God is Sovereign and Righteous in Blessing or in Judgment

Romans 9

N. Anderson.

Verse 8. The Seed, was born according to Promise, and promise is Sovereign, being entirely dependent for its implementation upon the Promiser.

Verses 9-11. The promise of God, was evidently independent of the doings of either Jacob or Esau. Note too — the purpose of God is related to Election and Calling. It is not related to either judgment nor destroying, hence it is not dependent on the practice of those who are the subjects of Promise.

Verse 12. The place of honour was given to the younger before he was born.

Verse 13. Jacob was loved because God loved him — no other reason could be adduced. Esau, on the contrary, was hated because he despised the birthright. This was written long years after their history had run its course (see Malachi 1:1-3; Hebrews 12:16-17). Of Esau we read in the latter Scripture, "For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought is carefully with tears." We say just here that what he sought was not repentance, but the blessing which he had bartered for "a mess of pottage."

Verses 14, 15. There is no unrighteousness with God — mercy and compassion serve His own will.

Verse 16. Mercy is sovereignly bestowed without any question of deserts.

Verses 17, 18. Pharaoh was raised up for the manifestation of God's power and the declaration of His Name throughout the earth. If Pharaoh would not obey God — read at this point, Exodus 3:19 — then would God harden his heart. So would He accomplish His own ends — the deliverance of His son Israel — by the exercise of His own power.

Verse 19. The Jews might say, "but we are not like Pharaoh. For who hath resisted his will?."

Verse 20. God has His own rights. Though the Jew might say, "You are to blame: you have made us like this," God replies that "the potter has the right to make of the clay, one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour" (see verse 21).

Verse 22. What then if God exercises His right to execute judgment where it was deserved? In the exercise of His wrath He makes His power known. How does He do so? HE "endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction." How, or by whom, had they been fitted? By their sins. At the same time He makes known "The riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory." Vessels of wrath have fitted themselves for wrath, while vessels of mercy will forever be indebted to Him for preparing them for glory, in spite of the fact that this epistle elsewhere says, Rom. 3:22-23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

What then shall we say to God for having acted in mercy to such as only deserved lasting punishment, and having given them lasting blessing? "O depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God … for of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things; to Whom be glory for ever. Amen" (Romans 11:36).