The Great Antidote to Shame

Romans 9:30–33

Principle for Bible Reading

Has God’s word of promise failed because so many in Israel have failed to believe and receive it? In the last lab in this Romans 9 series, John Piper looks at a second major piece of Paul’s argument for the faithfulness of God to his promises. He also summarizes what we’ve learned from the whole chapter.

View the outline.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–01:04)

Has God’s Word Failed? (01:04–04:36)

  1. What shall we say then to what? The truth that Gentiles are included as vessels of mercy and children of promise. (Romans 9:24, 30)
  2. Paul’s answer so far in Romans 9:6–29, especially in Roman 9:11, has been unconditional election.
  3. He gives a second answer in Romans 9:30–33. God requires people to be holy and righteous, so how do Gentiles become righteous?

Israel’s Faith Failed (04:36–10:26)

  1. This righteousness comes by faith. (Romans 9:30)
  2. Israel did not attain the righteousness that the law required. (Romans 9:31)
  3. Why? Because they pursued it as if it were based on works, and not on faith. (Romans 9:32)
  4. Israel failed to believe in Jesus as the one to whom the law was pointing. (Romans 9:33; 10:4)
  5. Instead of relying on Christ for righteousness, the Jewish people tried to produce a righteousness of their own.

Summary of Romans 9 (10:26–13:36)

It looked like the word of God had failed because so much of Israel had fallen away and failed to receive the promise. (Romans 9:6)

  1. The word of God has not failed because of God’s unconditional election. God decides who — Jew or Gentile — is the true Israel through election. (Romans 9:6–29)
  2. The word of God has not failed because justification comes on the basis of Christ for righteousness through faith alone. (Romans 9:30–33)

Study Questions

  1. When Paul asks, “What then shall we say?” at the beginning of Romans 9:30, what is he responding to? What statement or idea is making him ask that question?
  2. Some thought the word of God had failed (Romans 9:6). How would you summarize Paul’s answer to that claim so far in Romans 9:6–29?
  3. What new argument does Paul make in Romans 9:30–33? How could Gentiles who have not even pursued righteousness according to the law be made righteous before God?

‘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: “The righteousness that enables us to stand before God is on the basis of Christ alone through faith alone.”