Alright, Romans chapter 9, beginning in verse 6. The title of this is “Has the Word of God Failed?” And I think it’ll be very obvious why the title is what it is.
I want to first begin by reading, starting in verse 6: “But it is not as though the Word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel, nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but ‘Through Isaac your descendants will be named.’ That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.’ And not only this, but there was Rebecca also when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac, for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad – so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls. It was said to her, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'”
Now, these are blockbuster verses, to say the least. In these verses, there is an issue that Paul is addressing, and in order to understand these verses we need to understand what is on Paul’s mind to address, and it is very simply the issue that he anticipates is on the mind of the readers, the believers in Rome, and it is what he anticipates is on your mind and on my mind. And so, Paul is like a good attorney who will bring an issue up before the other attorney can bring it up.
So, Paul wants to get this out on the table and in essence unplug a question that would hinder the readers from fully buying in to everything that he is saying. And here is the issue: God has promised to bless the nation Israel. God promised Abraham to make him the father of a great nation, but look around. Israel is now hardened in unbelief. Israel is now apostate. And that was true not only in the first century; that is true today. And so, any thinking person would ask the question, so what happened to the Word of God? What happened to the promises of God because God promised to make Israel a great nation and to pour out spiritual blessing upon the nation Israel, right?
And we just looked in Romans chapter 8 that those whom He foreknew He predestined, He justified, He called, He glorified. There is an irrevocable, unalterable, eternal purpose of God in sovereign election. And the nation Israel, that’s the chosen people of God and the election of God it’s irrevocable. So, what happened? Why are the chosen people, it doesn’t appear to be they’re chosen? So, that’s the issue on the table. And if you’re thinking, and I know you’re thinking, then this has to be addressed.
Now, as we wade into Romans 9, we are wading into some deep waters, okay? And so, we are going to have to take our time as we go through this because any one verse could raise fifty questions, and so we want to address this. So, by way of introduction, let me just give you a big picture here just for a moment. There are three questions that Paul will address and raise and answer, and these serve as the markers through this chapter.
The first deals with verse 6, which I just raised, “Has the Word of God failed?” That’s in verse 6. And so, from 6 to 13, he will answer this question, “Has the Word of God failed?” “Has the promise of God failed?” Second question is in verse 14, “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there?” The second question is, “Is God unjust?” Because when you look at the doctrine of election, when you initially look at it you might come to the conclusion, that’s not fair for God to choose some and to pass over others. So, Paul knows that that’s on the forefront of the readers’ minds and on your mind and my mind. So, in verses 14 through 18, he will address that question, is God unfair, is God unjust to choose some but not others?
Then in verse 19 is the third question, and in verse 19 we read, “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?'” And that question is, how can God still hold us responsible? If God chooses, how does He still hold me responsible? Or to put it another way, why does God still blame us?
So, with each of these questions, these are questions that Paul anticipates is raised in the mind of the reader and in the mind of anyone who is confronted with these truths. And these are questions that I have raised. It is not unspiritual to necessarily raise these questions, though we will see with the third question Paul will slam the door shut and he will say, “You have gone way too far with God. It’s none of your business to cross-examine God. Keep those questions to yourself. God is God; you’re not.”
So, with that last question, it will be very direct. You will want to be here for that study. So, we are working away. This is like climbing a mountain. This is like climbing Mount Everest, alright? And it’s just going to go higher and higher and higher.
So, here we begin the ascent up. And I’ve got three headings to give you now as we look at verses 6 through 13, and I’m not certain we are going to get through all of this, alright? So, the first heading is the affirmation of Scripture, the affirmation of Scripture, and that is in 6a. So, Paul begins, “But it is not as though the Word of God has failed.”
Though he doesn’t state it in a question, in his mind he knows people are asking this question, “Has the Word of God failed? You promised You were going to bless Israel, and Israel is hardened in unbelief, and the church is now becoming a Gentile church.” So, this is what Paul will address. It is not as though the Word of God…and when he says “the Word of God,” he is referring to the promises that God gave to Israel. The word “failed,” it’s not as though the Word of God has failed, literally means “to fall,” like to fall over, to fall and no longer stand.
