Sunday – May 29, 2022
Sunday – May 29, 2022
Sunday – May 1, 2022
It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 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.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
If you are a parent, you have heard the repeated refrain from your children, “That’s not fair!” And when you heard that complaint you responded, “Life’s not fair!” But we all want it to be fair! And we want God to be fair—or so we think! if Paul was saying that God made His decision to bless Jacob and reject Esau based on the fact that God foresaw that Jacob would decide to trust in God, but Esau would reject God, no one would have thought to accuse God of being unfair. That’s perfectly fair. But, clearly, that’s not what Paul meant.
Paul goes out of his way to make it clear that God chose Jacob and rejected Esau apart from anything that they would do, “so that His purpose according to election would stand.” But we don’t like that! We want things to be equal and fair. We want everyone to have an equal shot at salvation and we want that salvation to be linked in some small way to something that we do. We want to be able say, “I’m saved because I made a decision by my own free will to believe in Jesus!” Then I can take some credit for my wise decision and my faith.
Romans 9 does not consist of the opinions of the apostle Paul, which we are free to accept if we agree or ignore if we disagree. Romans 9 is God speaking to us with His authority through Paul to tell us what we need to know to be assured about our salvation, which is Paul’s main subject in the context. How can we know that God’s promise of salvation will not fail? Paul’s answer is that our salvation is secure because it does not depend on us, but rather on God’s purpose according to election. As the sovereign of the universe, God always accomplishes what He purposes to do.
The doctrine of election is not obscure; it is not hard to prove. It is only hard, for some, to accept. Those who may be predisposed to reject divine election would like us to think that this doctrine is not taught in the Bible. However, in Romans 9 it is taught clearly, emphatically, categorically, repeatedly. If people reject this doctrine, it is not because it is not taught in the Bible, but because people will not accept it. Nothing is clearer in our text: the sovereign God chooses some and rejects others, and He does so in a way that reflects His sovereignty and preserves man’s responsibility.
Sunday – April 3, 2022
“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, the people of Israel.”
If Romans 8 has the distinction of being the high-water mark of the New Testament, chapter 9 has the dubious honor of teaching one of the most emotionally volatile doctrines of all the Bible, that of election. This chapter is so troublesome to some Bible teachers that they would prefer it not to be in Scripture. And yet Romans 9 is vitally important to the Christian, not only in the sense that it provides a basis for the theological doctrine of election, but in that it has great bearing on our spiritual life.
If salvation finds its origin in the will of the creature, rather than in the will of the Creator, then we could never be fully assured of salvation. The maintaining of our faith would then be a work required for salvation. In fact, if the salvation of others is not in the control of God, then what reason do I have to pray for the salvation of the lost? But if salvation finds its origin in the will of God, then I know that I am forever secure, for even though I may change, God is immutable. Since it was He Who purposed my salvation and He cannot change, then my salvation is as certain as the One Who is its source.
I certainly understand why the doctrine of divine election troubles many Christians, but I believe this is a doctrine that can neither be dismissed nor denied. All the questions of Paul in chapter 8 find their answer in election. Can God work all things together for our good? Will the predestined be called and the called be justified and the justified be glorified? Is there really now no condemnation, and will there be none tomorrow? Romans 9 comes after Romans 8 for this crucial reason: it shows that the word of God’s covenant with Israel has not failed, because it is grounded in God’s sovereign, electing mercy. Therefore, the promises to the true Israel and the promises of Romans 8 will stand!
Romans 9 and the doctrine of election is indeed a glorious text, a text which should lead us to rejoice. When understood correctly, in relationship to other biblical truths, this doctrine provides great confidence, great humility, and great gratitude for the Christian. Because salvation is determined by God, then I may come to Him in prayer with the confidence that He is both able to save, and He takes pleasure in saving as well as in answering my prayers. Let us set aside our preconceived prejudices and emotions, and seek to know God as He is. Let us rejoice and be glad, for He is God, the sovereign God of the universe! Who better to be in control of our lives?
November 4, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship
It is a week away… not the end of the world but if you listen to the advertising you might be convinced otherwise… Election Day. With both sides convinced God is on their side, the question we are all wondering is “Where is God on Election Day?” Join us this Sunday as we take a break in our study in the Gospel of Mark to look at the example of another king who learned a lesson about Who is in charge , even when we have questions about what it all means in Daniel 4 verses 28 to 37 as we try to answer that very question, “Where is God on Election Day?”
“When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.”
Dr. Haddon Robinson, president of the Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary in Denver has written, “Fundamentalists who preached during the sixties that God and Caesar were to be kept apart, have had a turn of mind about what the Bible teaches. Political involvement now smacks of a religious crusade… The fact is that there has probably been no time in the recent history of our nation when evangelical Christians have been as interested and involved in the political process.” This has brought an equal and fervent response from unbelievers to keep Christians out of the political dialog under the banner of “separation of church and state.”
We often consult the Book of Proverbs for wisdom in many areas of life, but one area it shines a particularly clear light upon is politics. For many secularists, a government which seeks to uphold righteousness in any area but the environment is only out to make life miserable for people. The Book of Proverbs assumes the purpose of government is to promote righteousness because righteousness is mutually beneficial for government and the people. Righteousness is not only right, it is best. When a government promotes righteousness, the people are blessed. But when the government fails to achieve its intended purpose, the people suffer.
The problem is that government is often tasked with matters that are humanly impossible. Righteousness and justice are God-given characteristics. For any government to employ such standards would require it to seek divine enabling to accomplish their purpose. While there is wisdom in separating religious functions from political office, there is no way we can separate righteousness from political office. If the purpose of government is to promote righteousness and punish evil, how can we avoid defining righteousness and defending it as a part of our political obligation to God?
In carrying out that duty, we must recognize any form of power can be prostituted to the advantage of those who wield it. Any power given by God to man is a stewardship. And when power is abused, God may elect to take it away, just as God did with Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. He had received good counsel from his advisors in 1 Kings 12:7 “If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” Rehoboam did not learn leadership is really servanthood and rejected their advice. This is what Jesus taught the disciples in Mark 10:35-45. All power is given by God, whether it is political, financial or relational, so that we may serve others. When we forget this truth we are in danger of being set aside.