So, we have got a great study planned. So, I want to just step right into this because I have got more to cover than I think what I have got time to cover. So, let us start with a word of prayer.
Father, thank you for this time for us to come together to meet and study Your Word. Our hearts are always greatly built up as we study Your Word. And so, give us eyes to see, ears to hear. May we be teachable this day by Your Spirit, in Christ’s name. Amen.
Alright, I may have a little competition there in the kitchen. Maybe if someone could let them know that we are actually having a Bible study in here and there is no need to call in those orders to the kitchen. The kitchen is two feet away.
So, alright, we are in Romans chapter 11 and the title of this lesson is “Double Predestination.” So, this ought to be worth the study just for the title alone. And we are going to be looking at verses 7 through 10 if we have the time to get through all these verses.
Romans 11, I want to begin in verse 7 by reading the passage. Paul writes, “What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; just as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.’ And David says, ‘Let their table become a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block and a retribution to them. Let their eyes be darkened to see not, and bend their backs forever.'”
Well, there are some verses to put on your refrigerator. In this passage, the focus is upon what theologians call “double predestination,” and this is the biblical truth that there are two sides to predestination; hence, the term “double predestination.” One side of predestination is sovereign election, that there are those whom God has chosen from before the foundation of the world to save from their sins, but there is also the flipside, the other side of the doctrine of predestination which is what we call the doctrine of reprobation, that there are those whom God chooses to leave in their sins. So, the word “double” indicates that predestination goes in both directions. One is positive; the other is negative. And so, there is the doctrine of election to save and there is the doctrine of reprobation not to save.
Election and reprobation are the heads and tails of the same coin and yet there are distinct differences, and I want to just set up some parallel columns here by way of introduction. First column is election; second column is reprobation. With election, sinners receive what they do not deserve. With reprobation, they receive what they do deserve. There is no injustice with God in reprobation. With election, sinners receive mercy; with reprobation, sinners receive justice. With election, sinners will be in heaven by the will of God; with reprobation, sinners will be in hell by their own will. With election, sinners are not condemned for their sins; with reprobation, sinners are condemned for their sins. With election, sinners are chosen for salvation; with reprobation, they are passed over for salvation. So, these are some of the distinctions between election and reprobation.
Now, in order to understand this passage, it is important that we distinguish three groups and all three groups are found in verse 7. And so, it is almost like a child eating out of a divider plate that divides the food into three parts. We need to divide verse 7 into its three parts. In verse 7, first there is Israel. You see, Israel, what Israel is seeking it has not obtained. Israel here refers to the whole nation as a corporate whole or corporate entity, the ethnic people of Israel. It is referring to Jews. The second group found in verse 7 is those who were chosen and that refers to the elect within the nation Israel. And then third, there are the two words “the rest.” And that refers to those not chosen within the nation of Israel, those in verse 8 who were given the spirit of stupor, those in verse 8 who have eyes but see not and ears but hear not. They are those who are mentioned in verse 9, whose table is turned into a snare and to a trap and a stumbling block and to retribution, whose backs are bent. That refers to the non-elect within the nation Israel. So, it is important that we keep this threefold distinction clear in our understanding as we go through this passage.
So, I want to begin with the first part of verse 7, “The Empty Search,” the empty search. Paul begins verse 7. He says, “What then?” And here Paul sums up what he has taught beginning in Romans 9 verse 30 all the way to the previous verse, Romans 11 verse 6. So, when he says, “What then?” that is a summation type statement, and he pulls the preceding verses beginning in chapter 9 verse 30 down to a bottom-line conclusion, really summation, “What then?” And here is the bottom line: what Israel is seeking it has not obtained.
Now, Israel, I want to underscore again, refers to the entire nation of Israel, the ethnic Jewish chosen race. He says what Israel is seeking and what it was seeking is a right standing before God. What it was seeking is the positive righteousness they need to find acceptance with God. The problem is they sought it with their own works, with their own efforts, with their own merit, with their own morality, with their own religiosity, to pull themselves up to heaven by their own bootstraps. And this word “seeking” is an interesting word. It is a compound word. And the main root word comes into the English language as “zeal,” which is a fiery, intense seeking after something, a burning on the inside literally for something, and it has a prefix in front of it which serves to really doubly intensify the word “zeal.” So, Israel was not half-hearted about their seeking acceptance with God. They sought it with all of their heart and with all of their being. They wanted acceptance with God, but it says they have not obtained it. They have not received what they were looking for.
