The Circumcision of the Heart

Romans 9:24–29, Part 1

Principle for Bible Reading

How could God be faithful to his promises if so many in Israel have fallen away, rejected the Messiah, and not been saved? In this lab, John Piper uncovers the next progression in Paul’s argument for God’s trustworthiness: the Gentiles are included as children in God’s invincible plan and promises.

View the outline.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–00:55)

Who Are We? (00:55–06:20)

  1. The new piece in Paul’s argument for God’s faithfulness to his word is the inclusion of the Gentiles as children of promise. (Romans 9:24)
  2. Not all who were born into Israel truly or ultimately belong to Israel. (Romans 9:7)
  3. Based on the previous verses, “us” (Romans 9:24) is referring to the children of God, the elect, the vessels of mercy, the children of promise, and the true Israel.
  4. Some who were not born into Israel will truly and ultimately belong to Israel. (Romans 9:24)

Jews and Gentiles Alike (06:20–10:09)

  1. What marks a true Jew — a member of true Israel — is the condition of a person’s heart, not their flesh or lineage. (Romans 2:28–29)
  2. Paul cities Hosea to show that Gentiles will be included in God’s people. (Romans 9:25–26)
  3. Paul cites Isaiah to show that some Jews will not be included in God’s people. (Romans 9:27–29)
  4. Paul evidently thinks both of these points is critical to demonstrating God’s faithfulness to his promises. (Romans 9:6, 24–29)

Study Questions

  1. What is the dramatic new piece in Paul’s argument for the faithfulness of God to his word in Romans 9:24?
  2. Based on everything we’ve read so far in Romans 9 (and anything else you can remember or find in Romans up until this point), how would you define the “us” in Romans 9:24?
  3. Read Romans 2:28–29. How do these verses help us understand who God’s people truly are?

‘God’s Invincible Purpose and Promise’ Series

This lab is part of a series through Romans 9. Taking a verse or two at a time, John Piper defends God’s faithfulness to his promises, all along pointing out general, practical principles for understanding and applying the Bible’s meaning. Visit ‘God’s Invincible Purpose and Promise’ series page to see all the labs in this series.

Piper: “A true Jew is one inwardly, by the Spirit, not outwardly, by flesh or lineage. ”