ROMANS 9:9-13 (3)
(from a transcript of a sermon preached on 11/9/08 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)
Let's turn again to Romans 9, verses 9 through 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.
This is my third sermon on this passage, and many more could be preached, but we'll move on after this one, the Lord willing. Last time, we looked at the word "purpose" and the word "election." The Greek word for "purpose" means "a setting forth" or "that which is set forth." It is a demonstration, a presentation, an exhibition. The Greek word for "election" means "choice" or "selection." And we saw that God's election was from before the foundation of the world.
Now with this in mind, let's go back to Romans 9 verse 11 and go into what the Holy Spirit through Paul said at the beginning of this verse. You might have thought that I mistakenly passed over this, but there's a method to my madness, as hopefully you'll see.
Let's look at the first phrase in verse 11: "for [the children] not yet being born." The words "the children" are in brackets or in italics, meaning that these words are not in the original Greek and are added for clarification. But it's obvious that it's talking about the children from the context when you look at verse 12 where it talks about the greater and the lesser, and verse 13 where it talks about Jacob and Esau. This is talking about before the greater and the lesser were born -- before Jacob and Esau were born. It is important to note here that the Greek word for "born" is a general word meaning "to procreate" or "to produce" or "to conceive." So don't get into your mind that this is just talking about the time when Jacob and Esau came out of their mother. It is really talking about their time of conception within their mother. Now look at the second phrase in verse 11: "nor having done any good or evil." Obviously, before Jacob and Esau existed, they had not done anything good or bad, righteous or wicked. People who have not yet been conceived into the world haven't yet done anything good or anything evil. Okay, do we understand the first two phrases? This is talking about Jacob and Esau, before they were born, and before they had done anything good or evil. Okay?
We've already gone over the "the purpose of God according to election," and now we're going to skip down to verses 12 and 13. Now other translations such as the KJV and Young's Literal Translation have the entirety of verse 11 in parentheses, and you can see why they did this. Verse 11 is an interjection between verses 10 and 12. So I'll read verse 10 and then 12 and 13:
Romans 9:(10) And not only so, but also Rebekah conceiving of one, our father Isaac, (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.
Do you see how this follows? Verse 10 speaks of Rebekah, and then 12 continues with "it was said to her," meaning Rebekah. So we see what was said to Rebekah, which is something we went over last time, which is that the greater shall serve the lesser. This was in response to Rebekah's asking God what was going on inside her, when the two unborn children were struggling with each other. As I said last time, in the Old Testament, the first-born son had the position of preeminence. Yet God said that the firstborn was going to be UNDERNEATH the second-born and that the second-born was going to RULE OVER the first-born and get the privileges that the first-born would have had. This was something totally unexpected.
But Paul goes even further than the greater serving the lesser, doesn't he? Verse 13 is a verse that most religionists can't stand. Now most of them won't come out and say they can't stand it; instead, they will either reword it or try to explain it away. The most common way to reword it or explain it so it's less offensive to carnal minds is to say that the word "hated" really means "loved less." So, instead of God saying, "I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau," they make God say, "I loved Jacob, and I loved Esau less." Or, to reword the KJV, they make God say, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I loved less." I can't make this stuff up! The following quote is from Kenneth Wuest, who was one of the translators of the New American Standard Version and has his own translation of the New Testament called the Wuest Expanded Translation. In his Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, he says this: "The word 'hate' is miseo [mis-EH-o], 'to hate.' However, when it is used in contrast to 'love' here, it does not retain its original meaning of literal hatred, but of a lesser degree of love. God cannot be said to hate anyone. The idea is, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau, I loved less.'" Really, Mr. Wuest? God cannot be said to hate anyone? This is astounding coming from a Bible translator who must be familiar with the passages that I put forth in my sermon on God's hatred of certain people. But no, according to Wuest, God does not hate anyone - God does not hate all workers of iniquity, God does not hate the wicked and the one loving violence, God does not hate liars, God does not hate the perverse hearted, and God does not hate everyone proud in heart. And Wuest says that since hate is contrasted with love in this passage in Romans, then hate doesn't retain its original meaning. What?? So whenever hate is contrasted with love, hate doesn't mean hate anymore? Wouldn't any sensible person see that by the VERY FACT that hate is contrasted with love here, that hate is the EXACT OPPOSITE of love? Oh the lengths to which people will go to make God less than God. Even Strong's Dictionary says that the Greek word mis-EH-o, which is equivalent to the English verb "to hate," means, "to detest; by extension to love less." Really, Mr. Strong? You, of all people, who know how this Greek word is used in other passages, would dare say that it means to "love less"? Well, let's expose this heresy by going to some passages where this Greek word is used, and I will insert "love less" to show how absurd this is.
