God the Architect (Romans 9:14-29)
Do you realize that we started our journey in Romans 118 days ago. Hard to believe it has been that long already. So, what have we learned so far in the first 9 chapters of Romans?
- Follow the Truth and be on Alert
- That we have Eternal Security
- The Reason for Jesus
- The Promises of God
- Justification Through Faith
- We are a New Creation in Christ
- That we are Free and Not of this World
- That we are given strength against the old sin nature
- That He is changing us from the Inside Out – Progressive Transformation
- That we have been called by God
- That He Foreknew, Predestined, Called, Justified and Glorified us
- That God is Sovereign.
So, here we are, week 3 of our discussion on election and predestination. The point of all of this is to point to the Sovereignty of God and to affirm our faith that our God is bigger than time itself.
“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” Hebrews 3:4
Albert Einstein’s wife was asked the question, “Do you understand the theory of relativity?” She responded immediately, “No, but I know Albert, and he can be trusted.” This brilliant response by Meliva Einstein provides a tremendous principle for accurate biblical interpretation. There are some portions of Scripture that are so deep that we can’t understand them fully in this life. As finite beings we just can’t understand the infinite. However, we know God, and He can be trusted.
In Rom 9:14-29 we encounter what may be the most difficult section in the entire Bible for some to understand. This passage on predestination has been notoriously labeled a “pastor’s graveyard.” Paul’s words are not terribly difficult at face value, but they seem to contradict other passages that emphasize human responsibility. However, when we study texts that deal with God’s election, we need to accept them as they stand and not try to figure out details that God has not chosen to reveal. Deut 29:29a states, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God.” In Isa 55:8-9 the Lord declares, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Perhaps you’re reading this sermon and you’re thinking, “John, can’t you give me something more relevant? What about my marriage, family, work, school, and financial concerns? I need something that will touch my felt needs.” I can appreciate your sentiments; however, I believe that if your understanding of God increases and you grow closer to Him, that many of your personal concerns will fall into proper perspective. This week I read an article entitled, “What Makes a Preacher ‘Good’?” The first item that this pastor proposed is that good preachers “should give people a bigger picture of God.” The author quoted 2 Cor 4:5: “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord.” I agree with this perspective. My top goal as a pastor is to give you a bigger view of God. As important as your felt needs may be, it is your knowledge of God that is most important – for everything else will fall into proper perspective.
What was one thing you were afraid of as a kid? Let me set up the scene. It is dark, you are alone at night in a quiet old house. The wind is blowing outside and you see the shape of something on the wall or on the floor or next to your bed. What is it? A shadow. If we are honest, shadows were very scary. But as you get older, shadows become less frightening, why? Because, our mind is no longer tossed about by the fear of the shadow because we are confident in our understanding of what shadows are. The same is true in life – the MORE we focus on the source of light, the LESS vulnerable we will be to the darkness.
In Rom 9:14-29 Paul says: Let God be God. He then provides three inescapable truths that relate to God’s choice. These truths should lead us to humble our hearts and prostrate our souls before our great God. Now, let’s take a deep breath, buckle our seatbelts, and humbly pursue an immense view of God.
1. God’s Choice Is A Matter Of His Character (9:14-18)
God’s saving choice reflects His mercy, not injustice. In 9:14 Paul writes, “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there?” The apostle raises consecutive, rhetorical questions because he assumes, in light of what he has said in 9:6-13 regarding God’s choosing, that there will arise a logical question. The question is, “Isn’t God unfair to choose some (e.g., Isaac and Jacob) and reject others (e.g., Ishmael and Esau)?” Paul answers with a firm, “May it never be!” The fact that God’s justice in election is questioned here points to the truth that election originates and is based only in God.
God knows ahead of time, but also choses ahead of time, which many believe is unfair – hence why Paul says “May it never be!”
Have you ever noticed that children come out of the womb with their own personalities? They are all so different. How is this possible? How can twins be made of the same DNA yet be totally different in their soul? They have personalities that make various adjustments throughout their life but for the most part, they are very true to the core of the individual throughout their lifetime. Could this be the individual that God knows before they breathe? I assure you it is.
