Faithlife Sermons

God's Sovereignty, Man's Responsibility

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:06:31
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Last Session: God’s Sovereignty, Our salvation
Divine Perspective - Unbreakable Chain of Salvation
It is ok to have disagreement about this word (i’m calvinist)
To be foreloved, God has chosen to set His love on a people for His great name
Predestined - Has a set destination and a course (be like Jesus)
Called - Internal effectual calling / draws us to beauty - grants faith, will to believe
Justified - Declared right through Jesus’ sacrifice
Glorified - (Now and Not Yet) Marching towards eternity
Morals - Killing Sin
Character - Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace)
Physically - We will be restored
Nothing can separate us from God’s love
Not my sin
Not my guilt
Not my suffering
Not death
He will not fail, He is dedicated to His plan for His own glory.
But Paul… what about Israel?
Romans 9:1–5 ESV
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
True: Nation of Israel, benefited from God’s covenant
Adoption - God would be a Father, they His children
Glory - Visible, cloud of God’s presence “Shekinah”
Covenant/Promises - They would be blessed, provided for, giving an inheritance
Law - God;s direction for worship, identity, society
Temple - Sacrificial system to atone for sin
Patriarchs - A observable history of God’s mercy/grace
True: Many of God’s covenant people have been cut off
They have rejected Jesus - signs, miracles, testimony
They stand condemned - judgement, condemnation
Are His plans frustrated? Has He changed His mind?
This is important…you just said we have similar promises in Christ.
We are adopted
We see the glory and beauty of God
We have an eternal inheritance
We have the Spirit guiding our lives
Jesus was our sacrificial lamb
Will God change His mind, will this succeed?
Paul: Listen, God has not failed

There is an Ethnic Israel and a True (Spiritual) Israel.

Romans 9:6–9 ESV
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Who is the true Israel?
Not all of those physically descended “belong”
Not all children of Abraham are “named”
The children of “promise are counted

True Israel consists of children of promise.

What is special about this promise?
The example of Abraham Gen 18:10
Abraham had been waiting on God to give him an heir to the covenant promise.
He decides to “help” God out
I will get an heir, I will fulfill the covenant
Sarah gives him Hagar
Hagar gives birth to Ishmael
Years pass and God comes to visit Abraham
God: Next year, Sarah will have a son
Abraham, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You” Gen 17:18
Look, I helped…use my efforts, let’s do this my way
God: My covenant will be filled by my provision
Your situation seems hopeless (old age)
But my grace (Isaac’s birth) will glorify my name
Let what the God of the Universe accomplished here be known
Is this not a picture of Salvation?
You cannot work, earn, merit, deserve it...
It is by God’s plan, from God’s provision, to God’s praise
All of those “in Christ” are children of promise
Romans 4:22–25 ESV
That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

True Israel consists of children of purpose.

Romans 9:10–13 ESV
And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What is special about this purpose?
The example of Jacob and Esau Gen 25:23
God sets His love on Jacob, but Esau He “loves less”
Not based on different parents
Not based on age
Not based on what they would do later in life
SO, God’s purpose of election might continue
God is not responding to their future actions
God is not responding to their potential
God is choosing, calling Jacob for His own purpose
Again, is this not salvation?
The Divine Chain (foreknew, predestined, called, justified, glorified)
Not based on God’s need or our potential
We have done nothing to merit/deserve His grace
God has set His love on everyone who is “in Christ” for His own glory
Paul will now begin to answer two perceived objections...
Is God Just?
Is God Fair?

Paul is exalting the sovereignty of God, but he does not nullify the responsibility of man.

