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Romans 9:6-33


Intro: The first part of verse 6 carries our minds back to what Paul said in verse 1-5. There, we are reminded that the Jews had been the recipients of many divine gifts. Verses 4 and 5 contain quite an impressive list of blessings which they had been given. However, just the fact that they had been given these great spiritual gifts and manifestations, did not guarantee them that they would be saved. That having been said, let us remember that the Word of the Lord will be fulfilled, even to its smallest detail, Isa. 55:11; Matt. 5:18. That which God has predestined and foreordained will come to pass. Whether it is in the arena of prophecy or in the arena of salvation!

Paul wants his Jewish readers to understand that salvation is a divine experience. That is, it always begins and ends with God. He is origination, continuation and culmination of our faith, Heb. 12:2. It is all God all the way! In these verses, Paul seeks to explain the matter of God's divine sovereignty in this matter of salvation. He wants us to know, beyond all doubt, that God is in absolute control of the salvation of men's souls. Paul tells us that we are all Bound By The Lord's Purpose. Let's investigate these verses together this evening.


(Ill. In these verses Paul teaches us that the matter of who is chosen by God is a decision that begins and ends with God Himself!)

A. V. 6b-10 A Word About Position - Paul's point here is that just being part of the nation of Israel does not mean that one is saved. In other words, it's not about family. Just because a person was a descendant of Abraham did not make that person right with God. Consider the difference between Ishmael and Isaac. Bother were sons of Abraham, but only one was chosen by God to carry forth His divine purposes. For all intents and purposes family relationship is worthless in this matter of salvation.

(Ill. This needs to be remembered by folks in our day as well. Just because you descended from a strong Christian heritage does not guarantee you a home in Heaven when you die. You must be born again, by faith, for yourself or you will not be saved. You simply cannot ride into Heaven on another's coattail!)

B. V. 11a A Word About Performance - This verse tells us that God made His choice between Ishmael and Isaac before either boy had been born! God, in His divine wisdom, decided which son would be blessed and which son would not be. Here we learn the truth that it is not about works. In other words, fruit means nothing! All of the works that men can do will never buy them a place in Heaven. Salvation comes about not by works, but by the mercy of God.

(Ill. We might as well be reminded this evening that our good works and self-righteousness will never produce salvation for our souls. This is made abundantly clear when you consider that the best man can produce us wretched and putrid in the site of Almighty God, Isa. 64:6. Again, Paul nails this down for us in Eph. 2:1-9. There we are told how the lost man is and how he is saved. It is purely a work of grace. God does it all, man does nothing!)

C. V. 11b-13 A Word About Purpose - These verses tell us the truth that salvation is not based in our family or in our fruits, but it is based solely in the will of the Father! While family and fruits are worth nothing in the arena of getting you saved, the purpose of the Father means everything!

Here, reference is made to God's choice in the sons of Isaac. Esau, the firstborn was rejected by God, while Jacob the second born was preferred by God. This choice was made by God the Father before these boys were born into the world. Why was this distinction made between these boys who were yet unborn? The answer to that question lies solely with God Himself! However, as the lives of Ishmael, Esau and their descendants were lived out on the pages of the Bible and of history, God's wisdom in His choice was proven correct. Bother of these men, along with their descendants walked in open hatred of God, His people and His Law. God's purpose was proven right by their performance.

(Ill. Many are bothered by the words of Malachi 1:1-3, quoted in verse 13 by Paul . What does it mean that God "hated" Esau? When one reads the account of Jacob and Esau in Genesis, there is no indication of divine hatred. I believe that God's hatred is upon the idolatrous descendants of Esau who hated and opposed the people of Israel. While His love is focused on the descendants of Jacob, who followed the Lord and worshiped Him.)

(Ill. What does this mean for us? Simply this: Just as God's plan and purpose was the reason Isaac and Jacob were chosen, while Ishmael and Esau were rejected, there is no other explanation for our salvation. We are saved because God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1:4-12; Rom. 8:28-30.)