Now, I want to direct us back to the end of Romans 9 just to remind you of what Romans 9 verse 30 and following says. It says, beginning in verse 31 of Romans 9, “Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why?” Verse 32, “Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.'”
So, it is very obvious Israel wanted a right standing with God on their own terms. They were an apostate nation. They had fallen away from the principle of grace, and they sought a right standing before God by their own efforts and by their own works. And even in the Old Testament it was all by grace. The Old Testament is filled with grace.
So, Israel had come up with their own religion. They had conceived a religion of self- righteousness by self-works that was never ever taught in the Old Testament. If you would come to chapter 10 verse 2, “For I testify about them,” referring to Israel, “that they have a zeal for God.” There is the word from which we derive the word “seeking” in chapter 11 verse 7. “They have a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge.” You can be sincere but be sincerely wrong and that was Israel. Verse 3, “For not knowing about God’s righteousness,” meaning that God would supply the righteousness as a gift that everyone needs in order to have a right standing with Him. “Not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”
And that is the whole doctrine of justification by faith alone, that the righteousness that we need in order to find entrance into the kingdom of heaven is the righteousness that comes from God, is given as a free gift received by faith alone, but because of the pride of their heart and the arrogance within their soul they wanted to earn their right standing with God. Therefore, they did not obtain what they desperately needed, which was the free gift of God.
So, all religion that seeks to find acceptance with God apart from grace is an empty seeking for what they can never obtain. It was true in Israel. It is true in countless churches today. It is true in every false religion. It is true in every cult today. It is all a religion of seeking righteousness by one’s own works. And the only religion in the entire world that offers righteousness as the free gift of God by grace is true biblical Christianity. Every religion in the world can be divided into one of two categories. One is a righteousness that must be worked for, and the other is a righteousness that is received as a free gift. And it is only Christianity that offers in the true gospel salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. So that is the “empty search.” And, of course, it was empty, because no one can work their way to God. Matthew 5:48 says, “You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” That is the standard, absolute moral perfection, and no one can achieve that high standard.
So, that leads us now to second, the “elect remnant.” And as we continue in verse 7 of Romans 11, after he says what Israel is seeking it has not obtained, now it says, “but,” and that means in sharp contrast with those who are seeking it by their own efforts. “But those who were chosen obtained it.” The word “those” refers to an inner concentric circle within the nation of Israel, the elect within the elect, if you will, meaning the elect within the elect nation. Not everyone in the elect nation was saved. That was the point at the beginning of verse 7. There are those within the nation Israel who were chosen by God. They are the only ones who will obtain this righteousness.
Now, the word “chosen” is another compound word, and it means “to choose out from among.” It is the exercise of God’s free will by which He chose before the foundation of the world those whom He would save for Himself. It was used in verse 5 previously, where he talks about a remnant according to God’s gracious choice or a choice by God’s grace. It was used earlier in Romans 9 verse 11, the same word “chosen,” where it reads, “the twins were not yet born and had done nothing good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand.” So, it is the truth of God’s sovereign election, which is the fountain from which every saving grace flows. It is the taproot from which all the fruits of salvation flow. It is to trace the stream back to the origin of the river, and it all is flowing out of God’s sovereign election from before the foundation of the world. It says, “Those who were chosen obtained it,” and the “it” refers to the right standing before God through justification by faith.
Now, I want to make some comments here. I want you to note the inseparable connection between being chosen and obtaining it. It is an inseparable welding together of those two. God’s election always results in obtaining justification. All of those chosen before time will be justified within time. That is a very clear and obvious observation to draw from verse 7. None chosen will fail to be justified, and none who are not chosen will ever be justified. So, all who are chosen will be justified. And this sounds exactly like Romans 8:29 and 30 that we looked at some time back: “Those whom He foreknew, He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son; and those whom He predestined, He called; and those whom He called, He justified; and those whom He justified, He glorified.” So, all who are “foreknown” which is synonymous with “sovereign election” will be justified.
Now, there is one more major truth that I want you to see before we pass on. And it is to come to this conclusion, that if it were not for the truth of sovereign election no one would ever obtain it. If it was not for the doctrine of sovereign election, no one would ever be saved. So, the doctrine of election is not our enemy or some foe. The doctrine of election is our best friend, because if it were not for sovereign election no one would ever obtain it. It is sovereign election that sets everything positive in order to come flowing into our lives. The only hope for salvation that any of us have is this truth of sovereign election, and this is true not only for the Jew but it is also true for the Gentile.
