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Old 04-17-2009, 05:38 PM
Winman Winman is offline
 
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Boaz212

I am almost reluctant to try and answer your questions, as I am sure Brother George will do a far better job.

My personal opinion, and remember, no scripture is of private interpretation, it that people are reading Romans Chapter 9 wrong. I am no scholar, I simply read the Bible and ask God to give me wisdom to understand. And I can testify that God has answered my prayers many times. I have prayed about a certain verse or passage that I could not understand, only to attend Church and the Pastor preach on that very passage and make it clear as day. And in a few cases, the Lord just seemed to open my understanding and suddenly the passage was clear. Sometimes you get an answer very soon, sometimes you have to wait awhile. But if you are sincere, God will answer you.

James 1: 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

There you go, God is happy to give you wisdom if you ask, so don't doubt Him.

Now, to how I read Romans Chapter 9. I always approach problems in the same way I was taught in Algebra many years ago. Always take what you do know, to determine what you do not know.

Now, this we know, God is not willing that any should perish.

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Now, remember that word "longsuffering", because you are going to see that again in Romans 9. And another important word there is "repentance".

We also know that God does not tempt any man to sin.

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

So here we have two very simple and straightforward things we KNOW. God is not willing that any person should perish, and God does not cause any man to sin.

And Election? Have you ever heard a radio show where they say, "the first person to call in and tell us what year the movie Wizard of Oz came out will win a thousand dollars!"? That is election. If you call in and give the correct answer first, it has already been determined beforehand that you will win the prize. If you call in and give the wrong answer, or you are correct but you were not the first to call in with the correct answer, it has already been determined beforehand that you will not win the prize.

And God has determined that He will only save those who come to Him in faith.

This is what Romans 9:15 means.

Romans 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

And this is explained in earlier verses.

Rom 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

God has already determined he will have mercy on those who come to Him by faith, not works, or not because of genealogy (descended from Abraham according to the flesh).

Now, here is where it gets tricky. God already knows who will come to Him by faith, and God knows who will not. And this was the case with Pharoah. God knew beforehand that Pharoah would rebel and resist God.

Now, that is not God's fault. God gives every person free will. You must come to God because you LOVE him, not because you are a robot that has no choice. This is where some go wrong. They think God is cruel and determines some to be punished forever, and chooses some to have everlasting life. No, God gives every man free choice. And that is how it should be. If you were getting married, would you want your wife to marry you because she chose you and loved you, or because you stuck a shotgun in her face and demanded she marry you? No, real love always gives a person free will and choice, and God gives you free will and choice.

Have you ever had a debate with someone where you knew (or at least felt) you were correct, and knew they were wrong? And no matter how much evidence you provide that person, instead of agreeing with you, they just get more and more stubborn?

I argued with my wife once over the words to a song. She was singing a song and got the words wrong. I laughed (big mistake) and told her that is not how the song went. She got offended and insisted she was correct. I insisted I was correct, she insisted she was correct. We got in such a heated argument over this silly song that we did not speak to each other for over a week. We never did resolve it, we just dropped it.

But that is how Pharoah was. Pharoah was stubborn. He did not like to be wrong, he did not want to listen to God or anybody else. So in this sense God hardened his heart, by commanding him to let God's people go. The more God told him, and the plagues God brought upon him, the angrier Pharoah got, and the more determined to resist God he became.

Now read Roman 9:17-18 and it will make sense.

Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Yes, God used Pharoah to demonstrate his power. He knew Pharoah would resist Him, and God could show his great power in bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. But God did not make Pharoah stubborn, that was Pharoah's own fault.

Now look at Rom 9:19-22

Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

First, note that they asked "why hast thou made me thus?" You hear that a lot today. The homosexuals will claim that they have no choice in their lifestyle, that God made them that way. But that is not true.

Notice how I highlighted "of the same lump" in verse 21, this is very important. We are all made from the same lump. God does not create you good or evil, you CHOOSE to be good or evil. You can come to Jesus in faith, or you can choose your own way. But remember, God has already determined beforehand that He will only accept those who come to Him by His Son Christ Jesus in faith. He will have mercy on those who come to Him in faith, He will have no mercy on those who choose their own way.

And notice verse 22, where God says "he endured with much long-suffering".
He gave Pharoah every possible chance he could. At one point Pharoah even admitted he had sinned.

Exo 9:27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.

But Pharoah said this for convenience. He just wanted the plague to end, and once it did, he went right back to his old stubborn ways.

Exo 9:33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.

Yes, God caused Pharoah to harden his heart by confronting him, but it was Pharoah's own personal choice.

So, God is not wrong to show His power and wrath on those who stubbornly resist Him, and He is not wrong to show mercy to those who obey Him by coming in faith.

I hope this helped. This is how I understand this chapter.

Last edited by Winman; 04-17-2009 at 05:47 PM.
 

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