Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Bible Study Notes

Romans 9:14-29

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Is God unfair?

Is there Unrighteousness with God?

General Idea: Is God unfair? Have you got mad when things have not gone your way, or perhaps blamed God for your mistakes saying, well you made me? These are the questions we come too in times of distress and confusion; we get mad at God wondering what is going on! We see some people prosper that are evil or do not deserve it and the good seem to miss out on blessings and opportunities and even suffer. Here Paul so eloquently answers our hurts and questions. God has no obligation to save us or to show mercy, we have no right to receive God's love or grace, yet He does. We do not have the right to demand that God does as we think He should or criticize Him or say He is not being fair when He does something that has not met our perceived need or limited expectations. God should get mad at us when we disappoint Him, but He does not. Yet, we get mad at Him when He seems to disappoint us; nevertheless, He gives us patience, mercy and His love anyway! Our plight of doubt should not focus on the whys of life, but on the how do we respond and grow. We have no right to criticize and question God, for He is pure and just and we do not even have a small glimpse of what He sees and the real truth. Then Paul draws upon Old Testament Prophets to make his point.

1.What can we say then? People were saying that God is unfair. Paul summarizes the previous passage by saying this idea cannot pass without the attention it is due.

a.Certainly not! Paul says God is indeed not unfair because God is not obligated to save anybody. For we all deserve to be condemned (Rom. 6:2, 15; 7:7).

b.Says to Moses, Israel was chosen by God's grace and purpose (Ex. 9:16; 33:19; Duet. 7:6-8), as the elect.

c.God shows mercy, therefore they as well as we have no right to question God and say He is unfair. Since God is not obligated, then we must be filled with joy, because He chose us sinners (Gratitude), so that it flows onto others (evangelism).

d.Him who wills, the choices that God makes in election have not closed the doors to those individuals who were not elected (If it did, we would have "Double Predestination", those who are elected to Hell, this is not found in Scripture).

e.We trust God because He is righteous; thus He makes the right decisions, we do not make the right decisions. His ways are far beyond our understanding; He is God and chooses as He pleases, period.

f.How dreadful is a Christian who is self-righteous and critical of others (Ex. 9:16; 33:19). God is righteous even when He shows mercy to some and not to others.

g.Pharaoh, his heat was hardened by himself and God. This does not mean God made him evil or caused injustice, rather God allowed Pharaohs own evil choices to come to its full completion to teach him, Egypt and the Jews that God is sovereign. God gave Pharaoh over to His own choices that is what God hardened means (Ex. 14:17-28).

h.This Passage points to "Unconditional Election": from the Reformed Theology principles of TULIP (see website channel on Doctrines).

2.You will say to me then, means blaming God for our choices. When we receive mercy we are not receiving a reward; rather His grace! Election is no excuse to sit and do nothing in service and witness to others!

a.He wills, God is sovereign and we have free will, the Bible teaches both, we may not fully understand it, but there it is. We are the elect and chosen, which we must know we have no right to it. Thus, our responsibility and call must be directive and purpose driven, His purpose! To sit and hide behind theology is a coward's and reprobate's way out! Spurgeon said, "We have a chosen people, and yet His gospel is to be preached to every creature..."

b.In Acts 27 Paul is told by God during an impending shipwreck that they will be saved from the storm. Yet, Paul does not take God's sovereign decree and just lie in his hammock, no! Paul makes sure the sailors do not escape, reassures the crew and passengers and forms a plan to go to shore and they were saved. God's sovereignty does not mean we sit and do nothing; we are formed and called for action to exercise our free will, yet He controls every stray molecule in the universe.

c.If God elected us on the basis of our ability and righteousness Heaven would be empty, well maybe Enoch will be there all alone (Isa. 64:8; Rom. 5:12-14). If God elected us solely by His foreknowledge that would mean we earned it at some point and we can never earn our salvation!

d.God is a Holy God and punishes sinners, yet He is a merciful God who desires to save us.

e.If we tried to explain election we would lose our mind, if we try to just explain it away, we may lose our soul! Most theologians either exclude human reasonability and God's total control, or explain God as passive and we are to take charge of our destiny.

