ELECTION IN ROMANS 9

Pastor James J. Barker

Text: ROMANS 9:6-24




INTRODUCTION:


  1. We are in the middle of a big building renovation project. One of the most important documents around here is the set of blueprints. The various contractors working on our building each have their own set of blueprints Ė the plans that were drawn up by the architect.
  2. The Bible reveals God as an absolute Sovereign who by His own will has chosen to create this universe and to direct its history according to His foreordained plan. This foreordained plan is Godís set of blueprints.
  3. Part of this plan includes the doctrine of election, which is probably one of the most misunderstood and difficult doctrines in the Bible.
  4. As used in the Bible, it appears to indicate an act of divine selection taking effect upon human objects so as to bring them into special and saving relations with God.
  5. For example, in Ephesians 1:4, the apostle Paul says that God "hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." Here we see why God has chosen those of us that are saved Ė "that we should be holyÖ"
  6. There is no question but that this divine choosing is mysterious and beyond the comprehension of mortal men (cf. Rom. 9:11).
  7. Someone once asked Charles Haddon Spurgeon, "Do you believe God chose you before you were born?" Spurgeon replied, "He had to have chosen me before I was born, for if He would have waited until after I was born, He never would have chosen me!"
  8. From Romans 9, we can see five aspects of election:
    1. Election should be no deterrent to soulwinning (9:1-3)
    2. Election is apart from manís works (9:11).
    3. Election takes place before we are born (9:11-13).
    4. Election is according to Godís sovereign purpose (9:15).
    5. Election is by Godís sovereign discrimination (9:18-23).
  1. Today, I would like for us to focus on four particular individuals who are mentioned as illustrations of Godís election, Jacob and Esau (9:10-13), Moses (9:15), and Pharaoh (9:17).

 

I. THE CASE OF JACOB AND ESAU (9:10-14)

    1. Before moving on, I should stop at this point and make a distinction. The Bible speaks of a national election in the choice of Abraham and his posterity (Rom. 9:1-5; cf. Gen. 12:1-3).
    2. And I believe that is the primary idea here in Rom. 9 Ė God chose Jacob, not Esau, to be the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
    3. Therefore, Rom. 9:11 is not speaking of salvation but of service and of the blessing that comes with being in the lineage of the Messiah.
    4. Jacob was a saved man and he is in heaven right now because he believed God and was converted (cf. Heb. 11:21).
    5. Those who believe the Gospel are saved, those who do not believe the Gospel die and go to hell. This has nothing to do with the doctrine of election.
    6. Election never appears as a violation of the human will. Man is responsible for his deeds and his choices. "In the Bible the relation of the human and Divine wills is inscrutable; the reality of both is assured" (Handley Dunelm, ISBE).
    7. Some one once complained to a preacher that he could not understand how God could hate Esau (Rom. 9:13; cf. Mal. 1:2,3). The preacher wisely replied: "I can understand how God could hate Esau. What I cannot understand is how He could love Jacob!"
    8. When reading the Bible it is good to keep in mind that when the Bible speaks of "hate," it often means to love less, which is seen as hatred by comparison (cf. Luke 14:26, 27).
    9. We need to keep in mind that in Rom. 9:13, Paul is quoting Malachi 1:2, 3 and is referring to the nations of Edom and Israel, not to individuals. God does not hate sinners Ė God loves sinners (John 3:16).
    10. It also should be pointed out that Rom. 9:12 is a quote from Gen. 25:23. The Lord spoke these words to Rebekah before the twins were born. However, Rom. 9:13 is a quote from Malachi 1:2, 3, written over 1,000 years after Jacob and Esau. God hated the idolatry of the Edomites and judged them accordingly, but to teach that God hated Esau before he was born is unscriptural.
    11. "Esau received instruction from the lips of his parents, but for a morsel of bread he sold his birthright. And his descendants have ever been characterized by the same independent lawless spirit. Dispensationally, Jacob was loved, Esau hated. There is no reference to the individual as such. ĎGod so loved the world,í and therefore every child of Jacob or of Esau may be saved who will. But no one can dispute the fact that Jacob and his descendants enjoyed earthly privileges, and spiritual, too, that Esau and his children had never known" Ė H. A. Ironside.

 

II. THE CASE OF MOSES (9:15,16)

    1. Another aspect of election that should be brought out is that sometimes God chooses certain people for some office or function.
    2. The Bible plainly teaches that God chose Moses (cf. Ps. 106:23). We can see this in his providential birth (Ex. 1:22; 2:1-10) and by the way God appeared to him in the backside of the desert (Ex.3:1-12).
    3. People frequently raise objections to the doctrine of election. To these objections, Paul appeals to the word of God to Moses (9:15, 16). Who can say that God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, does not have the right to show mercy and compassion on whom He chooses to do so?
    4. Let us keep in mind that 9:15 is quoted from Ex. 33:19. Israel had just been worshipping the golden calf not long after agreeing to keep Godís law. This transgression occurred while Moses was up on the mount. God would have been perfectly justified in destroying the Israel, but He chose not to. He was gracious and merciful (Ex. 33:17-19; Rom. 9:15).
    5. Paul is not denying the freewill of man by saying it is "not of him that willeth" (9:16; cf. Rom. 10:9-13). Rather, he is emphasizing Godís grace and mercy. No man can get saved unless God touches his heart. Man cannot save himself (John 1:13; 6:37).
    6. This brings us to our last example, the case of Pharaoh.

 

III. THE CASE OF PHARAOH (9:17)

    1. Let us look carefully at this Scripture (Paul is quoting Ex. 9:16) and we can see that the problem with Pharaoh was pride and unbelief. Pharaoh wanted to exercise his power, and he wanted to declare his name throughout all the earth (cf. Ex. 9:16, 17).
    2. But God was patient and long-suffering with Pharaoh (Ex. 5:1, 2). He sent Moses and Aaron to talk with him eight times and each time they were refused (Ex. 10:3). Finally, there was no more hope for Pharaoh Ė God gave him up to judgment (Ex. 10:27-29).
    3. Likewise, today God is patient and long-suffering with sinners (Rom. 9:22). Are you a "vessel of wrath fitted to destruction," like Pharaoh? Or will you repent of your unbelief and turn to the Lord in humble faith, believing that He will save you from your sins and save you from hell?
    4. Godís sovereignty is seen not only in showing mercy to some but in hardening others, such as Pharaoh (9:18; cf. Ex. 4:21; 7:13; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7,12, 27, 34, 35; 10:1-3, 20, 27). "Light rejected, rightful obedience refused, inevitably hardens conscience and heart" (Scofield, p. 75). The same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay. Grace rejected is grace denied.
    5. First, Pharaoh hardened his heart. And then God hardened it for him. God gave Pharaoh plenty of opportunities to repent, but Pharaoh resisted and sealed his own fate.

 

CONCLUSION:


Unsaved friend, donít be like Pharaoh!



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