Calvinism and Romans 9 - In Search Of Truth

Calvinism and Romans 9 - In Search Of Truth

Uncondition al Election Calvinism and Romans 9 Strong Foundation in Romans 9 Augustinianism finds a strong foundation in Romans 9. Paul tells us Jacob was chosen long before he did any good work (vv. 913). Moreover, Jacob was chosen to make the Fathers electing purpose stand, not because He knew Jacob would obey Him (v. 11). R. C. Sproul http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/god-and-unbelief/ There are two experiences in my life that make Romans 9 one of the most important chapters in shaping the way I think about everything In the class on salvation we dealt head on with the doctrines of unconditional election and irresistible grace. Romans 9 was the

watershed text and the one that changed my life forever. Romans 9 is like a tiger going about devouring free-willers like me. That was the end of my love affair with human autonomy and the ultimate selfdetermination of my will. My worldview simply could not stand against the scriptures, especially Romans 9. Context, Context, Context! Romans 9 may sound like Calvinism in context of Calvinism Yes, Romans 9 makes points about Gods sovereign rule and choices. However, Romans 9 does not identify choices God made, except at beginning and end of chapter and context of Old Testament references. Assumptions: Who was chosen? Why? For what?

Approach: Limited time Establish contextual bookends bound meaning. Observe contextual inconsistencies with Background: Failed Promises, Accursed Israel Rom. 8:28-39: Power of Gods foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, & preservation. What about the Jews? Did Gods promise fail? I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish

that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the 1adoption, the 2glory, the 3 covenants, the 4giving of the law, the 5 service of God, and the 6promises; 7of Vindication of Gods Promise But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, In Isaac your seed shall be called. That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the

seed. (Romans 9:6-8) Gods Word, promise, and election had not failed! Not all descendants of Israel were to be saved. Not Of Works, But Of Him ? (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, The older shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. (Romans 9:11-13) Can you answer the Calvinists use of these

verses? Paul selected Jacob and Esau to demonstrate that God loved Jacob and therefore chose him unto salvation, while God hated Esau and chose him unto condemnation. God clearly Elected Who? Who has been the object of election in this context, individuals or nations (Romans 9:1-5)? Who was subject of supporting OT proof- texts: for the children it was said to her as it is written. But the children [Jacob and Esau] struggled together within her; and she said, If all is well, why am I like this? So she went to

inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her: Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the Older Shall Serve the Younger? If individual dominion of Jacob over Esau, then why ? Esau threatened to kill Jacob (Genesis 27:41). Jacob fled from Esau (Genesis 27:42-28:5).

Jacob was terrified of Esau upon return (Gn. 32:3-22). Jacob sent all his possessions including wives and children as gifts to Esau (Genesis 33:1-11). Jacob bowed 7 times before Esau (Genesis 33:3). How Did God Love Jacob? I have loved you, says the LORD. Yet you say, In what way have You loved us? Was not Esau Jacobs brother? Says the LORD. Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness. Even though Edom has said, We have been impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places, Thus says the LORD of

hosts: They may build, but I will throw down; They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, And the people against whom the LORD will have indignation forever. (Malachi 1:1-4) Both nations sinned and suffered national Summary, Thus Far Gods election was of nations, not individuals. Preference was realized long after individuals died. Election was for role in Gods scheme of redemption, not salvation (Romans 9:4-5). On the other hand, if Calvinist premise is accepted: All Edomites were condemned to hell!

All Israelites were saved unconditionally! Matthew 26:21-24; Acts 1:25 Judas? Matthew 23:13-26, 33 Pharisees? Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you Not Of Him Who Wills, But Of God ? What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. (Romans 9:14-16) Can you answer the Calvinists use of these verses? Clearly, Paul stakes Gods right to show mercy and

save whomever He wants, and very clearly, salvation has nothing to do with what we want (not of him who wills) or what we do (nor of him who runs). Rather, it is only Gods choice! Vindication of Gods Election Context: Paul anticipates accusation from disgruntled Jew (What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!) 1. Remember, all have sinned (Romans 3:23). None have right to dictate terms of salvation. 2. Only God has right to choose terms of mercy. What terms?

Who May Dwell in Your Holy Hill? He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. (Proverbs 28:13) Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7) ... be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. (I Peter 5:5) Vindication of Gods Election

Context: Paul anticipates accusation from disgruntled Jew (What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!) 1. Remember, all have sinned (Romans 3:23). None have right to dictate terms of salvation. 2. Only God has right to choose terms of mercy. What terms? 3. Not-But indicates relative importance. Not-But: Relative Comparison Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will

give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him. (John 6:27; see also, II The. 3:10) Then Jesus cried out and said, He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. (John 12:44) So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. (Romans 9:14-16) God's will is relatively supreme, cannot be He Hardens, Whom He Wills For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. (Romans 9:17-18)

