Romans 9:14-27 September 4, 2016
“Whose Kingdom Is It Anyway?”
Has the gospel failed because of Israel rejection of their Messiah? Verse 6 answers the question – NO…for not all of Israel is Israel. 2 Israels. Very important distinction. Promise was not to all descendants. It is not race but grace. Ethnic Israel is race. Spiritual Israel is grace. Paul knows questions are coming. Paul heard them through out his ministry. But Paul was not unspoken and presented the truth of God’s Sovereignty and the church grew. Those who believed were different kind of Israel. Set apart! Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.
What is the Doctrine of Election? Is it Important?..was to Paul. Me.
Best answered by Paul himself in Ephesians 1: 3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to son-ship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— ”
This is Unconditional Election. There is nothing in us at all that causes God to chose us. According to his pleasure and will. The big question then becomes: If God does the choosing, why are we still held accountable?
The question itself shows the arrogance of our sinful hearts! If the righteous God chooses to by-pass the entire race of rebellious sinners, would that not be His just prerogative? If He chooses to save some who otherwise would helplessly perish in their sin, is that not His right? Scripture is clear that if God had not rescued us by His sovereign grace, we all would perished in our willful, proud rebellion against Him. When Adam fell…we all fell in our sinful nature. You see this is God’s world and he runs it as he sees fit and for his own glory and no one is to challenge his will. It wouldn’t do any good anyway. Paul doesn’t have to change the truth, he is just going to present the truth!!! E = G -J.
Verse 14 “What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!” NASB puts this way….What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! I like the KJV here…..God Forbid!!!
First objection is answered..Is God unfair (unjust)? This is not an objection of Paul, but of an adversary, which he takes it up and gives an answer – God is not unrighteous or unjust in his nature; or in any of his ways and not in this: in choosing some and by-passing others. This is neither an act of justice, nor injustice; but an act of grace and mercy; of undue and undeserved grace and and undeserved mercy This is what God is not obliged to do; to choose some and not others. Again the essence of election is MERCY AND GRACE!
The madness sometimes of the human mind, that it is more disposed to charge God with unrighteousness or unfairness. But as we learned last week……… God chooses certain people because he chooses to choose them.
Then Paul expands on this thought and goes to the last part of …Ex 33:19.
Verse 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.” God according to himself, declares that he is free to dispense mercy as he purposes. Understanding the nature of God (hmm) we will have a better understanding of his character and we will still far short because we are finite and he is infinite.
So First he would have us to contemplate the mercy of God, and then secondly, a few verse later, to acknowledge his righteous judgment on the unbeliever.
The context to this verse 15 comes from the Exodus 33 starting at verse 14-19:
“Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth? ”And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Paul’s first piece of evidence that God is not to be questioned!
God shows himself here as sovereign in planning the Exodus of his people. And God picked Moses to lead them out of Egypt and God was doing the leading. This is the Providence of God on full display.
In God’s kingdom, the blessings start with Himself!
In Ex 33:19 from which Paul quotes. shows that God has a right to dispense his blessings as he pleases. Benefits and blessings are initiated by my own good will: Can anyone, much less a rebellious people, think that they can challenge them because they believe they are owed? God says NO ONE has any claim to my favor, but out of my own free and sovereign grace I grant to some.
I chose to show mercy and compassion to as we will see..The REMNANT. I will give my salvation my way and on my terms.
And those who believe on my Son Jesus will be saved; and they who do not believe are by-passed. This is God’s declaration; His choosing can never change or be challenged; and this he has fully declared in Himself!!
Then Paul really gets in our face: He challenges our sentimental thinking about God. Here is his conclusion.
Verse 16 “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”
Where have we read this before? Last week and it bares repeating: John 1:11-13… “But as many as received Him…who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Justice is determined by God.
The standard is God’s, not man. Paul appeals to God’s authority, not man’s !!
Paul draws this inference, our election is not to be ascribed to any activity on our part…Period!I Salvation is (re) generated by the sovereign purposes of God, not man.
Now Paul tackles the flip side of Election…Rejection….read verses 17-18.
“For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up ( In the Hebrew = “I have appointed you) for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Therefore, God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”
God raised Moses up. God had raised up Pharaoh also but for a different reason. His hardening was done for a greater purpose.
- Ultimately the proclamation of the Gospel worldwide. If God had not hardened Pharaoh the exodus would not have happened the way it did.
- Would not have had the power display of the plagues, the sacrificial lamb, which is a picture of Jesus. The power and might of God on display. All around was the name of God, his essence and his delivering power was demonstrated.
Now the logical question from man. How does God harden a sinner and still not be guilty of being the author of sin? God hardens hearts is by letting sinners to go their own way, exercise their ‘free will’. And when man does so, it is because his nature which, before Christ, is inclined towards his own depravity.
John 3:17-18. “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world…..” “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Catch that? Mankind condemns himself by the nature of his sinfulness.
The first glimpse of that was in the garden when Adam and Eve’s sinful nature tried to hid from the presence God. Didn’t work, did it. And God was just in letting them suffer the consequence of their own decision to serve themselves. It was their own self-directed path they chose to follow and God was willing to allow them so as to fulfill his ultimate goal. That purpose at the end of time will be the glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So God is Just……and so God raises up Pharaoh, and the harden of his heart against God and his people. So God may harden any other person who God wants to. Man first hardens his own heart by sinning, as Pharaoh did; what God does, is by leaving them to the hardness of their hearts is still carrying out the purposes of God in Election. Now Is this Foreknowledge? No!!! And here is proof…..In Exodus 4:21 And this is before any of the plagues. God says I will harden his heart. “The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”
Providence of God is on full display with Pharoah and Moses.
