Romans (LXVII)

ROMANS 9:9-13 (2)

(from a transcript of a sermon preached on 10/26/08 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)


Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 9. I'll begin reading with verse 9 and go through verse 13:

Romans 9: (9) For the Word of promise [is] this, According to this time I will come, and a son will be to Sarah. (10) And not only so, but also Rebekah conceiving of one, our father Isaac, (11) for [the children] not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of the [One] calling, (12) it was said to her, The greater shall serve the lesser; (13) even as it has been written, I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau.

The last time we were here, we looked at Jacob and Esau in the Old Testament. We saw that Jacob and Esau were twins, but Esau was born first, so he had all the privileges of being the first-born. Yet God told Rebekah that the elder shall serve the younger. And in Malachi 1 verses 2 and 3, we saw that God said that he loved Jacob and hated Esau. Jacob turned out to be a conniver and a manipulator who lied to his father Isaac in order to get the blessing. And I asked all of you: Why do you think God did this? Why do you think God turned things upside-down and made the second-born first and the first-born second, and why do you think God blessed the devious Jacob instead of the hard-working Esau? Well, we just read it in verse 11. This is of the utmost importance, so I'll read it again:

Romans 9: (11) for [the children] not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of the [One] calling

Why did God do this? SO THE PURPOSE OF GOD ACCORDING TO ELECTION MIGHT STAND.

Now I'm going to ask you to think deeply about this truth. God turned things upside-down and made the second-born first and the first-born second and blessed the devious Jacob instead of the hard-working Esau in order that the purpose of God according to election might stand. What's the connection here between what God did with Jacob and Esau and His desire that His purpose according to election would stand?

Well, let's first define some terms. The Greek word for "purpose" is PROTH-es-is. It is the noun form of pro-TITH-em-ahee, which is made up of the preposition PRO, meaning "in front of," "above," or "before," and the verb TITH-ay-mee, meaning "to put," "to place," or "to set." So pro-TITH-em-ahee means "to set forth" or "to place in front of." PROTH-es-is, which is the noun we're looking at that is translated "purpose," means "a setting forth" or "that which is set forth." When you set something forth, you are SHOWING it; you are DEMONSTRATING it; you are PRESENTING it; you are DISPLAYING it; you are EXHIBITING it. It's like you have something in your hand, and you're stretching your arm out to SHOW it to someone.

This same Greek word is used in Matthew 12:4, Mark 2:26, Luke 6:4, and Hebrews 9:2 as part of the phrase "AR-toss PROTH-es-is." AR-toss means bread or loaves. So what do you think "AR-tos PROTH-es-is" means? It's translated in the KJV as "shewbread." In the LITV, it's translated as "Loaves of the Presentation." In the Old Testament, the "shewbread" was the bread that was always before God on the table, continually presented to God.

What I'd like to do now is to read through the rest of the New Testament passages that use the words PROTH-es-is and pro-TITH-em-ahee to give you a sense of how these words are used in various contexts.

Acts 11: (23) who having come, and seeing the grace of God, rejoiced. And he exhorted all with purpose of heart to abide near the Lord.

Acts 27: (13) And a south wind blowing gently, thinking to have gained the purpose, raising [anchor] they sailed along close by Crete.

Romans 1: (13) But I do not wish you to be ignorant, brothers, that often I purposed to come to you, and was kept back until the present, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among the other nations.

Romans 3: (25) whom God set forth [as] a propitiation through faith in His blood, as a demonstration of His righteousness through the passing over of the sins that had taken place before, in the forbearance of God,

Romans 8: (28) But we know that [to] the [ones] loving God all things work together for good, to those being called according to purpose;

Ephesians 1: (9) making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, (10) for the administration of the fullness of the times to head up all things in Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things on earth, in Him, (11) in whom we also have been chosen to an inheritance, being predestinated according to [the] purpose of the [One] working all things according to the counsel of His [own] will,

Ephesians 3: (11) according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,

2 Timothy 1: (9) the [One] having saved us and having called [us] with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to [His] own purpose and grace given to us in Christ Jesus before eternal times,

2 Timothy 3: (10) But you have closely followed my doctrine, the conduct, the purpose, the faith, the long-suffering, the love, the patient endurance,

We see in these passages that PROTH-es-is and pro-TITH-em-ahee speak of the showing forth of a PLAN. That's why it's translated "PURPOSE." But the English word "purpose" doesn't do full justice to the Greek. It's not merely a purpose; it is the SHOWING or SETTING FORTH of a plan. God's PURPOSE in Romans 9:11 wasn't a secret intention; it was to SHOW something. Do you see what I'm getting at?

