Predestination, NOT – Romans 9 Explained (Video)
Predestination is in fact a biblical word, and there’s a fair amount of good debate on this topic in the Christian community. Just read Romans 9 and you too might struggle to take a side. One side insists that God literally chooses some for heaven, and for others, He sends them to hell and nothing can save them. They don’t get a choice, they can’t call on the name of the Lord, and they can’t believe even if they want to.
If predestination isn’t God choosing to send people to hell then could it mean something different?
Let’s talk about what predestination really means. Today you’ll discover WHO was predestined – WHEN they were predestined, and WHAT they were predestined to.
In Romans chapter 9 we see a few isolated verses, that, if we miss the context of Romans, we miss the message. For example Romans 9:13 is quoting the Old Testament where God is saying “Jacob I loved and Esau I HATED”. So the takeaway is that God is saying I love this person, but I hate that one.
In context, in the first 8 chapters of Romans, Paul has been leading up to – and sharing a new testament reality of salvation. In Rom 9:13 Paul presents the OLD TESTAMENT facts and that God had to authority to do what He did so that God can justify what that he also has the authority to do what He wants under the new covenant. In this context, I also believe that Jacob was a picture of Israel.
Then we hit Romans 9:18 and read that “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”, which is then interpreted as God causing people today not to believe so that they don’t get a choice in the matter. Yes, God clearly did harden Pharaoh’s heart because He can do whatever He wants to. After all, He is God. And what we’re supposed to be learning in Romans 9 is that even though the law has been around for hundreds of years God calls the shots, and just like He could do whatever He wanted in the past, He is also able to do whatever He wants today, including allowing people (Gentiles included) to be saved by faith. So what we are seeing is the sovereignty of God being defended by Paul.
What we need to understand is that Paul is making clear that God has the authority to do as He pleases, but there’s a reason for this. There’s something that Paul needs to defend that God has done. He needs to defend GOD’S CHOICE to save the Romans and the Gentiles too. And this is also why God talks about the potter and the clay in Romans 9:21 which says “Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?”. Paul is saying that there are HONORABLE vessels, and then there are vessels of COMMON use. 2,000 years ago the Jews were honored and the Gentiles were considered commoners. The Jews were CHOSEN by God. God defended them, He rescued them, He walked with them. Yes, He was their God. He chose them. They were vessels of honor. But the Gentiles were not looking for God. They were vessels of dishonor. Prepared for destruction.
So, what Paul is getting ready to present here is that if in the Old Testament God could say “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated”, can’t He NOW through the cross choose to save people through faith if He wants to. Now, God is basically saying “the Jews I love and the Gentiles I also love”, and Paul’s point is who are you to oppose God?
John 12:32 tells us when the Son of Man was lifted up He began to draw ALL men to Himself (not just some). This is the message of the gospel. It’s not just a gospel for the Jews, but for the whole world.
So how is this spelled out in Romans 9? We begin Paul’s full message in verses 15-16 (below) as he makes clear God does what He wants.
Romans 9:15-16 “For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
In other words, under the new covenant, God changed things, and it doesn’t depend on the guy who has been trying really hard to keep the law.
In fact, I think verses 30-32 is Paul screaming ‘HEY – here’s my point – The Gentiles attained righteousness apart from the law because they had faith, and the Jews didn’t obtain it because they didn’t have faith, and it doesn’t matter how hard they tried. He’s God and if He wants to save people by faith instead of law then he can do it’.
Romans 9:30-32 “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works.
So verse 30-32 shows us this is not about individual selection and God picking and choosing who He will have mercy on, but rather it’s about God saying if I want to have mercy on the Romans/Gentiles too, then I can do it. He’s saying “I‘m God, and contrary to what you’ve heard, I’m including you Romans (Gentiles) to be saved, and I’m not doing it according to who peruses it by law, but rather faith”.
Keep in mind, God saving the Gentiles was highly controversial at this time and the Jews were not having it. To them, the law was the only way and they were the only ones chosen. – and now Paul is defending God’s choice to include Gentiles.
This was all predestined before Moses. 430 years ago God made a promise to Abraham that he would be the father of MANY nations (not just Israel). God’s point here is this promise was pre-promised a long time ago. God never changed His mind. It was always predestined that the Gentiles would be saved, and this is why we read in Romans 10:13 that “whosoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. So yes, there was something that was predestined, and to quote from the Old testament in Hosea 2:23 as God foretells what’s coming He says “And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!
Take Away: Predestination simply means this – In the beginning, the Jews were seen by all as being predestined (chosen) by God according to their bloodline. But we later discover that God did something radical. 1) He included (chose) us dirty Gentiles too 2) He did it by faith, apart from works apart from the law.
Even today there are many Jews that would say Gentiles are not Chosen and will not see the Kingdom. Thank God for Jesus!
Author: Mike Cynar
Mike Cynar grew up in church and observed that countless people would go to church and then just stop. The church always referred to them as ‘fake Christians’ or ‘backsliders’ but Mike discovered the problem was deeper. The problem was the church message. The message was 90% behavior improvement and how bad you are, with a pinch of who you are in Christ, It was like every sermon was being preached to the church of Corinth. It’s in the Baptist church, Catholic, Pentecost, and most every other church. After discovering the true gospel message and how we are made right with God because of what ‘Jesus did’ (not what ‘we do’) Mike set out to free believers from behavior improvement programs and bring them back to Jesus. The Result – Jesus Without Religion was launched.