I. Divine Selection


(Ill. When you truly grasp all the implications of what Paul is saying you begin to realize that we have stepped off into deep waters. In fact, this matter of salvation being based in nothing but the selection of God bothers many people. Paul anticipated a strong reaction from his readers, so he heads them off at the pass in verse 14. They might as the question, "Isn't God unfair to chose some and reject others before they are born?" This is the reaction of people like ourselves who have been raised with the notion that "all men are created equal" However, that is man's word, not God's! Paul's answer is a strong one: "God forbid!" "May it never be!" God is always just and fair in His dealings with fallen man. Paul uses two more illustrations from Israel's history to prove his point.)

A. V. 15-18 God's Right - Paul first draws our attention back to Exodus 33. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with he Law, the Israelites had given themselves over to idolatry. Moses called for those who were on the Lord's side to join him. The Levites did so. These faithful men were commanded to slay the rebels and they killed 3,000 men that day. Rightly, all the wicked Israelites should have been killed, but God, in His sovereignty only allowed 3,000 to die as a warning to the rest. Justice demanded that all be killed, but grace saved some anyway.

Then, we are called to look at the case of Pharaoh. A man who thought he ruled Egypt. A man who thought he himself was a god. Pharaoh was reminded by God that he had been placed on the throne of Egypt so that God might use him to demonstrate the power of God over humanity and earthly rulers and kingdoms. It was merely a display of divine sovereign choice that delivered Israel and doomed Pharaoh!

(Ill. Can you see the truth that Paul is trying to help us understand? It is made clear in verses 16 and 18. These verses tell us that it isn't about personal position, personal performance, or about one's pursuit of God, it is all about divine choice! Then someone will say, "But what if a person wants to be saved? Does that mean that they cannot be saved unless they have been chosen by God?" The answer to that question is easy! If a person wants to be saved, they can be saved! But, they will not want to be saved until they are first chosen and called by God! This was made crystal clear by the Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry, John 6:37-44! God's purpose is everything!

Again, some will cry "Unfair! What about man's free will?" Verse 16 tells us that it has nothing to do with man's will, but God's alone! You see, man cannot believe because man will not believe! His will is bound in sin, wholly and totally! Some will charge that this makes God guilty of condemning some while saving others. In all fairness to God, man is born into this world condemned, John 3:18; 3:36. Can we face the fact this evening that we are sinners? Can we understand that we are sinners by birth and sinners by choice? It is not God that condemns man, sin condemns men! Men don't go to Hell because they are sent by God, they go to Hell because they are sinners! That having been said, someone who demands that God act fairly toward all men is a fool! If we got fair and just treatment, we would all be in Hell tonight! Salvation is not about God being fair, salvation is about God extending grace on whom He will! Salvation is not based in justice! Salvation is purely the work of grace! That is, "the unmerited and undeserved love of God for lost sinners."

I'll say it again for the record, every person who wants to be saved can be saved! Those who don't want to be saved cannot be. If there is a desire in a man's heart to come to God he can. That is grace! If a person is happy in his sins and wants no part of God or His salvation, then God is perfectly just to allow that person to continue to live his life as he wants to! That is fair enough!)

B. V. 19-24 God's Reason - Now Paul anticipates another objection that might be made by his readers. If salvation is the sole work of God, then what right does He have to condemn those who are not saved? Again, I will remind you that if sinners got only justice, all sinners would be in Hell. However, if God chooses to demonstrate divine, sovereign grace in the lives of some, who are we to question His authority or right to do so? Just as a potter has power over his clay to make of what he wills, so the Lord has power over His creation. He will do with it as it pleases Him. God does not have to answer to man! He owes us nothing but damnation! He doesn't have to tie this matter up in crisp statements so that you and I will understand ever little nuance of it! God does as He pleases and He does not ask our opinion in the matter!

