Monday, October 08, 2007

Walking through Romans: Romans 9:13 - 33 part 12

Walking through Romans: Romans 9:13 - 33 part 12

Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! 9:15 For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 9:16 So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 9:17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 9:18 So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden.
9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?” 9:20 But who indeed are you – a mere human being – to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 9:21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use? 9:22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction? 9:23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory – 9:24 even us, whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 9:25 As he also says in Hosea:
“I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved, ‘My beloved.’”
9:26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
9:27 And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved, 9:28 for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth completely and quickly.” 9:29 Just as Isaiah predicted,
“If the Lord of armies had not left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom,
and we would have resembled Gomorrah.”

9:30 What shall we say then? – that the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness obtained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith, 9:31 but Israel even though pursuing a law of righteousness did not attain it. 9:32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 9:33 just as it is written,
“Look, I am laying in Zion a stone that will cause people to stumble
and a rock that will make them fall,
yet the one who believes in him will not be put to shame.”


Is God unjust by His Mercy and Compassion and who He gives grace to? Certainly on the surface it would see that it is unfair. Why would some, who have strived to show they are followers of God, not be chosen in the end? Why would some be chosen as if by random and without any rhyme or reason? We are left with the feeling that we have a capricious God who really does not care for righteousness nor dose He care for man’s worship. He will just do as He pleases, and if He be a man, would be selfish in His doing so if not considered mad.

Yet, this is not the case as if God chose us on our own merit, or if somehow we gained favor from Him in something we did, we would still need to address that them men are righteous on their own without God. For you see God is Right and is The Just. If man could satisfy God’s required perfect holiness, then they would be gods themselves and in no need of God.

Now, Paul has already stated that all have sinned, (Roman 3:23) and that no one is righteous, (Romans 3:10) and so has set the foundation of this revelation in that we are dead in our sins… and that there was only One who was Just, and the Justifier… God through Jesus Christ.

Now many miss that Mercy is how God shows His power as God speaks of this as He spoke to Moses and Paul brings it up now. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” We also find God chooses to show His power as He can soften the heart of some and harden the heart of others. Yet, it seems that as we look back in Romans 1 we see that this hardening is that man had the knowledge of God but forsook it.

“For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21)

Man still chooses the direction of his heart but it is God who either draws man to himself or hardens man’s heart and they are turned over to the futility of their thoughts and vile worship of created things.

It is not that God response to man’s heart in its own turning but that if one turns away they are hardened… and all men have turned away. Yet, by grace God has mercy and softens some men’s heart… and in that moment grace breaks down the barrier and the heart of man turns once again to God.
Man can ask why God made him this way… yet still many peoples theology teaches that God made some people bad and some to be saved by Grace. The truth is in Genesis where man as part of creation was declared “Good” (Genesis 1: 31)

So man originally made good turned away as in that his heart was hardened. God did not make any man “evil” or any man to be tossed into the fire. He did not create some to just partake in wrath. Man was made and was declared good, then sinned and then was condemned to receive the wages of sin… which is death.

In that we are condemned to death.

Now from a purely human perspective God seems to have made some to be vessels of wrath and some to be vessels of destruction. And because of “sin” all men are vessels of destruction. God did choose the Jews as if by random to display His mercy and grace. They did nothing to be chosen though that seemed to be lost to some as they took God’s favor as earned because they kept God’s law. Now, God did bless them for keeping the Law, yet it was not for their salvation that the Law was given as the Law gave no provisions for salvation or forgiveness of sins. Sacrifice was needed for forgiveness of sins, yet all men still went to the grave… for all men still died even if forgiven by the blood of bulls and goats. Now, it was for forgiveness that the blood of bulls and goats was demanded, yet, that blood never nor could take away the sins of a person… only cover, yet, we find Jesus’ Blood takes away the sins of a person.

Hebrews 9: 11-14
“When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Jesus did more than atone for our sins He took them away as the prophet John the Baptist stated in John "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).

Hebrews 10: 2-12 also shows more that the sins are taken away not just covered.

“If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
Then I said, `Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll-- I have come to do your will, O God.'"
First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.”

God’s provision for sin is complete and for all. For by this grace that is Jesus who was sent to take away sin, was born also as a man, a vessel of wrath, learned obedience even unto death and so overcame death. We must now realize that we also must be born of heaven to live. It is in this new birth as we come to believe and receive Jesus, become the children of God… the same children of the Faith of Abraham. It is in this that Jesus is our Eternal Father, yet also being the first fruit of the New Creation, is our brother.

Now, God is willing to display His wrath on man, yet even more He wants to show His compassion. God chooses to endure those so deserving of wrath with patience… remember it is all of us that are deserving of His wrath…

In this patience, we find that there are those who are vessels of mercy. These vessels of mercy have not earned their title. In fact many thought that they were these vessels and called the “others” who they deemed not chosen as the vessels of wrath as dogs or even less than human. Many of the Jews believed that they were in God’s favor simply because of their birthright of being dependences of Abraham, yet Paul, sadly states that “not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel” (Romans 9:6) Yet, now we find the punch line… as some seem to twist this chapter to mean that God created some for wrath and some for destruction and in that negate the truth of creation. Men are created to be the image of the Living God. Man was created “good” and fell from this “goodness” and forsook it for a lie. To state that some were created for the purpose of destruction cuts across man being created to be the Image Bearer. Now, this punch line is that the very ones that were deemed dogs and vessels or wrath, are now as the Prophet Hosea states: “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved,’ My beloved. (Romans 9:25)

Now, one might ask if then the Children of Israel are all lost if God has now turned to such favor on the Gentiles… Yet, Paul states there is a remnant.

Now, here I see that to state that God made some to be tossed into the fire is a lie. God desired none should perish… (2 Peter 3: 9). Yet sadly there are some that will refuse to exchange the lie for truth.

God is merciful. He is Just. Those that were given the Law missed the purpose of the Law which was to reveal their sin and make them cry out to God for salvation. Instead they took the Law as a way to salvation. They sought to gain God’s favor by works and not by faith. They stumbled over the “Stumbling Stone” who we find out is Jesus. This Rock was given so that we would ALL fall and in that put our faith in this Rock and not perish or be put to shame.

The punch line is that by Jesus God flipped the very thought that some are created for destruction and some for wrath on it’s head. God planned before creation that in Christ Jesus all would have a way of salvation. Yet, again, sadly though all will hear the Calling, not all will be chosen as they will not believe on Christ or receive the Life of Christ that gives all men salvation. Some will be lost and instead of be lifted up, will stumble but all will have to face the “Rock” that is Jesus Christ.

Be Blessed,

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