Paul now spends four verses building a case for God’s sovereign choice. He cites two proofs (“for,” 9:15, 17), from which he then derives two inferences (“so then,” 9:16, 18). In 9:15 Paul quotes Exod 33:19: “For He says to Moses, ‘I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.’” It is important to understand the context of this quote. In Exod 32 the children of Israel rebelled against God and made a golden calf in violation of the second commandment. The people were guilty and they all deserved to be judged and destroyed (32:10). Yet, God in His mercy only slew 3000 (32:28). In 33:12-23 Moses demanded various proofs and evidences of God’s presence. He even asked to see God face to face. God declined to grant that impossible privilege, but He did use the occasion as an opportunity to teach Moses about His sovereignty.
Bottom line – we have all fallen short of the glory of God so He owes no one anything. But, He chooses to give a bridge to Himself through Himself (His Son). That is mercy but our attitude of “I am a good person” gets in the way of understanding how filthy we really are. It is when we fall on our faces that we find ourselves in the proper posture to truly stand. God must humble us in contrast to Himself before He can raise us up.
R.C. Sproul writes, “Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.”
When I view these sights, I am drawn right to Scriptures where we are told, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth” (Psa 33:6). In Isaiah 48:13 God tells us, “My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.” An earlier passage in Isaiah declares,
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. … Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom (Isaiah 40:25–26, 28).
In the New Testament, Paul attests to Jesus’ role in creation when he writes, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him” (Col 1:15–16). I also encourage you to read Psalm 8:1–4 and Isaiah 40:12. I trust you see where I am going with all of this?
So, instead of attempting to defend God’s honor and explain why He is really just, Paul states that God pours out His mercy on some. Of course, the typical objection is: “But why doesn’t God pour out His mercy on all?” This objection misses the whole point. The real question is this: “Why does God pour out His mercy on anybody?” No one deserves His mercy. Instead, every person deserves to pay the penalty for his or her sin in hell. If God chose to show no mercy at all and pour out His judgment on every single person He would be absolutely just because this is exactly what we deserve. The amazing thing is that God shows mercy toward anyone! It is the theme of mercy that is the central point of this entire passage. Surprisingly, this is the first occurrence of the term “mercy” in Romans. God’s grace has been mentioned throughout the letter; but, not until 9:15 is mercy named. This timely inclusion reveals that until mercy is understood, grace cannot be fully appreciated. For, mercy is God withholding what we deserve, and grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve. May we cry out: “Lord, have mercy! Help me to understand just how merciful you have been to me.”
To demonstrate further God’s mercy, Paul writes in 9:16: “So then it [God’s mercy] does not depend on the man [any person] who wills [desires] or the man who runs [acts],but on God who has mercy.” This is a very important verse because it demonstrates that salvation is strictly the result of God’s mercy. Even faith is not the ultimate cause of salvation. God’s mercy is behind our faith. Although we are commanded to believe, salvation is nonetheless God’s work and His alone. Think this through: If salvation finds its origin in the will of the creature, rather than in the will of the Creator, then I can never be fully assured of my salvation, for I may someday lose my faith in God, or I may decide to reject my faith altogether. If the salvation of others is not in the control of God, then I have little reason to pray for the salvation of the lost. But if salvation finds its origin in the will of God, then I know that I am forever secure as a Christian, for even though I may change, God is unchanging. Since it was He who purposed my salvation and He cannot change, then my salvation is as certain as the One who is its source. If God determines salvation, then I may come to Him in prayer with the confidence that He is both able to save and that He takes pleasure in saving as well as in answering my prayers.
For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you. 2 Thes. 3:3
In 9:17 Paul provides another proof as to why God is not unjust: “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.’”
Here Paul quotes from Exod 9:16. He cites the Egyptian Pharaoh who refused to release the people of Israel until God had done several miracles. The point here is that, even though the Egyptian Pharaoh defied God and hated the people of Israel, God had a purpose in this episode. God “raised” Pharaoh up for two purposes: (1) “to demonstrate” His power in and through Pharaoh (cf. 9:22), and (2) that the name of God might be “proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” Simply put, God wants His glory manifested in all the earth! As much as He may love you, He is even more concerned with His glory and His supremacy. Until we understand this truth we will never fully grasp the Bible.
Think about what happened, for 215 years, God was allowed Egypt to prosper with His people in the land, then used Joseph to create a dictatorship, stripping the land of democracy as a republic in 7 years, and setting up a Pharaoh who would be punished and with him, the sins of the people, all so God could take all that He had stored up in Egypt to give to His people. Prov 13:22b ... the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
The slaves who ate the crumbs from the masters table became the masters in 7 years. God had a plan all along. You see, He told Abram he would do this 215 years before it occurred (Genesis 15:13-16). This is the total of 430 years as described by Paul in Galatians 3:16-17.