3.Why have you made me like this? We have no right to blame God! The Potter has the right to do what He wises to do with the clay! The great comfort is His forming is far better than what we could ever envision or would do with it!

a.If the potter, God is the potter and we are the clay (Isa. 45:9; 64:8). Unlike clay we have the will to resist, feelings to rely on, plans to make, knowledge to hide in, experience to base our judgments on, and determination to do our own thing (Jer. 18). Yet, we have a God who makes the final determination that is not flawed with limited experience and knowledge, along with flawed reasoning and prejudice. Potters have every right to do to the clay as they see fit, the clay does not argue back.

b.15 times in the O.T. Pharaoh harden his heart (Ex. 7-18). Sometimes it was Pharaoh (Ex. 8:15; 18; 32); sometimes it was God (Ex. 9:12; 10:1; 20; 27). We may see it as God was being unfair, however, God did give Pharaoh every opportunity to repent (2 Pet. 3:9), and when Pharaoh did recant and let the Jews go, he changed his mind! Pharaoh is the one who resisted, not God! God did not create the evil in Pharaoh, nor did He create it in us.

c.What if, Thank God He does not act justly! Only a remnant of Israel will be saved, being a Jew will not save you, nor will being a member of a church!

d.Endured, God shows patience by tolerating our evil for the sake of others who will benefit by it by their faith being strengthened (Prov. 6:9; 2 Pet. 3:9).

e.He had prepared, is pointing us to the mercy and greatness of God. Life is about God's purpose not ours and His purpose is better (Mal. 1:2; Rom. 8:29-30)!

f.The same sunlight that will harden clay will melt ice. Are you ice or clay?

g.Vessels of Mercy, God knows our cries and dilemmas (Ex. 3:7; Eph. 2:11-22). His plan is to form His Church from sons and daughters all adopted in His righteousness as mercy. We Jews and Gentiles came together for His glory and purpose (Isa. 1:9; 10: 22-23; Hos. 2:23).

h.God's character is just and fair!

i.Whom He called, the context it that God is restoring Israel. For us, if we abandon God He does not abandon us (Hos. 2:23)! God has a remnant among the Jews (Eph. 2:11-22). God choose Israel and condemned Egypt, because He is in control in His purpose.

j.Isaiah also cries, Paul quotes Isaiah 1:9; 10:22-23. God always has His remnant. But just being a Jew will not save them! God is a God of justice and mercy, of judgment and grace (Rom. 1:7-17).

k.NEVER LET THEOLOGY EXCUSE YOU FROM RESPONSIBILITY! If it does your theology is dead wrong!

 

Disappointments are the impact between our expectations and experiences while ignoring the promises of God. Our expectations will collide with our experiences and then create a life of anger, self-pity and resentment. We will get mad at God because what we want out of life has not been met, what we thought that is.The choice is yours and the key is where you look for your hope! This is about our circumstances and how we look at our Lord. How we see adversity and His sovereignty will totally affect how we learn and deal with it (Phil 1:27-30). What is the key? Learning our hope is in the Lord, not in our expectations (Psalm 25:4-5; Mark 9:17-27; John 16:33; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; 11:23-27; Heb. 12: 6-10)! Our great comfort is that He does care! He does love us and wants us to succeed in Life, but He wants our attention on the right avenue not the distractions.

God has called the Church, the people of God, out from the Jews, to fulfill their responsibility to make Christ (God) known throughout the world. God has not forsaken the Jews or taken their blessing and purpose away and given it to the Church. We both have a call and purpose. He chose us to display His glory, grace and mercy to all, in which the Jews failed, just as many churches do today; they become clubs for members only, and fail at their call, replacing it with excuses, personal agendas and power plays from our limited human reasoning.

Questions:

Learning Outcomes: a. Know why God's mercy is required and we cannot be just before Him. b. Know that our knowledge and experience does not compare to God's. c. Be able to be God's clay, for Him to mold and shape us that you are aware of and surrendered to the Holy Spirit in all that you do.

1. When you were a child what did you think was totally unfair? What about now?

2. Have you ever felt that God is unfair? How and why?

3. In times of distress and confusion, do you call God uncaring, unconcerned or callous? Why would people do this, Christian or otherwise?

