Paul's Passing Thoughts

Election and the Real Golden Chain of Salvation, Part 3: The Potter and the Clay of Romans 9

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 25, 2015

Blog Radio LogoTonight (9/25/2015) @ 7pm. Live program link: Election and the Real Golden Chain of Salvation: Part 3; The Potter and the Clay of Romans 9 Call in and join the discussion!

Election and the Real Golden Chain of Salvation: Part 3; The Potter and the Clay of Romans 9

Welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio .com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul Dohse. Tonight, Election and the Real Golden Chain of Salvation: Part 3; The Potter and the Clay of Romans 9. Greetings from the Potters House and TANC ministries where we are always eager to serve all of your heterodox needs. Our teaching catalog can be found at tancpublishing.com.

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Introduction

Christ said that salvation is of the Jews (Jn 4:22). That’s what election is; it is God’s chosen means of salvation that includes the Son of God, the nation of Israel, administering angels, the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, the promises, and the patriarchs (Rom 9:4,5). The unregenerate are “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel” (Eph 2:12).

Those of the Reformed tradition who define election as the preselection of individuals for either salvation or damnation deny the biblical definition of election through Replacement theology and Supersessionism. They must insist that the church replaced Israel in order to redefine election as individual rather than promises made to all that they can reject or receive. This far exceeds theological quibbling; the redefining of election is the propagation of a false gospel.

In this propagation, one of their proof texts of choice is Romans 9; specifically, Paul’s analogy concerning the potter and clay. Supposedly, Paul is driving home the point that God creates people beforehand as either vessels of glory or vessels for wrath, and He is glorified by both. Furthermore, God loved Jacob and hated Esau before they were born or had done anything good or bad.

Also note: this view has even become known as the “gospel of sovereignty.” This is the idea that salvation must be all of God without any participation by man; the ability to believe, be persuaded, or choose God is a work. This is also known as “total inability.”

Let’s examine this proposition carefully. First, in the initial text of Romans 9 Paul makes it clear that the means of salvation belong to national Israel. It’s beyond obvious and pointless to make the case farther. Paul states that if national Israel has lost its election status, the word of God has failed. Paul’s point is that salvation comes through faith in “the promise” apart from anything man can do. More specifically, salvation comes through the promise of miraculous new birth beyond the control of anything human beings can do.

Romans 9:9 – For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Backdrop of Romans 9: The New Birth, and Law/Gospel

This is the subject in context: God elected miraculous new birth as the standard for righteousness. The giving of the law is part of that process, but the ruling class of the Jews made the law the standard for righteousness, and not the new birth. And frankly, this is exactly what Protestantism does as well which is why they have to interpret Romans 9 as individual preselection. One thing you should note about the election process follows: Sarah was already saved. She was used in the development of the election process after being a believer. Likewise, God used unbelievers in the process as well, but that doesn’t mean that they had no choice in the matter. Pharaoh was one of those individuals, and is discussed by Paul in Romans 9. Old Testament believers were saved by believing in the promise (election) and looking forward to it, New Testament believers are saved by believing in a righteousness obtained by new birth that has been fully revealed. The process is totally separate from anything human beings can affect, but they can obtain it by faith alone. Again, the law is part of that process, but the ruling class of the Jews made the fulfillment of the law the standard, and not miraculous new birth.

Let’s also interject some additional things here. EVERYTHING apart from the new birth is works; even a libertine or antinomian stance is a work because it perceives the so-called saved person as still under law, that is, the law of sin and death that condemns. So, in order to not be condemned by the law, you have to avoid any effort to keep it because that would be works salvation. But here is the problem: the avoidance is a work. Abstaining from something is doing something even if you aren’t doing the something. Here is some weird Pauline theology that you will understand as we progress: the new birth enables a person to obtain the law apart from the law. And something else; right now, let’s define “works salvation.” This NEVER means that someone is trying to earn their salvation by keeping the true intent of God’s law. Works salvation is ALWAYS an attempt to fulfill the righteous demands of the law through some shortcut, ritual, tradition, or obeying man rather than God. This is what happens when the law is the standard for righteousness rather than the new birth. The new birth results in a different perspective on the same law.

