Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thoughts on Romans 9:15 (click here for NET Bible)

I want to thank Pastor Mark Forstrom for his blog post yesterday. He did a great job at explaining how a person can study only one verse and get much from it. He even showed how you could do it by using Bible.org study tools. Be sure to check it out at pastormark.ncbcsrhigh.org (the link is on the side panel of my blog).

The verse for today is a quote taken from Exodus 33:19. In order to understand the thrust of what Paul is saying you need to read the context of Exodus 33:19. A good place to start is chapter 32, verse 1.

Paul quoted Exodus 33:19 to show that God’s extends mercy according to His sovereign choice. It is in reference to Israel’s idolatry while Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. The whole nation deserved to be destroyed according to God’s justice. However, only 3,000 people died because of God’s mercy. They died not because they were more wicked or less godly. Every Israelite stood guilty before a just God and deserved to die. God extended mercy to the rest of the nation.

Now if we approach the killing of these 3,000 Jews from a human viewpoint, our response would be, “Oh my goodness! How could God kill 3,000 Jews just like that?” However, if we respond from a Biblical view, our response would be, “Oh my! How could God not kill all of the Jews? What a merciful God!”

Because all of humanity is sinful and deserves God’s condemnation, no person is wronged or treated unjustly if God chooses to allow him or her to receive the just punishment for sin. That is justice. His mercy toward any person is purely by His grace. The issue in such matters is God’s sovereign choice. As the sovereign God, He declares, “I will mercy on whom I have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mark did do a great job yest. and today(today there seems to be difficulty sending comments on his blog). And you as well, Bob, with Sunday's message and today's note. Sobering passages and all I could think was/is "be still and know that I am God" and, yet, when I go back to Ex. 32 & 33 and all but shudder contemplating God's holiness there is yet the boldness and confidence of Moses asking God to show him His glory (33:18). In the mystery of His grace and mercy/justice and righteousness He still calls us to draw near with confidence. No fear, no insecurity but drawing near through faith in Christ to a Holy God.
The passage that has been most on my mind the past three days is Matthew 15:21-28. Jesus telling the Caananite woman that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and that it's not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs. "But she said, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Jesus told her that her faith is great!
How humbling. How unbelievable.
And as you said Sunday, Bob, "God is righteous in choosing whom He will save." Having mercy on whom He chooses. Having compassion on whom He chooses. He is a great and awesome God.
Diane T.