Sunday, June 30, 2013
Vol. II — Chapter 2 — Romans 9: 6 – 13
THE TWO ISRAELS
Romans 9:6-13 — (6) Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: (7) Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. (8) That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (9) For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. (10) And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (11) (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (12) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. (13) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
The Holy Spirit states that the blessings from which the unbelieving Jews, a large part of the nation that God rejected, were excluded for the promises were never promised to them. Verses 6 through 8 give us the apostle’s vindication of the conduct of God, in the rejection and punishment of the unbelieving Jewish nation.
Verse 6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. “The word of God” is the promise of God, particularly referred to in Gen. 17:7, “Be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” This promise included all the blessings to be obtained and bestowed to the promised seed by the Messiah in time and eternity. The “Word of Promise,” both in its meaning and reference, was wrongly apprehended by the Jewish teachers; and, when rightly understood, it was perfectly in harmony with Paul’s statement. The Jewish nation is, notwithstanding all its privileges, accursed by Christ; but it does not follow from this that the Divine promise has had none effect — fallen to the ground — failed of its accomplishment. God is ever faithful in His word and promise for “he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2: 13). Paul’s sorrow for rejected Israel, his “kinsmen according to the flesh,” does not prevent him from declaring his confidence in the promises of God to Israel (Heb. 6:17-18).
“For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Paul tells us that these promises were not made to the earthly nation as such, nor were they confined to any portion of that nation. The Scripture clearly tells us that it is not the natural descendants of Abraham who make up the true Israel of God, but those who believe in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 2:29; 3:29-30; 4: 9-12). The promise of redemption was to Abraham and his seed, who is Christ (Gal. 3:16). As the apostle tells us here “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Phil. 3:3 makes it plain that the greater part of the nation is not true Israel at all and multitudes of Gentiles are true spiritual Israel.
Paul introduces a totally new conception of Israel. The dispensationalists take note of the words “All Israel” here and make a due comparison with that text in Rom. 11:26, which they regard as the keystone of their structure. All Israel shall be saved is their slogan, and they constantly wave their banner, with that phrase upon it, in the face of those who interpret Scripture by Scripture, as though this would end all argument. They vehemently contend that in chapters 9 through 11 the term Israel always refers to the natural Jews, to national Israel. Our present verse proves this to be a fallacy. The word Jews cannot be substituted for by the word Israel for then the apostle would be saying that they are not all Jews which are descendants of Israel, which would be absurd. It is factually true that “All Israel shall be saved” indeed, but which Israel? Paul speaks of two Israels, the one of the flesh, and the other of the spirit. The one is rejected and the other is accepted. The one is blinded and the other receives its sight. The term All Israel means the people of God, true spiritual Israel. Paul is accustomed to use the word “Israel” in a twofold sense. As touching the flesh, Israel denotes the twelve tribes. As touching the Gospel, Israel denotes the true Church. They who are “of Israel” are the natural descendants of Jacob. These, says Paul, “are NOT ALL ISRAEL” — “the Israel of God” — Israelites indeed — God’s peculiar people in Christ — “the godly whom He has set apart for Himself.”
Verse 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. This Jewish rejection of Christ and God’s rejection of them does not militate against His purpose and plan of the salvation of the elect. All of the Jewish nation — all of Abraham’s natural posterity — all of Abraham’s lineal descendants — were never included, “For they are not all Israel (spiritually speaking), who are of Israel (naturally): Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall they seed be called.” The Jews erroneously imagined (as do the modern Dispensationalists) that the promises made to Abraham concerning his seed respected all of his descendants. But natural descent from Abraham is no guarantee of spiritual kinship with him. The Jews boast was “we be Abraham’s seed” (John 8:33), but Christ’s reply to them was, “If ye were Abraham’s children ye would do the works of Abraham” (John 8:39 compare with Rom. 4:12).
“In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” The God of the Bible is saying, Isaac shall be the seed of which I have spoken to you in My promise to you (Heb. 11:18). The apostle goes on in this chapter to enforce this conclusion by the analogy of Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was as much the child of Abraham as was Isaac, though born of the Egyptian bondwoman Hagar, but the verdict of Inspiration is: “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Paul is pursuing an allegory, as he did when writing to the Galatians in Gal. 4:22-31. He is treating Ishmael as the representative of all Israel after the flesh, though in fact no Jew was descended from Hagar’s son. Isaac is put forth as the representative of Israel after the spirit, though these include an impressively large majority of Gentiles who in fact were ever descended from Isaac. It is indisputable that this is the apostle’s meaning, for he explains himself in the following verse as we shall see.
Verse 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. As in the allegory of Gal. 4, so here the apostle Paul makes a total distinction between the two Israels based upon the prophetic significance of Abraham’s two sons. Ishmael represents Israel after the flesh, to whom no promises are made and who are not considered as the Seed of Abraham at all. Ishmael the mocker is born in the same house as Isaac — the son of the same father as he; but, Ishmael is cast out. God’s rejection of Ishmael and Esau (vs. 12-13) was decisive proof that the promises were not made to the natural descendants of Abraham. When Abraham was grieved at Ishmael’s dismissal from under his paternal roof, God said to him, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Gen. 21:12). The children of the flesh, the natural Jews, are not the children of God. Men are not the children of God because they are the children of Abraham, not because they are the children of believers, nor because they are descendants of any flesh.
“But the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” God’s promise is His reveled, sworn and pledged purpose of salvation for His elect people, Jew and Gentile, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul insists that the true “all Israel” is to be reckoned not according to the flesh, but according to the promise — and the promise is indifferent to Jew and Gentile (compare this verse with Gal. 3:28-29). Notice carefully Paul’s clear teaching from these verses in Galatians. We (that is, all believing Jews and Gentiles) are the Israel of God; they who are of faith (and these alone) are blessed with faithful Abraham; we are the adoption who has received the spirit of adoption; we are the heirs of promise and of the covenant made with Abraham. For, says the Holy Word of God, “if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). We read in Gal. 4:23 and 28: “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. . . . Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise.” All men born literally are born after the flesh, and apart from the power of the promise of God remain natural rebels. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6) so said our Lord Christ. But by the promise and power of God we are born of the Spirit and we are therefore “children of the promise.”
