Monday, November 20, 2023

2023.11.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 9:14–18

Read Romans 9:14–18

Questions from the Scripture text: With what question does Romans 9:14 begin? What have some apparently said/asked? How does the apostle answer? To whom has God spoken (Romans 9:15)? What does He say that He will have? Upon whom? What else does He say that He will have? Upon whom? Of what two types people is the difference not produced (Romans 9:16)? Who produces it? What does He show? What speaks to whom in Romans 9:17? What does God say that He has done? In order to show what? And so that what else will happen, where? Upon whom does He have mercy (Romans 9:18)? Whom does He harden?

Is it unrighteous of God to make the difference between the saved and the unsaved? Romans 9:14–18 prepares us for the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that it is merciful of God to save from among sinners who all deserve to be hardened. 

The opposite of unrighteousness. Notice how the apostle deals with the question (Romans 9:14) of whether there is unrighteousness with God. He does not reason about whether he thinks God is righteous. That would be to make ourselves the judges of God. Anyone who thinks or speaks this way shows themselves to be impious and arrogant and self-condemned. Instead, the apostle takes God at His own Word. What does God say about God? God says that He is merciful and compassionate (Romans 9:15)! 

This is what makes the difference between the elect and the reprobate: the mercy of God. If there had been any injustice, it would have been on account of not destroying the elect in their sin. But, the apostle has already told us the way by which the Lord could show mercy and be just at the same time (cf. Romans 3:24–26).

God makes a merciful difference. So, Romans 9:16 goes on to restate the point that neither Rebecca and Isaac’s will, nor Jacob and Esau’s running, was what made the difference. What made the difference? God Himself did! When Romans 9:11 said this, it referred to Him as “Him who calls.” Now, Romans 9:16 refers to the difference-making God as “God Who shows mercy.” 

He is a just God, but apart from mercy, that justice would give to all men equally. Apart from mercy, God’s justice would rightly give all men wrath, would give all men Hell. It is His mercy that has intervened.

God rightly does harden. Though the great difference-maker is mercy and compassion, it is not wrong for God to show His power and declare His Name by the judgment of His enemies. This He declared to Pharaoh, which He put in writing for our sakes (Romans 9:17). Pharaoh is a sinner, and it is absolutely right for God to be glorified upon him. 

The will of God is exercised in both cases in Romans 9:18: both in the showing of mercy and the hardening. But notice that the latter is “hardening.” God does not make them wicked. Rather, He hardens them in wickedness. They are already wicked. God justly hardened, solidified, Pharaoh in being what he already was.

Is there unrighteousness with God? No! NO! NO!! There is mercy with God! Mercy to sinners! Mercy to sinners that He would have been right to harden in their sin. Mercy unto whomever He wills. Free mercy, motivated by His mere good pleasure. Each of us ought to know, before God, that He would have been right to harden me, but instead He has shown me mercy, simply because He wanted to!

What do you deserve? What is the only way that this wouldn’t happen? What does God show, when He makes the difference between the unsaved and the saved?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank you for making the difference for us. Truly, You are just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ. Grant unto us to be Yours in Him, and conformed to Him, by Your Spirit. We confess that we deserve to be hardened, but we bless Your Name for Your free mercy toward us in Jesus Christ, through Whom we pray, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP130 “LORD, From the Depths to You I Cried” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

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