A few months ago I was reading and studying the book of Romans. When I got to Romans chapter 9, I have to admit, I got confused by some of the stuff I was reading. Thankfully, as I continued studying, with the help of Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary notes, I was able to take a deep breath and say to myself, oh good, that’s what those verses mean.
My experience proves the importance of continuing to study out God’s Word when we don’t understand it.
I, for one, intend to be a lifetime learner. I don’t have the attitude that I ‘know it all’ or ‘have the corner market’ on scripture.
I’m simply a girl on a journey who wants to continue learning each and every day and, as I’ve mentioned before, Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary seems to be one of the tools God has brought across my path to help me understand the Bible better.
I hope and pray the treasure I’ve discovered in Romans chapter 9 is a blessing in your life!
Romans 9:10-13 say,
10 This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins. 11 But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to His own purposes; 12 He calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, Your older son will serve your younger son. 13 In the words of the Scriptures, I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.(NLT)
Here are Andrew Wommack’s Commentary notes on verses 11 & 13 that turned the light bulb on for me. I will interject what I was feeling when I first read Andrew’s notes on these verses. My reactions will be in red ink.
Notes on verse 11:
“Paul was citing these Old Testament examples to show that those who were considered the children of Abraham were not his physical descendants, but they were chosen by God, in this case, before they were born. This proves God’s election is not based on birth or performance. (Thank God!)
However, some people have interpreted this verse and the quotation from Malachi 1:2-3 in Romans 9:13 as an example of extreme predestination. They reason that Esau was hated by God before he was born. Therefore, some people are predestined by God for damnation, while some are elected to salvation before they are ever born. This means people have no choice in the matter. That is not what these verses are saying.
As explained in note 2 at Romans 8:29, God’s predestination is based on His foreknowledge. Only those whom God foreknew would accept Him have been elected and predestinated. God did not force Jacob and Esau to make the choices they made. But through His foreknowledge, He was able to foresee who would respond to Him, and that is the one He chose. (Whew. That’s so good to know)
The doctrine of election is based on God’s foreknowledge the same way that predestination is based on His foreknowledge. This can be clearly seen in 1 Peter 1:2, which says we are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. God does not choose people independent of their free will. Instead, through His foreknowledge, He knows who will choose Him, and those are the individuals He elects to be His own.” (I remember I started breathing much easier after understanding this)
Notes on verse 13:
“This verse and Romans 9:10-12 are often used to say that individuals have no choice in whether they serve God or not. Some are predestined to salvation and others to damnation. Nothing could be further from the truth. All people have a choice as to their relationship with the Lord (Romans 10:13). (Yes! I believe this.)
It is true that each of us has callings and gifts different from each other that we have from birth. We don’t have a choice as to what the Lord calls us to do. Jacob was chosen before his birth to be the one through whom Abraham’s blessing would continue. But Esau wasn’t predestined to be hated. (Amen) God had plans for him. They just weren’t plans to be the one through whom the blessing of Abraham passed on.
But Esau rebelled at God. He despised his birthright (Genesis 25:29-34) and married outside of God’s commands (Genesis 26:34-35). Esau hated Jacob (Genesis 27:41), who was the blessed of the Lord, thereby bringing the curse of Genesis 12:3 on himself.
The Old Testament passage this verse is quoting is from Malachi 1:2-3. The Lord didn’t say he loved Jacob and hated Esau when they were still in Rebecca’s womb. This was spoken hundreds of years after their deaths. (When I first read these last two sentences I was floored. This is a big deal.) The Lord had different callings on these twins’ lives that were according to His grace and not their works. But the Lord didn’t predestine Esau to be hated. (Of course He didn’t. That’s not God’s nature. God is LOVE) This came as the result of Esau’s choices and actions. This was spoken about Esau and his descendants hundreds of years after Esau’s death to show that the one God chose did excel. God chose the right one.”
Romans 9:17 says,
For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth. (NLT)
“Some people have taken this word from God about Pharaoh and made a paragraph out of it. They have drawn conclusions that God predetermines everything in people’s lives to the degree that free will doesn’t exist. That is not what the Lord was speaking of here.
We can be assured that Pharaoh had already had ample opportunity to respond to God prior to the time that God began to harden his heart. Since Pharaoh had already made his choice, even to the point that he proclaimed himself to be a deity and commanded the Egyptians to worship him, God was not unrighteous in bringing him into judgment for this.
God did not make Pharaoh the way he was, but God used, for His glory, the way Pharaoh had chosen to be. God exalted Pharaoh and gave him leadership of the nation, knowing full well how he would respond to His demands to let His people go. Since Pharaoh had already hardened his heart toward God, God was not unjust in continuing to harden his heart further until His glory was manifest completely.
This verse is depicting God as using Pharaoh’s hardened heart for His glory, but Pharaoh had already had his chance. God simply upheld his choice and received glory through His triumph over Pharaoh and all his host.”
Romans 9:18 says,
So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and He chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen. (NLT)
“The Lord only hardens people’s hearts after they have chosen that path.”
Romans 9:22 says,
In the same way, even though God has the right to show His anger and His power, He is very patient with those on whom His anger falls, who were made for destruction. (NLT)
“Notice that this verse says God endured with much long suffering these individuals. That shows that He didn’t just damn some godly people and choose this course for them against their wills. They were already in rebellion toward God before the Lord established their own choices and turned them into vessels of wrath to accomplish His will.”
The moral of the story is, God did not create robots, He created people who have free wills to choose or not choose to follow Him.
Deuteronomy 30:19 says,
Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! (NLT)
Next God’s Treasure Chest post will be on Romans 10.
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!