Saturday Morning: 30 Mar 2019 – Romans 9:1-18 ~ chosen to receive mercy

Saturday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (Collect for Purity)

Almighty God: to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of my heart through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ my Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Romans 9:1-18 (NLT)

God’s Selection of Israel

With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,” though Abraham had other children, too. This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children. For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins. But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”

Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! For God said to Moses,

“I will show mercy to anyone I choose,
and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”

So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.
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Morning Reflection:

God alone determines fairness.

It is God who decides to show mercy.
We can neither choose it nor work for it.
– Romans 9:16

How to reconcile human responsibility with Divine sovereignty remains a problem as difficult as that of reconciling the existence of evil with the power and righteousness and benevolence of a merciful God. Our wisdom is to bow with reverence in presence of these great mysteries, and to say, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” – C.H. Irwin

What then can we say about God’s sovereignty?

1. God’s sovereignty is exercised in righteousness. God’s freedom of choice is not grounded on works, but on grace.  God is free to choose or reject whom he will.

2. God’s sovereignty is exercised in mercy. God’s freedom of choice demonstrates his mercy and compassion. God doesn’t punish us as our sins deserve.

What can we say about human responsibility?

1. We are free agents to choose between good and evil. And yet, we have all chosen to sin and justly deserve condemnation.

2. Our unbelief and guilty consciences are themselves a testimony to our freedom of will and personal responsibility for our estrangement from God.

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you believe that God has the “absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure?” [Easton] What are the some of the implications as applied to your life circumstances? Please explain.
  • Do you believe that God is good, merciful, and compassionate, and that all his decisions are “morally correct and justifiable?” [William Lane Craig] What are some of the implications as applied to your life circumstances? Please explain.
  • Do you believe that the default position of all humanity, apart from Christ, is one of estrangement and condemnation before God? What are some of the implications for unbelieving family and friends? Please explain.
  • As a believer, what is your role in bearing witness to the justice, mercy, and grace of God to unbelieving family and friends? What is your role in interceding for them? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: 1 Peter 2:9-10

You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

Heavenly Father: You have called me out of darkness into your wonderful light. And you have adopted me, chosen me, to make known your compassion, mercy, and grace. I belong to you; help me to live as your beloved child, an heir of all your riches in glory – that others may recognize what they are missing, repent, and seek your face. I ask this through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.
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“Who You Say I Am” – Hillsong Worship

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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