“The children of God” and “the children of the promise” of our verse are one and the same, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. As Isaac was born supernaturally, so are all of God’s elect (John 1:13). And as Isaac, on that account, was heir of the promised blessing, so are all Christians (Gal. 4:29; 3:29). “Children of the promise” are identical with “the heirs of promise” (Heb. 6:17 compared with Rom. 8:17). God’s promises are made solely to the spiritual children of Abraham (Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:7). No promise of Almighty God can possibly fail of accomplishment for they are deposited in Christ and in Him they find their affirmation and certification (2 Cor. 1:20). He is the very sum and substance of them. Read of the covenant promises made to Christ, and the elect in Him, in Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-13; Heb. 10:15-17. The Dispensationalists object and say that these promises belong to the natural descendants of Abraham, and are not to us. But Paul is leading up to these promises when he states, “Whereof the Holy Spirit is (now in the N. T.) a witness to us” (Heb. 10:15). These promises of God extend to all believers, Gentiles as well as Jews, for the promises are the assurance of grace founded in Christ, and in Him all believing Jews and Gentiles are one (Gal. 3:26). Gentiles were “strangers unto the covenants of promises” (Eph. 2:12) before the middle wall of partition was broken down, but when the wall was removed, Gentile believers became “fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ (Eph. 3:6). They partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree (Rom. 11:17). God’s promises in Christ are made to the “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16), the entire election of grace, and made good to them at the moment of regeneration.
The “children of the promise” are “the seed,” or “all the seed” as Paul states elsewhere. Compare this chapter with what the apostle has already said in Romans 4:16: “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law (i. e. the Jew), but to that also which ism of the faith of Abraham who is the father of us all (i. e. Jew and Gentile).” “All the seed” is clearly the “all Israel” which is to be saved. Test the Pauline doctrine where we will, we discover that “all the seed” and “all Israel” mean “the election of grace.” So we sum up verses 6 through 8: men are children of God only who are born again (John 1:11-13), who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with the heart. They are here identified as “all Israel,” “the children of God,” and “the seed.” In comparing Scripture with Scripture it is difficult to see how any could fail to see that the phrases, “all Israel,” All the seed,” “Children of the promises,” “Children of God,” and “Election of grace” describe one and the same people (the saints), the people of God, the children of faith, the elect, and the Church, regardless of nationality. Dispensationalists beware; Paul obliterates the distinction between Jew and Gentile in the Gospel, and makes it impossible thereby for any theory to re-establish that distinction without assailing the foundations of the Gospel.
Verse 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. “This is the word of promise” and these words are cited from Gen. 18:10 which gives the account of the promise. The limitation of the promise to only the spiritual part of his seed is given in Gen. 17:15-21. The question is not are they the natural descendants of Abraham, but are they the seed. Abraham had more sons than Isaac; and in a natural sense they were certainly all seed of Abraham. Yet they were not accounted as seed of the promise. To them the promise did not pertain. Isaac alone was to be accounted for the seed for the Word of God to Abraham was, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (vs. 7). This “word of promise” is not merely a question of human genealogy; this is a question of salvation in Christ which is by God’s eternal promise and His elective call. The birth of Isaac was by promise; without a miracle, it would not have taken place. God told Abraham that He would manifest His power in fulfilling His promise of giving him a son, and it is clear that the birth of Isaac was a sovereign effect of God’s promise, and that only (Heb. 11:11). Ishmael’s birth was not by promise but in the ordinary course of nature (see vs. 7 and 8 of our chapter). In the words of Charles Hodge, “This is not only a prediction and promise that Isaac should be born, but also a declaration that it should be in consequence of God’s coming, i. e., of the special manifestation of His power; as, in Scriptural language, God is said to come, whenever He specially manifests His presence or power, John 14:23; Luke 1:68.” Ishmael is a type of those who are born after the flesh and are natural, carnal men. Isaac is a type of those who are born of the Holy Ghost and are the children of God (John 3:5-7; Gal. 4:28; Phil. 3:3).
Verse 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac. “Not only does the case of Isaac and Ishmael prove that the choice of God does not depend on natural descent, but on the sovereign will of God, but that of Rebecca evinces the same truth still more clearly. In the former case, it might be supposed that Isaac was chosen because he was the son of Sarah, a free woman, and the legitimate wife of Abraham, whereas Ishmael was the son of a maid-servant. In the choice between Jacob and Esau, there is no room for any such supposition. They had the same father, the same mother, and were born at one birth. Here, assuredly, the choice was sovereign . . . the sovereignty of God in election. The apostle proceeds with his historical proof that God, according to His own good pleasure, does choose one and reject another. He has therefore the right to cast of the Jews” (Charles Hodge).
Paul is showing that the Word of God has not failed in the least iota. God has become unfaithful to the people who were the recipients of the promise. Our Lord Christ has come and the promise is realized in the Church. Israel as a nation is rejected. Countless numbers of the nation, the natural seed of Abraham had no part in salvation accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ. The ground for the distinction between the elect and the reprobate is found in God’s free and sovereign predestination (vs. 18); God’s purpose according to election must stand. It is clear that not all Abraham’s children nor Isaac’s children were the seed; not their children of the flesh, but only their children of the promise, were reckoned for the seed.
For an immediate reason to be given to the words of our verse: “And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac,” we shall find that when we arrive at verses 12 and 13, for the 11th verse is plainly parenthetic.
