Saturday, February 11, 2017



I am troubled by Romans 9:17, where it speaks of Pharaoh's heart being hardened by God. Does this really teach that God actually saves or destroys whom He will?
Romans 9:17, "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth."
We need to see the verses in their context. We list here some basic observations:
The purpose of Romans 9: is not in regard to individual salvation, but rather God's dealings with the nation of Israel in comparison to the Gentile nations. When Paul quotes Malachi's statement:
Malachi 1:2-3, "2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, 3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness."
Romans 9:13, "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."
The prophet speaks of nations, not individuals. The Edomites (Esau's descendants) were not favored as was Israel (Jacob's descendants). God had a definite purpose for Israel in His "Redemption Program" for mankind. It was the Israelites who were given the adoption.
Exodus 4:22, "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel [is] my son, [even] my firstborn."
They were also given the glory of God's presence, the covenants (Genesis chapter 12), the Law of Moses, the service of God (Tabernacle), the promises to the fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and the Messiah incarnate. Neither the Edomites nor the other Gentiles had these blessing happen among them. This does not mean that Gentiles do not currently enjoy the benefits of these historical events, which happened in Israel. Romans 9 is speaking of the past dispensational advantage Israel had as the elect nation in God's divine plan to redeem mankind.
An illustration may help. Perhaps a father chose one of his sons to go with him to town to purchase an ice cream freezer. Then he had the son churn the ice cream, while the other children worked in the fields. When the children came in from the fields, the father let all the children enjoy the ice cream equally. He elected the one to bless the others. The elected son may have had a candy bar with his father while in town, but outside of such an advantage, he had no priority in the real purpose of the father in providing ice cream for all his children. So God, in choosing Israel, used Israel to give His Word, His promises and His Son to the world. Though these were temporary advantages, the Jewish nation had no advantages in the eternal purpose of God in saving all believers in Christ.
It does not follow, that because of the dispensational advantages which Israel had as a nation, that every individual Jew was in on the promises to the Father, for it is plainly affirmed:
Romans 9:6, "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel."
That is, because they are literal descendants of Abraham, that does not make them heir of these promises. Was not Esau and Ishmael Abraham's seed? Yes! But these were not the heirs of the promise. It is in Abraham's seed of promise, i.e.: Christ, that one is blessed.
Romans 9:8, "That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."
If one is in Christ, he is an heir of the promises, though he be a Gentile.
Galatians 3:26-29, "26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
There was no unrighteousness in God electing Israel as a covenant people. He can show mercy to whom He will. God's election is not to the one who wills or runs but to the one of God's own choosing. The nation of Israel was chosen while Jacob was yet in the womb. Esau was rejected, not because he did evil, for he was not yet born. Romans 9:11, "(For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.)"
Rebecca was told:
Genesis 25:23, "And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger."
We again stress that He speaks of nations, not individ-uals. Though Esau sought the blessing with tears, the election stood. God's election was of His own choosing. It is not based upon one's goodness nor one's will nor one's attempts. God alone chooses His vessels of honor.
Likewise, God chooses His vessels of dishonor. He chose the Pharaoh of the Exodus to be used as His vessel of wrath, to demonstrate the riches of His Glory.
Romans 9:23, "And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory."
In God's foreknowledge He knew the character of the man who became Pharaoh. He raised up this man to be Pharaoh.
Daniel 2:21, "And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding."
God hardened Pharaoh's heart by demonstrating His power to him over and over again.
Romans 9:22, "[What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction."
Pharaoh is said to have a hard heart in Scripture eigh-teen times. Nine of these times it is so stated: "Pharaoh hardened his heart." Nine other times it is said, "God hardened his heart." God knew His man. Each plague would crystalize his heart more, and by bringing more plagues, he would become more stubborn. Just as chastisement will harden some children, and move others to repentance, so the plagues hardened this man whom God had raised up to be Pharaoh. "The sun that melts wax, hardens clay." This was clay and God knew it. He raised this vessel of dishonor to the exalted position of Pharaoh to make His own power known. God was long-suffering with the self-willed Pharaoh, but he was fitted for destruction, and was destroyed. God's sovereignty and power is thus seen, but the free will of the man was intact.
Likewise, the Jewish nation was chosen to be raised up to the exalted position of God's covenant people. God has used them to bring forth His Word and the Messiah. However, the Jews are a stubborn and a stiff-necked people, who seek righteousness by law keeping. They stumble Christ's perfect and complete salvation. This has resulted in the Gentiles being offered salvation in Christ, the Promised Seed.
This has been God's plan for Eternity. Since both Jews and Gentiles have sinned, and since God's righteousness and mercy cannot be attained by willing it or running for it, salvation is solely by God's election. God elected salvation to all those who are in Christ, the Promised Seed. If one would be of the elect, he must be "elect in the Son." This removes any hope of salvation by works, merit or the will of men. It is solely of grace, for He has compassion on whom He wills.
God wills that those who are Abraham's seed be saved. Abraham's seed (note the singular) is Christ. To be baptized into Christ makes one Abraham's seed and an heir of the Promise.
Galatians 3:26-29, "26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
This makes it possible for both the Jews and the Gentiles to become God's people. The believing Gentiles who were not God's people, are now His people. Likewise, a remnant of the Jews will be saved, who have the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Christ. There is then no respect of persons, for it is offered to all who believe. There is no unrighteousness with God, for He is the potter, and He can make the vessel as He pleases. God used the Jews as a vessel to being about the promised seed. The Jewish nation rejected the seed and only a remnant is saved. He now uses the Gentile as a vessel to provoke the Jew to jealousy so they will become a true child of Abraham.
Consequently, both the believing Jew and the believing Gentile become the true Israel of God in Christ, as it is written:
Romans 11:26, "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
Romans 11:33, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
God's sovereignty demands our accepting His wisdom and righteousness without question. He has willed that only those in His Son be shown mercy. It is not those who are born of blood, nor will of the flesh, nor the will of men, but those born of God who are saved.
John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name."

It is these "sons" whom He has predestined to be conformed into the image of His own dear Son.

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