Been reading Romans 9 in prep for tonight’s study… it’s pretty hectic as the South Africans would say.
Logically I’m finding it one of the most easiest strands of Paul’s argument to understand, but theologically it’s a brain-twister, and not just brain but heart too. Just the way Paul brings up the issue of the Jews brings his true colours to light, ‘I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers…’ (9.2-3).
I love reading Paul, because just when you’re wrapped up in understanding his doctrine, his theology, his understanding of how it all works, you’re smacked in the face by the way he takes it as the reality it is. It’s not simply textbook theory, for actually that‘s not theology, it’s heart, mind, and soul, engaged, enwrapped, involved. What a big rebuke to thinking it’s possible to get a grip on God’s election without it twisting your heart. Does it make us concerned? Am I gonna stand up and speak the ‘truth in Christ’ and feel anguish? Not anguish that the word of God has failed, but anguish that so many don’t seem to be children of promise (8.9), that so many have rejected the only one who can be their sacrifice for sins (Heb 10.26-27).
The mercy of God, absolutely free, totally unwarranted. Choosing Isaac not Ishmael, Jacob not Esau. Forgiving a people who turned to building a golden calf just hours after recieving the law. Blinding grace. Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! And yet we are chosen, as vessels of mercy, prepared beforehand for glory, to make known the riches of his glory.