Matthew 10:21-22: "But brother will betray brother to death, and [the] father [his] child. And children will rise up against parents and will put them to death. And you will be loved less by all on account of My name, but the [one] enduring to [the] end shall be kept safe."
Matthew 24:9-10: "Then they will deliver you up to affliction, and will kill you, and you will be loved less by all nations because of My name. And then many will be offended, and they will deliver up one another and will love one another less."
Luke 6:22: "Blessed [are] you when men love you less, and when they cut you off, and will reproach [you], and will cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man;"
Luke 19:14: "But his citizens loved him less and sent a delegation after him, saying, We do not desire this one to reign over us."
Luke 21:17: "And you will be loved less by all because of My name."
John 15:18-19: "If the world loves you less, you know that it has loved Me less before [it has loved] you [less]. 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 loves you less." Oh, hey, Mr. Wuest! Here's a passage that contrasts love and hate! According to you, that means that the "hate" here MUST mean "love less"! And since Jesus talks about the world hating believers in many other passages, all of the other passages MUST mean "love less" as well!
John 15:23-25: "The [one] loving Me less also loves My Father less. If I did not do the works among them which no other did, they had no sin. But now they both have seen and also have loved Me and My Father less. But that may be fulfilled the Word that has been written in their Law, They loved Me less undeservedly."
John 17:14: "I have given them Your Word, and the world loved them less because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world."
Titus 3:3: "For we also once were senseless, disobedient, being led astray, slaving for various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, loving one another less."
Hebrews 1:9: " You have loved righteousness and loved lawlessness less; because of this God, Your God, has anointed You [with] the oil of gladness beside Your fellows." Here's another contrast between love and hate. So people like Kenneth Wuest would have to say that Jesus Christ did not hate, despise, and detest lawlessness, but He merely loved lawlessness less than he loved righteousness. Do you see how blasphemous this is?
1 John 2:9: "The [one] claiming to be in the light, and loving his brother less, is in the darkness until now. The [one] loving his brother rests in the light, and no offense is in him. But the [one] loving his brother less is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness blinded his eyes." Here's another contrast of love and hate.
1 John 3:13-15: "Do not marvel, my brothers, if the world loves you less. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love the brothers. The [one] not loving the brother remains in death. Everyone loving the brother less is a murderer, and you know that every murderer does not have everlasting life abiding in him." Here's yet another contrast of love and hate. Notice that it not only contrasts LOVE and HATE but LOVING THE BROTHERS and NOT LOVING THE BROTHER. Thus, HATE is equivalent to NOT LOVING. Do you see that? Jacob have I LOVED, and Esau have I NOT LOVED. There was NO LOVE for Esau - not even a lesser degree of love.
Jude verse 23: "But save others with fear, snatching [them] out of the fire, loving less even the garment being stained from the flesh."
Revelation 2:6,15: "But you have this, that you love the works of the Nicolaitans less, which I also love less. .. So you also have those holding to the teaching of the Nicolaitans, which thing I love less."
Revelation 17:16: "And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will love the harlot less, and will make her desolated and naked. And they will eat her flesh, and will burn her down with fire."
Thus far the Greek word for hate. Most of these passages are talking of people hating other people. But what of God's hatred? Well, I preached a series of sermons entitled "What God Hates," and I'm going to take some passages from that series and replace "hate" with "love less," and you will see how utterly blasphemous and abominable this notion is.