Romans 9:14–18 ESV
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he 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.
Is God Just in extending grace to some and wrath to others?
We are all like Pharaoh (used to display God’s judgement)
Who is this God that I should listen to him
I am Pharoah, I can do whatever I desire
It was the same in lie in the garden
You will not surely die…your eyes will be opened, you will be like God
They saw the fruit looked good, and it was to be desired to make one wise
Who is this God that I should listen...
It is the same in Romans
Romans 1:18 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Romans 1:21–22 ESV
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
Again, we see “Who is this God… I do not know Him, and I do not need Him”
What does Paul mean by hardening?
Jonathon Edwards:
When God is here spoken of as hardening some of the children of men, it is not to be understood that God by any positive efficiency (active effort) hardens any man's heart. There is no positive act in God, as though he put forth any power to harden the heart. To suppose any such thing would be to make God the immediate author of sin. God is said to harden men in two ways: by withholding the powerful influences of his Spirit, without which their hearts will remain hardened, and grow harder and harder; in this sense he hardens them, as he leaves them to (their own) hardness. And again, by ordering those things in his providence which, through the abuse of their corruption, become the occasion of their hardening. Thus God sends his word and ordinances to men which, by their abuse, prove an occasion of their hardening.
God is allowing Pharoah to continue to reject the words and revelation of God given through Moses by Pharaoh's own will
God is not CAUSING rejection, He is allowing it
Pharaoh's is held responsible for his own rejection
All of Humanity is like Pharoah
If left to our own self-centered will, we will reject God and we are held responsible for this rejection (condemned)
But God grants grace to those on which He has set His love for His own glory

God is just in holding the individual responsible for their rejection of Him, and He is sovereign in extending His grace to whomever He pleases.

Romans 9:19–24 ESV
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 to 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?
Is this fair? Who does God think He is?
We MUST continue to frame this on the truth, that Our Sovereign God of the Universe can do whatever He pleases, He is God.
Suppose Bill Gates decided to give 25 seniors at North High full scholarships to the college of their choice. Even though he could afford to give every senior a full ride, no one could accuse him of being unfair to anyone…He is under obligation to no one.
The next question that rises in us: How does He choose?
Mark Driscoll “duck duck damn”
God has already answered the question...
I will give mercy on whomever I give mercy
It doesn’t depend on your actions
It doesn’t depend on your approval
It doesn’t depend on your judgement
How dare we have the audacity to attempt to put God on trial as if He would ever answer to us!
As a parent:
My children want to do something
Sometimes I give them reasons (dangerous/money/age)
Sometimes “because I said so”..drives them crazy
But sometimes my reasoning is too complex for their young minds to comprehend
I could explain it, but they still wouldn’t get why?
Here God has said, “because I am God…and I said so”
Sometimes, because I AM must be enough
So even if I don’t comprehend all that this scripture teaches, I trust a good, right, perfect Father...
I am going to quote John Piper here:
The will to believe is saving, and the will not to believe is damning. We are held responsible for both. But underneath both is God’s free and unconditional election of who will be saved and who will not. The elect believe. The non-elect do not believe. We are not sovereign, self-determining, autonomous beings. Only God is. How God renders certain the belief and unbelief of men without undermining our accountability I do not fully understand.
If this stretches your mind to the breaking point, better that your minds be broken than that the scriptures be broken. And even better yet would be to let your mind and heart be enlarged rather than broken, so that they can contain all that the Scriptures teach.
As much as we want to believe it, salvation is not about us, the Bible is not about us, it is about God and His glory, and His decisions are centered on the best way to make much of Himself.
God COULD have saved none, some, or all
If He had saved none - He wouldn’t be displaying the beauty of His mercy and grace
If He had saved all - He wouldn’t be displaying His divine perfect judgement and wrath
So He saves some so that both can be gloriously displayed
God shows His mercy/grace - salvation to undeserving sinners
God shows His righteousness, judgement, wrath to those who by their own will reject Him.
Paul gives us two more scriptures that say this:
If we are born again, the cause is God in His grace, He is responsible. If we reject Him and we stand condemned, we are held responsible for our our own rejection.
Romans 9:25–29 ESV
As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”
Again, we see all humanity is lost, we all deserve wrath, but that God is saving some in spite of their rejection.
God has not failed, He is claiming a people for Himself, from both the Jews and the Gentiles because His plan from eternity past was to set His love on some all for the glory of His great name.
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