Journal Ro 9 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he (God) says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
So, then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So, then, he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault; for who can resist his will?”
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
What if God, desiring to show his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy (which he has prepared beforehand for glory), even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” (Ro 9:14-24)
Observation: Nothing like jumping in the deep end of the theological pool to see how well I swim. Anybody interested in a case study of the Sovereignty of God?
Analysis: Yeah, this is about the doctrine of Election.
Love verses Wrath. Acceptance verses condemnation. Mean God verses Loving God. Or, bluntly: the fact that God does make decisions about who will get mercy and who will not. It is supremely difficult to wrap my mind about that.
I have had a lot of deep thinking and arguments on both sides. It is difficult to split the difference. But that is the issue; according to the Scriptures there isn’t a difference. It is Holy God and all his Incommunicable and Communicable attributes.
Ever try to make a positive argument on not everyone will be present in heaven on the Last Day? Ever think that it may be the fault of a person who didn’t present the Gospel to someone—and the whisper, “It will be your fault…all your fault, because you chickened out telling them about Jesus.”
Fact is that no matter how I present the Gospel, God saves, I don’t. I deliver the message, only God draws a person to Him…and that was not decided on the spur of the moment as if God is time-bound like I am. It was decided before anyone was born. In fact, before time began.
God is Sovereign, period. Sovereign over time and space. He makes sovereign decisions according to His own will. It isn’t just about rule; it is how He holds creation together and, etc. It is about what He PURPOSES.
There is a split that I must navigate: What God does sovereignly according to His divine and eternal PURPOSE and what He directs and commands me to do as His creature.
Hammer point: Succinctly: my obligation and pleasure is to preach, present, talk about, point to the Gospel. Humanity’s option is to respond to the Good News. Will all respond positively to the Gospel. No. But I am not God, nor have the mind of God in deducing that. So I transform my mind with the truth.
Prayer. Is there one thing that disturbs me more, Father, that I am not in ultimate control of my own life? List that up with the Sin of Adam: I want to be sovereign in my own mind, in my own skin; like Adam wanted, I would like to control my own destiny.
O Lord, somehow in your mysterious Ways on how mankind is built, I do have autonomy—but it is a dependent autonomy, not a Sovereign autonomy like Yours.
Father, I want to embrace and grow into Your Truth in this and grow in understanding. Help my foot not to slip. AMEN.