Now let's go further into the phrase in Romans 9:11. It is the purpose of God ACCORDING TO ELECTION. The Greek word for "according to" means "concerning" or "pertaining to" or "about." So this showing forth is ABOUT something. What is God's showing forth ABOUT? It is about ELECTION. THAT'S why God did what He did - so He would show forth his purpose pertaining to ELECTION. Now if GOD is concerned about showing forth His ELECTION, wouldn't you say it's an important thing for us to know? Of course. In fact, ELECTION is an essential gospel doctrine. Without ELECTION, you don't have the gospel. Do any of you remember when I preached on ELECTION way back when I was preaching on essential gospel doctrine? Well, I'd like to go over it again.

What exactly is ELECTION? Well, the United States is planning to have a big ELECTION in a few weeks. What is done during an ELECTION? The voters vote, but is that what ELECTION means? Does ELECT mean the same thing as VOTE? No. The voters vote IN ORDER TO elect. To elect means to CHOOSE, to MAKE A SELECTION, to PICK. The Lord willing, the voters will CHOOSE the next president of the United States. That's called the ELECTION.

So ELECTION is a CHOICE. The Greek word for "election" is ek-log-AY. The verb form is ek-LEG-om-ahee. Let's read some passages of Scripture that use these words. These passages will give us a full understanding of what election means.

Mark 13: (20) And if [the] Lord had not shortened the days, not any flesh would be saved; but because of the elect whom He chose, He has shortened the days.

John 13: (18) I do not speak concerning all of you; I know whom I chose out; but that the Scripture might be fulfilled, The [one] eating the bread with Me lifted up his heel against Me.

John 15: (16) You have not chosen Me, but I chose you out and planted you, that you should go and should bear fruit, and your fruit remain, that whatever you should ask the Father in My name, He may give you. (17) These things I command you, that you love one another. (18) If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before [it has hated] you. (19) If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

Acts 9: (15) And the Lord said to him, Go, for this one is a chosen vessel to Me, to bear My name before nations and kings and the sons of Israel.

Romans 11: (5) So then, also in the present time a remnant according to election of grace has come into being. (6) But if by grace, no longer [is it] of works; else grace no longer becomes grace. But if of works, it is no longer grace; else work is no longer work. (7) What then? What Israel seeks, this it did not obtain, but the election obtained [it], and the rest were hardened;

Romans 11: (28) Indeed, as regards the gospel, [ones] hostile [toward] you, but as regards the election, beloved for the sake of the fathers.

1 Corinthians 1: (27) But God chose the foolish things of the world that the wise might be put to shame, and God chose the weak things of the world so that He might put to shame the strong things. (28) And God chose the low-born of the world, and the despised, and the things that are not, so that He might bring to nothing the things that are,

Ephesians 1: (4) even as He elected us in Him before [the] foundation of [the] world, for us to be holy and without blemish before Him in love,

1 Thessalonians 1: (4) knowing, brothers, having been loved, your election by God.

James 2: (5) Hear, my beloved brothers, did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to the ones loving Him?

2 Peter 1: (10) Therefore, brothers, rather be diligent to make sure of your calling and election; for doing these things, you will not ever fall.

So, from these passages, when the Bible talks about God's ELECTION, what does it mean? It means that God CHOOSES or HAS CHOSEN certain people. More specifically, He CHOSE to save certain people, He CHOSE to have fellowship with certain people, He CHOSE to bring certain people to heaven. Now when did this choice, this election, happen? We saw specifically in Ephesians 1:4 that He has chosen His people BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. Let's read the entire second sentence of Ephesians, which is chapter 1 verses 3 through 14:

Ephesians 1: (3) Blessed [is] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies with Christ, (4) even as He elected us in Him before [the] foundation of [the] world, for us to be holy and without blemish before Him in love, (5) predestinating us to adoption through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (6) to [the] praise of [the] glory of His grace in which He favored us in the [One] having been loved, (7) in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of deviations, according to the riches of His grace (8) which He caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding, (9) making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, (10) for the administration of the fullness of the times to head up all things in Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things on earth, in Him, (11) in whom we also have been chosen to an inheritance, being predestinated according to [the] purpose of the [One] working all things according to the counsel of His [own] will, (12) for us to be to [the] praise of His glory, the ones who had previously trusted in Christ; (13) in whom also you, hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also believing you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (14) who is an earnest of our inheritance, to [the] redemption of the purchased possession, to [the] praise of His glory.