Psalm 5:4-6: "For You [are] not a God enjoying wickedness; nor shall evil live with You. The boasters shall not set themselves before Your eyes. You love all workers of iniquity less. You shall destroy those speaking lies; Jehovah will despise the man of blood and deceit." Since people like Kenneth Wuest say that God cannot be said to hate anyone, then to them, this passage must mean that God loves boasters, but just to a lesser degree than He loves non-boasters. It must mean that God loves workers of iniquity, but just to a lesser degree than He loves those who do not work iniquity. It must mean that God loves those speaking lies, but just to a lesser degree than He loves those who are not speaking lies. It must mean that God loves the man of blood and deceit, but just to a lesser degree than He loves the man who is not one of blood and deceit. How twisted is this? Look at what the passage REALLY says. It says that God will DESTROY those speaking lies and will DESPISE the man of blood and deceit. God's hatred is compared with His DESTRUCTION and DESPISING of the hated ones. These people will not set themselves before God's eyes. He utterly DETESTS and LOATHES them.
Psalm 11:5: "Jehovah tries the righteous, but His soul loves the wicked and the [one] loving violence less." According to this blasphemous notion, God loves the wicked and the lover of violence, but just to a lesser degree than He loves the righteous.
Proverbs 6:16-19: "These six [things] Jehovah loves less; yea, seven are hateful to his soul; a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots evil plans, feet hurrying to run to mischief, a false witness who breathes lies, and he who causes strife among brothers." According to this blasphemous notion, God loves those with a proud look, with lying tongues, with hands that shed innocent blood, with hearts that plot evil plans, and with feet that hurry to run to mischief; he loves false witnesses who breathe lies and those who cause strife among brothers, but He loves these people LESS than His people who are humble, honest, peaceful, law-keepers.
Now for passages on false worship:
Deuteronomy 16:22: "And you shall not raise up for yourself any standing image, which Jehovah your God loves less."
Isaiah 1:11-14: "What good to Me [are] your many sacrifices, says Jehovah? I am sated [with] burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fattened cattle, and [the blood of] bulls; nor do I delight in the blood of lambs and he goats. When you come to see My face, who has required this at your hand, to trample My courts? Do not add to bringing vain sacrifice; [its] incense is an abomination to Me. I cannot endure the new moon and sabbath, the going to meeting, and the evil assembly. My soul loves your new moons and your appointed feasts less. They are a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing [them]."
Amos 5:21-23: "I love less, I despise your feast days; and I will not delight in your solemn assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not be pleased; nor will I regard the peace offerings of your fat animals. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; and I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments."
According to the blasphemous notion of "loves less," God loves the idolatry, the feast days and solemn assemblies and sacrifices of the wicked; He just loves them less than the true worship of true believers. As you can see in these passages, hatred is equated with despising and considering something an abomination.
Okay, is that enough for you to see that this notion that "hate" means "love less" is a blasphemous abomination? We are to HATE their definition of HATE. And when they define HATE in this way, it shows that they HATE God and God HATES them. The TRUE definition of HATE is the OPPOSITE of love. It is not a LESSER love. It is a loathing, an abhorrence, a detesting, an execration. There is not one drop of love in this. God loved Jacob and hated Esau.
Now let's put God's love for Jacob and hatred for Esau in context. Let's go back to Romans 9 and read the beginning of verse 11 again: "for [the children] not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil". Before the children were born and had done anything good or evil, God loved Jacob and hated Esau. First, let's ask WHEN God first loved Jacob and hated Esau. We know it was before they were born or conceived. But how long before that did God love Jacob and hate Esau? Was it a few days? A few weeks? A few years? A few hundred years? Well, remember what we went over about ELECTION. We saw that the Bible is clear that ELECTION is something that happened BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN. So when did God love Jacob and hate Esau? From ETERNITY PAST.