Verse 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) In pursing his argument the apostle presents a case of Divine sovereignty from the birth of Jacob and Esau, the two sons of Isaac and Rebecca, and attributes the rejection of the elder son and the preference for the younger to an act of free election on God’s part. The election of one and rejection of the other was not based on any work, and good to be done by the one or evil to be done by the other. It was not according to the wish of the parents. The selection was made before the children were born — before either one of them knew good from evil. The true seed is determined not by natural birth but by election, according to the free pleasure of a sovereign God and consists of all the redeemed, Jew and Gentile. Charles Hodge said, “This doctrine is alone consistent with Christian experience. ‘Why was I made to hear Thy voice?’ No Christian answers this question by saying, because I was better than others.”
So the choice of Jacob as an object of mercy was made before the children were born. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation’ (2 Thes. 2:13). The choice of God of His elect people is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). God’s choice of His people was according to His eternal purpose (Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:9). The foundation and source of all mercy is the sovereign will of God (Eph. 1: 3-5). What God does in time is only a making manifest of what He secretly decreed in eternity.
“The purpose of God according to election.” Election and Reprobation result from the decree of God and extends to man’s eternal destiny. God from all eternity sovereignly ordained and immutably determined the history and destiny of each and all His creatures. This is the meaning of Predestination which is covered in this 9th chapter of this Epistle. The great Zanchius has given us the Biblical definition of Predestination: “Predestination is that eternal, most wise, and immutable decree of God, whereby He did, from before all time, determine and ordain to create, dispose of, and direct to some particular end, every person and thing to which He has given, or is yet to give, being; and to make the whole creation subservient to, and declarative of His own glory. ‘The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil’ (Prov. 16:4).” In short, Predestination is the absolute and all-prevailing decree and government of God over all beings, all events, and all worlds. God from all eternity ordained all things that shall occur in time both in the world of matter and in the world of mind. We will briefly deal with “Election” here and then the Biblical doctrine of “Reprobation” at verses 17 and 18.
The word “Election” signifies to single out, to select, to choose, to take one and leave another. It means that God has singled out certain ones to be the objects of His saving grace, while others are left to suffer the just punishment of their sins. We shall not deal with the election of Angels or take notice of the election of Christ, as man and Mediator; who is God’s first and chief elect; and is by way of eminency, called His elect; “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isa. 42:1). We shall confine our remarks to what the Scriptures speak so largely of, is God’s election of men to grace and glory — the election of men in Christ unto eternal life. It will not be possible for us to write out the numerous Scripture references given due to lack of space, therefore, we urge each reader to look them up in your Bible and give serious thought and consideration of each.
First we give a statement which gives a true Scriptural definition of what personal, unconditional, and eternal Election is, and, also puts this truth in direct contrast to the theories of men, especially freewill Arminianism. The Scriptures reveal that it : Is God (and not man) who chooses or elects, of His own purpose (in accordance with His will, and not from any obligation to man, or the will of man), has from Eternity (The period when God acted, not in time when man acts), determined to save — give eternal life (not to confer Gospel, church or mere privileges upon), a definite number of mankind (not the whole race, nor indefinitely merely some of them or a certain proportionate part; but a definite number), as individuals (not the whole or part of the race, nor of a nation, nor of a church, nor of a class; but individuals), not for or because of any work or merit of theirs, not of any value to Him of them (not for their good works, nor their holiness, nor excellence, nor their faith, nor their spiritual sanctification, although the choice is to a salvation attained through God-given faith and sanctification; nor their value to Him, though their salvation tends greatly to the manifested glory of His grace); but of His own good pleasure (simply because He was pleased so to choose.
(1) Election is a sovereign act of God, and not the result of the choice of neither the Elect nor any human being. God is the agent of election. It is made by God, and it is made in Christ. He chose His elect, not because He foresaw that they would believe, but He chose them for and by His own purpose. Election is solely the act of God. Exchange the word "choice" or "chosen" with the equivalent word "elect" in the following passages of Scripture and the point will be crystal clear. "I know whom I have chosen" (John 13:18). "Ye did not choose me, but I have chose you" (not to their offices as apostles, but), "that ye should go and bear fruit" (John 15:16). "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's chosen ones?" (Rom. 8:33). "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy" (Rom. 9:15). "Even as he chose us in him" (Eph. 1:4). "Having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will" (Eph. 1:11). "God chose you from the beginning unto salvation" (2 Thes. 2:13).
(2) God's choice of His people is not election of a nation, to some external privileges, as the people of Israel. The election spoken of in the New Testament is an election of persons within a nation, and not of the nation itself. Paul makes a distinction between the Jewish nation, and the "remnant according to the election of grace" (Rom. 11:5). It is also said in verse 7 that "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." A distinction is also made between persons in the same nation; the elect being separated from others (Matt. 24:22-24).
(3) God choose individual men and in the day of salvation they came to God wrought saving faith. Faith, as the Arminians claim, is not the basis for God's election, but it is the result of His choosing them in eternity. "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48). Being ordained means men were predestinated, chosen, and appointed to eternal life and salvation by and in Jesus Christ our Lord. This is of particular persons, of some and not all; that it is not to temporary privileges and enjoyments, but to grace and glory; and that faith is not the cause, but the sure and certain fruit and effect of it. "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thes. 2:13). Here the choice is made to salvation, and God in working salvation in the soul, sanctification and faith are indicated. There is no prerequisite stated as to Election. It is not as believers that men are elected; but as elected, that they are saved. "Whom he foreknew he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Rom. 8:30). The foreknowledge here is of persons, neither of personal acts nor of those whose faith he foreknew. More will be said concerning foreknowledge and faith in the following points.