Paul’s point is that even in his hatred and rebellion, Pharaoh serves as a witness to God’s greatness and glory. When human beings react against God, they think they’re acting on their own, and they think they can short circuit His plans, but actually God is using their very resistance to accomplish His purposes. God used Pharaoh’s resistance to display His power and make His character known. Oh how frustrating that must be for Satan. Because of Satan’s rage against Jesus to kill him on the cross, he actually fulfilled the very plan of God. God has always been a lifetime ahead of Satan – before Satan was made God saw his demise so how can one outsmart the maker of time? The inference Paul draws is that since God is sovereign over even evil people; He is clearly sovereign over salvation. In short, God has chosen to save in this way to glorify none other than Himself. Let God be God.
This leads Paul to state in 9:18, “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” Again, this verse emphasizes that God’s choice is a matter of His mercy. Most people, however, express angst over the fact that God “hardens whom He desires.” Yet, it is important to understand the context of Exod 4-14. The text is clear that Pharaoh hardened his heart for the first six plagues. It’s not until after the sixth plague that it says, “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” God just brought out what was already there. God told Pharaoh, in effect, “If you are determined to have a hard heart, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to finish what you started. Since you want a hard heart, I’m going to make it like granite. I’m going to make it as hard as possible so you will know who is God in Egypt.
People are not lost because they are hardened; they are hardened because they are lost. If mercy is not giving people what they deserve, then the hardening of the heart is simply allowing what they deserve to run its full course. The hardening of the heart is, in that sense, pure justice. For instance, the rain that falls in the spring is going to bring forth some beautiful flowers, but it is also going to bring forth some ugly weeds. Don’t blame the rain for the weeds. It didn’t bring the weeds; it simply revealed they were there. The grace and mercy of God does not place hardness in anybody’s heart, it just reveals the hardness that’s there. The same sun that melts ice hardens clay.
God knew you before He made you so in a mind-blowing way, He already chose you before you made your choices because He knew who you were before you are.
Charles Spurgeon, said it best: “I believe the doctrine of election because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards; and he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that doctrine.”
Divine choice doesn’t call into question God’s justice; rather, it demonstrates His mercy.
[God’s choice is a matter of His merciful character. A second great truth is . . .]
2. God’s Choice Is A Matter Of His Authority (9:19-23)
God is sovereign in the actions He takes and gracious in withholding wrath or extending glory. Paul writes in 9:19: “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’” This is the exact question we are tempted to raise at this point. We might also be tempted to follow up this question with: “How can God blame people for rejecting Him if He did not choose them?” Or, if God hardens people then why does He blame them for being hard? Now this is a great spot for Paul to include an apology or strong word of explanation. But he does neither. He doesn’t try to soften his teaching nor does he feel the need to clarify or defend what he has previously taught regarding election. Don’t miss this! The question in 9:19 is only valid if the premise is valid. The premise of the question is that God is sovereign, and that He does choose to save some but not others. If the premise was wrong, then Paul would have corrected it here and now. But he doesn’t correct the premise. This further confirms that he is teaching the doctrine of individual election from foreknowledge of all things.
Paul even indicts the questioner for talking back to God: “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The question and the questioner are out of order. It’s a question that no one has a right to ask. We cannot approach God as though He were an equal or as if He had to answer to us. He is under no obligation to give us any answers at all. This is graphically illustrated for us in the book of Job. The book begins with a glimpse into heaven when Satan asks God’s permission to sift Job. The Lord grants Satan permission to do anything short of killing Job. For the next thirty-seven chapters Job goes through every type of trial imaginable. At the end of that time, God comes to Job and says to him essentially the same thing that Paul says here in these verses: “Who are you to answer back to God?”
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!” Psalm 8:3-5
What a great reminder to Let God be God. There are certain jobs that I’m not qualified for. One such job is anything dealing with automotive care. I can change my own oil, but that’s about it. Since I lack the necessary knowledge and skills, I have no right to tell an auto mechanic how to do his job. Similarly, I don’t own this world. God does; and, He has a right to call the shots.
