Reflections on Romans 9-16

I’m reading through the Bible in a year, and every month I (try to) post about what I’ve read. Other posts this month are on Judges, Ruth, Acts, Jeremiah and Lamentations. This post is continued from Romans 1-8.


Did God let the Jews down? If so, how can we trust Him not to let us down? Answer: God’s word hasn’t failed. He has always worked with a few people within the people (9:6-13).

Is God unfair in choosing some and not others? No, as 9:14-18 states. It all depends on His mercy, of which we aren’t deserving (recall chapter 3).

God is glorified in the display of His justice (9:22). God is glorified in the display of His patience (9:23). God is glorified in the display of His mercy to those whom He’s calling (9:23-24). What counts is grace, not race (9:24).


The concepts of righteousness, faith, belief and calling on God appear repeatedly in this section. The goal of the OT law is Christ (10:4). The OT offers Christ as Saviour (10:4-13). We need preachers of Christ and obedient hearers (10:14-21).


God has not rejected His people, because they are chosen by grace (11:1-10). There is always a remnant. A practical application for us today is that we shouldn’t place limits on God’s grace and give up on those whom we think may never come to faith in Christ. You never know… 🙂

What is happening now isn’t the end of the story of God’s grace. Present Jewish unbelief isn’t the end of the story (11:11-15, 25-32). Proud Gentiles should humble themselves (11:16-24).

Because our rescue is all of grace, all of the glory goes to God (11:33-36).  After understanding (albeit partially) Paul’s thesis in chapters 9-11, and indeed the entire book so far, I was able to grasp why he broke into song at this point. And I joined in!


Paul changes gears and, in the words of John Stott, moves from “mind-stretching theology to its practical implications.” The apostle gives directions for Christian living within the Christian community (12:3-13) and the wider society (12:14-21).

If your mind hasn’t been renewed, you’ll consider your gifts to be a reason for distinction and self-exaltation (12:3-13). Those who have been transformed (12:2) will be a transforming influence (12:21).


Paul addresses the Christian’s obligation to the law of the land (13:1-7); to the law of God (13:8-10); and to the flesh/ sinful nature (13:11-14). The believer in Christ is to obey human authorities and God’s law, but has NO obligation to the flesh.


The ‘weak’ have not fully understood the implications of the gospel, that we are saved and our salvation is preserved by faith alone through grace alone. They judge, asking How can a true Christian [fill in the blank]?

The ‘strong’ on the other hand tend towards being dismissive and contemptuous. People in both camps need to be on guard.

Where the Bible gives no explicit commands, each should be convinced in their own mind (14:22), remembering that we’re answerable to our Master  (14:7-8).


Paul returns to the theme of his apostleship that he brought up in the first part of chapter 1.


Paul gives shout-outs to his fellow labourers in the gospel in Rome (16:1-16). By his own admission, he didn’t spread the gospel single-handedly as we tend to think today.

The letter closes pretty much how it began—with a focus on the gospel (16:25). Paul’s gospel is the same gospel that the other apostles preached (1 Cor 15:11). It is a message centred on Christ (1:3, 5:1, 11, 21). hidden in the past and now revealed that all nations may believe and obey (16:25-26).

The question for us is, Have we believed and obeyed?

Sources: Christopher Ash, Mark Dever, David Jackman, Dick Lucas.