So, we see in the middle of verse 7, “The Elect Remnant,” the elect remnant. And the reason that you have obtained this righteousness is because before the foundation of the world God chose you to have this righteousness. He chose you for salvation. And there is not a one of us in this room nor anyone who is watching by live stream or anyone anywhere in the history of the world who has ever been saved, but that they were chosen by God for this salvation from before the foundation of the world. So, all of us must recognize how God-centered, how God-initiating our salvation is. It is traced back to the free will of God.
Now, third, and now we wade into more of the emphasis of the double election. I want you to know, third, “The Eternal Hardening,” the eternal hardening. And at the end of verse 7, he says, “And the rest were hardened.” “The rest” here refers to Jews who were not chosen for salvation. The whole context of Romans 9 through 11 in the spotlight is the nation Israel. Yes, Gentiles are mentioned in chapter 9 in just a couple of verses and in chapter 10 as well, but the dominant focus of these three chapters is, “So what about Israel?” And “the rest” here in verse 7, those two words “the rest” refers to the rest of the nation Israel that is not chosen for salvation. So clearly, not all Jews are chosen for salvation. He says, “and the rest were hardened.” “Were hardened” here means to be made obstinate and stubborn towards Jesus Christ and the gospel. It means to be solidified in the unbelief that was already present in the heart. It does not mean that God works evil into the heart of the non-elect. It means that this evil is already there and it is the result of Adam’s sin. It is the result of being born in sin. It is the result of individual choices and acts of sin.
That sin and that unbelief is already in the heart, and for it to be hardened now solidifies that unbelief that it will never become anything else but unbelief. He says they “were hardened.” This is a passive verb, and a passive verb means that the object is acted upon by an outside agent, by a foreign agent, if you will. And this outside agent is the one who is hardening the non-elect Jew. And so, the question is, “Who is the active agent who is hardening hearts in unbelief? And the answer is very obvious in the context. You will see it at the beginning of verse 8. This agent is God, God the Father. It says in verse 8, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not.” It is God who gave them these blind eyes. “And ears to hear not,” it is God who gave them deaf ears.
And this hardening is a hardening that God Himself does to set the concrete in the heart in the direction that that heart is already going. This heart is not neutral. This heart is not innocent. This heart is not straddling the fence. This heart is already running away from God. This heart has already rejected the gospel and has already rejected Christ, and as a result God hardens the heart that in reality was already hardened. If you look back at Romans 9 verses 17 and 18, Paul uses Pharaoh as this example. “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I raised you up,” verse 17, “to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed through the whole earth.'” So, God has a sovereign purpose to raise Pharaoh up in order to use Pharaoh for redemptive history. Now, verse 18 is where we see the word “hardened.” “So then He,” referring to God the Father, “has mercy on whom He desires,” that is the elect, “and He hardens whom He desires,” that is the non-elect. So, in this context it is clear that God is the active external agent who is hardening the hearts of those who were not chosen.
Now, to back this up, Paul will now quote Scripture, which gives this a double authority in his teaching. So, he says in verse 8, “Just as it is written,” which has the looser meaning of, “This is exactly what’s in the Bible,” that this is not a new teaching. This has been in the Bible throughout the whole Old Testament. And so he says, “Just as it is written,” and he will now quote from the three major sections of the Old Testament. The Old Testament can be divided out into these three sections. Sometimes it was divided out into two sections; the Law and the Prophets. Other times, it was divided further into three sections; the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. Paul will now quote from the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings to make this a slam-dunk argument, to make this a comprehensive argument that is drawn from the entirety of the Old Testament. He is not isolating just an obscure verse; he is drawing from all three major sections of the Old Testament.
So in essence, he is putting his arms around the entire Bible. And from the Law, he will quote Deuteronomy 29 verse 4. From the Prophets, he will quote Isaiah 29 verse 10, and from the Writings he will quote Psalm 69 verses 22 and 23. So let us look at this. In verse 8, he quotes two of these passages and really just merges them together. He quotes Deuteronomy 29 verse 4 and he quotes Isaiah 29 verse 10, and they overlap in verse 8. He just kind of merges them together. “God gave them a spirit of stupor.” Please note who is doing this. This is not Satan, and this is not the sinner himself self-hardening his own heart. That self-hardening has already occurred. This is now God sealing it. “God gave them,” and please note, God is not merely observing this, God is not merely permitting this; God is actively giving them. The “them” refers to the non-elect within Israel. Those who were passed over and not chosen within the nation Israel, God gave them a spirit, meaning an inner heart, a spirit of stupor.
