‘election’? What is the revealed motive for God’s actions throughout the [hi]story of Israel? How does this relate to the ongoing key issue of Paul’s desire to see a unified People of God as both Judeans and gentile?)
(B) Next, briefly discuss how you understand this part of Paul’s argument to relate to the notion of “election”. What is the “logic of election” here in this passage? What is the pattern and purpose of God’s choice? What happens to those who are not chosen? What is the role of the scriptural allusions and citations?
My understanding of the ‘flow’ of Paul’s argument in Romans 9: 1-29 is in essentially three parts: Verses 1-5 describe Paul’s heartache over the lostness of Israel and lists prepotences/advantages that they were given but are not currently enjoying due to unbelief. This raises the question of whether God’s word (i.e. promise) has failed. In verses 6-13 Paul explains that contemporary unbelieving Israel is not the true people of God (“Not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” 9:6), so God’s word has not failed. God’s people are not the product of human pedigree, but of God’s promise. In verses 14-18 Paul explains how God is just to harden one group and show mercy to another exactly as he did concerning Pharaoh and Moses, because God’s national calling is not based on human will, but on God’s elective choice.