(4) Election is made through the mere good pleasure of God. It is not because of any act or merit of man, but irrespective of anything but His own good pleasure, that this Election was made. (a) Following are just a few of the multitude of examples of Scripture that can be given that affirm that election is a choice by God's sovereign will. Matt. 24:40-41 and Luke 17:33-36 declare the sovereign choice of God between two persons in the same situation, so that the one is taken and the other is left. In John 3:3-8 Regeneration is given as an essential to entrance into the kingdom of God. Yet verse 8 declares that every one born of the Spirit if by the sovereign choice of Almighty God. John 6:37,39,44,64,65 leaves man in the dust of human depravity and inability, unable to come to Christ unless drawn by the Father and given by Him to Christ. John 15:16 and 17:2 shows that Christ gives eternal life to the elect given in by the Father. Read Eph. 1:5, 11 and James 1:18 give us the same truth, that election is by the sovereign will of God. (b) These following few examples of Scripture deny merit in the persons elected as well as assert the sovereign choice of God. In Ezek. 36:32, after describing the blessings connected with the new dispensation, and the gift of the Spirit and the new heart which He would give them — gifts which the Scriptures make plain are the result of Divine Election, while the Arminians maintain are its cause. But God says, "Not for your sakes do I do this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel." John 1:11-13 show us that all natural men receive not Christ, and only those who are born of God come to the Saviour. Rom. 9:11-16 show us that election is illustrated in the case of the twins, Jacob and Esau, and, the children being not yet born, neither having done anything, good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth." Therefore, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." Rom. 11:5-6 confirms that "there is a remnant according to the election of grace" — solely by elective grace. (c) The following Scriptures describe the persons chosen. Matt. 11:25-26 states that it is not to the wise and the prudent, but unto babes. Luke 4:25-27 illustrates this sovereignty of God by mentioning that many widows had been in Israel, yet He sovereignly sent Elijah to this one elect heathen widow blessed, and out of many lepers only the one elect heathen leper delivered. In Acts 26:12-23 Paul tells us that in his personal conversion experience The Lord God effectually called him, not because of any works or human merits, but for His own good pleasure. Paul then shows, in Gal.1:15-16 that God had elected him and separated him from his mother's womb, called him by grace, and revealed Christ in his soul. Also read 1 Cor. 1:26-30 and Eph. 2:1-13 which shows the state and condition of those God chose and called unto salvation in Christ.
(5) God's Election is eternal, taking place before existence in this world or before the world began. The object of proof of eternal Election is simply to show that it was in no way dependent on human action, but solely on the will of God. In the interest of space we shall simply list some of the numerous Scriptures which plainly reveal this truth and leave it to the reader to look them up. Jer. 1:5; Matt.25:34; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thes. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:11.
(6) The Scriptures clearly reveal that Election is to salvation, and not to mere service or external privileges as many of the Fundamentalists and free will Arminians claim. Jer. 31:31-34 states that a Gospel day is coming when a new covenant shall be made (vs. 31). It says that his covenant will not be like that made with their fathers, which was one of external privileges (vs. 32). In this covenant God says, "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (vs. 33). "For they shall know me . . . for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more" (vs. 34). John 10:16 states that the elect shall hear Christ's effectual call, be given eternal life, and be brought into the fold of His family through salvation. Verse 26 says that "Ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep," which clearly shows that election is unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Verse 27 says that Christ's sheep (elect) are savingly brought to Him. Rom. 8:28-30 shows that foreknowledge, foreordination to holiness, calling, justification, and a state of glory are inseparably connected, and hence eternal, unconditional Election, from which they proceed, is to salvation. Eph. 1:4-9 speaks of the elect being chosen before the foundation of the world and the numerous spiritual blessings in being savingly joined to Christ. 2 Thes. 2:13 makes it exceedingly plain "that God chose you (the elect) from the beginning unto salvation."
“But of him that calleth.” The election spoken of is absolutely sovereign. The ground on which the choice of persons is made is not in men, but in God. The design of the apostle was to establish the fact that in reference to the choice of those who were to enter into a saving relationship with Christ, was totally independent of human conduct, and was determined by the sovereign will of Him Who calls. Yes, the called one desires Christ for he is made “willing in the day of His power” (Psa. 110:3). Yes, the called one hears and hears so distinctly that it singles him out, and causes him to arise and go to the Lord Christ. They hear because they are “given,” by sovereign grace, “ears to hear” (Matt. 13:16; Prov. 20:12). This call is particular, wonderful, inward, and effectual in the lives of the elect, those exclusively to whom it is sent. This is a “heavenly call” (Heb. 3:1), a “holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:9), “a calling of God without repentance” (Rom. 11:29), which is “according to God’s purpose” (Rom. 8:28), is “from above in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Phil. 3:14, and it the call, not of a preacher, but He who calls by it is GOD.
The choice between these twins, Jacob and Esau, was in the heart of God back in eternity and it was based entirely on His sovereign authority. The election of those who have been chosen by God is not governed by the foreseen superiority of a Jacob to an Esau. Neither had done any good that could recommend him to God and neither had done evil that could disqualify him. Before these twins came from their mother’s womb, the Sovereign God of the universe who decides all things had determined their eternal destiny. This was God’s Divine purpose. The works and characters of the individuals had nothing to do with the choice. In fact, they are explicitly excluded so that all the reason for the call shall rest in God Himself, who is the One who calls. Charles Hodge prudently said, “This doctrine is alone consistent with Christian experience. ‘Why was I made to hear Thy voice?’ No Christian answers this question by saying, Because I was better than others.” All true saints will gratefully say with the Apostle Paul, “and called me by his grace” (Gal. 1:15).
