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LIVING UNDER GOD’S MERCY
August 14, 2016
SCRIPTURE: Romans 9:6-18
KEY VERSE: Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth (Romans 9:18)
INTRODUCTION: The first part of Romans 9:6 carries our minds back to what Paul said in Romans 9:1-5. There, we are reminded that the Jews had been the recipients of many divine gifts. Verses 4 and 5 contain quite an impressive list of blessings which they had been given.
However, just the fact that they had been given these great spiritual gifts and manifestations, did not guarantee them that they would be saved. That having been said, let us remember that the Word of the Lord will be fulfilled, even to its smallest detail (see Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 15:18). That which God has predestined and foreordained will come to pass. Whether it is in the arena of prophecy or in the arena of salvation!
Paul wants his Jewish readers to understand that salvation is a divine experience. That is, it always begins and ends with God. He is origination, continuation and culmination of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2).
It is all God all the way! In these verses, Paul seeks to explain the matter of God's divine sovereignty in this matter of salvation. He wants us to know, beyond all doubt, that God is in absolute control of the salvation of men's souls. Today let's investigate these verses together.
I. ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND THE CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE. (Romans 9:6-9)
INSIGHT: In Romans 9:6-18 Paul teaches us that the matter of who is chosen by God is a decision that begins and ends with God Himself! God Almighty is Sovereign!
· (Romans 9:6-9) 6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
A. Not Everyone Is Saved.
Paul's point here is that just being part of the nation of Israel does not mean that one is saved. In other words, it's not about family. Just because a person was a descendant of Abraham did not make that person right with God.
B. The Saved And Lost.
Consider the difference between Ishmael and Isaac. Both (Ishmael and Isaac) were sons of Abraham, but only one was chosen by God to carry forth His divine purposes. For all intents and purposes family relationship is worthless in this matter of salvation.
INSIGHT: This needs to be remembered by people in our day as well. Just because you descended from a strong Christian heritage does not guarantee you a home in Heaven when you die. You must be born again, by faith, for “yourself” or you will not be saved. You simply cannot ride into Heaven on another's coattail!
II. THE EXAMPLE OF JACOB AND ESAU. (Romans 9:10-15)
· (Romans 9:10-11a) 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, …
This verse tells us that God made His choice between Ishmael and Isaac before either boy had been born! God, in His divine wisdom, decided which son would be blessed and which son would not be. Here we learn the truth that it is not about works. In other words, fruit means nothing! All of the works that men can do will never buy them a place in Heaven. Salvation comes about not by works, but by the mercy of God.
INSIGHT: We might as well be reminded that our good works and self-righteousness will never produce salvation for our souls. This is made abundantly clear when you consider that the best man can produce is wretched and putrid in the site of Almighty God (see Isaiah 64:6). Again, Paul nails this down for us in Ephesians 2:1-9. There we are told how the lost man is and how he is saved. It is purely a work of grace. God does it all, man does nothing!)
· (Romans 9:11b-15) 11b …that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
INSIGHT: When you truly grasp all the implications of what Paul is saying you begin to realize that we have stepped off into deep waters. In fact, this matter of salvation being based in nothing but the selection of God bothers many people. Paul anticipated a strong reaction from his readers, so he heads them off at the pass in Romans 9:14.
They might ask the question, “Isn't God unfair to choose some and reject others before they are born?” This is the reaction of people like ourselves who have been raised with the notion that “all men are created equal” However, that is man's word, not God's! Paul's answer is a strong one: “God forbid!” “May it never be!” God is always just and fair in His dealings with fallen man.
1. The salvation decision is based on the will of God the Father.
These verses tell us the truth that salvation is not based in our family or in our fruits, but it is based solely in the will of the Father! While family and fruits are worth nothing in the arena of getting you saved, the purpose of the Father means everything!
INSIGHT: Here, reference is made to God's choice in the sons of Isaac. Esau, the firstborn was rejected by God, while Jacob the second born was preferred by God. This choice was made by God the Father before these boys were born into the world. Why was this distinction made between these boys who were yet unborn? The answer to that question lies solely with God Himself!
