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Romans 9

For those who like to discuss and debate theology. This is a forum for people who enjoy strong and lively debate with people who may not be likeminded. Participants are requested to always treat other opinions with respect.

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Paula22466
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Romans 9

Postby Paula22466 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:48 pm

9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 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— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
(Romans 9:9-14)

After Paul tells the church why God chose Jacob over Esau, (vs 11) he anticipates their response by asking them if they think this means God is unjust. If Paul meant to say that God chose Jacob because He looked down the corridors of time and saw that Jacob would choose Him, why would anyone think that God was being unjust?
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown

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Re: Romans 9

Postby extraordinary » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:17 pm

Why no interest in Romans 6 and Romans 8, both of which come first?

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Re: Romans 9

Postby Paula22466 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:01 pm

extraordinary wrote:Why no interest in Romans 6 and Romans 8, both of which come first?

I'm interested in the whole Bible. But since I created this thread, I can ask any question I'd like. Are you interested in answering?
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown

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Re: Romans 9

Postby kerrylou1 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:17 pm

There is a conclusion to Paul's presentation of election in Romans chapter nine that concludes the whole matter for us. My own personal belief is that Paul is actually stating God's righteousness in electing salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and not the election of individuals as is so often portrayed.

As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 9:33

Simply put "Whosoever" means it could apply to anyone: you, them or me. The only way you can logically exempt someone from "whosoever" is by completing the statement, which calls for action, "whosoever believeth on Him". I must accept then that anyone who believes on him is a part of the whosoever - they are partakers of the promise.

Do they choose to believe, or does God make them believe? I am entirely disposed to leave that to God.

Did I choose to believe? Well, I said to God, "The life I live is yours. I give myself to you."

Does that constitute a choice?

Did God make me believe? Yes, he healed me as an infant and its the reason I made my declaration.

Could I have done anything else than what I did? Are we asking, "Did God hold a gun to my head?"

If so the answer is no.

However I did not perceive there was any other choice [I suppose there was hypothetically but it never crossed my mind], I heard, I reasoned, I concluded, I proclaimed.

However I do not see election in myself. Christ died for me and I am saved not, Christ died for me because I am saved as predestinational [new word, hah] election seems to suggest.

Whosoever is a word that you cannot escape in the Gospel. We must preach because others must believe.
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Re: Romans 9

Postby carpenterdaughter » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:25 am

I'm going to try to answer the question I think Paula was originally asking. Why would people think God was being unjust to choose Jacob over Esau. Paul knew that people want to believe that there is something they can do to effect God's choosing--people want to believe that God chooses us based on our merits because if we can believe that, we can believe that we are in control--that the outcome of our lives is ordered and arranged around what we do or don't do.

The problem with believing this is that in order to believe that we are capable of the kind of righteousness that would make us acceptable to God, we would have to completely deny the truth about our fallen natures. Something terrible happened to ALL of us when Adam and Eve first disobeyed. We all fell. God didn't have to choose either one, but He did choose Jacob because He intended to have a people for Himself. He revealed Himself to Jacob and made promises because He chose to use Jacob to play a role in His plan of redemption. What Jacob had that Esau didn't was God's choosing of Him.

Yes, we have choices to make in this life--but those choices are ordained by God. He is the potter, and we are the clay. Really, it's that bottom line . . . who made me? Who gave me life? Why was I born where I was born under the hearing of the Word? Why was I in church that day to respond to the gospel? Did I, a walking dead person, even have sense enough to know there was something wrong in me?

When you are created by God, for God, there will be a day and time when the Holy Spirit awakens your heart and gives you life. It is an act of His grace and mercy that any of us have eyes to see and believe who Jesus is. It is a supernatural act of God Himself, and I believe that when more and more BAC's or regenerated believers or Christians or whatever label you want to put on us begin to truly understand who we are and how we came to be who we are, the more we will begin to truly glorify Christ and the Father in heaven. We will give praise where praise is due and be saying, like the saints in Revelations, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain."