So, it’s not as though the Word of God is no longer standing, is it? And so, Paul, as we go through this chapter, I just want you to see this, he is so brilliant the way he addresses this. He will use the Old Testament in the rest of this chapter to show, “No, the Word of God has not failed.” And he won’t just say it, he’ll show it. And so, what I want you to see, on my little piece of paper here I just went through all the verses and I’ll just say this rather quickly, but you can jot down some of these if you care. There are fifteen Old Testament citations that beginning in verse 7 going to verse 33, and Paul will use the Old Testament Scripture to show that the Old Testament Scripture has not failed. So, do you understand his pedagogy, the way he’s teaching this?
So, let me just show you this and you can just let your eye go down the page. In verse 7, he quotes Genesis 21, verse 12. In verse 9, he quotes Genesis 18:10, and then it echoes in verse 14. So, maybe it’s sixteen citations. In verse 12 is Genesis 25:23. In verse 13, it’s Malachi 1:2 and 3. And if you use the New American Standard, like I do, these are in all capital letters. So, you know it’s an Old Testament quotation with the New American Standard because they’re put in all capital letters to help the reader understand what’s going on. In verse 15, he quotes Exodus 33 verse 19. In verse 17, it’s Exodus 9 verse 16. In verse 25, it’s Hosea 2 verse 23. In verse 26, it’s Hosea 1 verse 10.
And I’m reading all this just so you will even feel the impact of what Paul’s doing. In verse 27, it’s Isaiah 10:22 and it’s also Genesis 22:17 and it’s Hosea 1 verse 10. In verse 28, it’s Isaiah 10 verse 23, and in verse 29 it’s Isaiah 1 verse 9, and in verse 33 it’s Isaiah 28 verse 16 and Isaiah 8 verse 14.
Now, that was a mouthful to go through all that, and I hope I didn’t lose you. It sounds almost like I’m reading a phonebook, you know, going through all this, but there’s a point to be made that the Old Testament Scripture has not failed. And as Paul will make his argument, he will actually use the Old Testament Scripture to show that the Old Testament Scripture has not failed, that it was this way all along.
So, he affirms the Old Testament Scripture. That’s number one. And we all know that. It’s impossible for God to lie. “The Word of God is living and active. It’s sharper than any two-edged sword.” “Heaven and earth will pass away before the Word of God will pass away.” Isaiah 40, verse 8: “The grass withers, the flower fades away; but the Word of our God abides forever,” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All of God’s promises are “Yea,” and “Amen,” 2 Corinthians 1.
So, Paul begins by affirming that everything that was said in the Old Testament, even specifically about the future salvation of Israel, everything is going according to God’s eternal purpose and plan. There has been no deviation from the Word of God. The Word of God has not fallen over and collapsed. It’s standing stronger than it’s ever stood before. So, that’s the first thing to see.
Now, the second half of verse 6 is the second heading, and it’s the clarification of Scripture because Paul now will clarify what he just stated at the beginning of verse 6. Now, this clarification is a very important clarification because it’s the key that will unlock the door that will let us into the following verses. It’s the key that will unlock the door.
So, he says in the second half of verse 6, “For they.” Who’s the “they?” The “they” is ethnic Israel. The “they” is physical Israel. The “they” is someone who is born a Jew, a child of Abraham, okay? “For they.” Yeah, Dan, that would be you, alright? There you are right there. “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” Now what does that mean, because it almost sounds like kind of double-talk, or…what does that mean?
What this means is the first mention of Israel is “spiritual Israel.” It is, “believing Israel.” The second mention of Israel is the same as the “they.” It’s “physical Israel.” So, here’s the principle, here’s the point that within the larger circumference of ethnic Israel there is a smaller concentric circle that is the remnant, the believing remnant. And while God has chosen the entire nation to be His instrument, within physical Israel there is a smaller Israel that is the true Israel, that is the spiritual Israel.
Let me put it another way. The larger circle are those who are born a Jew. The smaller inside circle are those who are born and born again a Jew. So, that’s the point that Paul is making for clarification. And the promises in the Old Testament Scripture were not made to the physical Israel as it relates to salvation. God never promised to save every Jew. The promise was for the remnant, and it was the remnant that He chose for salvation. Those are the ones whom He will call out of the nation into a saving relationship with Himself.
Now, this is an important principle for us to understand because it’s easily applied to today. Well, first of all, not every Jew is a believing Jew. Dan here is a believing Jew, but the nation Israel is apostate right now. There are a relative handful. So, it’s grace upon grace, Dan. But the principle also applies to the church in this sense. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not a replacement theology guy. The church has not replaced Israel. Israel is still Israel. However, everybody who goes to church isn’t a believer. There are a lot of people who have a name on a church roll, but their name is not on the Lamb’s book of life or in the Lamb’s book of life.
