Questions for Littles: What does Paul say in v1, even though he is writing Scripture as an apostle? After making statements like that, what does he say in v2? Finally, when we get to v3, what amazing thing does he say (“accursed” means condemned to Hell) that makes us understand why he would lead with vv1-2? What are some of the privileges that the Israelites had, in vv4-5, that yet had not led to many of them believing in Jesus and being saved? Why wasn’t it the case, then, that the word of God had taken no effect (v6)? Who are not all Israel? Who are not all Abraham’s seed (offspring, v7)? Which children are the children of God (v8)? What was the word of promise (v9)? What things were the same for Jacob and Esau (v10-11)? But what did God say to her in v12 (Cf. Gen 25:23)? And what does God ultimately say of Jacob and Esau (v13)?In this week’s Epistle reading, we learn how it is that the same people can come from the same family, and learn the same theology, and go to the same church, and hear the same preaching… and some of them are saved, but some of them aren’t. Some of them grow, and some of them never do, only having appeared to belong to the Lord.
It is the “purpose of God according to election” so that it will be “not of works but of Him who calls” (v11).
Of course, by the time Paul is talking like this in Romans, it is unthinkable that we would ever say of God’s judgments, “That’s not fair!” Remember Romans 1:18-3:20? Well, I suppose if we look down to vv20-24, we can see that some people would still make that complaint. But of course they are wrong. We all deserve to go to Hell. None of us deserve to be saved.
In fact, that’s the point of vv4-5, isn’t it? Even with all those advantages, we are so wicked and hard-hearted that without God working an immediate miracle upon our hearts, we will not turn and believe!
So, it is only the determined, selecting love of the Lord that can save anyone at all.
Does this doctrine make someone a calculating, cold-hearted theologian? Absolutely not! Just look at the opening three verses, and the expression of love from the apostle writing this!! It makes us so grateful to have been saved so completely by grace that we willingly acknowledge that we don’t deserve it and have broken hearts for all who are perishing!
Whom do you know that is currently rejecting Christ? How have you been able to see that your heart is breaking for them? How does the fact that God alone can do anything about it present itself in your prayer life?Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or HB402 “I Sought the Lord, and Afterward I Knew”