This is why the Jews, that is, the ruling class, rejected Christ; He was elected to make righteousness apart from the law possible. The law was established for the imputation of sin:

Galatians 3:21 – Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

This is why Christ died on the cross to end the law (Rom 10:4). But, this is the law that condemns the unbeliever, and to which all of his/her sins are imputed because “all sin is against the law” (1Jn 3:4). So, when Christ died on the cross, He ENDED sin:

1John 3:5 – You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed [OFFSPRING] abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

This is why THE PROMISE was also to Christ (Gal 3:16). He died to end the law and all sin imputed to it, and was resurrected by the Holy Spirit as the first fruits of all of those who would be resurrected to new life by faith alone. The law held sin captive until “faith came.” Old Testament believers were held captive by the law in Sheol until Christ was resurrected by the Spirit; He then led them to heaven in triumph. During the three days He was in the grave, he preached to the captives in Sheol which was divided between believers and unbelievers. The unbelievers remain there and will be judged by the law at the white throne judgment at the end of the ages. To the unbeliever, the law can only bring death, condemnation, and judgment to varying degrees, but to the one who has died with Christ and has been resurrected, the new way of the Spirit (Rom 7:4-6) brings life through the same law:

Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

 Only those who have been resurrected with Christ by believing in the promise of the Spirit can find life more abundantly in the law. To the unbeliever, the Bible is the LAW OF SIN AND DEATH. To the believer, it is the LAW OF THE SPIIRT OF LIFE (Rom 8:2). The law cannot give life; ie., righteousness, only the new birth can (Gal 3:21), but once a person has received the Spirit, he/she can have life more abundantly through obeying the law. An unbeliever can only have more or lesser death through the law while a believer can only have more or less life through the law. BUT, the difference is obtained by faith alone in the promise of the Spirit that resurrected Christ from the grave. The unregenerate can only find death in the law while the saved can only find life in the law, but righteousness is not obtained by the law, but only the new birth. Life is obtained by faith alone in the promise of the new birth executed by the Spirit. The food for growth once life has been obtained is the law. For the believer, the law did not obtain life; only the new birth can do that, but we grow by the milk of the word:

1Peter 2:1- Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (KJV).

Translations of stouter Reformed tradition such as the ESV leave out, “word” because of the implications that the law can give life to the believer. This disrupts their single perspective on the law as the standard for righteousness. But the bigger point follows: when Moses called on the Israelites to choose life or death, he was calling on them to choose the promise by faith alone resulting in life or death as set against the law of God. The law of God could only mean life or death to them, and the difference is by faith alone in the promise. Hence…

Romans 10:1 – Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

What Moses stated follows: it is impossible for the one who has not believed in the promise by faith alone to obtain life by law-keeping. However, this is not true for the believer:

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

All of this is the backdrop for Romans 9. The religious Jews insisted on obtaining righteousness through the law of Moses rather than believing on Christ who came to “end the law FOR righteousness.” They chose the law as a means of salvation rather than the promise illustrated by the miraculous new birth of Isaac, Christ, John, and eventually all who believe in the promise. But wait a minute. The religious Jews never intended to obtain righteousness by obedience to the truth as they knew, like all false gospels by works, that such is impossible. This was also Moses’ point: only the righteous can live by the law once they obtain righteousness through the new birth made possible by Christ and the promise of the Spirit. Therefore, by seeking a righteousness of their own in the name of the law they fell short of the law (Gal 4:21, Rom 10:3,11:30-32). What they did follows: They first made the law the standard for righteousness instead of Christ, and then they sought to fulfill the righteousness of the law through some ritual or tradition; primarily, circumcision:

