Just a forgiven sinner
Member Since: Sep 2002
In my opinion, Romans 9 does not deal with nations and groups only. Jesus did not say go forth and gather nations to my name. He said make disciples. A disciple is a person, not a group or nation.
There is no group or community salvation. There is no national salvation. Everything gets down to the individual. You are not saved because your grandmother was a Christian. It is an individual choice to believe, obey, and follow Jesus that brings salvation.
Paul is pointing out that being an individual that is descended from Abraham does not save one. Paul is pointing out that individuals that are not descended from Abraham, gentiles, are saved through faith in Jesus.
Paul is pointing out that God is sovereign and will address each individual with His own point of view, whether bestowing mercy, blessing, or imposing condemnation and wrath.
This is from Mathew Henry's Commentary: (in 2 posts because of length limit)
Verses 14-24 |
The apostle, having asserted the true meaning of the promise, comes here to maintain and prove the absolute sovereignty of God, in disposing of the children of men, with reference to their eternal state. And herein God is to be considered, not as a rector and governor, distributing rewards and punishments according to his revealed laws and covenants, but as an owner and benefactor, giving to the children of men such grace and favour as he has determined in and by his secret and eternal will and counsel: both the favour of visible church-membership and privileges, which is given to some people and denied to others, and the favour of effectual grace, which is given to some particular persons and denied to others.
Now this part of his discourse is in answer to two objections.
I. It might be objected, Isa. there unrighteousness with God? If God, in dealing with the children of men, do thus, in an arbitrary manner, choose some and refuse others, may it not be suspected that there is unrighteousness with him? This the apostle startles at the thought of: God forbid! Far be it from us to think such a thing; shall not the judge of all the earth do right? Gen. 18:25; Rom. 3:5, 6. He denies the consequences, and proves the denial.
1. In respect of those to whom he shows mercy, Rom. 9:15, 16. He quotes that scripture to show God’s sovereignty in dispensing his favours (Exod. 33:19): I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. All God’s reasons of mercy are taken from within himself. All the children of men being plunged alike into a state of sin and misery, equally under guilt and wrath, God, in a way of sovereignty, picks out some from this fallen apostatized race, to be vessels of grace and glory. He dispenses his gifts to whom he will, without giving us any reason: according to his own good pleasure he pitches upon some to be monuments of mercy and grace, preventing grace, effectual grace, while he passes by others. The expression is very emphatic, and the repetition makes it more so: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. It imports a perfect absoluteness in God’s will; he will do what he will, and giveth not account of any of his matters, nor is it fit he should. As these great words, I am that I am (Exod. 3:14) do abundantly express the absolute independency of his being, so these words, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, do as fully express the absolute prerogative and sovereignty of his will. To vindicate the righteousness of God, in showing mercy to whom he will, the apostle appeals to that which God himself had spoken, wherein he claims this sovereign power and liberty. God is a competent judge, even in his own case. Whatsoever God does, or is resolved to do, is both by the one and the other proved to be just. Eleeso on han heleo—I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. When I begin, I will make an end. Therefore God’s mercy endures for ever, because the reason of it is fetched from within himself; therefore his gifts and callings are without repentance. Hence he infers (Rom. 9:16), It is not of him that willeth. Whatever good comes from God to man, the glory of it is not to be ascribed to the most generous desire, nor to the most industrious endeavour, of man, but only and purely to the free grace and mercy of God. In Jacob’s case it was not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; it was not the earnest will and desire of Rebecca that Jacob might have the blessing; it was not Jacob’s haste to get it (for he was compelled to run for it) that procured him the blessing, but only the mercy and grace of God. Wherein the holy happy people of God differ from other people, it is God and his grace that make them differ. Applying this general rule to the particular case that Paul has before him, the reason why the unworthy, undeserving, ill-deserving Gentiles are called, and grafted into the church, while the greatest part of the Jews are left to perish in unbelief, is not because those Gentiles were better deserving or better disposed for such a favour, but because of God’s free grace that made that difference. The Gentiles did neither will it, nor run for it, for they sat in darkness, Matt. 4:16. In darkness, therefore not willing what they knew not; sitting in darkness, a contented posture, therefore not running to meet it, but anticipated with these invaluable blessings of goodness. Such is the method of God’s grace towards all that partake of it, for he is found of those that sought him not (Isa. 65:1); in this preventing, effectual, distinguishing grace, he acts as a benefactor, whose grace is his own. Our eye therefore must not be evil because his is good; but, of all the grace that we or others have, he must have the glory: Not unto us, Ps. 115:1.
2. In respect of those who perish, Rom. 9:17. God’s sovereignty, manifested in the ruin of sinners, is here discovered in the instance of Pharaoh; it is quoted from Exod. 9:16. Observe,
(1.) What God did with Pharaoh. He raised him up, brought him into the world, made him famous, gave him the kingdom and power,—set him up as a beacon upon a hill, as the mark of all his plagues (compare Exod. 9:14)-- hardened his heart, as he had said he would (Exod. 4:21): I will harden his heart, that is, withdraw softening grace, leave him to himself, let Satan loose against him, and lay hardening providences before him. Or, by raising him up may be meant the intermission of the plagues which gave Pharaoh respite, and the reprieve of Pharaoh in those plagues. In the Hebrew, I have made thee stand, continued thee yet in the land of the living. Thus doth God raise up sinners, make them for himself, even for the day of evil (Prov. 16:4), raise them up in outward prosperity, external privileges (Matt. 11:23), sparing mercies.
(2.) What he designed in it: That I might show my power in thee. God would, by all this, serve the honour of his name, and manifest his power in baffling the pride and insolence of that great and daring tyrant, who bade defiance to Heaven itself, and trampled upon all that was just and sacred. If Pharaoh had not been so high and might, so bold and hardy, the power of God had not been so illustrious in the ruining of him; but the taking off of the spirit of such a prince, who hectored at that rate, did indeed proclaim God glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders, Exod. 15:11. This is Pharaoh, and all his multitude.
(3.) His conclusion concerning both these we have, Rom. 9:18. He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. The various dealings of God, by which he makes some to differ from others, must be resolved into his absolute sovereignty. He is debtor to no man, his grace is his own, and he may give it or withhold it as it pleaseth him; we have none of us deserved it, nay, we have all justly forfeited it a thousand times, so that herein the work of our salvation is admirably well ordered that those who are saved must thank God only, and those who perish must thank themselves only, Hos. 13:9. We are bound, as God hath bound us, to do our utmost for the salvation of all we have to do with; but God is bound no further than he has been pleased to bind himself by his own covenant and promise, which is his revealed will; and that is that he will receive, and not cast out, those that come to Christ; but the drawing of souls in order to that coming is a preventing distinguishing favour to whom he will. Had he mercy on the Gentiles? It was because he would have mercy on them. Were the Jews hardened? It was because it was his own pleasure to deny them softening grace, and to give them up to their chosen affected unbelief. Even so, Father, because it seemed good unto thee. That scripture excellently explains this, Luke 10:21; and, as this, shows the sovereign will of God in giving or withholding both the means of grace and the effectual blessing upon those means.
Last edited by 2ndAmendment; 02-20-2012 at 11:26 PM.