The Deep Things of God

Recommend Books for further study:
Chosen by God, RC Sproul (Emphasis on God’s Sovereignty)
Chosen But Free, Norman Geisler (Emphasis on Human Responsibility)
Predestination and Free Will, David Basinger (Presentation of Various Views)
Romans 9
1. God’s Choice of Israel
1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
• God chose Abraham and His descendents to be a people through whom He would manifest His glory and bless the nations
2. God’s Choice within Israel
6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
• The fact that not all Israel believed did not invalidate God’s Word
• Paul reveals the truth about God’s electing grace
• He uses the example of Isaac and Jacob
• The point is verse 11, God’s purpose in election
3. God’s Choice to Show Mercy or to Harden whom He Desires
14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
• Paul raises a rhetorical charge against God that someone may ask, “is God unjust?”
• God freely chooses to display His mercy and compassion and is not bound by any extrinsic factors as to who or when He shows these attributes
• The basis for God’s expression of His salvation is not man’s desire but God’s mercy
• The example of Pharaoh
4. God’s Sovereignty and Prerogative to make Choices that bring Him Glory
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
• Paul raises another rhetorical question, “why does God still blame us?”
• Paul attacks the spirit of the question; antapokrinomai: to contradict in reply, to answer by contradiction, reply against
• The example of the potter; Isaiah 29, Jeremiah 18
• The hypothetical interpretation: God chooses to show wrath and power on objects of wrath and show glory on objects of mercy
• From hypothetical to real; present situation, God has called Jew and Gentile to receive His mercy and ultimate glory
• God is the potter who has ultimate authority and unchallenged prerogative to do what He wants with His creation
5. The Scriptural Support and Necessity of God’s Sovereign Choice
25 As he says in Hosea:
“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”
26 and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’
they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
only the remnant will be saved.
28 For the Lord will carry out
his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”
29 It is just as Isaiah said previously:
“Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.”
• Paul supports His argument with verses from Hosea and Isaiah
• God calls those who are not His people, His people, His loved ones and sons
• Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand of the sea it is only the remnant that will be saved
• Unless God left descendants there would be no survivors
• God’s choice is substantiated throughout Scripture
• God’s choice is necessary because apart from it no one would be saved, no one would repent, no one would believe
• Because of our Total Depravity, God’s sovereign and gracious election is necessary for any to be saved
Our Take away:
1. We need to develop a Biblical view of God; He is bigger than we think of Him!
2. We need to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and give thanks for our salvation
3. We need to rest in the amazing sovereignty, wisdom and grace of God and not sweat the little stuff…He is in control!
4. We need to be obedient and preach the gospel. Our Sovereign God continues to save anyone who calls on the name of the Lord!