Galatians 5:2 – Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

Notice that the religious Jews thought that circumcision and the “recognition of days” (Gal 4:10) fulfilled the righteous demands of the law. Paul said no, the righteous demands of the law can only be fulfilled in Christ, not the traditions of men. The true fulfillment of the law has nothing to do with being saved, but is a natural result of the new birth. Protestantism is really guilty of the same exact thing; except they insert Christ into the process. The law is still the standard for righteousness, and through traditions of men and ritualism, the so-called perfect obedience of Christ that fulfilled the law is imputed to us IF we participate in certain traditions. It is still a righteousness by the law apart from the new birth; except Christ keeps it for us IF we persevere in the Protestant traditions of men. Of course, this removes any ability by the Protestant to exhibit a faith that “works through love” (Gal 5:6), and replaces it with circumcision-like rituals.

Back to Romans 9

So, because the religious Jews refused to obey the promise, and sought to establish a righteousness of their own, God judged them by hardening their hearts. But at the same time, he sought to make them jealous by also offering the new birth to the Gentiles. The word of God has not failed, and Israel remains God’s elect according to His foreknowledge (Rom 11:2). God’s elect plan includes foreknowledge about everything (Eph 1:8). He lavished grace upon the Jews according to election regardless of knowing they would rebel, and in fact, used their rebellion to save more people including Gentiles.

Romans 9:30 – What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

As an aside, Israel didn’t succeed in “reaching the law” because they did not pursue it by faith, not because God had preselected some over others. Just a thought. Nevertheless, God did judge Israel by hardening their hearts:

Romans 11:7 – What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” 9 And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; 10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.”

Romans 11:11 – So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Romans 11:23 – And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Romans 11:25 – Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” 28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Notice in Romans 7:11 that the elect obtained righteousness, but the rest were hardened. The elect are the ones who answer the call and accept the gift of salvation (Rom 11:29, Matt 22:1-14). At issue is who God CALLS, not who He chooses. The means of salvation is chosen; all people are called, and in this case, both Jew and Gentile. Those who believe become part of the elect group whether Jew or Gentile.

Romans 9, 10, and 11 are the Book of Acts

When did this hardening take place, and when did the religious Jews stumble over the “stumbling block”? When they rejected Christ. When this happened precisely is arguable, but here are some possibilities:

Matthew 25:16 -Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:1 – In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 13:46 – And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.

Acts 18:6 – But when they opposed and insulted him, he shook out his garments and told them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

 Acts 22:17 – “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’

The Potter and the Clay

As far as the time of the partial hardening of Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles have come in (Rom 11:25), we are in that time right now. The hardening took place during the ministry of the apostle Paul. However, God has retained a Jewish remnant for Himself until the day that all of Israel is saved. And this is the hypothetical objection that Paul addresses in Romans 9. The objection accuses God of being unfair for hardening the hearts of the Jews as a judgment; how can He then find fault with them? Paul’s hypothetical analogy has nothing to do with a plenary preselection of individuals for salvation, but rather God’s right to Judge Israel for rejecting their Christ and showing mercy to the Gentiles instead. Yet, God even does this to make the Jews jealous in order that some would be saved. Furthermore, the focus of God’s mercy is His calling according to election, not a preselection of individuals. His focus in our day is the calling of the Gentiles—that doesn’t mean no one has an ability to choose.

And what is it that they had the ability to choose? Christ and the new birth.

Romans 9:6 – 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.”

“Children of the flesh” are the descendants of Abraham who have not been born again through believing in Christ… “You must be born again.” God’s plan of salvation is founded on miraculous new birth demonstrated by Sarah, Rebekah, Mary, Elizabeth, and now those who believe. In the case of Rebekah, God broke tradition and gave the birthrights of the firstborn to Jacob.

Romans 9:10 – 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.”

