Romans 9 is one of the most debated passages of Scripture because it is often used to propose that God unconditionally elected what individuals he would save before the foundation of the world. The flip side of this is that God unconditionally chose whom he would not save and sentence to hell forever before the foundation of the world. This is the common interpretation of Calvinism. I remember the first time I read Romans 9, and I was disturbed by what I was reading because that's exactly what it seemed to be saying from my reading of it. I can understand why someone would come to that conclusion. But, like many people, I also came to believe that if Romans 9 really reads that way, it doesn't paint a very good picture of God. It paints a picture of God that doesn't match up with the God who says he desires all to be saved. But Romans 9 still remains as a very confusing passage of Scripture.
In his book PAUL'S USE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN ROMANS 9:1-9, Brian Abasciano takes a close and careful look at this confusing passage and illuminates what Paul intended when he wrote it. Abasciano does this by recognizing that Paul alluded to passages of the Old Testament to make his argument. He shows that Romans 9-11 form a unit and are the theological conclusion to what he has been saying in the first 8 chapters of Romans. In this passage Paul is seeking to show how God's promises to the Israelites in the Old Testament haven't failed. He shows how Paul used the Old Testament in verses 1-9 to show how God is just in rejecting Israel as a nation because of their unbelief. This leads to a thorough look at the passages that Paul alludes to in their original Old Testament context. He then shows the ideas Paul is trying to communicate by using these passages.
Romans 9 in Abasciano's view concerns God's election of corporate entities, specifcally those who place their faith in Christ. The book looks critically at John Piper's exegesis of Romans 9 and seeks to show God as the gracious pursuer of all people, but the savior of only those who believe, those identified in the Bible as the elect.
This book is an important exegetical look at Romans 9, and anyone wrestling with these issues should spend some time reading this book.
Review copy provided by Bloomsbury
Photo Credit: Bloomsbury