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I loved, but Esau I hated."í (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 Lordís churches.

Not all Abrahamís descendants are chosen

Itís easy to understand where Paul tells us, Not ĎBecause they are his descendants are they all Abrahamís children,í and, ĎIt is not the natural children who are Godís children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abrahamís offspring.í I.e., just being born an Israelite doesnít guarantee eternity. Just like being a member of a church doesnít guarantee us a spot in Heaven. Being a church member may provide us with certain privileges, but it doesnít save us. It isnít hard to understand that just being born an Israelite doesnít 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 Abrahamís 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 Paulís second illustration. ĎRebekahís 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 Godís 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."í

The Bible teaches Election

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

The doctrineís 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]

Godís silence

We donít 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 Ďwhyí and the reply has been silent? God does not despise our honest questions. But at the same time He obviously doesnít 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, ĎI choose Christí. And that is true up to a point. But on some level the Bible also teaches that God choose