Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad–in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls–she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. Romans 9:10-18 (NIV)
Today’s reading is not easy to understand. It’s not easy to swallow. It sounds as though God chooses some and others He rejects.
Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad–in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls–she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Romans 9:11-12 (NIV)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
Which was also the case for Jeremiah.
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” John 1:45-48 (NIV)
Before any words were spoken, His watchful eye was on Nathanael. And on the night before Jesus died, He told the disciples,
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16
It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. Romans 9:16 (NIV)
God chooses all mankind through the works of Christ, His Son. Our standing in God’s favor has always been about His mercy toward us in Jesus Christ, which means you…
…have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 1 Peter 1:2 (NIV)
If you read today’s reading in isolation, God is a capricious chess player, playing with each of us as pawns. Read it in the context of chapters 9-11, and the entire book of Romans starting in 1:7, and you can’t help but see God chose us out love.
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7 (NIV)
…the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 (NIV)
What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. Romans 3:9 (NIV)
We are not better, we simply believe by grace and now, a…
…righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)
Heavenly Father, I thank You that I have been justified through faith, and now have peace with YOU through my Lord Jesus Christ. Thank You, O Lord, my God, for Jesus Christ my Lord and my Savior. Amen.