Summary: However complicated it is to harmonize the doctrine of Sovereign Grace (election) with man’s responsibility, the Scriptures hit us over the head with the reality that those who are saved are saved because God chose them apart from anything good in them
Has God’s Promise Failed, Or Do His Purposes Stand?
1. We see the Sovereign hand of God in saving people all the time. Take this article about a young man from Turkey:
2. Last time we saw that this section of Romans deals with the Sovereignty of God.
3. Paul has begun answering questions like: "If God sovereignly saves people apart from anything they do, why are the Jews not responding to the Gospel in droves? Since they are God’s special nation and God has made many promises to exalt the nation of Israel, how do you account for the disparity between what we would expect and what we in fact see?"
PROP: However complicated it is to harmonize the doctrine of Sovereign Grace (election) with man’s responsibility, the Scriptures hit us over the head with the reality that those who are saved are saved because God chose them apart from anything good in them. God has a track record of choosing people from a group rather than entire groups.
Paul is going to argue that is was as true for saved people in Old Testament times as it is for church age believers. Lets draw two conclusions that summarize Paul’s argument.
I. God Has _Always_ Chosen Individuals for Salvation Even Among Israel (6-11)
A. The principle stated: not __ALL___ Israelites were saved
Romans 2:28-9, "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God."
B. The principle __Demonstrated___.
-- Are we talking about individuals or nations?
-- How about __both__?
1. __Isaac__ and Ishmael
2. __Jacob__ and Esau
II. God’s Choice is Not Based on What Anyone Does and Occurs Even Before We Are Born (11-13)
A. Before ___birth___.
B. Apart from anything we might __do__.
C. That God’s __purpose___ in election might stand.
-- What is that purpose? 8:29 -- that we would be Christ’s younger brothers
D. Reconciling this reality with the reality of man’s responsibility:
E. That is why the genuine believer who is a prodigal is a prodigal SON
III. The Deeper Question Here, Though, Is "Does God’s Word Fall, or Do the Purposes of God Stand?"
A. In the realm of appearances, it seems to fail
1. The Jews were not responding to the New Covenant as anticipated
2. So, too, sometimes it seems that God’s Word fails
a. no temptation -- that you may be able to bear it
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD , " plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
c. A young person breaks up with a boyfriend or girlfriend
d. A couple divorce and the children suffer
e. A terminal diseases, deformity, pain, cruelty, torture, disaster
B. But the Bible again presents a dual track
1. The long term good of those who are called according to His purpose ((Romans 8:28)
2. Suffering as a form of blessing to develop our faith, cause us to hope in God, and to help us experience God and deepen our faith
3. Life’s hard times can come upon us no matter how strong our walk, no matter how deep our faith!
4. This is where the televangelists err... they offer us guarantees by using isolated Scriptures that seem to tell us that walking with God means we will always be healthy, wealthy, and blessed.
5. Some sincerely believe this because they do not have a clue as to how to interpret the Word of God.
6. Others know better, but they know the dollars role in if they tell people what they want to hear
7. Why do they have such a large following? Because we are all afraid. We want desperately to be in CONTROL, and God is dangerous unless we control Him.
8. God is sometimes dangerous to our plans or desires; but His purposes will stand.
9. And that purpose is for believers to enjoy His love forever in heaven and to get a taste of it here on earth
1. The great and overwhelming purposes of God will stand: He will be glorified in His time no matter what we or anybody else does; His elect will spend eternity as the companions of Jesus Christ, socializing and forever enjoying a holy party, examining the nature of God and marveling at the details of His creation
2. Right now, God wants us to find joy in our relationship with Him and in our relationship with others, because those are the only two things that last for eternity!