A slightly different take on the old adage, “Where’s there’s life, there’s hope.”
Does Paul mean to say that God chooses whom He blesses? Paul may as well say, “Of course I do!” Paul pulls out some ammunition from the old covenant scriptures. He mentions the clear division between Pharoa and Moses – one an object of God’s wrath, the other an object of His mercy. Paul briefly tells of Abraham’s two sons; he says, “You know them; you know how that all came down.” Then he fleshes out the story of Rebecca’s two sons: Jacob and Esau. He writes:
“God’s sonship is not for all those who are Abraham’s children by natural descent; it is only the children given to him as the result of God’s promise that are to be counted as his posterity. 9 It was a promise God made, when he said, When this season comes round again, I will visit thee, and Sara shall have a son. 10 And not only she, but Rebecca too received a promise, when she bore two sons to the same husband, our father Isaac. 11 They had not yet been born; they had done nothing, good or evil; and already, so that God’s purpose might stand out clearly as his own choice, 12 with no action of theirs to account for it, nothing but his will, from whom the call came, she was told, The elder is to be the servant of the younger13 So it is that we read, I have been a friend to Jacob, and an enemy to Esau.”
Paul hears the protests. He realizes how this sounds to the human ear. God is unfair. How dare He pick and choose us like that. How dare He send some of us to eternal hell while rescuing only a few of us! Paul counters:
14 What does this mean? That God acts unjustly? That is not to be thought of. 15 I will shew pity, he tells Moses, on those whom I pity; I will shew mercy where I am merciful;16 the effect comes, then, from God’s mercy, not from man’s will, or man’s alacrity. 17 Pharao, too, is told in scripture, This is the very reason why I have made thee what thou art, so as to give proof, in thee, of my power, and to let my name be known all over the earth.18 Thus he shews mercy where it is his will, and where it is his will he hardens men’s hearts.19 Hereupon thou wilt ask, If that is so, how can he find fault with us, since there is no resisting his will? 20 Nay, but who art thou, friend, to bandy words with God? Is the pot to ask the potter, Why hast thou fashioned me thus?21 Is not the potter free to do what he will with the clay, using the same lump to make two objects, one for noble and one for ignoble use? 22 It may be that God has borne, long and patiently, with those who are the objects of his vengeance, fit only for destruction, meaning to give proof of that vengeance, and display his power at last;23 meaning also to display, in those who are the objects of his mercy, how rich is the glory he bestows, that glory for which he has destined them.“
Do you believe in destiny? Do you know God’s sovereign power? Do you protest against His own choices? When you recognize and accept God’s mercy in the light of Romans 9 and John 1 and Ephesians 1, to name a few, then you may find yourself melting away, or as Job puts it so well, “repenting in dust and ashes.”
Delight! Take great pleasure in, be joyful over! When I think of being joyful, of being grateful, of taking great pleasure in something, I imagine my son on Christmas morning. He’s 9 months old, and I carry him into the living room. On the floor of my parents’ house in Indiana, toys are arranged on the carpeted floor near the Christmas tree. Santa has come to visit! The joy my son expresses is a squeal. When I put him down on the floor, he kicks his feet happily and claps. Even at 9 months of age, he understands these toys are for him and they bring him great pleasure!
“Delight thou in the Lord; and He shall give to thee the askings of thine heart.”
I wonder if we delight in the Lord in the same manner a child thrills to know Christmas toys belong to him.
God’s awesome sovereignty at work… everywhere, forever. Amen.
“according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with His blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” 1 Peter 1:2
Peter’s first letter is addressed to “the elect… according to the foreknowledge of God…” These words are meant to bring comfort to a people in dire need of it. As Rome intensified the persecution against the Jews, many believers left Israel and became residents of Gentile cities. They are now reduced to exiles and pilgrims. Peter encourages them with the knowledge of who they are. By divine providence, they are the elect of God. As the elect, they have been redeemed. When the Bible speak of ‘being redeemed’ it is always begging our attention to the picture of a slave being purchased out of bondage. For believers in Jesus Christ, it depicts our once…
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On this third anniversary of GRACE PARTAKERS – well, not the actual day but you get the idea! – I stop to recognize that somewhat like David ( no I am not a “David” ) I choose to follow an urging ( I hope not to presume ) of the Holy Spirit to write a short note on a single verse of scripture each day. I’ve fallen off “each day” but I strive to meet this expectation. My prayer is like David’s:
“And the speeches of my mouth shall be such, that they please; and the thinking of mine heart is ever[more] in thy sight. Lord, mine helper; and mine again-buyer. (May the words out of my mouth be such, that they please thee; and may the thinking of my heart be acceptable before thee forevermore, O Lord; my helper, and my redeemer.)”
I’d like that “the thinking of my heart be acceptable” to God. I’d like that “the speeches of my mouth” please Him. Only God knows my heart; only He can judge my motivations. Even I not dare to say that what I write makes any difference in His Kingdom. I can only hope.
And so my theme at GRACE PARTAKERS is to glorify the Lord, my God and “mine again-buyer!”
Every once in a while, I like to pause and see if there’s a milestone at my feet. And sure enough, this morning I realize that I’ve been writing GRACE PARTAKERS ( on WordPress, that is ) since September 17, 2009. That makes this blog a little older than 3 years.
Actually I’ve been writing GP posts since sometime in 2008 when I joined Facebook.
I’m so happy you’ve come along for the ride. GOD is so good, and not just some of the time.
If we worry a bit more about reforming our wits as we do about reforming our behaviors, we’d be much better off, I believe. God asks us to change our minds; that is literally to allow Him to change the patterns of our thinking. He asks us to allow Him to perform this exacting task through His own Word; but also through the indwelling of His own Holy Spirit, the third Person of the blessed Trinity.
“And do not ye be conformed to this world, but be ye reformed in newness of your wit, that ye prove which is the will of God, good, and well pleasing, and perfect.”
As we allow God to work in us through His Word and His Spirit, we inevitably find our thought patterns change. As our thoughts are changed, so our behaviors follow.
Attempting to achieve change in behavior prior to change in thought is pointless in God’s eyes.
Read the Word. As you read the Word, allow the Word to transform your mind. The rest will follow.
This lovely lovely ‘rap’ is pretty much what I believe the Bible teaches us about God, sin, and how He paid our debt and brings us back to LIFE…
Once again, I find myself in a tough situation. Many people are also in tough situations – financial, health, family, personal situations that are extremely difficult. Yet, God through His prophet Jeremiah reminds me again that even in my tough situation, God knows everything. He is in charge of everything. And, He is perfect. His perfection makes me believe I am going to be okay. Actually, more than okay. Something better always come out of adversity. Always.
God tells me:
“For I know the thoughts which I think on you, saith the Lord, the thoughts of peace, and not of torment, that I give to you an end and patience. (For I know the thoughts which I think about you, saith the Lord, the thoughts of peace, and not of torment, so that I shall give you a good ending.)”
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