If He chooses to call some to salvation and to leave others in their rebellion, that is His prerogative! It needs to be noted here that God does not create people to damn them! In fact, verse 22 takes the burden off the shoulders of God and places it squarely on the shoulders of man. The phrase "fitted to destruction" is in a tense that suggests the vessels themselves choose to be made up for destruction. Because sinners refuse to repent of their sins and turn to the Lord for salvation, it is their choice if they perish! Here's a thought that will blow your mind, God gets just as much glory from displaying His wrath, v. 22, as He does by demonstrating His grace, v. 23.

Does this seem like a contradiction to you? If so, then let it be said that you and I will never be able to grasp all the aspects of God's grace and sovereignty. These are hard truths! They grate against our minds and our standards of fairness and our faulty understanding of the free will of man. Yet, they are truth and they must be accepted as truth. They are not given to make us angry or to cause us problems spiritually. They are given to make those who are saved thankful that we have been chosen by the Father. They are also given to inspire us to take the word of God to a lost and dying world. Now, I will repeat what I have already said, anyone who wants to be saved can be saved! That truth alone should be wrought to satisfy us in the matter. If God chooses to leave man to the path he has chosen then God is giving that man just what he wants. Let us learn the truth tonight that God is Lord of all, including salvation!

My friends, as long as natural man looks into the things of God there will always be a tension between God's sovereign will and His requirement of faith for salvation. The best solution we can reach is to accept the Word of God on face value and let Him do the calling, the convicting and the saving.

C. V. 25-29 God's Remnant - Here Paul quotes Hosea and Isaiah to remind us that were it not for the pure, simple grace of God, there would be none saved! Again, I must remind you that all men who are born into the family of Adam and lost sinners, headed to Hell by their own choice. It is the grace of God that intervenes and calls men to salvation. Were it not for His grace, we would all feel the fires of Hell. Whether a person is a Jew or a Gentile, the only hope of salvation that person has is the grace of God! Can we accept that truth this evening?

I. Divine Selection

II. Divine Sovereignty


A. V. 30-31 Righteousness - These verses tell us that righteousness is given to those who believe the Gospel message, 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:3-5. How is it possible that Gentiles who knew not God received His salvation while Jews who knew His Word missed Him and His salvation? Divine sovereignty! God spoke to hearts as He chose. When the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached to the Gentiles, they were convicted of their sins and turned to Christ by faith. The Jews, who saw themselves as righteous already, did not repent of their sins and turn to Jesus. However, all those who come to Jesus by faith in the Gospel message are declared perfectly righteous by God. That is righteousness: faith in the complete work of Jesus.

B. V. 32-33a Reason - Why did the Jew miss out? Because he wanted to please God by his own righteous works. No man will ever be saved until he comes to the place where he clings to nothing he has or can do, but he merely casts himself at the feet of God and cries out to God by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Salvation can only come to those who respond to the call of God by faith!

The Jews failed to see how Jesus, a crucified man, could be their Savior. They saw themselves as better than Him and they "stumbled" over the cross. However, those who understand that they are sinners and that Jesus died for their sins and do not stumble over, but fall down before the cross can and will be saved.

C. V. 33b Reward - Believers are promised that those who come to faith in Jesus will never be ashamed! That is, when we arrive in heaven and stand before the Lord, we will not be turned away and sent to Hell. Because we have been called by God and we have reacted by faith in the message of God, we are saved and nothing will ever alter that fact. We will not be disappointed!

Conc: I realize that I have done a very poor job of articulating the truths in this chapter. In fact, some of you will probably leave here will many questions regarding this matter of salvation, the sovereignty of God and the will of man. I wish I had all the answers! But I don't! No one who wears a robe of flesh does. These are deep truths. Truths concerning which there is much debate and controversy. However, I believe them as they are stated. I can accept the fact that God is sovereign over salvation. I can accept that fact that all of life is left to His divine choices. I can accept that and I can praise Him that I am numbered among the chosen this evening. Are you? Remember, while this is confusing and hard to grasp, the bottom line is this "if you want to be saved, you can be!"

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