Verse 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. Jacob and Esau were twins, born of the same parents, and the only difference in the boys was that Esau was born mere seconds before Jacob. Normally the oldest had power and priority over the younger and it was contrary to tradition in the normal Jewish home for the younger to be “served” by the elder; the younger always served the elder. But the sovereign God who said “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?” (Matt. 20:15), reversed the norm in order to place great emphasis on His sovereign choice. God chose the younger son, Jacob, as an elect vessel for reception of His mercy and grace (1 Cor. 1:26-29). What God does in time is only what He secretly decreed to do in eternity. “It is, therefore, the nature of the choice between the children that is the point designed to be presented. As to the objection that Esau never personally served Jacob, it is founded on the mere literal sense of the words. Esau did acknowledge his inferiority to Jacob, and was in fact postponed to him on various occasions. The main idea, however, is that Esau forfeited his birthright. Jacob was preferred to his brother, and constituted head of the theocracy. In a spiritual or religious sense, and therefore in the highest sense, or in reference to the highest interests, Esau was placed below Jacob, as much as Ishmael was below Isaac. This is the real spirit of the passage” (Charles Hodge).
In rebuttal of those whose view is that the election and reprobation spoken of in this passage is national and not personal, we offer the following. (1) It is said by some commentators that God’s sovereign choice of election and reprobation relates not to Jacob and Esau personally, but to their posterity (Mal. 1:2-4). Regarding the Malachi passage, it is true that the prediction contained there has not only reference to the relative standing of Jacob and Esau as individuals, but also to that of their descendants. But it is too clear to be denied the distinction there drawn between the two races presupposed and included a distinction between the individuals, Jacob and Esau. Jacob was personally made the special heir to his father Isaac, obtained as an individual birth-right and the blessing, and Esau as an individual was cast off. Jacob, therefore, was personally preferred to Esau by a sovereign choice of Almighty God. (2) What is applicable to the nations which sprang from Jacob and Esau is of equal force with reference to their own persons. This is certainly corroborated by their history given in the Old Testament. (3) For our rebuttal we give the words of Herman Hoeksema: “How contrary to the entire context is such an interpretation of this passage! The apostle refers to Jacob and Esau as an illustration of the fact that not all the descendants of Abraham are children of the promise. He is not writing of nations and national distinctions, but of individual children of Abraham and of the evident truth that not all the natural seed, not all the individual descendants of the father of believers, are included in the promise. The entire context shows plainly that the apostle is speaking of the distinction which God’s sovereign purpose according to election makes between persons of the same natural origin.”
In these verses Paul is proving much more than a mere distinction between the Israel after the flesh and the spiritual, prophetic Israel. He is proclaiming the doctrine of Eternal Election by the hand of our Sovereign God, and he is applying this doctrine not to a mere distinction between Abraham’s natural descendants, i.e. elect Jews and non-elect Jews, but to the Lord’s eternal choice of the entire body of the redeemed throughout all ages, whether before or after Abraham. Paul makes this very clear in the 24th verse: “Even us, who he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.” The Holy Ghost, through His servant Paul, here tells us that “all Israel” is all of those He effectually calls, both Jew and Gentile. Listen up oh ye dispensationalists and literalists. You cannot continue to ignore this 24th verse which slays your system of interpretation.
Verse 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. This passage is quoted from the prophet Malachi: “I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever” (Mal. 1:2-4). It cannot be denied that in this quotation the prophet has in view the nations of Israel and Edom, but it must not be assumed that their respective destinies can be considered in isolation from that difference which God first made between their respective heads.
“Jacob have I loved.” God is sovereign in His love. A. W. Pink gives us the following good quote: “Ponder the freeness and sovereignty of His love. He did not set His heart on us because of any loveliness of ours, for His love antedated our existence, and therefore proceeded from His goodwill. God’s love passed by multitudes and fixed itself on us: ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9:13).”
“Esau have I hated.” Many men want this to read ‘Esau have I loved less,’ but that is not what the Scripture says. From the quote from Mal. 1:2-4 no one can come to the conclusion that God loved Esau also, but only less than Jacob, God’s hatred of Esau reveals itself in a manifestation of wrath against the people who were the objects of His sovereign displeasure. In this passage they are called ‘the people against whom the Lord hath indignation forever.’ In the words of Herman Hoeksema, “The text as it occurs in Romans 9 can have reference only to the love and hatred of God’s sovereign and eternal good pleasure. And the words may be paraphrased as follows: Jacob have I eternally accepted in love; Esau have I eternally rejected as an object of My sovereign hatred.”
This 13th verse is the most hotly contested or debated of Holy Scripture. Yet, the whole of this 9th tells us that our electing and rejecting God is supreme. To deny the sovereign character of His elective grace and reprobation is to deny that God is God. God’s love to Jacob was real, literal, everlasting love, and His hatred of Esau was real literal hatred. The freewill doctrine that God loves everybody is destroyed by this portion of Holy Writ. Jay Wimberly points out, “It is commonly believed that God is incapable of hating anyone for any reason. By God’s own testimony, however, His love is discriminating. Is God not merely saying that He loves Esau less than Jacob, the difference being only in degree? Review the reading carefully; by every rule of logic, if comparison is the intent, then it may be applied conversely to both verbs, to loved and hated. If comparison were meant, then it could be as truly stated, Esau have I hated and Jacob have I hated less. Obviously, comparison is not the intent. Contrast is.”
All of those our Heavenly Father hath pitched His love upon from eternity He are His elect children from everlasting, and He has from the beginning providentially managed the entire human race so that they would certainly be forever with Him. By giving them new life in Christ, then a new heart with which to believe, and then the Word of truth which they are to believe, He makes sure that no one of His chosen ones shall perish, but have everlasting life. God’s grace is the immediate fruit of God’s love, and therefore operates only toward the elect of God. Of every sinner that God loved from eternity it is said, “I have loved thee with an every lasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:3).