Our fallen natures are what keep us from doing this more and more now (and I include myself in this). We want everything to be about us. We think God redeemed us through Christ so that the main focus of our existence here would be to clean up our own sin--and, I am NOT saying that it is okay for us to continue to sin, so please don't misunderstand me. I AM saying that we were created to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and all our minds and all our souls and then love our neighbors as ourselves. To love Him this way, not only do our hearts have to be miraculously given new life and a new object of affection, but we also MUST see the beauty of what He has done for us. We don't deserve it, but we have it. It is hard to accept that truth because you have to give up the idea that your "good behavior" earns something for you--even after you have been born again.

We can't gloss over ALL of what we know. We are unfinished in this life--our ultimate completion is not going to come until Jesus' return and our resurrection--when we are given new bodies and the sin nature is gone FOREVER. Yes, we must fight against that sin nature while we live, and we will because the new life inside us hates that part of us, but it will not be gone until we are resurrected. We remain here, outside of ultimate Glory, playing our parts in fulfilling ultimate Glory because GOD WILLS IT. He made us, He chose us--this is His story we are living, not ours. God does not change His plans according to human behavior. If you believe that, I think you need to really question . . .doesn't that put the ultimate power in man's hands and not God's? That is a frightening thought, in my opinion. Beyond frightening, it's actually idolatry.

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Re: Romans 9

Postby Paula22466 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:56 pm

kerrylou1 wrote:There is a conclusion to Paul's presentation of election in Romans chapter nine that concludes the whole matter for us. My own personal belief is that Paul is actually stating God's righteousness in electing salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and not the election of individuals as is so often portrayed.


"electing salvation through faith in Jesus Christ"? Your opinion of the text I quoted is that Paul is defending God's righteousness of choosing faith in Christ as the means of salvation? Then how does vs 15 & 16 make sense? 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. Would you not say Paul is clearly talking about God's sovereignty and mercy, not on who has faith? He even spells it out when he says "it depends not on human will." So, he is specifically talking about individuals, because he mentions the names of individuals (Jacob, Esau, Pharaoh). Jumping ahead to verse 33 (as you did) Paul is now talking about Israel's unbelief and why they stumbled. The "whoever" you've spoken of is just that - "whoever believes." It doesn't say who believes, it says the one who believes "will not be put to shame." If we want to know who the "whoever" is we must go back to vs 18 and find "whomever he wills," so the "whoever" is not anyone who exercises their faith in Christ, it is whomever God chooses.

Let's say you are correct and Paul is not talking about the election of individuals based on God's sovereign choice but based on who would have faith in Christ. Still, why would anyone claim that God is being unrighteous if everyone (Jew and Gentile) get the same opportunity? And why would Scripture state in vs 18 that God "has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills"? Baffling. Why does Paul once again, in vs 19 anticipate the churches question,“Why does he still find fault?" if Paul is not talking about God electing individuals? No, it seems obvious to me the only reason the church would ask, "Why does he still find fault?" is if they wanted to know why God would condemn a man who was not regenerate if God was doing the election of His own sovereign will, not based on man's will.

Did I choose to believe? Well, I said to God, "The life I live is yours. I give myself to you."

Does that constitute a choice?


Yes.
Did God make me believe? Yes, he healed me as an infant and its the reason I made my declaration.
Huh?

Could I have done anything else than what I did? Are we asking, "Did God hold a gun to my head?"

God doesn't need to hold a gun to anyone's head. All who come do so willingly.
Whosoever is a word that you cannot escape in the Gospel. We must preach because others must believe.

