Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We should not think God unfair. God's mercy is far wider & higher that anyone dare hope, but no one is entitled to it & no one can demand from God an accounting or the principles on which He bestows mercy & grace nor that He should bestow it differently t

ROMANS 9: 14-18


[1 Peter 2:6-10]

Has God's plan gone awry because Christ was rejected by the very people who were prepared for Him, meaning the Jews? Our passage previously has revealed that as always some open their hearts to God's revelation while others hardened their hearts. Yet if God elects and selects as He did with Isaac and Jacob, isn't He unfair? In verses 14-18 we encounter another preliminary stage in the developing argument for God sovereignty, particularly as it deals with Israel. [Which culminates in chapter 11 and the guaranteed wholesale turning to the Lord of Israel.]

When some receive the light and others do not, the operating of God's grace can be seen. But if God does not reveal the principles on which He makes His choices [or decisions], that is no reason to call His justice into question. He is the Merciful and Compassionate One.

God's right to choose is seen not only in Abraham's children and grandchildren, it is seen elsewhere. In tonight's text we see it operating in God's dealings with the King of Egypt who stubbornly refused to heed God's Word and warnings. Here we learn that the audacity and rebellion of man can never thwart the purposes of God. God has a right to deal with the obstinate and defiant as He so chooses.

We should not think God unfair though. God's mercy is far wider and higher that anyone dare hope, but no one is entitled to it and no one can demand from God an accounting or the principles on which He bestows mercy and grace nor that He should bestow it differently than He does. God's mercy and grace may impose conditions but they cannot be made subject to man's conditions. Bless God though, for He delights to show mercy and has lavished it upon mankind.

I. God's Choices Are Not Arbitrary, 14.

II. God's Choices Are Merciful, 15-16.

III. God's Choices Overrule Evil, 17-18.

In verse 14 a question is introduced asking if God ever makes unjust choices? "What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!"

Was God unjust in choosing Isaac over Ishmael, and Jacob over Esau? [The Greek negative particle (m) with a question implies a negative response.] The emphatic responds is, "Never at all!" A lot of people have a real problem right here. [They see God as being unfair in acting outside or before mankind's purview; his freedom of choice and his responsibility for actions.] They want to know how could God choose to love Jacob, and hate Esau before they were even born?"

The answer is simple. It is because God is sovereign. The mystery to me is not that God hated Esau. The mystery to me is that God loved Jacob, and an even greater wonder is that He loves me, a conniver just like Jacob.

Did God choose correctly? Read your Bible and you'll see that Esau wasn't interested in spiritual things, but attracted to carnal things. Yes, God chose correctly—He always does. [Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 952.]

II. God's Choices Are Merciful, 15-16.

Two arguments are made to prove there is no injustice in God. The first is derived from the Scriptures and the second is derived from the unchanging character of God who cannot be unrighteous. Verse 15 reminds us that God has claimed in His Word the prerogative of divine right. "For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.'"

It is not unjust for God to exercise a sovereign's right to make decisions according to His justice. An example of God implementing His prerogative is found in His word to Moses (Ex. 33:19) which Paul here quotes. As the sovereign God, He has the right to show mercy to whomever He chooses. In fact, He is not under obligation to extend mercy to anyone. [Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, S. 477]

When did God say this? After the people of Israel had sinned by dancing around the golden calf in a sin-feast at Sinai. There the people sinned grievously. If God had acted simply in justice, He could have blotted out His people. Moses prayed for them. Instead of judgment, God proclaimed to His servant Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy" (Ex. 33: 19). That mercy was seen in sparing a sinful nation.. Why did God pardon them? Because God is merciful.

Now if there ever was a man who could dictate terms to God it was Moses. But there never has been such a person. The blessing Moses demanded is granted not on the basis of merit but on the grounds of what God considers best. God grants graciously and mercifully but only as and what He chooses to grant.

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