I loved, but Esau I hated."’ (Romans 9:7-13, NIV)

This is a very difficult text

Now these are some of the most difficult verses in the Bible. And thoughts about these texts have divided many of the Lord’s churches.

Not all Abraham’s descendants are chosen

It’s easy to understand where Paul tells us, Not ‘Because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children,’ and, ‘It is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.’ I.e., just being born an Israelite doesn’t guarantee eternity. Just like being a member of a church doesn’t guarantee us a spot in Heaven. Being a church member may provide us with certain privileges, but it doesn’t save us. It isn’t hard to understand that just being born an Israelite doesn’t guarantee you a spot in Heaven. Anyone can understand something like that.

The difficult part is when Paul tells us why

But it becomes much more difficult when Paul gives us these two illustrations of children of Abraham who were not children of promise. It becomes much more difficult when Paul tells us why this is true. He tells us, Abraham had two sons. Actually Abraham had half a dozen sons but only Isaac was a child of promise. And Abraham’s son Isaac had had two sons, twins actually. But only Jacob was a child of promise. [8] And what makes it difficult is when Paul tells us why. It seems like God is playing favorites. Look up on the screen at Paul’s second illustration. ‘Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls, she was told, "The older will serve the younger", just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."’

The Bible teaches Election

And this gets to a very deep and difficult teaching found throughout the Bible, the teaching of election, and God’s choice of some people over others. [9] Jesus use to tell His followers repeatedly, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you’, [10] and, ‘I have chosen you out of the world.’ [11]

The doctrine’s difficulty

It is difficult teaching. It is difficult to explain from a human standpoint. Before the twins were born, God choose one over the other. [12]

God’s silence

We don’t have to live very long as a Christian to realize that God does not feel the need to resolve all our questions about every puzzling event that happen to us in this life. How many times in life have you asked God ‘why’ and the reply has been silent? God does not despise our honest questions. But at the same time He obviously doesn’t answer all our questions either.

An explanation of Election

The Bible teaches that on some level God chooses His people. [13] We like to think, ‘I choose Christ’. And that is true up to a point. But on some level the Bible also teaches that God choose