We must preach because that is the means God has chosen to call His own. Our preaching does not make people believe - only God can do that.
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Re: Romans 9

Postby Opinion8ed » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:37 am

Hey Paula! Haven't been here for ages and was glad to see you are still around. Unfortunately I don't really have time to answer the question but really wanted to say hi. Of course it is an issue I have thought about a lot over the years like we probably all have. So I'm going to come back tomorrow and give you my two cents. :D Hope everything is good with you.
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Re: Romans 9

Postby jo555 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:55 am

Paula22466 wrote:9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 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— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
(Romans 9:9-14)

After Paul tells the church why God chose Jacob over Esau, (vs 11) he anticipates their response by asking them if they think this means God is unjust. If Paul meant to say that God chose Jacob because He looked down the corridors of time and saw that Jacob would choose Him, why would anyone think that God was being unjust?


Kinda skimmed through the responses as short on time, but I personally don't believe Paul is making a case for foreknowledge, but a case for the Potter having the right to do whatever He chooses to do with the clay . . . and knowing how to balance the scales . . . more patience being given to his objects of wrath . . .
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: Romans 9

Postby jo555 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:50 am

carpenterdaughter wrote:I'm going to try to answer the question I think Paula was originally asking. Why would people think God was being unjust to choose Jacob over Esau. Paul knew that people want to believe that there is something they can do to effect God's choosing--people want to believe that God chooses us based on our merits because if we can believe that, we can believe that we are in control--that the outcome of our lives is ordered and arranged around what we do or don't do.

The problem with believing this is that in order to believe that we are capable of the kind of righteousness that would make us acceptable to God, we would have to completely deny the truth about our fallen natures. Something terrible happened to ALL of us when Adam and Eve first disobeyed. We all fell. God didn't have to choose either one, but He did choose Jacob because He intended to have a people for Himself. He revealed Himself to Jacob and made promises because He chose to use Jacob to play a role in His plan of redemption. What Jacob had that Esau didn't was God's choosing of Him.

Yes, we have choices to make in this life--but those choices are ordained by God. He is the potter, and we are the clay. Really, it's that bottom line . . . who made me? Who gave me life? Why was I born where I was born under the hearing of the Word? Why was I in church that day to respond to the gospel? Did I, a walking dead person, even have sense enough to know there was something wrong in me?

When you are created by God, for God, there will be a day and time when the Holy Spirit awakens your heart and gives you life. It is an act of His grace and mercy that any of us have eyes to see and believe who Jesus is. It is a supernatural act of God Himself, and I believe that when more and more BAC's or regenerated believers or Christians or whatever label you want to put on us begin to truly understand who we are and how we came to be who we are, the more we will begin to truly glorify Christ and the Father in heaven. We will give praise where praise is due and be saying, like the saints in Revelations, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain."

Our fallen natures are what keep us from doing this more and more now (and I include myself in this). We want everything to be about us. We think God redeemed us through Christ so that the main focus of our existence here would be to clean up our own sin--and, I am NOT saying that it is okay for us to continue to sin, so please don't misunderstand me. I AM saying that we were created to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and all our minds and all our souls and then love our neighbors as ourselves. To love Him this way, not only do our hearts have to be miraculously given new life and a new object of affection, but we also MUST see the beauty of what He has done for us. We don't deserve it, but we have it. It is hard to accept that truth because you have to give up the idea that your "good behavior" earns something for you--even after you have been born again.

We can't gloss over ALL of what we know. We are unfinished in this life--our ultimate completion is not going to come until Jesus' return and our resurrection--when we are given new bodies and the sin nature is gone FOREVER. Yes, we must fight against that sin nature while we live, and we will because the new life inside us hates that part of us, but it will not be gone until we are resurrected. We remain here, outside of ultimate Glory, playing our parts in fulfilling ultimate Glory because GOD WILLS IT. He made us, He chose us--this is His story we are living, not ours. God does not change His plans according to human behavior. If you believe that, I think you need to really question . . .doesn't that put the ultimate power in man's hands and not God's? That is a frightening thought, in my opinion. Beyond frightening, it's actually idolatry.