2. The salvation decision made by God the Father is correct.
As the lives of Ishmael, Esau and their descendants were lived out on the pages of the Bible and of history God's wisdom in His choice was proven correct. Both of these men (Ishmael and Esau) along with their descendants walked in open hatred of God, His people, and His Law. God's purpose was proven right by their performance.
INSIGHT: Many are bothered by the words of Malachi 1:1-3, quoted in Romans 9:13 by Paul. What does it mean that God “hated” Esau? When we read the account of Jacob and Esau in Genesis, there is no indication of divine hatred. I believe that (1) God's hatred is upon the idolatrous descendants of Esau who hated and opposed the people of Israel. (2) While His love is focused on the descendants of Jacob, who followed the Lord and worshiped Him.
What does this mean for us? Simply this: Just as God's plan and purpose was the reason Isaac and Jacob were chosen, while Ishmael and Esau were rejected, there is no other explanation for our salvation.
We are saved because God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1:4-12; Romans 8:28-30).
III. THE EXAMPLE OF PHARAOH. (Romans 9:16-18)
A. The God Of Israel Offers Mercy To Everyone.
· (Romans 9:16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
God’s grace and mercy does not come by our works. God’s mercy is NOT extended as recognition of human will, nor is it a reward of human work. Man thinks that his decisions and his efforts cause God to look with favor upon him. Human-willing and human-working are not motivating causes of God’s actions.
INSIGHT: Author James M. Stifler states it concisely when he says, “Willing and running may indicate the possession of grace, but they are not the originating cause” (The Epistle to the Romans, p. 172). God extends mercy, and He does it because he is the LORD. Who are we to question God? We bow before Him today.
B. The God Of Israel Hardened The Heart Of Pharaoh.
· (Romans 9:17-18) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
God says that He used Pharaoh. “But,” you may say, “Pharaoh was not elected.” No, he was not. But just think of the opportunities God gave Pharaoh.
God said, “Let My people go!” But Pharaoh said, “I am Pharaoh. I make the decisions around here. I reject the request to let the people of Israel go.” God said, “You may think you won’t, but you are going to let them go.” God is sovereign; the Lord’s will prevails!
INSIGHT: When the Scriptures say that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, it means that God forced Pharaoh to make the decision that was in his heart. God forced him to do the thing he wanted to do.
There never will be a person in hell who did not choose to be there. You and I are the ones who make our own decisions. We all have a free will!
· For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. -- James 2:10
In the United States justice system, it’s important that jurors have an open mind. They can’t have their minds made up before they get into the courtroom. They must always remember that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Even for those who never expect to find themselves on the wrong side of the law, it’s a comfort to know that guilt is not assumed, but has to be proven.
Yet, this system of justice is not like the one God has devised for mankind. We are declared guilty before we even enter His courtroom! And though that may not sound fair, it is. God’s perfect holiness demands it.
In a courtroom, when a person is found guilty, he or she faces punishment. But the wonderful thing about God’s courtroom is that when we admit our guilt, we are offered mercy! We are all guilty and face an eternal life-sentence of death. Yet the penalty for sin is meted out only to those who refuse to acknowledge their sin, and who reject God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Guilty -- that’s our status. But we can be granted forgiveness and be pardoned from our sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. That’s God’s mercy system! -- Dave Branon, Our Daily Bread, August 22, 1995
God's pardon is so full and free,
For Jesus died on Calvary;
It's granted to each sinful soul
Who truly longs to be made whole. -- Dennis J. De Haan
CONCLUSION: The people of Israel missed God’s plan because they failed to realize that it is only to be obtained by faith. That is, FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!
If you want to be saved follow the “Roman Road.”
(1) Know that you are a sinner.
(Romans 3:10) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.
(Romans 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
(Romans 5:12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
(2) Know that God punishes sin.
(Romans 6:23a) For the wages of sin is death.
(3) Know that Jesus died for sinners.
(Romans 6:23b) But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Romans 5:8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
(4) Know that if you call upon the name of the Lord you will be saved.
(Romans 10:13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Romans 10:9-11) 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
If you mean business with God, He will mean business with you. You WILL be saved!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “God's justice condemns us -- but His mercy redeems us.”
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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