Mercy and the Will of God
Romans 9 is a particularly uncomfortable chapter in the Bible, for unbelievers and those who have configured God by their own opinions. In Romans chapters 9–11, the apostle Paul is answering the question, “Well, what about the Jews?”
In answering the question about salvation for the Jews, Paul clearly argues that the majority of his fellow Jews are not saved (Rom 9:1–5). Up front, he makes the essential claim that the Word of God has not failed to accomplish its purpose in bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 9:6).
Paul and the apostle John both emphasized that it is not blood line, nor the flesh, nor works, and not even the will of man that secures Christ, by faith, unto salvation (Jn 1:12–13; Rom 9:8). Faith is the key, and it is crucial for believers to know that no man self-generates his faith in Christ (Rom 12:3; Gal 3:22; Phil 1:29; Heb 12:2).
In Christ, one has faith. With Christ in the heart, one has faith. To be re-positioned into Christ, one must be transferred into His kingdom (Col 1:13), and His kingdom is in the Spirit (Rom 14:17). Therefore, to receive the Spirit of Christ is to receive Christ Jesus (Jn 1:12). So the next important question is, “Who chooses for one to receive Christ?”
It is the will of God (Jn 1:13; Rom 9:16), and it is God’s choice (Rom 9:11; 11:5). It is through the grace of God that He calls His elect, redeemed people to come to eternal life in Christ (Gal 1:6, 15; 2 Tim 1:9; 1 Pet 5:10). Upon hearing the voice of their Good Shepherd, those who belong to Christ follow Him (Jn 10:4, 14, 16, 27).
Salvation, therefore, depends entirely on God, who has mercy (Rom 9:16). Not giving His people what they deserve, God has graciously made one way, for His salvation to be applied to His chosen people (1 Pet 2:9), the Israel of God (Is 49:6; Gal 6:16), His church in all generations (Mt 16:18; Eph 5:25).
Is it wrong for God to do with His own what He wills? The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19), and in love, He predestined them to adoption as sons (Rom 8:15, 23), from before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4–5). He prepared His people to be vessels of mercy (Rom 9:23), demonstrated by His giving them His Spirit (Jn 14:17, 26), as a gift (Rom 5:5), a token/pledge of His eternal love for His own (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:4).
God does have a purpose for those who were not chosen for salvation. These are the wicked, unbelievers who God made as vessels of wrath, prepared for destruction (Rom 9:22). These are not recipients of God’s mercy (Rom 9:13, 16, 18, 22); rather, they receive just punishment for their rebellion against God. They do not receive Christ (Jn 1:12); nor are they partakers of grace (Phil 1:7). They do not belong to Jesus (Jn 10:26), being children of the devil (Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:10). God the Father does not draw them to His Son (Jn 6:44), and they do not come to Him (Jn 6:37) that they may have life (1 Jn 5:12).
There is only one covenant of grace. There is only one Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5). There is only One Savior (Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; Jude 1:25), who offered only one sacrifice (Heb 7:27; 9:12) — His body (Heb 10:10), for the sins of His people (Mt 1:21). Thus, there is only one people of God (Gal 3:28), who God gave the right to be called “children of God” (Jn 1:12; 11:52; 1 Jn 3:1, 10).
God’s one way of salvation is by grace, alone (Eph 2:8–9). Grace is God’s work to do absolutely everything to will and do what is required to fulfill God’s purpose in salvation (Eph 3:11; Phil 2:13), which is to bring glory to Himself (Eph 1:6, 12, 14), in those He has chosen to have mercy. God promises that He will call those who were not My people, “My people,” and her who was not beloved, “Beloved” (Hos 2:23; Rom 9:25; 1 Pet 2:10).
Friend, with this revelation from God’s Word, why do you insist on pitting your mythical “free will” against God’s sovereign free will? Why do you protest God’s sovereign choice to have mercy on whom He wills, by demanding that you must have a choice? Are you offended by God? Do you persist in fighting against Romans 9? If yes, then you must repent of your rebellion against God’s revealed Word (Acts 17:30).
Christian, rejoice in His choosing you to be a member of His remnant people (Rom 9:27), from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Rev 5:9; 7:9). The Gentile inclusion into Christ’s body is the same as the Jewish inclusion — a remnant to be saved (Acts 15). There are many who stumble over the doctrines of grace, presuming they themselves were the catalyst to a salvation that does not belong to them (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1).
The child of God rejoices in God’s eternal redemption, executed by Jesus, in love, and applied in love, to those predestined in love. These know that it is only because God has had mercy on them, according to His eternal purpose and sovereign will. If this is you, give thanks and rejoice!
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 21, 2022