Romans 9:17-33 [12-7-11]


[Verses 17-33]



Romans 9:10-16) [NIV] Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac.

11) [NIV] Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad-in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:

12) [NIV] not by works but by him who calls-she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”  

13) [NIV] Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”  

Luke 14:26) [KJV] If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

QUESTION: What is Paul teaching here?

ANSWER: God chose Jacob to inherit the promises given to Abraham, even though Esau was the firstborn. This shows us that God decides who should do what in His kingdom.

QUESTION: Did God hate Esau?

ANSWER: No! He didn’t hate Esau any more than he wants you to hate your father, mother, wife, etc. It’s talking about “in comparison to.” My love and devotion to God must be so strong that it overshadows my love for others. God’s love for Jacob overshadowed His love for Esau in the regard that it’s referring to here. That regard is the fact that He blessed Jacob with the promises, not Esau.

QUESTION: What “election” needed to stand?

ANSWER: This “election” being referred to was “not by works but by him who calls.” God decides whom He chooses to do His bidding.

14) [NIV] What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!

15) [NIV] 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) [NIV] It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

QUESTION: Is this a fair/just way for God to do things?

ANSWER: Absolutely! He’s not talking about eternal salvation; he’s talking about God choosing whom He will use to accomplish His will in this life.

On To This Week’s Lesson:

Romans 9:17-33) [NIV] 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) [NIV] Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

QUESTION: Is this a fair/just way for God to do things?

ANSWER: Absolutely! He’s not talking about eternal salvation; he’s talking about God choosing whom He will use to accomplish His will in this life.

NOTE: Notice how the question and answer were the same as they were for verses 14-16 above.

19) [NIV] One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?”

QUESTION: Did God harden Pharaoh’s heart and then blame him for his actions?

ANSWER: God hardened the heart of an idol worshipper. The Pharaoh had disdain for the God of Israel. God hardened the heart of a man whose heart was hardened toward Him already. He did this to show His power to deliver Israel.

20) [NIV] 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) [NIV] 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?

QUESTION: Does God, “the potter,” have the right to make this “lump of clay,” me, for the purpose of saving me and showing His power through me, and then make the other “lump of clay” my neighbor, for the purpose of withholding salvation from him so that when my neighbor goes to hell I will somehow see the glory of God in it?

ANSWER: He would have the right in the sense that He is the owner of the clay; but God would never withhold “irresistible grace,” according to some the only means of salvation, from my neighbor. The glory of God is seen in someone’s salvation, not their damnation.

22) [NIV] 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) [NIV] 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-

QUESTION: Who did God bear “with great patience” before He chose to “show his wrath and make his power known”?

ANSWER: This passage is referring to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, not my neighbor. The “wrath” He shows to them happens in this life, not the next.

Concerning these two verses,

“God’s sovereignty is never exercised in condemning men who ought to be saved, but rather it has resulted in the salvation of men who ought to be lost” [C. R. Erdman].

NOTE: They can’t have it both ways. Erdman is teaching that God chooses to save some who are lost, but not others who are lost. He saves those He chooses by the force of irresistible grace, but withholds that same irresistible grace from others; thus He withholds from the lost the only mechanism that can save them. They want to teach that the lost perish because of their choice, not God’s. That’s not true, according to their doctrine. Adam and Eve were the only humans, besides who made the chose to become sinners; the rest of us were born sinners. As such, our only hope is the intervention of God, and according to the teaching of Divine Election, God chooses not to intervene for the majority.

Matthew 7:14) [GNB] But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it.

QUESTION: What does the above verse have to do with our discussion?

ANSWER: It says “there are few people who find it,” not “there are few people” God chooses to show it to.

24) [NIV] even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

25) [NIV] 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) [NIV] 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.’” 

QUESTION: What are these verses telling us?

ANSWER: God chose to include Gentiles in His plan of salvation.

27) [NIV] 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) [NIV] For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”  

29) [NIV] 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.”  

QUESTION: What are these verses talking about?

ANSWER: They’re talking about events that took place in this life.

NOTE: There are no examples in this chapter that deal with eternity. The concept of God showing mercy to some and hardening the hearts of others deals with the events of this life, not the next.

30) [NIV] What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;

31) [NIV] but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.

32) [NIV] Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.”

33) [NIV] As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

QUESTION: Why did many Gentiles find “righteousness,” a right standing with God, and many Jews did not?

ANSWER: The Gentiles sought for a right relationship with God through faith, that is, through the machanism of putting their trust in the Lord Jesus. The Jews sought for a right relationship with God by earning their way, by keeping the Law.

NOTE: There is no mention in the above verses that are dealing with a subject that affects eternity that God did the choosing. Just the opposite, people “pursued” it.

Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church