4. Do you or do you know someone who might think they have a right to be saved?

5. Do you trust God because He makes the right decisions?

6. How can you answer yours or others hurts and questions concerning the perception that God is unfair?

7. Why does God have no obligation to save us or to show mercy?

8. Why does He show mercy?

9. Our plight of doubt should not focus on the whys of life, but on the how do we respond and grow. So how can we do this?

10. Why do we have no right to criticize and question God? Yes? No? Why or why not?

11. How do you feel knowing that you, no matter how good you are or think you are deserve to be condemned?

12. How do you feel knowing that since you are condemned, He saved you anyway?

13. Since God chose you, what flows onto others because of your gratitude?

14. Why would some Reformed Groups not believe in doing evangelism?

15. Do you believe some Christians use theology as an excuse to cover their call and responsibility?

16. If so, what can you do as part of the church to prevent or turn away from such thinking?

17. Why would the choices that God makes in election, would not close the doors to those individuals who were not elected?

18. His ways are far beyond our understanding; He is God and chooses as He pleases, period. Does this statement comfort you or scare you and why?

19. Why do you suppose is it a dreadful thing for a Christian to be self-righteous and critical of others?

20. Why do some Christians only consider themselves and not others?

21. How can God be righteous when He shows mercy to some and not to others?

22. Have you ever been a part of a church that used Election as an excuse to sit and do nothing in service and witness to others?

23. Here is an easy Question, how can God be sovereign and we still have free will?

24. How can we direct our responsibility and call to being "purpose driven" (not the church growth catch phrase) that is being driven by His purpose?

25. Why would believing and admiring in God's pure sovereignty while we sit and do nothing or just hide behind misplaced theology be a coward's and reprobate's way out?

26. Read Acts 27. How can this passage be used to explain God's sovereignty and our free will?

27. God's sovereignty also means we are formed and called for action to exercise our free will, even though He controls every stray molecule in the universe. So how can you mold your 'worldview' (how you see the world and your role in it) to take this theology into practice?

28. If God elected us on the basis of our ability and righteousness why would Heaven be empty?

29. Winston Churchill said that Hitler and Stalin were proof of God's existence. Because humanity is evil and there is a need for hell. What are your thoughts on humanities tendency to be evil? Or do you believe we are more good then evil?

30. What and why do you think that Calvin (the founder of the reformed faith and the Reformation) saw a danger in the Reformed faith? (Tendencies to just place God as sovereign and us as the elect to do nothing with our faith and call.)

31. 15 times in the O.T. Pharaoh harden his heart (Ex. 7-18). Sometimes it was Pharaoh (Ex. 8:15; 18; 32), sometimes it was God. So was God unfair with him?

32. Do you see God as the potter and you as the clay (Isa. 45:9; 64:8)? If so, what is He forming in you? What is He forming with you?

33. The same sunlight that will harden clay will melt ice. Are you ice or clay?

34. We have a God who makes the final Judgment who is not flawed with limited experience and knowledge, or with flawed reasoning and prejudice. How does this give you comfort?

35. How can God's mercy prevent you from being a judgmental person?

36. Why would your theology be dead wrong if you allowed your reasoning and theology to excuse you from exercising your gifts and abilities?

37. God chose us to display His glory, grace and mercy to all. How does your church do that?

38. How can your church be better at modeling grace and mercy to its members and neighborhood?

39. Many churches today fail at their call and become clubs for members only replacing it with excuses from limited human reasoning, why would they do that? What will they say to God in the final judgment? What can you do about this travesty before our loving Lord?

40. What area in your spiritual journey are you growing in lately? And what can you do to be more pliable clay, that is to grow even deeper and richer?

Remember God's character is just and fair!

Theology Thought:

Calvin saw a danger in the Reformed faith, which a tendency could crop up to just place God as sovereign and us as the elect to do nothing with our faith and call. Thus, Calvin spent most of his writing to promote our responsibility in life and duty, as well as prayer. Calvin knew that our human faulty thinking would lead to theologians to misuse the reformed principles to cover their laziness or fear to work and exercise their will for God's glory. Such as to do no evangelism, thinking that is purely the role of the Holy Spirit, yes it is, but we are still commanded to do it!

© 1998, 2001, 2004 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org/

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