But why did God emphasize that it was before Jacob and Esau had done anything good or evil? Think about it. God loved Jacob before Jacob had done anything good, and God hated Esau before Esau had done anything bad. Why is that such an important point? Because it shows that election and reprobation are UNCONDITIONAL. They are not based on ANYTHING that Jacob or Esau did or did not do. Now you will encounter some false religionists who say that God looked down through time and saw who would believe and then chose to save them, which is an utterly ridiculous and blasphemous notion. That makes salvation conditioned on what God foresaw man would do, and it would make God's choosing merely an empty gesture, since it was man who chose his own destiny, and God just affirmed it. But the truth in this passage is undeniable. God's choosing, God's election to life and reprobation to death, is completely, absolutely, totally WITHOUT PRECONDITION. God did not decide to save Jacob once He found out that Jacob would be a good person or would believe. God did not decide to damn Esau once He found out that Esau would be a bad person or would not believe. God's decision was based purely on His own sovereign will, with nothing to do with the will of the sinner.
Let's first look at God's love for Jacob. Let's look back at Romans 8:29-30:
Romans 8: (29) because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated [to be] conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be [the] First-born among many brothers. (30) But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Let's apply this to Jacob. God foreknew Jacob. That means He loved Jacob from before the foundation of the world. And God's love for Jacob was manifested by His predestinating Jacob, calling Jacob, justifying Jacob, and glorifying Jacob. Now do you remember what Jacob was like? Do you remember the things he did? He was a jerk in his early life, wasn't he? He was a manipulator and a deceiver. Yet God loved him from before the foundation of the world. Do you see how this shows that God's love is unconditional and has nothing to do with God seeing that Jacob would do anything good? God particularly used Jacob to show His purpose according to election. He purposefully made it so Jacob was not someone whom anyone would think was "deserving" of God's electing love. God used Jacob to make a point. And this point resonates with all of us who are believers. Jacob was conceived in sin. He was a wicked sinner from the time he was first alive. That's the same with all of us, isn't it? We were all conceived in sin and were wicked sinners from the time we were first alive. We were all children of wrath, just like the rest, and we all deserved eternal punishment in hell. But God, in His sovereign grace and mercy, chose to save Jacob and give Jacob all the blessings of salvation, just as God chose to save us and give us all the blessings of salvation. Our salvation is not based on anything we have done, are doing, or will do. It is purely of God's sovereign grace. And God, in His grace, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for all whom He chose from before the foundation of the world. And He conditioned all of salvation, from regeneration to final glory, on the work of His Son, so that no one can boast. Did Jacob have a boast? No. I'm sure he looked back on his younger days and was disgusted with his wickedness and praised God for saving him not based on anything he did, but based solely on the blood and righteousness of the coming Messiah. In Genesis 32:28, God changed Jacob's name to Israel, and the nation of Israel was named after him, and even the spiritual Israel takes his name. What a change from the young deceiver. And it was all because the God of love, in His sovereign grace, chose to save this undeserving sinner based on the work of Jesus Christ, God the Son. Praise God for His marvelous grace!
Now let us look at God's hatred of Esau. God hated Esau from before the foundation of the world. And God's hatred of Esau from before the foundation of the world had nothing to do with His foreseeing that Esau would be a wicked unbeliever, because if that were the case, then God would be making decisions based on what man would do. Before Esau had done anything bad, God hated Esau and predestined him for hell. This predestination for hell is sometimes called reprobation. A person who is predestined for hell is sometimes called a reprobate. Esau was a reprobate. He, too, was conceived in sin and was a wicked sinner from the time he was first alive. But, unlike Jacob, God did not predestine to save him. Instead, God predestined to harden him in his sin while he was alive and then to justly punish him in hell when he died. God has mercy on whoever He wants to have mercy, He pities whomever He wants to pity, and He hardens whom He wants to harden. Esau did not have a choice in the matter. Esau's state and eternal destiny was determined purely by God in His righteous sovereignty. This is called Unconditional Reprobation. Now of course the Arminians hate this doctrine - that's a given. But did you know that most who call themselves Calvinists hate this doctrine as well? They will claim to love Unconditional Election, where God chooses to fellowship with a certain people from before the foundation of the world, and that choosing is totally unconditional, not based on anything in the person. They will say that God elected Jacob not based on anything in Jacob. Yet when it comes to reprobation, they turn into conditionalists. They say that God reprobates a person based on something in the person. They say that God reprobated Esau based on something in Esau. And who better to articulate that heretical notion than the most popular Calvinist himself, Charles H. Spurgeon? Spurgeon does such a great job in putting forth the position of conditional reprobation, I'll just give you an extended quote from him, which is from his sermon on January 16, 1859, entitled "Jacob and Esau." His text is Romans 9:13. Here is some of what he says about the election of Jacob:
"But now the second point of my subject is, WHY IS THIS? Why did God love Jacob? why did he hate Esau? Now, I am not going to undertake too much at once. You say to me, 'Why did God love Jacob? and why did he hate Esau?' We will take one question at a time; for the reason why some people get into a muddle in theology is, because they try to give an answer to two questions. Now, I shall not do that; I will tell you one thing at a time. I will tell you why God loved Jacob; and, then, I will tell you why he hated Esau. But I cannot give you the same reason for two contradictory things. That is wherein a great many have failed. They have sat down and seen these facts, that God loved Jacob and hated Esau, that God has an elect people, and that there are others who are not elect. If, then, they try to give the same reason for election and non-election, they make sad work of it. If they will pause and take one thing at a time, and look to God's Word, they will not go wrong.
