Romans 9. Forum

We obtain righteousness through faith, not through works

There are two main points that we will discuss in today’s lesson from Romans 9.

  1. We obtain righteousness through faith, not through works.
  2. God alone has the authority to decide who He will have mercy and compassion on.

The book of Acts chronicles how salvation was extended from the Jews to include also the gentiles. It began with a vision that Peter had while praying in the city of Joppa. After this vision, Peter says in Acts 10:34, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.”

Peter explained his vision to the Jews in Acts 11:5-18. After hearing from Peter, the Jews quieted down and glorified God saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

It does not matter to God where we are from, or where we live now. What is important to God is that we have faith in Him and in Jesus. Let’s look at a few scriptures that highlight the importance of faith:

  • “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” - Ephesians 2:8-9
  • “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of  the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of  the Law; since  by the works of  the Law no flesh will be justified.” - Galatians 2:16 
  • “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. ” - Galatians 5:6 

The remainder of chapter 9 focuses on God’s mercy and compassion, and how He alone has the authority to determine who receives it. This makes sense. If God doesn’t have the final say, then who does?

God said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.’ So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” – Romans 9:14-18

If anyone is tempted to push back on the idea that it is God alone who decides who receive His mercy and compassion, consider the following two scriptures:

  • “Who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” – Romans 9:20 (a)
  • “The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?” – Romans 9:20 (b)

If we put our faith in God and Jesus, He will take care of us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” – Jeremiah 29:11 

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?   Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?   And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?   And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,   yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.   But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!   Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.   But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Mathew 6:25-34


Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at Romans 10 and how we can increase our faith. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen



I can think of two stumbling blocks that might keep people from putting their faith in Jesus.

1) Lack of knowledge. Remember when Philip said to the Ethiopian eunuch, "Do you understand what you are reading?" The eunuch responded in Acts 8:31, "How can I unless somebody guides me." Then he invited Philip to come and sit with him. If people have a lack of knowledge, they are the one's we should be working to find and to help.
2) Pride. Some people are too proud to ask for help, or to admit they need help. They believe whatever life is throwing at them they can handle. We need to pray for their hearts to be softened and that they become receptive to hearing about Jesus.

Pat Dermody

The times , which I confess are far too few, when I can place complete faith in God have been the times of less stress and more contentment. “Let go, let God” . Easier said than done sometimes.


I am struck by how many times God emphasizes the importance of faith for our salvation. It has been great for me to remind myself that it is through faith in Jesus that we receive salvation. Focusing on my faith and not my works takes the pressure off of me, makes me happier, and puts me in a state of peace.