Not all the church is the church, just like not all Israel is Israel, and it’s possible to be in a church building and not be a believer just like it’s possible to go into McDonald’s and you’re not a hamburger, okay? It’s possible to sit in a garage and that doesn’t make you a car. And you can just come to this Bible study, and that doesn’t mean that you’re a Christian or a believer. Now, we are thrilled you are here, but what this means is every one of us must be absolutely certain that we are born again, that we have a personal saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. So, that’s the clarification that Paul is making. You won’t think that the promises of God have failed if you only understand that not all Israel is Israel, and God said it was that way from the very beginning. So, in essence, Paul is saying, “You need to go back and re-read your Old Testament,” because even in the Old Testament God said there would be a saving remnant within the nation.
So, that leads us now to the third heading, which is the illustrations from Scripture, and that is in verses 7 through 13. Paul, master teacher that he is, the clarification wasn’t necessarily enough, he now wants to set before us two examples so that I can show you what I am saying. And the two examples he will set forth, Abraham and his sons, that’s in verses 6 through 8. And then, he will set forth Isaac and his sons. That’s verses 9 through 13. So, these are premier examples. These are not obscure examples that we don’t even know who this is. He begins with the father of the entire nation of Israel, Abraham, and then he goes to one of the sons of Abraham, Isaac. And by doing this, Paul is showing it was this way from the very beginning. Not all of Abraham’s sons believed, and not all of Isaac’s sons believed. So, when this stream first began to flow, there was a separation in the stream even as it began to flow. There began to be two tributaries flowing from the fountain.
So, let’s begin with the first, and it’s Abraham and his sons starting in verse 7, “Nor are they all children.” Who are the “they?” The “they” is the same as the “they” in verse 6. The “they” refer to “sons of Abraham.” And when we say “sons of Abraham,” we mean physical sons of Abraham. That doesn’t necessarily mean spiritual sons, just physical sons of Abraham. So, he says “nor are they all children.” And when he says “children,” and you’ve got to keep your eye on the bouncing ball here, “children” here refers to “sons of God,” “spiritual sons of God.”
So, he’s reinforcing the clarification that he just made at the end of verse 6, “nor are they all children.” All the children are not children. There are physical children, and within physical children there are spiritual children. So, he’s reaffirming that, and now he will, as we’ll go in verse 7, you’ll see where he is headed with this. “Because,” and when he says “because,” let me put it in the vernacular. We would say, “just simply because.” They are not all children just simply because they are Abraham’s descendants.
In other words, no one is born a believer. You have to be born again to be a believer. Back when I pastored, we used to have people write their testimony when they wanted to come join the church. And every once a while, I would get one of those testimonies where someone would say, “Oh, I’ve always been a believer. I have always been a Christian.” And we just like flashing red lights. “Timeout,” you know, “Come to the side,” lovingly, graciously, pastorally, but evangelistically, explain to them no one has always been a believer. No one was born into this world a believer. You have to be born again after you have been born in order to be a believer.
So, that’s the point Paul is making in verse 7. “Nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants.” So, this is like John 1, verse 13, “who were born not of flesh, nor of the will of man, nor of,” there is another “nor,” I’m going blank, “but of God.” No one, just because your father is a believer doesn’t mean you’re a believer. That’s the point. God has many children, but He has no grandchildren, okay? Everyone has to be personally born again.
So, let’s continue the verse now. “Nor are they all children because they are descendants, because they are Abraham’s descendants, but,” and the “but” indicates “rather,” “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” Now we go, “Now, wait a minute. Abraham had two sons. There was Ishmael through Hagar and there was Isaac through Sarah,” but what Paul is clarifying here is that it was Isaac, that son, is who God chose to save, not Ishmael. God passed over Ishmael and God chose to save Isaac. That’s abundantly clear. God was good to Ishmael. God gave him temporal blessings. He just did not choose him for eternal blessings, and so it was through Isaac. And he is quoting now Genesis 21 verse 12. So, even within Abraham’s sons, don’t miss this point, even within Abraham’s sons, Abraham being the father of the nation, not all of his physical descendants were believers, even with Abraham.
Now, continue to follow this, “through Abraham your descendants,” and if you have the ESV, I think it says, “seed.” It’s a Greek word sperma, which comes into the English language as “sperm.” The idea is procreation. “Through Isaac your descendants,” your offspring, I guess maybe that’s what the ESV has, “offspring,” he’s talking about spiritual offspring, “will be named.”