"The first question is, why did God love Jacob? I am not at all puzzled to answer this, because when I turn to the Word of God, I read this text;--'Not for your sakes, do I this saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways O house of Israel.' I am not at a loss to tell you that it could not be for any good thing in Jacob, that God loved him, because I am told that 'the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election might stand, not of works but of him that calleth.' I can tell you the reason why God loved Jacob; It is sovereign grace. There was nothing in Jacob that could make God love him; there was everything about him, that might have made God hate him, as much as he did Esau, and a great deal more. But it was because God was infinitely gracious, that he loved Jacob, and because he was sovereign in his dispensation of this grace, that he chose Jacob as the object of that love. Now, I am not going to deal with Esau, until I have answered the question on the side of Jacob. I want just to notice this, that Jacob was loved of God, simply on the footing of free grace."
Now I will go to what Spurgeon says about the reprobation of Esau:
"Now, the next question is a different one: Why did God hate Esau? I am not going to mix this question up with the other, they are entirely distinct, and I intend to keep them so, one answer will not do for two questions, they must be taken separately, and then can be answered satisfactorily. Why does God hate any man? I defy anyone to give any answer but this, because that man deserves it; no reply but that can ever be true. There are some who answer, divine sovereignty; but I challenge them to look that doctrine in the face. Do you believe that God created man and arbitrarily, sovereignly--it is the same thing--created that man, with no other intention, than that of damning him? Made him, and yet, for no other reason than that of destroying him for ever? Well, if you can believe it, I pity you, that is all I can say: you deserve pity, that you should think so meanly of God, whose mercy endureth for ever. You are quite right when you say the reason why God loves a man, is because God does do so; there is no reason in the man. But do not give the same answer as to why God hates a man. If God deals with any man severely, it is because that man deserves all he gets. In hell there will not be a solitary soul that will say to God, O Lord, thou hast treated me worse than I deserve! But every lost spirit will be made to feel that he has got his deserts, that his destruction lies at his own door and not at the door of God; that God had nothing to do with his condemnation, except as the Judge condemns the criminal, but that he himself brought damnation upon his own head, as the result of his own evil works. Justice is that which damns a man; it is mercy, it is free grace, that saves; sovereignty holds the scale of love; it is justice holds the other scale. Who can put that into the hand of sovereignty? That were to libel God and to dishonour him;
"Now, let us look at Esau's character, says one, 'did he deserve that God should cast him away?' I answer, he did. What we know of Esau's character, clearly proves it. Esau lost his birthright. Do not sit down and weep about that, and blame God. Esau sold it himself; he sold it for a mess of pottage. Oh, Esau, it is in vain for thee to say, 'I lost my birthright by decree.' No, no. Jacob got it by decree, but you lost it because you sold it yourself--didn't you? Was it not your own bargain? Did you not take the mess of red pottage of your own voluntary will, in lieu of the birthright? Your destruction lies at your own door, because you sold your own soul at your own bargain, and you did it yourself. Did God influence Esau to do that? God forbid, God is not the author of sin. Esau voluntarily gave up his own birthright. And the doctrine is, that every man who loses heaven gives it up himself. Every man who loses everlasting life rejects it himself. God denies it not to him--he will not come that he may have life. Why is it that a man remains ungodly and does not fear God? It is because he says, 'I like this drink, I like this pleasure, I like this sabbath-breaking, better than I do the things of God.' No man is saved by his own free-will, but every man is damned by it that is damned. He does it of his own will; no one constrains him."