The word “stupor” means slumber, to be unable to respond. Literally, out of the Greek it means a prickling sensation like a bunch of needles prickling in one of the limbs of your body. And that is what happens when your arm goes asleep or when your leg goes asleep. The blood flow is cut off and you feel the tingle of all those needles and you begin to shake your arm and pull it out of what we would call, “your arm going to sleep.” That is the very word that is used here for “stupor.” It is the tingling sensation when an arm or a leg goes asleep and it represents a total inability to see or to hear what is being said. It is because you are asleep. And when you are asleep, you cannot hear. You are unresponsive to what is being said around you. And so, a spirit of stupor is you are in a state of being incapable of responding to the gospel of salvation that is being offered to you.
Now, quoting from the Deuteronomy and the Isaiah passages, both of which say this, God also further gives them “eyes to see not,” spiritual eyes of spiritual blindness so they cannot see the truth of the gospel. And God gives them “ears to hear not,” meaning spiritual ears. They have physical ears; they just do not have spiritual ears to discern and to understand and to comprehend what they are hearing. In other words, we would say today, “It is just going in one ear and out the other. Nothing is sticking to the back of the wall,” ears that are spiritually deaf that cannot hear what is being said. The mute button is pushed. You see the lips moving, but you cannot hear as far as it registering with you what is being said. It is like you are watching a silent movie and you cannot hear the words. Then it adds, “down to this very day,” referring down to New Testament times. This is a divine judgment that God has rendered upon the chosen nation of Israel, not to everyone within the nation because there is a chosen remnant, but for the vast majority of the nation they are given eyes to see not and ears to hear not by God Himself. It is a judicial verdict because they have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ who was born a Jew, came to the nation Israel, preached the gospel to them, and they completely rejected it. Now, this is nothing new.
I want you to quickly turn back to Matthew chapter 13, and I need to take you to two passages that even during the earthly ministry of Jesus this hardening was already setting in. This hardening was already in effect. And in Matthew 13 beginning in verse 10, “And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?'” Verse 11: “Jesus answered them, “To you,” referring to the disciples, “it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”
Let me just pause there. God must grant eyes to see and ears to hear in order to know the mysteries of the kingdom. You remember when Jesus said, “Who do You say that I am?” Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus said in response, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” All spiritual truth must be revealed to the heart by God Himself, and God reveals it to those who are chosen.
But back to Matthew 13, at the end of verse 11, “but to them.” Who is the “them?” It is the nation of Israel. “It has not been granted.” Verse 12: “For whoever has,” referring has knowledge of the truth, “to him more will be given, and he will have an abundance,” meaning an abundance of yet more discernment and insight because it is being continually given by God in increasing measure. “But” in the middle of verse 12, “whoever does not have,” meaning does not have the insight needed into the gospel, “even what he has will be taken from him.” Even what little insight he has, though not enough to be saved, even that little, will be taken away from him and he will be left with nothing. Verse 14, “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You,'” referring to Israel “will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing but will not perceive; for the heart of this people,” not those people out in the world, this people, the nation Israel, “has become dull. With their ears they scarcely hear.” What they scarcely hear, even that scarcely will be taken away from them. “And they have closed their eyes,” even those eyes will be taken away from them, “otherwise they would see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return, and I would heal them. But,” verse 16, “blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.”
I can tell you today if you hear and see today the truth of the gospel and have responded to it, you are unusually blessed by God. And you see what others do not see, not because you are smarter, not because you have a higher IQ, not because you are a better reader, but because God has given you eyes to see and has given you ears to hear. And He has not given that to everyone, lest they see and lest they hear and lest they be healed.