Brother Wylie W Fulton writes: “‘For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man’ (Psalm 5:4-6). If your God is not the God who HATES as well as LOVES, then your God is not the God of the Bible! We have lived too long with a shallow, man-centered religion that will only speak of God’s love; a religion that takes John 3:16 to the extreme to deny reprobation and God’s eternal purpose of wrath and judgment; a religion that bypasses God’s sovereign justice; and a religion that has totally removed the 9th chapter of Romans from their thinking. What God does in time, He purposed from all eternity. You see, our God changeth not (Malachi 3:6), and from the beginning of the creation God’s eternal purpose was sure. He is, moreover, a TIMELESS Being — no yesterday, today and tomorrow, but one eternal NOW. Therefore, all that is transpiring at the present moment must be in full accord to His will — if indeed the psalmist was true when he wrote, ‘Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven and in the earth, in the seas and all deep places’ (Psalm 135:6). This is the ALMIGHTY, SOVEREIGN, ETERNAL, IMMUTABLE, ONE-AND-ONLY GOD OF THE BIBLE! You have no option to ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ Him. Bow down before Him!”
“The Scriptures do represent God as loving but they do not represent Him as loving every sort of quality and every kind of being. There are some things which He hates, and some which He will not tolerate in His sight. They do represent Him as loving, but they do not represent Him as doing nothing else. They represent Him as knowing, as judging, as creating, as preserving and governing. Indeed wrath and justice and their cognates, in connection with God, occur in the Bible far oftener than do love and its associates. That exegesis which finds nothing but a ‘God of love’ in the Scriptures is at once partial and prejudiced” (R. A. Webb).
We end this chapter with the good words of the Calvinistic, Baptist Pastor Henry Mahan; “It is written in Mal. 1:1-3, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’ Men want this to read, ‘Esau have I loved less’, but this is not the way it reads in Scripture. Those who have some understanding of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness understand why God could hate both Jacob and Esau, as well as all mankind. God’s love for Jacob, as His love for us, is in Christ (Rom. 8:38, 39). God acted in justice towards Esau — in mercy towards Jacob. Out of Christ there is only wrath and judgment (John 3:36).”
Worthy Doctrinal and Spiritual Notes and Quotes on Romans 9: 6 – 13.
Verse 6. WE cannot, with such exalted views as we entertain, think that God has ever failed to secure the perfect accomplishment of His own design or purpose in anything He has ever done. The entrance of sin into the world, and death by sin, which by the offense of one man has passed upon all mankind, was no unprovided-for event with Him, to whose eyes sin, death and Hell have no covering. The eternal purpose which God had purposed in Himself before the world began was sufficiently perfect and comprehensive to include all that could and can possibly transpire, or He would not have declared the end of all things from the beginning (Acts 15:18) —Gilbert Beebe (1800-1881).
Christian faith rests not upon human discovery, but upon Divine revelation. — T. T. Shields (1873 - 1955).
The Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the throne. Every book of it, every chapter of it, every syllable of it, every letter of it, is the direct utterance of the Most High. — John William Burgon (1813-1888).
The church of Smyrna was opposed by such an organization. Those who composed it professed to be “Jews” — the symbolic name of God’s true people. But they were not. They had only the outward profession and name. But since the Cross, it takes more than the name and outward profession to make one a “Jew.” “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew, who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter” (Rom. 2:28, 29; see also Rom. 9:6-8). Therefore, every religious gathering or society, even though it takes a name that belongs to Christ’s redeemed people, and though it conforms never so strictly to “the letter,” and to all that is “outward in the flesh,” yet if it be composed of those who have not been regenerated in heart by the Spirit of God, and have not been washed from their sins by the blood of Christ, that society is not a church of Christ but a “synagogue of Satan” — Philip Mauro (1859-1952).
Verse 7. Children means either children of God, or children of the promise, or children of Abraham, Rom. 9:8; Gal 3: 7-9. The sense is the same in either case, those three phrases all being employed by Paul to mark the true chosen people of God. In proof of his doctrine, Paul quotes a sentence from Gen. 21:12. Compare Gen. 17: 19,21. The covenant was not with Ishmael, though he was the child of Abraham, and was considerably older than Isaac. Even in the family of Abraham God showed His sovereignty by disregarding the primogeniture of one of Abraham’s sons and preferring another. Therefore to be a lineal descendant of Abraham no more proved that an Israelite would be saved than an Ishmaelite would be saved, for the latter also had Abraham to his father. If God showed His sovereignty in preferring Isaac to Ishmael, surely He may call or pass by the remoter descendants of his friend Abraham. — William S. Plumer (1802-1880).
One of the sad features of human wickedness is that men do not see when they are illustrating the most awful truths of Scripture and that their whole course and character are portrayed in God’s Word. The very people, who had by unbelief most sadly cut themselves off from the saving mercies of God, are the most persistent in declaring themselves in covenant with God. — William S. Plumer (1802-1880).
One may be a Jew physically and not one spiritually. The true seed of Abraham are the spiritual seed of Abraham, those who follow him in faith, in faithful obedience o the Gospel. God did not reject the true seed when He rejected Israel; the true seed did not crucify Christ. It was the carnal, natural seed, who were without the faith, that God turned aside from. — Jay Wimberly.
Verse 8. In a Christian land, men become Christians by profession; and while the life is decent, and the Church attended, all things pass off mighty well. But it happens, these genteel professors are the very troops of Ezekiel’s army before it was quickened covered well with plump flesh and fair skin, yet no breath in them; ranged well in rank and file, bone comes to his bone; and at a distance the whole seems a famous army; but on a near approach they are all dead men. No life is found among them, because the Holy Spirit had not breathed upon them. (Ezek. 37:7-8). So it fared in the prophet’s day, and so it fares now. A Christian army still appears, with many decent soldiers, of seemly flesh and skin; and, when exercised at Church, are ranked well in order; bone comes to his bone, and a noise of prayer is heard, but no breath of life is found, no presence of the Lord bestowed, no quickening aids imparted, no cheering consolations granted. It proves a dead scene of worship, conducted like an undertaker’s funeral, with dismal face and yawning entertainment. — John Berridge (1716-1793).
