Romans Chapter 9
First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
Welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program on KLMX. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines and Iíve been working thru Paulís letter to the Romans church. This week weíre in chapter 9, a chapter with a reputation for being controversial and difficult. But, as Iíve said all week, I think the only reason it has that reputation is because it brings us face to face with God. As rebellious human beings, we donít like for God to tell us how things are. I think weíd much rather tell God how weíd like things to be! But, in any case, Chapter 9 is part of the Bible and here we are.
Yesterday we started on the doctrine of election and were discussing whether or not it was "fair." Hereís yesterdayís passage:
Romans 9:6-14 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, (7) nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED." (8) That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. (9) For this is the word of promise: "AT THIS TIME I WILL COME AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON." (10) And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (11) (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), (12) it was said to her, "THE OLDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER." (13) As it is written, "JACOB I HAVE LOVED, BUT ESAU I HAVE HATED." (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!
We didnít quite get to the last couple of lines, but Paul brings up the question I just asked- is this fair? Paul asks "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!" Many people view the doctrine of election as some sort of arbitrary thing- God flipping a coin in Heaven and saying "Okay, this oneís in and that oneís not." That, however, is a very small view of the process. Recall what Isaiah said:
Isaiah 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. (9) "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
So, rather than proclaiming our views of election, we should see what the Bible actually says about it and why itís there. Lord willing, thatís what weíll do.
After establishing the fact that God sovereignly called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Paul dives into the question of "Is there unrighteousness with Godí in this concept of election? Hereís what he says:
Romans 9:14-18 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! (15) For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOMEVER I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOMEVER I WILL HAVE COMPASSION." (16) So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. (17) For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I HAVE RAISED YOU UP, THAT I MAY SHOW MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MAY BE DECLARED IN ALL THE EARTH." (18) Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
Again, Paul shows his audience that this is nothing new, using quotes from Exodus. Letís not lose sight of the point being made here, though. The point is that the Israelites were relying on their ancestry for salvation. Paul is using their Scriptures to point out that "theyare not all Israel who are of Israel" and he used the examples of Ishmael and Isaac to show that not all of Abrahamís children were chosen by God, and then the example of Jacob and Esau to show that not even children with the same parents were called equally by God. The direction heís driving at is that we canít rely on our parentís status but each individual person must come to God thru faith. That very faith is itself a gift of God, as Ephesians tells us:
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Back to Romans, we have:
Romans 9: (16) So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Here again we see that itís not our works that save us- God didnít chose Abraham because of something Abraham did before the fact, any more than he chose Isaac for his works, and he definitely didnít chose Jacob over Esau because of Jacobís works. Romans 9:11 says "forthe children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls."
Verse 17 is where the flip side of the doctrine is presented. Okay, so God chooses some and not others, but donít the others have every opportunity to be saved? Hereís what Romans 9:17 says:
Romans 9:17-18 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I HAVE RAISED YOU UP, THAT I MAY SHOW MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MAY BE DECLARED IN ALL THE EARTH." (18) Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
Thatís a humbling passage. We like to have faith in ourselves and our good deeds, but this passage condemns Pharaoh from the start. It says "For this very purpose, I have raised you upÖ" and concludes with "Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens." There can be no question about that last line- "whom He will He hardens."
In looking at the doctrine of election, many say "Well, if God has chosen me from the foundations of the world, as Ephesians Chapter 1 says, then thereís nothing I can do about it! And if God hasnít chosen me then thereís also nothing I can do about it!" That, actually, is where Paul goes now. In verse 19, he says "You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" Itís a valid and honest question. If God raised Pharaoh up for the purpose of destruction then did Pharaoh resist Godís will? Hereís where Paul plays a big heavy card. Again, we just donít realize or acknowledge our standing with God. Paul does. He says:
Romans 9:20-21 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" (21) Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
You see, we are creatures and the root word of "creature" is the same as "creation". We were created by a master potter, and as such, that potter has power over us. Man tends to be focused on himself and whatís good for us, and what we so often fail to remember is that God does all things for His glory. Again, Paul knows that and says so in:
Romans 9:22-24 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, (23) and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, (24) even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
As with everything else, this passage is not unique. There seem to be vessels prepared for destruction. Let me read it again and also give you some other passages to considerÖ.
Romans 9:22-24 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
Proverbs 16:4 The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
1 John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
All of these passages identify 2 classes- the wicked and those who will be saved. Genesis 3:15 and 1 John 3:10 identifies the seed of the devil and the seed of God, Proverbs 16:4 says that God has made them all for Himself, and Jude 1:4 say that they were "long ago marked out for this condemnation."
What is your response to these passages? Do you say "thatís not fair!" or do you say "well, thereís nothing I can do about it either way"? Or do you do like the tax collector in the temple who could not even lift his eyes to Heaven but beat his breast and said "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" The Psalms and Proverbs tell us at least 4 times that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" and that is certainly applicable here. In hearing that mercy and grace are in the hands of God and God alone, our response is either to protest or to humbly beg for mercy. Do we fear the Lord or not? Our proper attitude should be the one displayed in Matthew 15:
Matthew 15:22-28 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." (23) But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, "Send her away, for she cries out after us." (24) But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (25) Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" (26) But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." (27) And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." (28) Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
This is the attitude we should have. "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!"
Weíre out of time again. Tomorrow weíll look at how Paul directs this doctrine of election to the salvation of Gentiles, for that is indeed his main point here. Join us at 9:45 here on KLMX.
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