Now, let me just comment quickly on Matthew 13. Matthew 13 is given to the disciples after in Matthew 12 blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has been committed, the utter rejection of Christ by the nation Israel. And so, in order to prepare the disciples for what lies ahead as they will be sent out to preach the gospel to the Jew first and then also to the Greek, He gives in Matthew 13 the parable of the four soils, you remember? The four soils: one that is hardened, one that is shallow, one that has mixed with weeds, and only one of the four soils is receptive to the gospel. That was to prepare these disciples for what lies ahead, that you are going to have more noes than you are going to have yes. You are going to have more rejections to the gospel than you are going to have those who will receive the gospel. That was the purpose of here in Matthew 13 of all of these parables, of the good fish and the bad fish, of the wheat and the tares, etc. It was to prepare the disciples that there is not going to be a traffic jam on Sunday morning as you are going to church. It will be the few who are chosen and granted eyes to see and ears to hear. You just need to accept this on the front end and know it.
Now, come to John chapter 12. John chapter 12 occurs at the end of the public ministry of Jesus shortly before His crucifixion. And just to remind you, John chapter 13 starts the upper room discourse, the night before our Lord was crucified. So, we are close to the crucifixion. And in John chapter 12 and in verse 37, “But though He had performed so many signs before them,” the ‘them’ referring to Israel, “they yet were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke,” and he now quotes Isaiah 53 verse 1: “‘Lord, who has believed our report?'” It is a rhetorical question, the implied answer is “hardly anybody,” like almost nobody. “And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Verse 39: “For this reason they could not believe.” That is moral inability. “They could not believe, for Isaiah said again,” and he now quotes Isaiah 6 verse 10, and this is what was quoted earlier in Matthew 13 that I forgot to cite. It is Isaiah 6 verse 10, “He,” referring to God the Father, “has blinded their eyes,” referring to Israel, “and He,” God the Father, “has hardened their heart,” referring to apostate unbelieving Israel, “so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.”
So that they wouldn’t be converted, so that it wouldn’t happen, God blinds their eyes and deafens their ears and hardens their heart. This judgment had already begun to fall upon the Christ rejecting nation of Israel while Jesus was still alive during His earthly ministry before His crucifixion, but there would be a remnant who would believe, as on the day of Pentecost three thousand souls were saved but it was because God gave eyes to see and God gave ears to hear and God gave a heart to believe.
So, come back now to Romans 11. So, the reason I took us to those verses in Matthew and John is to show this is nothing new. Of course, he was quoting the Old Testament from Isaiah so it is even in Isaiah. This is how God operates. But it was already in effect while Jesus was still alive. And so, now as Paul writes Romans in about 57-58 AD, the hardening has taken place. The heavy hand of God has come down upon the Christ-rejecting nation.
So, verse 9, “And David says.” Please note it is present tense, meaning it is still in effect and it is still addressing the hour in which Paul wrote this, and it is still in effect to this very day. David continues to say this, “Let their table become a snare and a trap.” Now, a table is a place of fellowship. A table was a place of abundant provision, a place of plenty, of satisfaction, of fellowship. You remember Psalm 23 verse 5, God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. God is spreading a banquet. “Their table,” referring to the nation Israel, they had heard what the Babylonians never heard. They knew what the Assyrians and the Egyptians had never been so privileged. The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians had never sat down at a table like this to hear such gospel truth presented to them especially in the day of Christ. But they rejected, they turned their nose up at the banquet that was spread on the table for the nation Israel, untold blessing. It has all been prepared.
So, “David says, ‘Let their table become a snare.'” A snare is a trap with a string or a noose. It is a trick to catch unexpected prey, and a trap is intended to trap an animal unto death in its own destruction. “And a stumbling block,” skandalon comes into the English language as “scandal.” It is a cause for offense. That is Christ Himself who is the stumbling block. That was mentioned at the end of Romans 9 in verse 33. God says, “I lay in Zion,” referring to Israel, “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,” and then he adds in verse 9, “and a retribution to them,” the “them” referring to Israel. A retribution means a payback for what they deserve, for what they have earned. It is a recompense. It is what the word “retribution” means.
So, God is giving to guilty sinners within the nation of Israel what they justly and rightly deserve, which is eternal condemnation. God is not judging innocent parties, and God is not judging good people. God is hardening the hearts and blinding the eyes of those who have turned their nose up at the banquet feast of salvation and blessing that He has offered to them. And it underscores how critically important it is that when you hear the gospel you need to act on that, because it may not always be being offered to you in a way that you even have eyes to see it and ears to hear it. Because the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is you come to a point where you have rejected and rejected and rejected, God will just give you over to your own ways.
