Romans 9:30-33: Why the Jews did not believe


Finding the answer to why we do what we do has sparked off differences in philosophy, psychology, theology, sociology and any other science that concerns itself with human action. With the growth of intense research of the human body our behaviour has been looked at from the perspective of brain structure, hormones and other bodily realities. With the growth in psychology we see more interest in personality types and childhood experiences as those things that explain why we do what we do. With the growth in the belief in the theory of evolution animal behaviour has become a popular source for understanding human behaviour. Things like bullying and promiscuity are explained as remnants of our previous evolutionary development. The bible cuts right through to the baseline and highlights the two most fundamental things that shape what we do. These things are God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility as being made in the image of God but fallen in sin.

As we look today at the question of why the Jews did not believe Paul will turn us from the discussion of God’s sovereign election to the other necessary element of the discussion, man’s responsibility. Today we want to allow Paul to illuminate us from the Scriptural perspective on why people do and don’t believe. This question is not an academic one, this is a question that impacts every one of our daily lives. How we answer this question will impact how we preach the gospel, how we respond to God’s commands, how we view God’s involvement in the world and our situation, how we pray for the salvation of others, who we blame for unbelief, and many other things.

Paul has made the assertion that God is only saving a remnant of the Jews and is including the Gentiles for salvation as well. Paul now wants to go into some conclusions that answer the why questions. 9:30-33 introduce the whole of chapter 10 which is about Jewish unbelief through legalism and Gentile inclusion by faith. The comments that Paul makes here introduce a new sub-section in Romans 9-11. Paul has discussed the God-ward side of our salvation looking at issues such as election, mercy and justice, now Paul will focus on the human side of salvation looking at faith and unbelief.