Monday, July 6, 2009

I Have A Serious Concern

After hearing a preacher on the radio yesterday and reading Romans 9:14-21, I find myself with a few serious questions. I like to write these devotions in hopes that they will inspire others. But sometimes, I need to write a devotion when I need inspiring, or at least when I have questions. I am not a Bible scholar, and all I can do is read Scripture and pray for understanding. But I know many of my readers are much further along on their spiritual walk, and I am hoping they will respond to my questions. Hopefully, I can get these things sorted. And just maybe, you have some of the same questions. I am in hopes that your responses will help all of us. Here's my struggle.

The preacher on the radio was saying that he finished 4 years of college and then 6 years in Seminary. But he said that the fact that he received his degrees so that he could become a preacher had absolutely nothing to do with his effort. He said it was all a gift from God. My question about that is, although it was a gift of God, didn't the preacher still have to accept the gift and also work hard at studying? If what he is saying that he had nothing to do with it and it was all from God, then doesn't that mean that a murderer or rapist can claim that God made him that way and that it had nothing to do with him. God did give us choice! Further, in Romans 9:14-21, it seems to back up what the preacher said. Paraphrasing, the Scripture says that God chooses who He will show mercy and who he will harden. It also seems like it is saying that God completely chooses whom He will honor and dishonor. I have read those verses several times, and it just seems to me to be saying that we really don't have any will or say so in matters; It is completely up to God. But that can't be right, can it? I MUST be missing something. Yes, God blesses us, shows mercy, and sends us through storms that seem to be completely out of our control. But don't I have some choice? Help!

Father, I love you and want to please You in every way. I have accepted Jesus as my Personal Savior, and according to Your perfect Word, I am saved and have eternal life. But is there anything we can do by choice to help turn around certain situations? I ask you to touch the hearts of those who know more about the Bible than I do. Help them to respond on here so I, and maybe somebody else, can uncover Your truth in this matter. In Jesus name, Amen.


  1. Allen,
    I am no Bible Scholar either, but I learned early on that when if you(the radio preacher) take a text out of context, then you have pretext.
    Those particular verses in Romans make it seem that we have no choice as you stated, which is not true as you also stated. Let's face it, God gave Adam and Eve clear instructions but they CHOSE to disobey. They made a choice. So we can choose how we respond to what God has said in his word, but the real point of Romans 9 is the Soveringty of God and that God alone has the choice of how to respond to those who obey and those who disobey. Earlier in chapter 9, Paul illustrates how God has the freedom to choose in his dealings with Abraham, the result of this was two kinds of children of Abraham, "children of the flesh (Ishmael) and children of the promise (Isaac)".
    Paul refers to a dialogue between God and Moses taken from Exodus 33:12-23, where Moses is demanding that God show him His glory to which the Lord replied "you have been more willing than any mad to do my will;you have run where men would have fainted; and if ever ther was a man who could dictate terms to God it is you." That's a powerful statement, but God goes on in the verse to tell Moses that blessing is not granted on the basis of merit but on the grounds of what God considers best. God told Moses "I grant graciously and mercifully what I choose to grant, and your demand is not granted." The freedom to bless or curse is God's alone.
    We naturally look at the God/Man relationship from human perspective, but the most necessary way is from the divine, which we cannot do. We don't have the overall picture. These verses deal with God's dealings with mankind rather than man's involvment in such dealings. When man understands that God is Soverign, who in His power is free to deal with the affairs of men, then we realize we have no real grounds for questioning His wisdom and integrity.
    In other words, if people go on choosing to reject the gospel the way Israel rejected God, the way Pharaoh rejected God, then God has the right to "harden their hearts". What was right for Pharoah is right for all those who reject God. By the same token, God is free to "have mercy" on those who respond to His message.
    We are free to choose how we respond to God and His Word, but what Paul is pointing out is that we are not free to choose the consequences. God is!
    I can't help but be reminded of the verse in Job (2:10)that is so appropriate for this; "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?"
    We humans want the blessings of God be we don't want the punishment that goes along with disobedience.
    Sorry this was so long, but I felt like this couldn't be responded to in a one or two word answer. I hope this helps in some way.

  2. Brother Allen,

    I saw your post and see you have a question on this. I have included a video where James White explains in great detail Romans 9. If after watching you have any questions still feel free to email me and I will do my best brother to answer any questions you have. Good night and God bless.

    In Christ,
    John <><