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Summary: Paul has taught us that God picks out individuals for salvation not based on anything they do, but out of pure grace. At the same time, he bypasses others. This raises a number of questions, and Paul fields them, though not necessarily to our satisfacti

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Is God Unjust?

(Romans 9:14-29)

1. There are many puzzles in life. One recent puzzle is the whereabouts of an escapted tiger.

Bengal Tiger Seen Roaming La. Army Base

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

FORT POLK, La. — A Bengal tiger on the loose in the thick brush surrounding Fort Polk seems to be playing hide and seek — and winning.

A team of about 40 soldiers and sheriff’s deputies searched the woods on the Army base for a second day Wednesday for any sign of the tiger.

"So far we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of it," said Scott Heinrich, owner of a wild animal consultancy that was brought in to track the big cat.

It was unclear where the animal came from, but it’s likely that it was a pet that escaped or was set free, said Leslie Whitt, director of the Alexandria Zoo, who assisted in the search. Several witnesses said the animal was wearing a collar.

Heinrich said he and others scanned the woods Tuesday morning from a helicopter but did not see the tiger. They continued their search on the ground, beginning from where the animal was last seen, he said.

Based on witnesses descriptions, the tiger is probably about 100 pounds and 1 year old, Whitt said. If it was kept as a pet, it probably has not learned how to hunt for food, he said.

2. But few things are more puzzling than the mysterious ways of God.

Main idea: Paul has taught us that God picks out individuals for salvation not based on anything they do, but out of pure grace. At the same time, he bypasses others. This raises a number of questions, and Paul fields them, though not necessarily to our satisfaction. God is God, and He does as He pleases. We do not have to like it, but we should not live in spiritual denial either.

I. Is God Unjust? (14-18)

A. The answer: “Not at all”

B. God is merciful to some (16)

1. This mercy is NOT a result of human effort or even desire

2. It is based on God’s Sovereignty

A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death.

"But I don’t ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy."

"But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied.

"Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for."

“Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman’s son.

C. God is just to some others (17-18)

1. If you read the account in Exodus, you find that, at first, Pharaoh hardened his own heart; then God hardened it further as a judgment

2. Everyone’s heart is hard toward God; sometimes God softens a person’s heart somewhat without necessarily regenerating that person…

3. Daniel 4:35, a lesson Nebuchadnezzar had to learn: “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’”

4. In the case of Pharaoh, God hardened his heart further so he would not become co-operative…this is similar to God giving depraved society “over” in Romans 1:28…an act of judgment


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