It is not by generation but by regeneration, not by birth but by new birth that men become the children of God; John 1:12, 13; not by the course of nature but by Divine and marked interposition in their behalf. Compare Rom. 4:11-16; Gal. 4:22-31. — William S. Plumer (1802-1880).
He calls those the children of the flesh, who have nothing superior to a natural descent; as they are the children of the promise, who are peculiarly selected by the Lord. — John Calvin (1509-1564).
The whole Scripture shows the difference between the professed Christian, and the real believer. Outward privileges are bestowed on many, who are not the children of God. The true children of God are born of the Spirit, according to the promise and purpose of Him, who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. — Thomas Scott (1747-1821).
Verse 9. A Quotation of Gen. 18:10, “I will manifest my power in fulfilling my promise of giving thee a son.” By which it is clear, that the birth of Isaac was an effect of God’s promise, and nothing else. — Matthew Poole (1624-1679).
The only hope for Sarah to bear a son was in the promise of God, which he made to Abraham. It was not that Abraham did not have another son (which he did), but the son of hope would be the son of promise. God made a choice between the sons of Abraham, establishing His covenant through Sarah’s son, and not through Hagar’s. Who can argue with God’s prerogative to make this choice? — Jay Wimberly.
God has ever made and will ever make good all His promises in the true intent and spirit thereof. The defection of some by unbelief never invalidates His covenant with those who truly believe His Word. The real heirs of the promise never complain of any unfaithfulness in God. — William S. Plumer (1802-1880).
Verse 10. God’s unconditional election finds its most unequivocal expression in the choice of the younger twin born to Rebecca, thus proving that not all the natural children of Isaac are also ‘the children of promise.’ — Geoffrey B. Wilson.
We must remember the main theme with which the apostle deals in this ninth chapter of the Epistle of Romans. He is busy with the question of Israel, his kinsmen according to the flesh, specially the question how it is possible and how it must be explained that Israel did not receive the promise, and that so many of the individual Israelites had evidently been rejected. Israel as a nation failed to enter into the Kingdom of God; and thousands upon thousands of individual Jews had evidently no part with the salvation God had prepared for His people. And the nation as such was rejected. — Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965).
To Erasmus Luther said: “Mere human reason can never comprehend how God is good and merciful, and, therefore, you make to yourself a god of your own fancy, who hardens nobody, condemns nobody, pities everybody. You cannot comprehend how a just God can condemn those who are born in sin, and cannot help themselves, but must, by a necessity of their natural constitution, continue in sin, and remain children of wrath. The answer is, God is incomprehensible throughout, and, therefore, His justice, as well as His other attributes, must be incomprehensible.” — Martin Luther (1483-1546).
Not only does the case of Isaac prove that Abraham’s seed are not all the children of God, but a stronger proof is seen in the birth of Jacob and Esau, who were born at the same time and conceived by Rebecca of the same father. The Jews might argue that Ishmael was born of a bondwoman and Isaac of Sarah, the lawful wife. But Jacob and Esau were born of the same father and mother at the same time. The great distinction made between the two brothers could only be traced to the sovereign will of God. (Exod. 33: 18, 19). — Henry Mahan (b. 1926).
Verse 11. There was nothing in the chosen remnant to move God to place His regards upon them before others. The foresight of their faith and obedience was not the cause; for, as we have had occasion to hint already, they were chosen to faith and obedience, and so it could not be for them; they are the effects of our election, and therefore cannot be the causes of it. God’s foresight of their faith and holiness, presupposes His purpose to bestow faith and holiness on them; and this very purpose is a part of their election itself. The apostle therefore tells us, “that the purpose of God according to election, is not of works, but of Him that calleth.” (Rom. 9:11). — William Cooper (1694-1743).
The sovereignty of God proclaims itself with a yet more astonishing glory, in His eternal disposal of men's everlasting condition. To show, or not to show mercy to persons equally dignified (or rather undignified) in themselves—to make of the same lump one vessel to honor and another to dishonor, is the sublimest act and most apparent demonstration of sovereign power concerning men. The reason of which (and that to satisfaction) might have been given, and would, had it benefited the greatness of God, or the trust and reverence we owe to Him: but for the present He is pleased to give none other but that of His right; but may not He do what He will with His own? — Elisha Coles (1608-1688).
This choice of God is an unchangeable one. Necessarily so, for it is not founded upon anything in the creature, or grounded upon anything outside of Himself. It is before everything, even before His “foreknowledge.” God does not decree because He foreknows, but He foreknows because He has infallibly and irrevocably fixed it — otherwise He would merely guess it. Nut since He foreknows it, then He does not guess — it is certain; and if certain, then He must have fixed it. Election being the act of God, it is forever, for whatever He does in a way of special grace, is irreversible and unalterable. Men may choose some to be their favorites and friends for a while, and then change their minds and choose others in their room. But God does not act such a part: He is of one mind, and none can turn Him; His purpose according to election stands firm, sure, unalterable (Rom. 9:11; 2 Tim. 2:19). — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
Paul means that the difference between Jacob and Esau was made through the good pleasure of God, not through their wills or works, existing or foreseen. There is evidence that Jacob loved and feared God. There is no evidence that Esau had any genuine piety; yet there is so much palpable imperfection and evil in Jacob, as to manifest that God did not choose him for the excellency of his foreseen works. — Mathew Poole (1624-1679).