How nicely put . . . me thinking Carpenter's Daughter has a gift for teaching.

Anyway, that noted . . . not sure if we agree, yet I do believe God will change his mind and plans according to human behavior, but only as it fits into the larger picture of what He is doing.

One example is how He changed his mind about starting over with Moses on Mount Sinai. If He had it would not have taken away from his promise . . . from what He was doing overall.

I believe some would argue that due to God being omniscent, it isn't a change of plans as He planned for that anyway. I think that is a matter of perspective, but that's me.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: Romans 9

Postby jo555 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:42 am

Continuing from my previous post.

I do believe God does leave certain matters in our own hands . . . Again, as it does not move out of the boundaries of his overall will and what He is doing.

I believe God has given me gifts and talents, yet I can hide them or misuse them, and I can miss the opportunity for Him to work mightily through on many ocassions. I can miss my minor destiny, but not my major destiny as that is in his hands.

One time I asked God about moving to another state and I believe what He showed me was that it would be hard times for me there. At the time I thought He was telling me not to go, but as I've grown I've learnt to take what He has given me without adding to it.

I now personally don't believe He was telling me not to go, but leaving the choice in my hands and giving me a heads up as to what to expect if I did go.

Difficulty is not necessarily bad as it is just another type of opportunity to draw close to our Lord.

And so go our choices, as they are found within the larger picture of what He is doing; within the larger picture of his will. If my going would be out of that boundary, He would stop me.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: Romans 9

Postby Paula22466 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:03 pm

Opinion8ed wrote:Hey Paula! Haven't been here for ages and was glad to see you are still around. Unfortunately I don't really have time to answer the question but really wanted to say hi. Of course it is an issue I have thought about a lot over the years like we probably all have. So I'm going to come back tomorrow and give you my two cents. :D Hope everything is good with you.


Op8! So good to see you :) I suppose you lost your two cents? hardy har --- Everything is going better now - have been under tremendous stress the last several months but at last the clouds are beginning to part. Hope all is well with you and yours and looking forward to an abundant Thanksgiving with plenty of sweet potato casserole (my favorite) and pecan pie (my second favorite).
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown

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Re: Romans 9

Postby Paula22466 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:21 pm

jo555 wrote:
Anyway, that noted . . . not sure if we agree, yet I do believe God will change his mind and plans according to human behavior, but only as it fits into the larger picture of what He is doing.

One example is how He changed his mind about starting over with Moses on Mount Sinai. If He had it would not have taken away from his promise . . . from what He was doing overall.

I believe some would argue that due to God being omniscent, it isn't a change of plans as He planned for that anyway. I think that is a matter of perspective, but that's me.


A belief that God "changes His mind" is a very dangerous system. As for the Moses passage, and there are a few others, where to the reader, the text seems to say God does change His mind. This is known as "phenomenological language," meaning the author is writing in terms of the way the situation would appear from the perspective of the observer, not how they actually are. The Bible uses this type of language frequently when it says God has a "face," or "hands" or He "comes and goes," or at the Tower of Babel, God "came to see what they were doing," etc. God does not change His mind, He is not a man or anything like a man (Numbers 23:19-20, 1 Samuel 15:29) If He did, it would mean His first thought was not as good as His second, or even worse, because of something man did or said, it convinced God of doing something better than His original plan. The idea that God could be corrected by Moses or any other man is dancing at the edges of blasphemy in my opinion. The notion that God changes His mind can also be torturous for some immature Christians who are always second-guessing themselves about what God will do next. Will He still love me tomorrow? Will He meet my needs next year? How can I trust that Bible passage, maybe He has changed His mind since then...etc.
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown

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Re: Romans 9

Postby jo555 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:55 pm

At first I thought it may just be a matter of perspective, but doesn't appear so.

I don't want to come off as force-feeding my perspective, but will share a bit more to help communicate the picture I see.