Now, I was digging around last night on this word “named,” and I thought, “So what does that mean?” Your translation may say “appointed.” So, I looked it up, and literally it is the word “called,” like the effectual call of God. And just like we saw in Romans 8:28 and 29, let me just remind you of that, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” That was verse 28. Then verse 30, “And these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called,” the very same Greek word. And just so you will note this, at the end of verse 11 it says, “so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls.” There it is again. Then in verse 24, “even us, whom He also called.” Verse 25: “I will call those who were not My people My people,” and in verse 26, “There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
So, there is this sovereign effectual, irresistible call of God that goes to those whom God has chosen, and in this case, it was not Ishmael, but it was Isaac. And we’ll see in a minute, within Isaac’s family it wasn’t Esau, it was Jacob. So, not all Israel is Israel is the point. So, in verse 8, Paul being the good teacher that he is, he in essence says, “Let me explain myself more carefully.”
So, verse 8 begins, “That is,” and good teachers are always using that phrase “that is,” “in other words,” “this is to say,” “let me restate that,” “simply put.” So that’s what Paul is doing here. He is just using repetition yet with different words. “That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God.” So, it is not those who are born physically a Jew who inherit salvation. I mean, you can be a Jew and go straight to hell, just like you can be a Gentile and go straight to hell. It’s those who are the children of God.
So, please make a stark contrast in verse 8 between the children of the flesh and the children of God. The children of God are those who are born again. The children of God are those who have been sovereignly elected and effectually called by God, and that again is the remnant, the smaller concentric circle within the larger nation among Israel. So, just remember what Paul is addressing is, “Hey, the Word of God has not failed. God said in His Word from the very beginning, even with Abraham’s family, they’re not all going to be children of God.”
And we’ll see in a moment even within Isaac’s family, they’re not all going to be children of God. So, in the middle of verse 8, we get to the “but,” and so he goes, “but the children of the promise.” “Children of the promise” is the same as “children of God” because God promised to save them. The children of the promise are regarded as descendants. And your translation may say “are counted as offspring.” “Regarded,” for those of you who work in the financial world, this “regarded” is an accounting term, logizomai, you can hear “logarithms” and “logic” in that, and it’s a very definite counting and calculating.
The children of the promise, they are the ones who are counted by God as descendants, meaning “spiritual descendants.” So, the point is very clear. The Word of God has not failed. God never purposed to save the entire nation of Israel. God only purposed to save a remnant within Israel, just like it is in the church, just like it is in America. People say, “Well, we once were a Christian nation.” We were never all saved. I mean, there were a bunch of people that were saved, Whitefield and Edwards and the Great Awakening, but there were scores of unconverted people. Not all people even in a so-called Christian nation are born again. So, that’s the point that Paul is making here.
Now, verse 9 will explain the content of the promise and why this promise is invincible and cannot fail, because the promise of God is executed by His sovereign call. So, let’s look at verse 9. “For this is the word of promise.” And the word was actually spoken by God to Sarah and to Abraham, “For this is the word of promise.” And the promise deals with the promise to save, the promise to make this one an object of God’s grace. So, he now quotes Genesis 18 verse 10. And Paul is a real expositor. I mean, he is just spitting out verses right and left. He is pulling the whole Bible together to make this point. He is using Scripture to teach Scripture. He is using Scripture to interpret Scripture. He is using Scripture to illustrate Scripture. This is tremendous. So, he quotes the verse, “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Now, this son refers not to Ishmael; it refers to Isaac. And the speaker of this is God, and it goes back to Genesis 18 and it’s what we call a “theophany,” could be a “Christophany,” which means an appearance of God or an appearance of Christ before He entered this world. I mean, Jesus came to this world in the form of the angel of the Lord before His virgin birth. There were some isolated periodic times when Christ the second Person of the Godhead appeared, and this is one of those. In Genesis 18, there were three angels that appeared. Two were created angelic beings, one was the Angel, capital A, of the Lord, and the word “angel” just means messenger.