The “election” is said to be “not of works, but of Him who calleth;” for the words, “not of works, but of Him that calleth,” qualify and define the term “election.” The choice is not founded on the works of the person chosen. The person chosen is chosen, not because he better deserves to be chosen than the person who is not chosen — desert, in the proper sense of the word, has nothing to do with the choice. The choice “is of Him that calleth.” “He who calleth,” is obviously another name for God; and He is thus designated, because it is by calling that God indicates His election. His calling Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees — His calling Israel out of Egypt, were the acts in which He showed that they were the objects of His choice. The choice does not originate in anything in him that is chosen, but in Him who chooses. It has its cause in the Divine will. It is a choice for which we can assign no reason, but that God willed so to choose. — John Brown (1784-1858).
Verse 12. Those who believe that the election spoken of in this passage is national and not personal are quick to point out that Jacob was never personally served by Esau. However, it cannot be gainsaid that in a spiritual sense Esau did in fact “serve the younger,” for he forfeited his birthright, and therefore in reference to the highest interests, Esau was placed below Jacob, as much as Ishmael was below Isaac. This is the real spirit of the passage. — Charles Hodge (1797-1878).
Servitude came in with a curse, and figureth reprobation (Gen. 9:25; John 8:34, 35; Gal. 4:30 — John Trapp (1601-1669).
“The elder shall serve the younger.” God is a free Agent in dispensing His grace. It is His prerogative to make a difference between those who have not, as yet, themselves done either good or evil. — Matthew Henry (1662-1714).
Verse 13. Now the wrath of God is as much a Divine perfection as is His faithfulness, power, or mercy. It must be so, for there is no blemish whatever, not the slightest defect, in the character of God; yet there would be if “wrath” were absent from Him! Indifference to sin is a moral blemish, and he who hates it not is a moral leper. How could He who is the Sum of all excellency look with equal satisfaction upon virtue and vice, wisdom and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His “severity toward it? How could He who delights only in that which is pure and lovely, loathe and hate not that which is impure and vile? The very nature of God as real a necessity, as imperatively and eternally requisite, as Heaven is. — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
The Scripture speaks often of iron-sinewed necks and brazen brows; and of men’s being in their blood when the Lord said they should live; as also that God loved Jacob before he had done anything good; and that the saints love God because He loved them first; but nowhere of foreseen faith and holiness as the cause and ground of God’s love to men. — Elisha Coles (1608-1688).
The Apostle applies this (the sovereignty of God) to His supreme control of our eternal destiny. Has one a hope of life and immortality, and another living without hope and without God in the world? Who has made them to differ? Jacob is loved of his God and Esau is hated. How comes this to pass? Were Jacob and Esau not made of the same lump of clay? Were they not the children of the same earthly parents, and twin brothers? Certainly they were. — Gilbert Beebe (1800-1881).
I can no more explain the infinite hatred of God to sin that I can explain the height of the Heavens above. Infinite holiness must have an infinite hatred against everything that is unholy. God’s Heaven is Himself, and His own happiness is His own eternal and essential holiness; and, if God could be deprived of this, He would cease to be happy. — Hill.
Lastly, seeing it cannot be denied, but that Jacob as a faithful and godly man was in time actually beloved in God, and Esau, as godless and profane, actually hated; it must needs follow, that God before the world was, purposed in Himself accordingly, to love the one and hate the other: seeing whatsoever God in time doth, by way of emanation or application to, and upon the creature , that He purposed to do, as He doth it, from eternity (Rom. 9:13) . . . (In Rom. 9:18), “whom He wills He hardens,” [God] speaks of that will, according to which He Himself works in . . . hatred.” — John Robinson (1576-1625).
We deny that all mankind are the object of that love of God which moved Him to send His Son to die; God having “made some for the day of evil” (Prov. 16:4); “hated them before they were born” (Rom. 9:11, 13); “before of old ordained them to condemnation “ (Jude 4); being “fitted to destruction” (Rom. 9:22); “made to be taken and destroyed” (2 Pet. 2:12); “appointed to wrath” (1 Thes. 5:9); to “go to their own place” (Acts 1:25); reprobation is the issue of hatred, or a purpose of rejection (Rom. 9: 11-13). — John Owen (1616-1683).
“Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” — not merely the works of iniquity. Here, then, is a flat repudiation of present teaching that, God hates sin but loves the sinner; Scripture says, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psa. 5:5)! “God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psa. 7:11). :He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God” — not “shall abide,” nut even now —“abideth on him” (John 3:36). Can God “love” the one on whom His “wrath” abides? Again; is it not evident that the words “The love of God which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:39) mark a limitation, both in the sphere and objects of His love? Again; is it not plain from the words “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13) that God does not love everybody? . . . Is it conceivable that God will love the damned in hell? Yet, if He loves them now He will do so then, seeing that His love knows no change — He is “without variableness or shadow of turning!” — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
The two seeds must ever appear while the Church of God exists upon earth, according to Divine appointment and promise. Isaac the child of promise appears. Ishmael the mocker is born in the same house — the son of the same father; but, he must be cast out (Rom. 9: 7-9). When Jacob, loved of God, was born, Esau, hated of God, was brought forth by the same mother (Rom. 9: 10-13). It is a solemn lesson for us to learn, that Esau sought diligently and possessed not. Jacob wrought deceitfully and possessed. Such instances I have seen again and again. This has been to the humbling of my spirit — the sustaining of my pride — the subduing of my will — and, the bowing of my heart before my God in devout acknowledgment of His glorious sovereignty in regulating and disposing all things, angels, men, devils and events. — Thomas Bradbury (1859-1917).
God’s predestination is absolutely sovereign and rests only in His own good pleasure. The ground of His love of the elect and His hatred of the reprobate is only in Himself. He chose to life, and He rejected to death according to His sovereign will. He alone determined from before the foundation of the world who would and who would not have a place in that Church in which forever the glory of His grace will be manifest and shine forth. — Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965).