July 19, 2018

Topic Day|Election

Election: Children of Promise

Romans 9:6–8

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But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

In Context:

1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Election: Children of Promise



Central Truth

Election is a difficult concept to grasp. Ultimately, God is sovereign, and we may not be able to understand His reasons for how He operates. Fortunately, we do not have to understand everything to be reconciled to Him.

Devotional | Election

Election is the idea that God chooses some individuals for salvation and not others. In Romans 9-11, Paul explains that God set Abraham’s descendants apart to be His chosen people. He then opened the...

Election is the idea that God chooses some individuals for salvation and not others. In Romans 9-11, Paul explains that God set Abraham’s descendants apart to be His chosen people. He then opened the door for Gentiles to become the “elect” through Christ’s redemption (i.e., "the children of the promise" referenced in Romans 9:8).  

The theology behind election can trouble the most seasoned believers. God’s sovereignty in choosing the elect has reverberating implications throughout Scripture, because it not only affects our view of God, but also our views of justice and the limitations of free will. It is not “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (verse 13) that manifests a sense of arbitrary injustice, but rather the preceding verses that state that God proclaimed this before Esau was “born and had done nothing either good or bad” (verse 11). The immediate emotional response is that God is being unfair to Esau. Paul reminds us that God alone will choose the individuals to whom He will extend mercy and compassion (verse 14). While God’s mercy may appear arbitrary, Paul cautions that the questioning of God’s motives is an irreverent and futile effort:

“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” (Romans 9:20-21, NIV)

Remember that all have failed to meet God’s standard, and we are only redeemed by His grace. (See Romans 3:23-24; Ephesians 2:8-9). None are deserving of anything except the consequences of sin. The why behind God’s choice in election is not our concern and beyond our understanding. Ultimately, God can do what He wants, because, well, He is God. Fortunately, understanding God’s motives is not a prerequisite to obedience. We have two options to respond to this quandary: (1) be angry at God because we do not understand the why; or (2) humbly accept that God is sovereign and be grateful for mercy when it is given.

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Bio | Stephen Coy

Hello, I'm Stephen Coy. Please see biographical information in Discussion Questions.

Too often, we rely on our intellect as the fulcrum for truth instead of God’s Word. This is folly. After all, God is the author of all truth and created the entire cosmos, while also knowing the number of hairs on your head.

I recently used a hammer to extract a DVD... RIP, DVD player. Most days, I hope to simply get my kids to bed without causing permanent psychological trauma. Perhaps, given my own finite limitations, I shouldn't be the one to explain paradoxical concepts like “election.” Yet, here we are.

Discussion Questions

1. If God alone is responsible for choosing the elect, what should our responsibility as believers be toward nonbelievers?

2. Was God being fair to Esau? Why or why not? Does your opinion even matter?

3. How does God’s sovereignty change the way you view God?

4. Stephen, can you tell us about your family? I am so glad you asked! I have been married to my beautiful wife, Chelsea, for nine years. We have three daughters: Caroline, Jackie, and Lila. I am son to Susan and Scott (yes, that Scott) and brother to Sheridan Lang. We have all been involved with Watermark for quite some time and love to be a part of what God is doing here.

5. Why are you telling us this now instead of in your biographical section? Great question! There are really strict word counts in all of the other sections, and I ran out of room. For some reason, there is plenty of room in the discussion questions, and I wanted to take advantage. Have a great day, fellow Journeyers!

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