Romans 9:24: The Marvel of God’s Electing Grace
I have found that the true understanding of grace is a truth that puts everything else into perspective. When we see God’s grace clearly everything becomes clear. I remember I had a Seventh Day Adventist friend who was bogged down in a legalistic view of Christianity and it was a biblical view of grace that helped her see the truth. To see that salvation was not based on what I could earn by my works but was a free gift of God through Christ, a gift not merited, this is what set her free. If we are struggling with the assurance of our salvation because we fall short of God’s requirements even as Christians, it is knowing that we are saved by grace not my performance as a Christian that brings peace. When I am being persecuted and have to forgive someone, it is remembering that I am unworthy and God has been gracious to me; seeing that He has freely given to me I can now freely give. Likewise it is a true understanding of grace that will help us embrace the Bible’s teaching on God’s sovereign election.
This morning we continue looking at Romans 9:24. You will remember that Paul is defending the faithfulness of God to save His people. The unbelief amongst the large part of the Jews raises the question whether God is strong to save or faithful to His promises. Paul has defended the power of God and the faithfulness of God to save by showing that God never intended to save every Jew but a remnant from amongst them. Paul stated this teaching using the examples of God choosing Isaac and not Ishmael, Jacob and not Esau; Moses and not Pharaoh. Proving that God saves based not on race, or works but by grace. Paul anticipated some objections to this declaration of God’s sovereign determination in who will and won’t be saved. He anticipated the objection of God being unjust and reminded us that God is dealing with sinners and does not have to save any but has mercy on some. Paul makes the statement that God has mercy and hardens according to His sovereign will and this brought forward the anticipated objection of the apparent impossibility of our responsibility and accountability because we all only doing God’s will. Paul decides to cut the argument short by reminding us that we are creatures and have no right to challenge our maker as he addresses the heart attitude that sin breeds in criticism of God, and then he went about asking a number of questions where he highlighted how God elects for the purpose of revealing His glory. We have shown how election manifests the wrath, power, patience, mercy and glorious grace of God. And because God’s gory is our highest pursuit it is an unimpeachable motive. The questions have been asked in such a way that no answer can be given, and our challenge is seen to be unfounded. We are picking up the train of thought in verse 24 that comes on the end of the final question, lets read from verse 22-24 to get the flow, ‘What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?’ We want to focus on Paul’s amazement at the grace of God and how God’s grace comes to us.