Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Walking through Romans: Romans 9:1-13 part 13

Romans 9
1I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised![a] Amen.

6It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."[b] 8In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. 9For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."[c]

10Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."[e]


This will be interesting as I do not see that I can cover this chapter all in one swoop. In fact this chapter is so widely misunderstood that it may take the reader a bit to go over this so see my perspective. I will only be building on the theme that was coming out of Chapter 8 in how we are comforted by the Love of God and that we are to live life by the Spirit. It is God Who justifies and who can condemn you then?

(Romans 9: 1-6)That not all that is called Israel is “Israel”, gave Paul great sorrow as he saw the people of his own bloodline not seeing that it was “by the Spirit” we live and that it is God who justifies. In this he models Jesus in the willingness to lay down his own life so that his brothers would be spared. For it was through this chosen people that God gave us the Messiah Himself.

(Verses 7- 9) It would seem that Paul knew that some would say then that God failed. That since the natural born Jew is not able to fulfill all that was required even with all that God had given to and through them. Yet, again it is not of the natural birth one is saved… but of the Promise. God said, "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son." This coincides with the prophecy that YWYH God will return to Israel. It is that this promise of God returning and a Son is born…

(Verses 9 – 13) Paul makes the point more clear that it is that one is born of God by the Promise and not of the flesh by pointing out that Esau and Jacob had the same father yet, God loved Jacob and hated Esau.

I have taught a couple of places on this so I will not go into it now but please check out this post.
Now, I have heard some go one and on that this passage is about “Nations” and then the other rebuttal that it is “individuals” and I say it is both.

Of course Jacob and Esau are individuals.
Yet, both went on to be Fathers of Nations.

As I pointed out in my post on “Esau I hated…” it is clear that the direct quote comes from the passage in Malachi 1:2-3 and it is definitely about nations, yet also in the story of Esau and Jacob, they are individuals and we see that God may choose a nation but he also chooses by Grace, individuals.

I will point out that God promised Sarah that “at the appointed time” she would have a son, so also Jesus came “at the appointed time” (Titus 1:3) and God revealed His Light through Jesus Christ. Now, Interesting also is that the “younger will serve the older” I see that this as possibly the two covenants in that the Old Covenant of the Law is now over ruled by the New Convent and the Law of Love. Yet, there is a great significance in that Esau will also serve Jacob.

The Moabites are the descendants of Esau and few realize the ">Herod was also a descendant of the Edomites. In that Herod also represented Rome. So on tow levels Herod was the enemy of the Jew. This was part of the reason the Herod desired to be called King of the Jews as it would be the final victory for him as a descendant of Isaac. Yet, the issue is that the “blessings” were passed on to Jacob and not Esau.

Also in the story of Esau and Jacob, Jacob sought after the blessings and birthright and Esau cared nothing for his birthright trading it for food. This is important to realize as I will point out later.

Paul speaks that is by Grace so that “11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls” .

It was decided that Jacob and his descendants would carry the faith of Abraham. Though neither were yet born it was God’s decision to choose Jacob, so that His purpose of election might stand.

Many seem to think election is about individuals, yet if one looks closely at the passages in Ephesians concerning election, in chapter one versus 4-5 we read:

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…”

Now, as I have talked to Calvinists I have heard them tell me over and over that this means “they” existed “in Christ” before the creation of the world… I do not see it that way. I see that God purposed “in Christ” that His plan of salvation would be done through Jesus. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only Immortal (1 Timothy 6: 13-16) yet, it seems that Calvin taught that man existed before creation. Some try to say Paul is saying that, yet I see that Paul is simply stating that by His Grace that “those”, meaning a people whom God chooses, not necessarily individuals, will come to Jesus and be placed “in Christ” and be saved. To say somehow the “us” (which is plural btw) is about individuals… misses that though God will choose the individual, man was yet to exist and to exist in any form is more in line with Gnosticism and Mormonism.

To say that somehow man pre-existed is negates scripture:

John 6:46
“No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.”

1 Timothy 6: 13-16

“In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time--God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.”

Roman 2:7

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Note that Paul only refers to the future and not that they had any pre-existence.)

I Corinthians 15: 51-54

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

(Notice that it is after the mortal is exchanged for the immortal that what is written will come true.)