God is in control of every action taken by Pharaoh and Moses
God planned this Exodus way before he actually allowed it and Moses knows it was God who let Pharoah act as he did. God says I am behind all of this.
But it is for a purpose.
- To demonstrate the power of God over everything. Over and over in Exodus God said that you might know that I am God.
- God’s deliverance from sin. A lasting memorial. The exodus experience. No greater example symbolically of deliverance than that of the exodus.
- Lastly and most important….To glory God. God uses the hardening of Pharaoh was all about a redemption and advancement of the gospel.
And now the second objection:
Verse 19, “One of you will say to me:“Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” Note carefully Paul’s inspired answer, because it strikes at the very root of human depravity in
Verse 20: “But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”
To understand these words we have to see ourselves and the enormous difference between our Sinful self and Holiness of God. We think we are more than we actually are and that God is less than He is. There is a vast gulf between our sin and God’s holiness A vast gulf. And we want to question God and his authority? Are you kidding me!!
We sit in judgment of God instead of kneeling to his righteousness?
OT example. We read it earlier. Job with the same sinful attitude about God as many of us have, including me. He became self-righteous and his friends thought he had been given a bad rap. They convinced him to in essence to challenge God. In Job 40 God sits Job down “And the Lord said to Job; Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” Then a couple verses later…Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm: “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me”.
At the end of this lessons on God’s resume Job finally repented of his insolence against the Almighty.
The lesson we need to learn from Job is that we will never see things from the perspective that God does. Part of the Job description for being God is that he owes no one an explanation for what he does. God wants us to know, like Job, that he is just and that whatever he does in our lives does not need to be explained to us. I am stunned when I hear Christians angry with God. Why?….Because every detail of our life has purpose and eternal meaning!!
What Paul’s objector had to learn and we do too…there is no complaint department, no customer service department in the courtroom of GOD.
Our part, God tells us, is to acknowledge the facts of scripture, and not to be surprised when we find mysteries in God’s Word⎯for the Creator is incomprehensible to His creatures. A God whom we could totally understand, and whose revelation of Himself confronted us with no mysteries whatsoever, would be a God make-up in man’s image, and therefore an imaginary God, not the God of the Bible at all.
For what the God of the Bible says about Himself: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways… As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” Isa. 55:8
And Paul is not done with the objectors:
Verse 21 “Or does not the potter have a right (KJV = power) over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use (for dishonor)?” YES He made Mose and Pharoah the way he wanted.
The reason is that the potter does nothing but what he has a right to do. By the word right (power) means he has the authority over the clay. What are we doing questioning God’s right. Remember this, that God will not surrender any portion of his honor to man. Also the potter takes away nothing from the clay, God the potter takes away nothing from man. Man chooses his own destruction outside of the grace and mercy of Christ.
Then Paul goes to the dark side in Verse 22
“What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?”
What if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath? The apostle refers here to the case of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, which he applies Jeremiah’s parable of the potter, and from them, God’s dealing with the Israelites. Pharaoh and the Egyptians were vessels of wrath – persons deeply guilty before God; and by their obstinate refusal to worship, and abuse of his goodness, they had fitted themselves for that destruction. I call it… the just justice of God.
The council of God is, in fact, incomprehensible, and He does not give a reason for divine election. These things are contained in the secret council of God they are not subject to the judgment of men; there is mystery here and it is inexplicable. But Paul continues:
Verse 23-24 “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—“even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”
We are the vessels of God’s mercy, who have been made righteous, and God proves it by the inward calling of the Holy Spirit. It is evident that the Gentiles are by no means excluded from the kingdom of God or from the Abraham Covenant and all its heavenly promises. “I will be your God and you will be my people.” Even US!! This theme is from Genesis to Revelation.
The Jewish leaders had a hard time allowing Gentiles to be admitted into the church at Jerusalem; even though they themselves blasphemed Christ. But from Jerusalem came the first preachers of the gospel, their message was to go to all the earth. This brought about the movement of grace to the gentile world; and all of this was predicted by the prophets here, listen to Hosea:
Verse 25 – 26 “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,” and, “In the very place where it was said to them,‘You are not my people, there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
The sovereign calling of God is now to the remnant among the gentiles. Always has been and will be. Not all of Israel is Israel, Not all ethnic Israel is spiritual Israel.
You see, Hosea is prophesying the advent of the new covenant, a new covenant that gives us better promises, a better country, a better sacrifice and these are all given by God. The Gentile believers and the Jewish believers shared in this. Both become ‘sons of the living God’ or ‘ daughters of the living God’.
Verse 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.”
Remnant means ‘a salvage.’ In other words salvage the sinful. This is the promises of God. The Remnant will be saved.”
Remnant is who Christ came for. He died for the remnant. That includes US. We are the remnant because we are believers. We are the New Israel. These are the people that the Christ came for. Matt 1:21.
God has not rejected his people. Paul says look at me, I am part of that remnant. We demonstrate that the Gospel has not failed and we bowed to the one who owns and controls his own Kingdom.
Has the Gospel failed? No. This is whose Kindom? Does God ever fail? No
A Kingdom owned and operated by the Triune God
Don’t understand it all? Either do I, but I have to trust and obey his word. And one of the ways we obey him is to celebrate the communion feast that he has prepared for us. It is a symbolic of the work of Christ done in his remnant.. Elect.
And this sacrament is not for everyone…this is for the ‘sons of living God’
Eph 5. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…”
John 10 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
He knew your name before the foundation of the world when He planned it all. This sacrament represents the crowning achievement of the Christ and his defeat over Satan. And Satan will never ever be able to own us!!
It is our hope that by Grace thorough Faith that you have a personal relationship with Christ, that you have renounced your sin and trust Christ and him alone for salvation.
Prayer……Christ come quickly!!