Chapter nine of Romans is in view in these pages of the Bible Knowledge Commentary. The commentary outlines chapters 9-11 as God’s righteousness revealed in sovereign choice. The sovereignty of God is a difficult doctrine to grasp. However, it is a true Biblical doctrine which cannot be denied or ignored.
In Romans chapter nine we find God’s sovereignty enunciated. In verses 1-5, Paul outlines the privileges of Israel. They have been given so much and as a result they really have no excuse. The point here is on God’s choosing of Israel. The Bible is very clear that God chose for Himself a people through which He would bring the plan of redemption to the world.
This choice that God made is illustrated in verses 6-18. Here, Paul gives the examples of Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, and Pharaoh. In all three of these cases, we find God choosing certain individuals to carry out God’s plan. God chose Isaac to be not just a physical son of Abraham, but a spiritual one. He would be the one to carry on the seed of God’s spiritual blessings for His chosen people. Jacob was also chosen for the same purpose. In the case of Pharaoh, God raised Pharaoh up at certain point in history to be an instrument through which God would display His power and glory. Paul is not saying here that God chose some for heaven and some for hell. Ishmael, Esau, and Pharaoh all could have been saved if they by faith believed in God. However, God chose Isaac, Jacob, and even Pharaoh for a specific purpose. The choosing of people through whom God would carry out His redemptive plan is in view here, not individual salvation or condemnation.
This choice is explained in verse 19-29 of Romans chapter 9. The question arises as to how one could resist God since He is the one doing the choosing. Paul responds by asking, who are we to question God? We should not question or doubt the sovereignty of God. The example is given of a potter molding the clay. Those who believe in Jesus through faith are the vessels of honor and glory. Those who do not believe are the vessels of wrath. God is patient with those who reject Him, giving them ample opportunity to submit to the potter’s hand. However, due to their sin and their rejection of Christ, they prepare themselves as vessels of wrath and will be condemned forever in hell.
Just because we struggle with understanding the sovereignty of God, does not mean that we should ignore it or not believe it. Our responsibility is to submit to God and to believe in Jesus for salvation. God will not turn anyone away who comes to Him by faith.