To say that man somehow “pre-exists” is like I stated more in line with Mormonism and the Gnostic teachings of the Plermora and that man is somehow part of the aeons (eternal beings). Man is not an eternal being he is a created being. To state that man existed “in Christ” is to go against the clear teaching that man is not an eternal being and is mortal.

The Mormons teach that man is eternal. Here is their view.

"We believe in a God who is Himself progressive, whose majesty is intelligence; whose perfection consists in eternal advancement -- a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow, whose glory it is their heritage to share. In spite of the opposition of the sects, in the face of direct charges of blasphemy, the Church proclaims the eternal truth: 'As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.'" (LDS Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, Ch.24, p.430 - p.431, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

“‘It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God,' the inspired word continues, 'and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did.' The Father is a glorified, perfected, resurrected, exalted man who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same." (LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.64, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

God is not a uniquely eternal being. All spirit is self-existent matter and is eternal (without beginning or end) . Such "matter (called intelligences) sometimes becomes organized into a spirit being through birth to celestial parents. Then that spirit is born through human parents on earth. Like all people, God took this course and eventually reached Godhood. God would stop being God if intelligences stopped supporting him as God. (D&C 93:29, 33; Abraham 3:18-23; Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed. p. 751)

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be" (D&C 93:29)

Here is one Calvinists take:

Though I will point out that more well read Calvinists reject the “pre-existence of man", many do hold to this doctrine as biblical.

To quote one I debated recently with where I pointed out that man would have to pre-exist in order to be "in Christ" as many teach or explain this passage.

you wrote out Ephesians 1:4-5 and you can’t see election in it?
Then you say that the focus of that passage is not “us” but “in Him”.
So what is Paul saying about being in Him?

What or who is in Him? It is “us”. The focus is “us” in what Paul is saying and that we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world What you say Calvinists believe about being in Christ before He has even lived, been crucified and buried and resuurrected is true.
Yes, even before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! You say, “What a Calvinist does without realizing it is making mortal humans who have not even been created, be known before they are even created.
”No, the Calvinists are not doing this without realizing it. They are believing this with all they got!
Must be that tricky little passage of Ephesians 1:4-5. Yep, that’s the cause of this “terrible” belief!”

Now some Calvinists do reject this and they should… but it seems they give no answer as to how we existed in Jesus without actually existing… Also, I might point out that I do see “election” taught in the Ephesians passage yet not in the way that this person was stating. Also, she needs to read a bit more of Calvin to see that even Calvin rejected her view.

"By saying that they were "elect before the creation of the world" [Ephesians 1:4], he takes away all regard for worth. For what basis for distinction is there among those who did not yet exist, and who were subsequently to be equals in Adam? Now if they are elect in Christ, it follows that not only is each man elected without respect to his own person but also certain ones are separated from others, since we see that not all are members of Christ." (John Calvin Institutes III:22:2)

Yet many do believe this teaching and it is simply a heretical view.

Now, from what I see Calvin actually teaching I think is closer to what I believe, and many Calvinists twist at what I state and do not realize it pretty much what Calvin stated himself.

I see that the “election” was purposed that those “in Christ” would be saved. The “us” is about those of that “election”. It is not about the pre-existence of man in any way.

Here is the bible’ teaching regarding this:

Man is a finite being, not an eternal one. The first man Adam was created at a specific point in time (Ge 1:26-27; 2:7; 1Co 15:45-49). Man did not exist in the beginning when God was creating the universe, for if he had, God's question to Job would have made no sense (Job 38:4).

Now, I see that God knew Jesus as Jesus was in the Father and that all things were made through Jesus. In that "things" did not exist before creation, God purposed a plan of Salvation "in Jesus Christ" that those who would believe and receive would be saved. The "us" Paul is referring to is those that were then in Christ.

Jesus died and rose at a specific point in time. and that was the "appointed time".

The mystery hidden that is Jesus Christ was not known to man until it was revealed. Now, man was known by God, and that "some" would believe and receive Jesus was also known... as well that some would reject the Call and be lost. Now, this sounds close to Calvinism... yet I see that the point of focus is Jesus... and not the elect. Our focus is to always be Jesus.
We are only to verse 13… and this is already a bit too long. So this will be done in two posts… hopefully. LOL!

Cleck here for more thoughts on predestination.

Be blessed,

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