Monday, June 28, 2010

141) Salvation does not depend on human will or works

Romans 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Earlier in this passage [v. 8] Paul ruled out physical lineage as the cause of salvation. Now in this verse he rules out human will and human works as reasons. The New Testament in many places reports that unless God sovereignly intervenes and changes a person’s heart he won’t and in fact can’t come to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Human exertion or works has also been shown to be an impossible way to achieve salvation [Rom. 3:20]. Paul is clear that it depends on God to show mercy and give a new heart to all that He brings into the new covenant community of believers. Sovereign election through predestination is the cause of salvation and it does not depend on being a Jew, a child of a believer, human will, or works! Praise God that he gives mercy instead of justice to all that come to Jesus in faith and no one who comes is turned away [John 6:37].

Focus on Christ #141

Monday, June 21, 2010

140) God’s mercy is by sovereign decree

Romans 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.”

God is sworn to carry out justice upon sinful mankind. In order that he may have mercy on some, he executed his justice on his own son as a substitute for them. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the sins of those that God was pleased to give mercy by his sovereign grace. Therefore, justice is completely upheld and no one receives injustice. None receive a free pass, but some receive mercy through the ministry and atonement of Jesus Christ. Although many people resent salvation being determined by God and not human decision, God made it clear to Moses that his sovereign decree would determine who would receive mercy.

Focus on Christ #140

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

139) God is not obligated to dispense universal mercy

Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means!

Having just explained God’s sovereign election unto salvation, Paul answers the expected objection of whether it is fair for God to intervene and save some but no all of humanity. It is interesting to note that had the Holy Spirit through Paul not been teaching predestination and election there would have been no need for this verse at all. However, Paul is teaching eternal life is based on those whom God has predestined and effectually called unto salvation and God is not being unjust in doing so. Some men receive justice and some receive mercy, but none receive injustice.

Focus on Christ #139

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

138) God is sovereign in salvation

Romans 9:9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” (10) And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, (11) though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— (12) she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” (13) As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

From this passage it is apparent that God foreordained and caused Sarah to have a child at age ninety. It is also true that God’s purpose in election was and is implemented by his sovereign decree. While the twins were still in the womb, God ordained that one of Abraham’s physical grandchildren would be saved and one would not. Thus, Paul drives home the point with Abraham’s children and grandchildren that the Abrahamic Covenant of Promise is a covenant made with the spiritual descendants of Abraham and not his physical descendants. Therefore, there were no heirs to the Abrahamic covenant of promise in the Old Testament era based on physical birth and there are no heirs to the New Covenant in the New Testament era based on physical birth.

Focus on Christ #138

Sunday, June 6, 2010

137) Salvation is not based on ethnicity or one’s parents

Romans 9:7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” (8) This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

It is not the physical children of Abraham who are the children of God, but the children of the promise. Jesus Christ was the unique offspring that fulfilled the promise of an everlasting covenant between God and his spiritual people, and it was through the physical line of Isaac that Jesus Christ was born. All who are in Christ through faith are the spiritual children of Abraham and are the children of the promise. They are the sons of God and the recipients of the covenant promise of Genesis 17:7-8. God has never made any spiritual covenant or promise with Abraham’s physical descendents, Israel or any other group based on their ethnicity or birthright. Paul makes that very clear in this passage.

Focus on Christ #137