The Purpose of God

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.’ And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’” (Romans 9:6-12).

The eternal purpose of God is accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:11). To get sinful humanity from the Garden of Eden to the birth of its Savior in Bethlehem, God had to make several decisions/choices (i.e,, “elections”) after His call of Abram in Genesis 12.

These decisions did not determine a person’s eternal destiny. Rather, they decided which of Abraham’s physical descendants would be in the bloodline of the Messiah and which ones wouldn’t.

The first election (i.e., choice) determined which of the three women who gave birth to a child fathered by Abraham would be selected as the next link in Jesus’ ancestral chain. Would it be Hagar’s Ishmael (Genesis 16:3-4), Sarah’s Isaac (Genesis 21:1-2), or one of Keturah’s six sons (Genesis 25:1-3)?

Although each of these eight sons were legal heirs of Abraham, God could only chose one to be the spiritual heir of the promise. Therefore “they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham.” Only one of these eight was elected/selected, and it was “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”

The second election (i.e., choice) was the determination of which of the twin boys Isaac fathered would inherit the seed promise. In this case, it was not determined by the child’s mother, or by the boys’ birth order, or by anything they did after Rebecca had given birth to them. While they were still in the womb—having not yet done any good or evil—God chose Jacob to be the next link in Jesus’ ancestral chain.

Without these two elections, the first three generations of the physical descendants of the Messiah would not have been Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Did these selections/elections by God make Him unrighteous?

Certainly NOT!

God’s election did provide Abraham’s chosen descendants with immense spiritual privi­leges—the glory, the covenants, the glory of the Law, the service of God, the promises (Romans 9:4). It did not, however, make God unrighteous. It did not obligate Jehovah to endure endless Jewish arrogance, unbelief, and disobedience. It did not mean that God’s implementa­tion of the gospel and its universal requirement for faith in it and obedience to it was contingent upon the Jews’ approval and acceptance. Human clay does NOT tell the divine Potter how to do His work.

There is no excuse for rejecting the gospel.

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Author: jchowning

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