I don't believe God micro-manages everything in our lives, at least not for everyone, but I do believe that when He is looking to do a specific thing, like work through us to help rescue people in danger, he will micro-manage what we do.

What the immature Christians need is a firm foundation built on Christ. There are certain things God will not change, like who He is doesn't change so no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, we can be sure He still loves us so and has promised to see us through. His promises also don't change, but I believe in other areas He will change his mind, as it doesn't affect who He is and his promises; or the larger picture.

And, I don't think it is blasphemous (spelling?) to say God will change his mind (beyond the foundation). I think He is secure enough in Himself to allow us liberty, as confined in his overall will.

I remember one time God revealing Himself to me like a kid in a candy store so excited that I was sharing my life with Him and seeking his help (at the time I was pleading for Him to hear me as I thought I had to convince Him to do that as I didn't feel I was living as I should so He may not be so inclined to listen to me as other Christians).

Now I did not see God as a kid in a candy store, but that is the only way I know how to express how He revealed Himself to me. It was not words, but it was like, "She's talking to me. She's talking to me and sharing with me. I'm sooo happy about that!"

Imagine that, the Creator of the universe and everything in existence so secure in Himself and humble to give me this sweet view of Him. He knew I needed that, to know how much it pleased Him that I was sharing my life with Him and inviting Him into the picture.

Comparing apples with oranges? I think not as I am speaking of a different kind of security I am familiar with God, and I don't think it goes against what we know of Him in scripture . . . like washing smelly feet.
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Re: Romans 9

Postby swfdoc1 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:00 am

jo555 wrote:And, I don't think it is blasphemous (spelling?) to say God will change his mind (beyond the foundation). I think He is secure enough in Himself to allow us liberty, as confined in his overall will.


Jo,

As you may or may not know, Paula and I recently interacted on another thread in which I said sometimes folks are too quick to call "heresy." This time the word in play is "blasphemy." Here, Paula has been careful not to pull the blasphemy trigger, instead using the phrases "dangerous system" and "dancing at the edges of blasphemy." Here, if anything, Paula is being too generous. While SOME theologians deny the God-changing-His-mind position is not heresy, I believe their arguments are unpersuasive.

I think that those who reject the God-changing-His-mind position are correct to note that this view is outside the pale of orthodoxy. And I think those who claim to be Christians (properly so-called) while embracing the God-changing-His-mind position are correct to admit that they are outside the pale of orthodoxy. Instead of arguing that they are inside the pale, they claim the pale is improperly drawn. Thus, ALL (honest) parties in this debate agree that the God-changing-His-mind position is outside the (current) pale of orthodoxy.

So, 1) saying, as you do, simply that you do not believe it; and 2) invoking “one time God reveal[ed]” are inadequate. The problem with 1) is self-evident. The problem with 2) is that this invocation falls in the category of “subordinate revelation.” Now some people reject this concept outright, so it won’t persuade them. Others—such as me—accept this concept. BUT even for those who accept the concept, part of the concept itself is that subordinate revelation is subject to verification by comparison to specific revelation (that is—at least for our purposes here—the Bible). Thus—except in some VERY, VERY, VERY [ad nuseum] rare circumstances, the argument that we expect people to accept ought to be one based on Scripture.

As far as I can see, the onus is on you to give a BIBLICALLY-supported argument as to why the God-changing-His-mind position is not heresy. Alternately, the thing to do is change your position and admit that it is heretical.
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Re: Romans 9

Postby jo555 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:55 am

Oh Lord, I'm supposed to win a theological debate with Steve . . . tee, hee.

And, I suspected my story wouldn't go off well . . .

I sure don't expect anyone to buy my experience as the truth without God revealing that (and of course it should fit into his Word).

I'm not good with pulling scriptures by memory. I would have to take the time to look it up, of which I don't have now . . . and don't know if I want to go there so I guess I shouldn't have even commented, but thanks for responding.

Have a lovely day!
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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