So, Christ appeared as “the Angel” of the Lord, the One sent with the message of the Father. So, don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying Jesus is an angel like some Mormon teaching. No, He is simply referenced as “the messenger of the Lord” with God’s message. And this is God’s message, “I will come.” And the idea there is God will come and divinely intervene in the life of Sarah who is so old, she has passed the age of being able to conceive and bear a son. “I will come and Sarah shall have a son,” and that “shall” is a “shall” of divine certainty. It is a “shall” of divine invincibility that God will cause it to happen, and it will be a miraculous conception and it will be a miraculous son. And in some ways, it’s a foreshadowing by type of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He too would be born of a miraculous birth. And in some way by type, it is a foreshadowing of your new birth that that was a miraculous birth that it would have been impossible for you to have been born again, except God came and intervened in your spiritually dead heart, just like Sarah’s womb was physically dead, God caused it to live and for there to be life in that womb.
And so, that’s the point that Paul is making as he quotes Genesis 18, that those whom God has chosen to save, God can make it happen. God will sovereignly, powerfully, supernaturally come and intervene in that life. And just like Isaac was supernaturally physically born, God can also cause the one chosen to be spiritually born. That’s the point that God is making.
So, let’s look now at verse 10. We go now to Isaac’s sons. The point has been made that not all Israel is Israel. Isaac had one son that was chosen to be saved, another son that was not chosen to be saved. I guess I need to make this application. Even within families today that go to church, not everyone is necessarily saved. And you can have the same physical father and you be saved, but one of your siblings is not saved. That’s the way it was with Abraham.
And for those of you who are fathers, if one of your sons is not a believer, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have done a horrible job being a father because even with Abraham, one believed, the other did not believe. There are the eternal purposes of God that will be worked out according to God’s own purpose. Now, someone may say, and it’s usually wives and mothers, “Wow, then I don’t want to have any more children because I don’t know that they’ll be chosen.” You’re not wiser than God. You’re not more loving than God. God will do exactly what’s right with each of your children. You just witness to them, love them, bring the gospel to them, take them to church, bring them to where the gospel is, pray for their salvation, but you just have to leave the results to God. Mom, you can’t save your children. Dad, you can’t save your children. Only God can save your children. You do your part, but at the end of the day God must do His part.
So, this leads us now to verse 10, and I’d love to just look at verses 10 through 12, and we’ll pick up verse 13 next Thursday if we can do it that way. So, he keeps the logic going, and he comes to the second illustration now in verse 10. Excuse me, earlier I said it was versus 6 through 9. Yeah, okay, it was 6 through 9. I may have said Isaac’s sons were 9 through 13. I meant 10 through 13. You may need to correct that.
So, now we are in verse 10, “And not only this.” That’s a way of saying…we would put it this way if I was just verbally speaking, “Well, let me give you another example.”
“And not only this, but there was Rebecca also.” So, we were just talking about Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Now, let’s talk about Rebecca who is Isaac’s wife, “when she had conceived twins.” Now, I can understand this. I have a wife who conceived twins, and those twins are Jacob and Esau, “by one man, our father Isaac.”
So, we understand the concept here. Verse 11, “for though the twins were not yet born.” So, it’s prenatal, I mean, in reality it’s before the foundation of the world. “For though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad.” So, what he is about to say, it will have nothing to do whether Jacob or Esau do this or don’t do that, it has nothing to do with them. “So that God’s purpose.” Now, you remember God’s purpose. That was in Romans 8:28. He says, “We know God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God to those who are called according to His purpose.” That’s talking about God’s eternal purpose. That’s talking about God’s eternal decree. That’s talking about God’s sovereign will from all eternity past. That’s talking about Plan A, and there is no Plan B. That’s what God’s purpose is.
“According to His choice.” His choice here is referring to sovereign election, unconditional election, that Ephesians 1 verse 4, those whom God the Father chose by Himself and for Himself to be the chosen bride for His Son. God’s purpose according to His choice would stand.
And I think there’s an intentional contrast between verse 6, where he says, “It’s not as though the Word of God has failed,” and the word “failed” means “to fall.” He now contrasts with, “No, God’s choice stands.” God’s choice and God’s purpose can never fall over. “Not because of works,” so it’s not on the basis of anything that God supposedly would have foreseen in Jacob or Esau but, so in other words here’s the way it actually is, “but because of Him,” God the Father, “who calls.” And the call brings into effect the result of His choice and purpose. So, God makes His choice based upon His purpose, and the call brings it into reality within time. The purpose and the choice is in eternity past, the call is within time.
And the call is so powerful that when God calls that one whom He has chosen, they will respond because the Spirit of God will draw them and convict them and give them repentance and faith and then regenerate them. They will then in turn call upon the name of the Lord because they have first been called.