“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
Paul backs up his theology with an Old Testament illustration. In 9:20b-21 he says: “The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?” These verses are some serious “smack down.” Paul says, “Shut your mouth!” He puts you and me in our place! Paul is trying to hammer home the point that God is wholly unaccountable for His dealings with us. This is illustrated in the matter of the potter and the clay. Doesn’t the potter have the right to take a lump of clay, divide it in half, take half of the lump to make a beautiful vessel that is designed for display in a living room, and take the other half to make a slop jar or something for the kitchen? Doesn’t he have this right? Yes, he does. The potter has the right to do with the clay as he wishes. Does clay ever talk back to the potter? Of course not! In Paul’s analogy, sinful humankind is the lump of clay, which is sinful through and through. There is no neutrality in man—he is an enemy of God. So the question is not, “Why are some made to dishonor?” because dishonor is the natural state of the clay. The question is rather, “Why are some selected for honor?” Paul wants us to realize that we’re not the customers, we’re not the critics . . . we’re the clay! And the potter always has full right over the vessels that he creates.
On an intensely practical note: Have you given “Potter’s Rights” to the Lord for how He made you, your personality, your looks, your physical makeup, your abilities and skills, your intellect, and the opportunities of your life? Are you content with who God has made you to be and what He is doing in your life? Do you want to be like someone else, or do you want to have something more? You and I must realize that God has the right to do whatever He wants to us and in us and through us and with us. We must submit ourselves fully to His use and let God be God over our lives.
I love that human beings look and sound different - and so does God. He made a rainbow for a reason to display His wondrous creativity. He didn’t want one lizard, oh no, He made 9,500 reptile species. How about insects, yep, 950,000 species and most of those are in my basement. Mammals, 5,416 species and how about birds – He made almost 10,000 species there, and he says not one of them can fall without His knowledge (Matthew 10:29). God made you just the way He wanted you and He knew you before He made you. Crazy to think about but that means we need to be happy with our looks not trying to look like a fake mannequin from Hollywood. I am guilty too. But Jesus wasn’t “all that” in the flesh. God made him an ordinary man – zits and all.
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2
If you have a big nose – welcome to the club and embrace that bad boy. Walk with confidence that God made you the way you are. Let’s enjoy our God-given differences and wear it boldly. You are beautiful clay!
Paul now comes to two of the most difficult verses in the entire New Testament. In 9:22-23 Paul writes, “What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.” These verses have brought more than one reader to his or her knees before our awesome God. It’s time to put your thinking cap on. In an attempt to simplify the complicated, let me make a few observations:
1. There is an obvious contrast between “vessels of wrath” and “vessels of mercy.”
2. Two different Greek words are used to translate the word “prepared.” In 9:22 the word “prepared,” referring to the vessels of wrath, is a passive participle with no clear subject. In 9:23 the word “prepared,” referring to the vessels of mercy, is an active participle that has God as the subject. In 9:23 God is clearly the one who does the preparing. In 9:22 Paul avoids God’s direct involvement in the preparation of the vessels of wrath for destruction.
3. The “vessels of mercy” were “prepared beforehand.” The Greek word translated “prepared” has a prefix at the front of the word that means “before.” This would seem to suggest that the vessels of wrath were prepared, but not necessarily in eternity past. Like Pharaoh, who hardened his own heart, and then God entered the picture and hardened his heart, the vessels of wrath may be prepared for destruction during their lifetime. But vessels of mercy are prepared in eternity past by God’s election. This great truth should never be softened or finessed. Even in His foreknowledge of all things, He still allowed Pharaoh to be accountable for his own actions to choose God and His ways. Thus God did not interfere with his freewill until judgment so neither the Pharaoh or the devil could tell God that He was responsible for Pharaoh’s sin.
4. God’s choices on these matters are not disclosed to us, and they are not meant in any way to cause despair. It has been well said, “These truths were not meant to be a puzzle to the mind but a pillow to the soul.” The point of these two verses is to demonstrate God’s glory, which is evidenced in His patience and mercy. Putting it simply: The “vessels of mercy” have only God to thank, and the “vessels of wrath” have only themselves to blame. The vessel of mercy can only say, “I’m in heaven because of God!” While the vessel of wrath can only say, “I’m in hell because of me!” Those who experience eternal destruction will never be able to blame God or say, “I’m damned because God did not choose me!” Their damnation is based not upon God’s rejection of them but upon their rejection of God.
