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Does God Play Favorites?


Sermon shared by Kevin Blader

July 2007
Summary: Everything depends on God’s Mercy
Denomination: Disciples of Christ
Audience: General adults
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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 you. That is why you are sitting here this morning. The Bible never says anything like, ‘God chose Bill and Bob for Heaven and Cindy and Sue for Hell’. But it does talk about God choosing His people for mysterious purposes. Like here where he choose Jacob over Esau before they were born for some mysterious purpose. Why He chooses us is a mystery. But He chooses us. Is God playing favorites? Well not necessarily. The explanation of election with the fewest problems [14] is that God does not so much choose individuals, but rather He chooses ‘Believers’, the group, ‘whosoever will have faith in God’s Son.’ Another way to say that is, ‘Through His foreknowledge the Father chooses, ‘whosoever will accept His Son’, and the kind of eternity that God offers through Christ.’ The Bible teaches that God wants everyone to be saved. There are dozens of verses to that effect. [15] And it speaks of the Father searching for men. [16] But the kind of life God is offering through Christ looks a certain way. It is an eternity wrapped around God and neighbor. And not everyone wants that kind of future. So God lets people have their fill of their own ways. In fact He helps them along their way. But He chooses those He knows will accept Him.

Trust God here

Really the idea of election isn’t all that problematic if you who have faith in God. God is fair and just in all His ways. We believe that even if we don’t understand it. And in the end His mysterious purposes will be revealed to be merciful.

Paul’s point here is that there has always been an election within
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