Really, Mr. Spurgeon? So, according to you, Mr. Spurgeon, Esau was damned based on his own character, deserving that God should cast him away because of what he did during his life. But what about verse 11? You used verse 11 to show that Jacob was loved before he had done anything good or evil, but where is verse 11 when it comes to Esau? You conveniently fail to mention verse 11 when speaking of Esau. Verse 11 is talking about BOTH CHILDREN, Mr. Spurgeon. Before Jacob OR ESAU had done anything good OR EVIL, God loved Jacob and hated Esau! Mr. Spurgeon, you try to say that God loved Jacob not based on anything good in Jacob, and you use verse 11 to do so. Then you go and say that God hated Esau based on the evil that Esau had done during his life! What a fool you are! And what a fool any other Calvinist is who swallows this nonsense. How plain can it be? Before the children had done anything good or evil, God loved Jacob and hated Esau. The truth is simpler than the heresy! People like Spurgeon have to go through theological contortions to wriggle out of what the Bible plainly says! And if Spurgeon and his ilk were correct in their interpretation, why would there even be a need for a verse 14 answering the objection that there is unrighteousness with God? But that is for another time, the Lord willing.
Let's turn back to Romans 9 verse 11 and look at the last half of the verse. "That the purpose of God according to election" - what? "MIGHT STAND." The Greek word for "stand" means "abide, remain, stay." There is no wavering in God's election. There is no changing based on what man does. There is no fluctuation, vascillation, or hesitation. There are no prerequisites that man can meet, must meet, or is enabled to meet. God's election is not conditional. The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal: The Lord knows them that are his, and let every one who names the name of Christ depart from unrighteousness.
The last part of the verse says, "Not of works, but of the [One] calling." There you go. God's purpose according to election is in direct opposition to salvation by works. If you believe in salvation by works, then you don't believe in election. If you believe in election, then you don't believe in salvation by works. If the salvation of a sinner is based on God's choosing to save someone from before the foundation of the world, then how can it be based on the sinner's works? It can't. Salvation is, from beginning to end, a work of God. The one calling is God. As we see back in Romans 8:29 and 30, those whom God loved beforehand, He predestinated, called, justified, and glorified. The "calling" part of this chain is when God calls His people from unbelief to belief, from darkness to light, from death to life, from being servants of sin to being servants of righteousness, from bondage to liberty. They are called to newness of life. This is the effectual gospel call. And this call is not made effectual by man's free will. God doesn't call and then wait for the sinner to respond to the call of his own free will. When God calls a sinner from darkness to light, He DRAGS that sinner to Himself - and that sinner is not kicking and screaming when he is being dragged, but he is happily and thankfully dragged, because he knows his life has been saved.
Is the sovereign God of unconditional election and unconditional reprobation the one you worship? Do you worship the God who chooses to save and damn not based on anything in the person or on anything the person does? Or do you worship Spurgeon's god? The truth is that before the twins had done anything good or bad, God chose one and rejected the other. And instead of choosing the first-born and rejecting the second-born, He chose the second-born and rejected the first-born, to show us that His choosing is not based on tradition or works or man's sense of fairness or anything else but HIS OWN PERFECT WILL, so there is NO ROOM FOR FLESH TO GLORY. It is ALL FOR GOD'S GLORY. It shows, once again, that God's actions are UNCONDITIONAL. God does not accept or reject, love or hate, show mercy or harden, based on ANYTHING that man does. He does everything to the praise of His glory, and His glory alone. Amen.