Imagine the following scenario. A man is imprisoned for a crime he actually committed; yet, he calls a press conference claiming to the world he’s been unjustly jailed. His incarceration is not fair. Why not? “It’s the governor’s fault,” he says. Why is it the governor’s fault? “Because the governor didn’t give me a pardon. If he would give me a pardon, I’d be out on the street right now; but, since he didn’t give me a pardon, I’m in prison. Therefore, it’s the governor’s fault I’m in prison, not mine.” Would you be swayed by that logic? I doubt it. Instead, you’d reply that the criminal is behind bars for crimes he committed—because he killed somebody, he robbed somebody, he stole something, or he extorted something. He broke the law, that’s why he’s in prison. Now, the criminal might be out if the governor chose to exercise mercy, but that isn’t why he’s behind bars. He’s in prison because he’s a criminal.
The same thing is true with us. We’re in deep trouble with God because we are criminals against Him. If we go to hell, it’s for only one reason: because we’ve rejected Christ as our sin bearer. Those who are punished are not punished unjustly. They are punished justly because they’re guilty. It would only be unjust if they weren’t guilty. If God chooses to exercise mercy on some people then it’s His prerogative. We must step back, sit down, shut up, and let God be God.
[God’s choice is a matter of His character and His authority. Now we will see a final great truth . . .]
3. God’s Choice Is A Matter Of His Program (9:24-29)
“That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. "Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it.” Isaiah 45:6-8
Are we strong enough to handle this truth that God raises up wicked rulers and brings them down, that He allows calamity and brings victory against it? He is God! Job 38-41 is God answering Job about these serious issues that God isn’t an opportunist. He is an orchestrator to bring about the resolution against sin and the restoration of His people and everything in between points to this.
Irregardless of how it may appear, God is bringing about His kingdom purposes. Paul concludes the whole argument of this passage by stressing the fact that the Gentiles are as much an object of God’s mercy as are the Jews. The salvation of Gentiles is not an afterthought with God. Indeed, someone has well said that all saved are not God’s afterthoughts, but His forethoughts! Our text culminates with four quotations from the Old Testament, in which the same theme is sounded, namely, that it is because of God’s grace and mercy that any are saved, and those He has saved are not saved because they belong to a certain race or class but simply because God chose them and loved them. Paul writes in 9:24-29: “. . . even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, ‘I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,’ AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, ‘BELOVED.’ ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT 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 cries out concerning Israel, ‘THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED; FOR THE LORD WILL EXECUTE HIS WORD ON THE EARTH, THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY.’ And just as Isaiah foretold, ‘UNLESS THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT TO US A POSTERITY, WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH.’” At first glance, you may say, “What’s the point of all these Old Testament quotes?” They speak to one of the primary objections against predestination. Many people think that predestination means that only a few people will be saved. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has determined to open the doors of heaven to the whole wide world. Anyone who believes in Jesus can be saved. In Paul’s day that meant that salvation was not just for the Jews; it was also for the Gentiles. Today there are approximately 13.5 million Jews in the world out of a total population of nearly seven billion people. Who are the Gentiles? That’s everyone who isn’t Jewish, which is roughly 99.999% of the world. If God had said, “I’m only going to save the Jews,” he would still be fair because no one deserves to be saved. We couldn’t complain if salvation were limited to a small group if that’s what God had decided to do. Remember, no one can talk back to God. But, He didn’t do that. These verses teach us that God opened the door of salvation to everyone!
When I was 16, I became friends with a man named George Beard. He’s the absolute epitome of a man’s man. He’s a 6’, 290-pound “Marlboro Man.” George and I loved to shake hands, often “to the death”. Now, I’ve been fortunate to shake a great many hands in the course of my life, but no one can shake a hand like George Beard. George developed a set of mitts that could literally crush mine. However, I never wanted to give him the satisfaction of bringing me to my knees. Unfortunately, George had other ideas. He loved to tease me and humble me to dust. So whenever we would shake, I just tried to survive George’s vicious onslaught. Yet, I can remember one particular time when George enveloped my hand in what seemed to be a human meat grinder and squeezed. (He must have put some of his hand-squeezed cow’s milk on his Wheaties.) I experienced excruciating pain and what sounded and felt like the breaking of all the bones in my hand. It was a bitter and agonizing defeat! I had no choice but to fall to my knees and cry out, “MERCY!!! Scott, please stop—have mercy!”
Romans 9 is designed to bring us to our knees. As a result, God wants us to cry out, “MERCY!” He longs for us to acknowledge that it is His mercy that has saved us. He also wants us to cry out, “MERCY” because we recognize that His ways are incomprehensible. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, your concern should not be, “Have I been chosen?” but rather, “Have I believed?” Please humble yourself before the sovereign Lord of this universe, acknowledge your sins, and believe in Christ today.