“It’s Not Fair!” — A Question of God’s Righteousness (Part 2)
September 8, 2019
The story of God’s justice is also a story of God’s mercy. God certainly is just. He certainly will not let the guilty go unpunished (Ex. 34:7). He will execute His wrath. He must. Because He is holy He cannot overlook sin. He must and He will judge all sin and sinners. There is nothing unfair about God’s judgment; whenever and wherever God judges, He is fair (right/righteous).
But in contrast to what many think and believe, God is more than just a God of wrath. He is also a God of mercy and grace. He is a God who withholds His wrath at times and who pours out blessing and riches and kindness at other times. And as we noted last week, God’s mercy is seen most brightly when it is placed against the backdrop of His wrath. Now, God’s exercise of His wrath and mercy has raised a question…
The question Paul is addressing in Romans 9 is a very real one; it was a significant question in Paul’s day and it is a significant question today. Ask around your workplace or your neighborhood or your children’s sports teams, and see if people believe that God always acts fairly. If people are honest, you are sure to get multiple responses of “No, God isn’t always fair…children die…accidents happen…and natural disasters decimate the poor and needy. Why does God do that?”
This question about God’s fairness is actually a subset to a question that Paul began addressing at the beginning of the chapter — “Is God faithful?” That anticipated question arose in Paul’s mind because of the declaration he made at the end of chapter eight — if Christ’s salvation overwhelmingly conquers, then why hasn’t Israel been saved in accord with God’s covenant promises? Has God been unfaithful to Israel? And if God has been unfaithful to Israel, will He be unfaithful to us? Can we trust Him for our salvation?
Paul’s answer is that divine election has chosen some individual Israelites to be saved (vv. 6-13) and His mercy on some and hardening of others has been to proclaim His name in all the earth (vv. 14-18). Because He is greater than a potter, who is sovereign over his pottery, God’s sovereign election is just (vv. 19-23). And this morning we will see that His mercy and hardening was also for the purpose of folding Gentiles into His salvation plan (vv. 24-26) — a plan foretold in the OT. The theme of this morning’s passage is —
God’s elective salvation is always merciful — even to Gentiles.
How is God’s elective salvation merciful to us?
- God’s Election is a Revelation of the Riches of God’s Glory (v. 23)
- God’s Election is for All Mankind (v. 24)
- God’s Election is Despite Man’s Prior Relationship with God (v. 25)
- God’s Election is to a Unique Relationship (v. 26)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 9:24-26.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.