Let’s see if we can make some sense of the scribbling, and put down some Romans notes here… we’re on chapters 8 and 9. The summary verses in Romans 8 are 31-39, the main point being about God’s love. If He was willing to give up His only Son–He’s already done the most difficult thing of all, so you can certainly KNOW that you can rely on Him.
In the next chapter, Paul takes great pains to explain that just because the Jews have rejected Christ doesn’t mean that they should be written off. He still holds out hope for them, and would even be willing to take their place (like Moses, like Christ). Often Paul talks about his spiritual brothers and sisters, but now he’s referring to his "kinsmen in the FLESH", which means Israel. It’s not as though God has taken away from them and given to us (the Gentiles); however, Jesus is the true Israel, and being "in Christ" makes us also "Israel".
In Romans 9:5, it very clearly says that Christ is God.
In the next section, Paul goes through a series of verses talking about children of the "flesh" and children of the "promise" (faith), etc…. he is trying to show that it doesn’t depend on works, but on God’s grace. He has a right to punish ALL. In these verses that talk about hearts being hardened, etc., the question is NOT: Are humans blank slates that God writes on? BUT: What will God do with sinners? Since we’re all sinners, but God can choose to forgive–and HAS chosen to do that, through Jesus.
This is all good stuff… but complicated! I suppose the Jews in Rome, as well as the Jewish proselytes, just loved these types of arguments. For us, we’re anxious to move on to the next Hint! :)
A quote from The Mom: "One of my least favourite things about this time of year, is driving around and around, trying to find a spot in the mall parking lot!"