Let's look again at 2 Timothy 1:9:

2 Timothy 1: (9) the [One] having saved us and having called [us] with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to [His] own purpose and grace given to us in Christ Jesus before eternal times,

Now let's look at Revelation 17:8:

Revelation 17: (8) The beast which you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss, and goes to perdition. And those dwelling on the earth will marvel, the ones whose names have not been written on the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, seeing the beast, that it was a thing, and is not, yet now is.

Is there any doubt when this choosing happened? Before God made the world, He chose certain people to be saved, to have fellowship with Him, and to be brought to heaven based solely on the work of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Now let's turn to 1 Peter 2. Let's read verses 1 through 10:

1 Peter 2:1-10 Then laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil words, (2) as newborn babes desire the pure soul-nourishing milk, that you may grow by it; (3) if indeed you tasted that the Lord is good; (4) to whom having drawn near, a living Stone, indeed having been rejected by men, but chosen by God, precious; (5) you also as living stones are being built a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (6) Because of this, it is also contained in the Scripture: Behold, I lay in Zion an elect, precious Stone, a Corner-foundation; and the [one] believing in Him shall not be ashamed, never! (7) Then to you who believe [belongs] the preciousness. But to disobeying ones, [He is the] Stone which those building rejected; this One became [the] Head of the Corner, (8) and a Stone-of-stumbling, and a Rock-of-offense to the [ones] stumbling, being disobedient to the Word, to which they were also appointed. (9) But you [are] an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you may openly speak of the virtues of the [One] who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (10) [you] who then were not a people, but now [are] the people of God; the one not pitied [then] but now pitied.

We see in verse 4 that Jesus Christ was chosen by God. We see in verse 5 that Jesus Christ is called "an elect, precious Stone." And we see in verse 9 that God's people are called "an elect race." Notice two other things in verse 9. First, God's people are also called "a people for possession." This has to do with Jesus Christ's POSSESSIVENESS of His people. He calls them "MY sheep" and says that they are "MINE." These are people who are Christ's own possession. Second, notice that at the end of this verse, it talks about the CALLING out of darkness into light. This darkness is the darkness of IGNORANCE, and this light is the light of the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. God does not ELECT someone and then SAVE that person and leave that person IGNORANT of the person and work of Christ. Now look at verse 8. Those whom God did NOT choose to salvation were APPOINTED to disobey and stumble at the word. This is no mere "passing by." This was an APPOINTMENT. Compare this with Acts 13:48:

Acts 13: (48) And hearing, the nations rejoiced and glorified the Word of the Lord. And as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

Who believed? As many as were appointed to eternal life. When were they appointed to eternal life? From before the foundation of the world. These people believed because they were APPOINTED to believe, just as the reprobate do not believe because they were APPOINTED not to believe. Notice that the Bible does not say, "as many as believed were appointed to eternal life." That's what the Arminians want it to say. They want to say that one's belief is what determines one's destiny. But the Bible says just the opposite. It says, "as many as were appointed to eternal life believed." It is one's PREDESTINATION that determines whether or not one will BELIEVE. Remember what Jesus said about those Jews in John 10? Let's turn over there. First, verse 11:

John 10: (11) I am the Good Shepherd! The Good Shepherd lays down His life on behalf of the sheep.

Now verse 15:

John 10: (15) Even as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

Now verse 26:

John 10: (26) But you do not believe for you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

Why did these Jews not believe? Because they were not of Christ's sheep. God chose who would be His sheep from before the foundation of the world, and Jesus came to the earth in time and died for these sheep. These Jews were people whom God had not chosen to save and for whom Christ did not die. Again, notice that election and belief are connected. What is this BELIEF to which the elect are predestinated? Belief of the TRUTH. What is this UNBELIEF to which the reprobate are predestinated? Unbelief of the TRUTH. And the truth is the gospel.

So as we delve deeper into this passage and then into the rest of this chapter, the Lord willing, let us always keep in mind the truth of unconditional election - that before the foundation of the world God chose to glorify Himself by saving a particular, elect people, and those only, from the guilt and defilement of sin, by the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, decreeing to reveal His divine love, mercy, grace, and wisdom to them, and entering into a bond of friendship and fellowship with them, by saving them through the work of Jesus Christ their Redeemer. Amen.


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