A popular notion among the Reformed, based on this passage, is the idea that God decided to hate Esau and love Jacob, in a saving way, before they were born. But God’s position on the two prior to their birth was, “The older will serve the younger,” not a salvific preselection. The Reformed continually cite this text with no mention of, “The older will serve the younger,” but rather cut that out and insert God’s hatred of Esau and love for Jacob, supposedly prior to their birth. However, if you note carefully the passage that Paul cites the latter is based on Esau’s behavior and subsequent judgment:

Malachi 1:2 – “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’” 5 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”

The point here is God’s judgment on Israel in regard to the descendants of Esau, or as some argue; God allowing the descendants of Esau to persecute the descendants of Jacob. On any wise, the topic is not individual selection, but the fact that God’s word has not failed in regard to God’s election of national Israel… “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel.”

And from a grammatical perspective with the fewest assumptions, an interpretive question must be asked: was God’s statement to Rebecah a prediction, or instruction due to God’s foreknowledge regarding the two? Rebecah’s manipulation of Isaac is often seen as less than honorable sibling favoritism, but was she in fact following God’s instruction?

Genesis 25:19 – These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” 24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

So, you have this miracle to begin with because she was barren, and then God tells her that the older will serve the younger. And per the usual, the Patriarchs favor the guy that God doesn’t, right? With Abraham, it was Ishmael, and then Isaac favors Esau, and apparently, God had to use Rebekah to get things on track. You know, we read our Bibles and wonder why we have to suffer through all of the concubine drama. The verses prior to Genesis 25:19 is an example. But past getting hung-up on why God allowed all of that drama, it certainly establishes the fact that the problem wasn’t with the fathers, but God chose barren women to bear the righteous offspring, and everyone but them were having the babies until God intervened, and the point is this: miraculous new birth, miraculous new birth, miraculous new birth, and more miraculous new birth, and for good measure; miraculous new birth. “You must be born again.” That’s the point. The righteous line ends with Christ who then makes it possible for the Gentiles to become the offspring of Israel through the same miraculous birth made possible by the Holy Spirit.

The Purpose of the Hardening

And let’s remember, the partial hardening of Israel while maintaining a remnant, and refocusing the call towards the Gentiles to make the hardened Jews jealous for purposes of saving some of them (Rom 11:13,14), was in response to steroidal rebellion and outright rejection of plain truth. Paul uses Pharaoh as an example, and a close observation of the historical event in Exodus reveals that God hardened his heart after Pharaoh willfully hardened his own heart against God. We also see an example of this in Romans 1:18ff. God not only made sure that the Jews understood the difference between the promise and righteousness based on the law, he prophesied/warned them that they would rebel against it:

Romans 10:14 – How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

18 – But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” 19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.” 20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” 21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

In addition, at least in Israel’s case, the hardening does not exclude the possibility that the hardened will  yet believe. Paul states clearly that making the Gentiles equals in the commonwealth of Israel was designed to make the Jews jealous with the anticipated result of saving some of them (Rom 11:13,14). So, the hardening was not to solidify some individual preselection by God, but rather to facilitate the salvation of many. Note what the apostle Paul wrote:

Romans 11:23 – And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

In conclusion, do a test. Read Romans chapters 9,10, and 11, and wherever there is a cause and effect statement, or purpose transition, or reference to the calling, and where also the word “choose” would fit into the sentence grammatically, take note of it, and see how many times the word “choose” is missing when that is supposedly the crux of these chapters. The theme is the “purpose of election,” and then the purpose is stated throughout these chapters. And conspicuously missing is the idea that God preselects certain individuals for salvation and others for damnation. In these passages, the clay pots refer to people groups; namely, the offspring of Abraham, the hardened, the remnant, and the Gentiles.

Also, Paul states that these groups come from “one lump of clay.” I think the one lump of clay is Israel, and symbolizes God’s purposes in uniting Jew and Gentile into one body. I think election is God’s means of working all things together for those who love him according to foreknowledge. Israel was God’s elect through foreknowledge as Romans 11:2 states which means He devised His plan of salvation according to all wisdom and knowledge of future events (Eph 1:8), including Israel’s rebellion. He worked all of this foreknowledge together into His election purpose for the goodwill of all men (Lk 2:14).

Let’s go to the phones.

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