Now, look at verse 12. “It was said to her,” and Paul now quotes Genesis 25:23, “The older will serve the younger.” Timeout. God just reversed everything because it’s the younger who serves the older, and what God is establishing here a principle is that God most often chooses the most unlikely ones to be His. God delights to reverse the way you think it would be. And so, often God chooses the one that appears to be the furthest away from Him and passes over the one that we would have said, “Oh, that’s the next one to be saved. I’m sure of that.” God delights in doing the unexpected. God delights in passing over the one we think would be the first-round lottery pick and reaching the one that for us would be the one that was never drafted, the most unlikely one.
And that’s what happens here in verse 12. God completely reverses the order. Now, I’m just going to touch on verse 13, and I need more time for next week to unpack verse 13, but let me just kind of wade out, and then we’ll have discussion among ourselves and then anyone who wants to email us.
Verse 13, “Just as it is written,” and so Paul just keeps quoting Scripture. And so, there’s a double authority as Paul quotes Scripture. It would have been enough for Paul as an apostle to say it is this way, but for Paul as an apostle to now quote Scripture, this is like two nails into the board to fasten it.
“Jacob, I loved but Esau I hated.” And so, even within Isaac’s household, within the nation of Israel at that point, and at this point the nation Israel is just Abraham and Sarah and Isaac. And, you know, Rebecca is now kind of grafted in and now these two twins. It’s a pretty small circle of a nation at this point. God chooses to love Jacob. And when He says, “Jacob, I loved,” that means, “Jacob I have chosen to love and to save.”
And we know that from Romans 8:29 when he says, “Those whom He foreknew,” which means those whom He previously loved or those whom He previously chose to love. Now, “but Esau I hated,” and what that means is not that He loved Esau less, but that He actually rejected and because of His holiness and because of Esau’s unholiness, He actually had animosity for Esau, and rightly so because Esau left in his sin was a flagrant violation of the holiness of God.
Now, next week I want to develop this, and there are other positions on this, and I want to acknowledge those and talk this out with you. But at this point, what you simply need to see is that God chose Jacob, and He did not choose Esau. That, we can at least agree on that. And that even at the very beginning when there’s only a handful within the nation, they weren’t all children of God, Esau was never a child of God though he was a child of Abraham and a child of Isaac.
So, the Word of God has not failed even in Paul’s day in the first century when Israel rose up and crucified the Lord Jesus Christ and rejected Him and refused their Messiah, and the gospel then went to the Gentiles and Gentiles began to flood into the church. It wasn’t as if everything God said in the Old Testament had been invalidated. No, God is a promise keeper. God kept His Word because God never promised to save all Israel to begin with. It didn’t happen in Abraham’s family. It didn’t happen in Isaac’s family.
Now, just a couple of points of application and then we’ll open it up and Ken if you have got anybody coming in or texting us, emailing us.
If you are in a family where all your children are believers, you are blessed, beyond blessed, beyond blessed, beyond blessed, beyond blessed, because it’s not an automatic thing. God has opened the windows of heaven and poured out His mercy and His grace upon your household. You should be so stunned at the goodness and mercy of God. That’s number one. Number two, this should not prevent you from having children. You should have children, and you should bring the gospel to them, but it’s the same for your children just like it is for the people who live across the street. You can’t guarantee anyone’s salvation. You are going to have to leave the matter with God who does what’s right.
And in these next questions that Paul will raise, we will see God is not unjust and God is not unfair, because “fair” would be God would choose no one and God would leave everyone in their sin. It’s mercy that God even chose and loved Jacob. It’s mercy that God even saved Isaac. It’s mercy that God even saved you. But it is not unjust for God not to save everyone.
So, we need to understand we don’t want fair; we want mercy. We don’t want justice; we want mercy. You don’t want what you deserve, let me put it that way. You want what you do not deserve because of the Lord Jesus Christ. So those are the two primary points of application that I want to make here. And just to reinforce the main one at the end, God’s Word will never fail.
And if there seems to be a contradiction, it’s not in the Bible. It’s in our understanding. The limitation is with you and me. It’s not with God, I promise you. And it’s not in the Word of God. It’s just that we need more clarification. We need better understanding, but the Scripture never contradicts itself and the Scripture never fails.
And there may be a few knots tied, a few places in the Bible that you can’t quite sort out. You may just have to live with it, but be assured there is no problem in the book. The problem is with our understanding, and it may take another world before we actually have a few of those knots untied.