Can you answer the Calvinists use of these verses? Paul uses Pharaoh as an example of one whom God hardened, just so God could demonstrate His power and sovereignty by punishing him. In addition to the Lords sovereignty, His predestination again is manifested, because God raised up Pharaoh for this purpose. It was God who chose, created, manipulated, hardened, and destroyed. Vindication of Gods Hardening Context: Establishing just, fair, equitable principle by which God uses a condemned, hardened Israel (9:27-29; 11:22-32). Assumption: Topic is original hardening, not judicial, punitive, or providential. Question: Did God first harden Pharaohs

heart, or did God further harden Pharaohs already obstinate heart? Pharaohs Part Continued enslavement and harsh labor Exo. 1:8-14. Continued execution of all male infants Exo. 1:15-22. Ignored cries of the Israelites Exodus 2:23-24. Beat leaders for failure to make quotas Exo. 5:4-19. 5 Times, Pharaoh hardened his own heart: Exodus 5:2; 8:15, 32; 9:34; and I Samuel 6:6. Already worthy of divine execution, but spared. Why? 10 Times, God hardened Pharaohs heart: Ex. 4:21-23; 7:1-6; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8,

17 21 How? When? Gods Part God commanded and warned Pharaoh (Exo. 4:21- 23; 5:1-2). Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: Let My people go, that they may serve Me, for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth. Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth. But

indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go. ... Then the LORD said to Moses, Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my Hardened through Mercy! So Moses said to him, As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORDs. But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet fear the LORD God. And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet

more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the LORD had spoken by Moses. (Exodus 9:29-35) Pharaoh stiffened under 1command, 2warning, and 3leniency! Like an animal, Pharaoh proved himself unteachable, because he only submitted in duress (Ps. 32:9) No Respecter of Persons Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each one according to

his deeds ... (Romans 2:4-6) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9) Summary, Thus Far Point: Vindication of Gods word and promise! God has the right to choose terms of mercy. God has the right to judicially and further harden those already rebellious. God hardens the stubborn through the same chastening He uses upon all: command, warning, punishment, and mercy!

Point: Vindication of Gods mercy and judgment. It Remains Mysterious Though it remains mysterious as to how God ordains all things and yet is not responsible for evil, we must affirm both truths. It does help us to see how God is just when His decree of reprobation is passive, not active. It also strengthens our assurance to know that Gods electing grace is so active and sure that we will love Him forever. Many misunderstand Reformed theology to say that God forces some to go to hell against their will. Though God does indeed pass over some people, He never acts apart from their desires. In our natural state since the fall, all men truly desire hell because they truly desire evil. R. C. Sproul

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/vessels-destruction/ Who Are You to Reply Against God? You will say to me then, Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will? But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, Why have you made me like this? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? (Ro. 9:19-21) Can you answer the Calvinists use of these verses? Often free-will advocates claim that Calvinism is not fair. In these verses, Paul anticipates Questioning God or Calvin?

God not Calvin revealed that God does not charge children with their fathers sin (Ezekiel 18:1-23) God not Calvin revealed that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked & pleads to repent (Ezekiel 18:23-32). God not Calvin revealed that God does not want any to perish but is longsuffering unto repentance (II Pt.3:9). God not Calvin designed the cross to demonstrate His righteousness, justice, and equity (Romans 3:25-26). If we cannot see Gods equity, maybe we need to

remove our blinders and question Calvin instead Power Over the Clay ... So I went down to the potters house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? declares the LORD. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a

disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions. (Jeremiah 18:5-11) Pot was reshaped, because it refused its intended shape! Prepared for Destruction? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, (Romans 9:21-23) Can you answer the Calvinists use of these verses? Does not Romans 9:21-23 flatly say that God created

some people for the sole purpose of destruction, while others were created simply so He could demonstrate His mercy and bring them to His glory? Why Longsuffering? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, (Romans 9:21-23) Who prepared vessels of wrath for destruction? God! Why is God longsuffering with ultimately Himself?

Did He fail to foresee or plan for these exasperating souls? Become a Vessel of Honor? But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (II Timothy 2:20-21) Same Greek root words as Romans 9:22-23. This verses focuses on the elects preparation. Romans 9:23 focuses on Gods advanced

preparation What did God do in advance? Gods Advanced Preparation ... even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As He says also in Hosea: I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, You are not My people, There they shall be called sons of the living God. Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth. And as Isaiah said before: Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah. (Romans 9:2429) Israel enjoyed a grand part in Gods prepared scheme of

redemption. Righteousness By Faith What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. (Romans 9:30-33) Jews chose salvation through themselves & Romans 9 Summary

Key: Examine OT quoted proof-texts in their context! 1-5: Rejection of physical, national Israel. 6-13: Vindication of Gods promise, word, and election. Election by promise, not ancestry. Examining roles of nations, not salvation of individuals. 14-23: Vindication of Gods justice. Right to determine basis of mercy. Right to use and harden those who hardened

themselves. 24-29: Explanation of Jews continued existence. Romans 9 Conclusion Dont let Calvinists inject their definitions or assumptions into the context without justification! Context of chapter and quotations shows election initially refers to role of nations, not the salvation of individuals. God may judicially harden, but only after man rejects Gods message, discipline, and mercy. Gods original plans (i.e., judgment) can be changed based on a person or a nations choices (Jer. 18:5-11). One can prepare himself to be a vessel of honor, if he cleanses himself (I Timothy

2:20-21). God can and has chosen terms of salvation obedient faith, not ancestry or self-justifying law-

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