And that is what Romans 1 is all about. God gave them over to a reprobate mind. God gave them over to the lusts of their flesh. You hit the point of no return with God. Your day of opportunity is over. And you may still be alive, but it is as though you are already in hell because God has hardened your heart and sealed it within. So, verse 10 to complete this, “Let their eyes be darkened to see not.”
This was originally an imprecatory prayer that David offered against his enemies calling upon God to curse and judge his enemies. Paul now quotes this and puts this into his argument, even Paul appealing to God to bring this curse and this imprecation upon what God has determined to do. “Let their eyes be darkened to see not,” referring to spiritual blindness, “and bend their backs forever.”
The picture there is of slavery, of a heavy yoke, of oppressive slavery, this yoke around your neck and you are having to pull a heavy load. And the imagery here is of apostate Israel trying to work their way to God under the heavy yoke of the law, the burden of keeping the commandments in order to achieve righteousness. Their backs are bent. They cannot come out from under this heavy yoke now of a works-based righteousness. So, let their eyes be darkened to see not, and God bend their backs forever, and this quotation has the meaning of God bringing final judgment and eternal cursing upon His chosen people.
I’ll give R.C. Sproul the last word here in his commentary on Romans. “The people of Israel were blind because God made them blind. Their blindness was punishment for their sin. They did not want to see the things of God. So, as He has done throughout redemptive history, God abandoned them to their sinful desire. This is God’s poetic justice. If you do not want to hear the Word of God, be careful because God will make you deaf and then you will never hear. If you do not want to see the kingdom of God, whatever you see even vaguely will be taken away. Be careful that God does not visit you with a spirit of lethargy,” close quote.
Whenever you hear the gospel, that is a day of opportunity, and it may be that you either use it or you lose it. You either act upon it or it may be taken away. Deathbed conversions are very, very, very rare. And for someone to be converted in their seventies or even in their sixties is very, very, very rare. Most people are converted as teenagers and then in their twenties, but it becomes increasingly rare as you advance beyond that. The day comes when God turns out the lights and you can no longer see what little you see.
So how are we to respond to such strong teaching? Let me give you three words. Number one is the word “faith.” We must have faith and believe whatever the Bible says. These verses are just as divinely inspired as John 3:16. And we must receive this as the truth from God. We must humble ourselves beneath the mighty hand of God and receive this word in Romans 11 by faith. It may not make sense to you intellectually. It may trouble you emotionally. You are going to have to humble yourself like a little child and come to God and say, “I don’t have the answers. You are bigger than my mind. You are bigger than my emotions. God, you are bigger than whatever it is I feel. Lord, I extend an empty hand and I receive your Word exactly as it is written for what it says.” So, number one, faith. There is not a one of us in this room that is above this text. We are all under this text, “Let God be found true. Let every man be found a liar,” it says earlier in Romans. The first word is faith.
The second word is fear. These verses are intended to create fear in your heart and in my heart. They are not intended to tickle the ears. They are intended to strike reverence and awe and even dread in our hearts towards holy God that He is the potter and we are the clay. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” Proverbs 9 verse 10 and it is in Job 28. It is in Psalm, I shouldn’t start quoting off the top of my head, but I can see it. You just need to see what is inside my head. But when you come to the end of Ecclesiastes, it says, “The end of everything is ‘fear God.'” So, the beginning of wisdom, the end of wisdom, and everything in between is to fear God, and you never outgrow the fear of God. And I fear that there is a major part of the body of Christ that is doing everything it can to remove the fear of God. You need the fear of God, and these verses are intended to strike fear, a humble reverence and a sense of jaw-dropping, heart-pounding awe before God and to remind us who God is and who we are and how we got to where we are.
Third is the word “feast.” Let us do more than merely receive and believe these verses and these truths. Let us feast upon them. Let us delight in these verses. Let us savor these verses. Let us devour these verses. Let us ravish our soul with these verses. Here is strong meat not only to satisfy us, but to build up strong spiritual muscles within us. Here is meat intended to cause us to grow up out of infancy into manhood. Here is strong drink to produce strong believers. Let us feast on these verses and truly savor them because they are the very words of the living God.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable.” It is profitable for our own soul. So, men, this is “double predestination.” I am sure I have raised fifty questions in your minds, and I have fifty-one great answers, okay? We will continue with this in two weeks.