*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Romans 9:27-29 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Romans 9:27
  • Romans 9:28
  • Romans 9:29

Even though much of Israel has rejected Christ, there is a remnant who remain faithful. A remnant of faithful Israelites has persisted throughout history.

Much of Romans is written to refute the slander that Paul received from the competing Jewish authorities in Rome at that time (3:8). The slander was meant to reject Paul’s gospel message, that it is faith alone in Jesus, not works, that makes us righteous in the presence of God. Paul is making this point again in Chapter 9, but through the lens of the Jewish people, making the point that it is through faith in Jesus, not through heritage or the law, that they will be made righteous in the presence of God.

Paul began this chapter by stating that he wishes he could be separated from Christ if it meant he could save his fellow Jewish people (verses 3 and 4). Paul tells his audience of Roman believers, in 27 – 29, that a remnant of Jews will be righteous in the presence of God: Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the Lord will execute His word on the earththoroughly and quickly. We will find out in verses 30 – 32 that it is because of Jesus’s sacrifice and the Jewish people’s rejection of that sacrifice that only a remnant of the Jewish people will attain righteousness.

Paul is using this second passage from the Old Testament book from the Prophet Isaiah that it is through God’s sovereignty and mercy on the Jewish people that they did not become like Sodom and Gomorrah – two cities that God destroyed because of their sin: Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterityWe would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.” So, while God has mercy on the Jewish people, they are not exempt from the need to place their faith in Jesus, not the law.

Biblical text

27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; 28 for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” 29 And just as Isaiah foretold,

“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity,

We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”

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