1. For some, this chapter poses difficulty because God’s sovereignty is emphasized, and it is interpreted as God standing opposed to man’s will, especially giving him no chance when he (man) desires a chance to be saved. The doctrine of predestination came from this – God uses man (save him, condemns him) without man’s volition. This perspective, however, misses the point of what Paul is speaking about. Paul is speaking about the national role of Israel, how God used nations to bring about His will, and how He used these events to form the individual man, shaping him into a vessel of honor or dishonor. Now he begins to explain why Israel, as a nation, was rejected.
2. This is the beginning of one long point Paul seeks to establish. Already he has made clear there is a distinction between the physically circumcised and the spiritually circumcised (2:25-29). Moreover, this distinction will result in those justified by faith in Christ (8:1). This means that the chosen of God is not physical Israel, but spiritual Israel. Those who are spiritual Israel are those who are elect of God; in this section he introduces and develops the biblical doctrine (teaching) of election.