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Thursday, January 3, 2008

The flow of Election in Romans chapter 9

I once heard a Calvinist say that the context of election found in Romans chapter 9 is found in Romans chapter 8. However, this person believed in unconditional election. I agree that Romans chapter 8 helps with the context of Romans chapter 9 since historically the Bible didn't have chapters and verses. A proper understanding of Romans chapter 8:29 as well as 8:17 would show that election is conditional.

"28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."



"17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if
indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."

From this we know that God's Predestination preceeds God's calling according to His purpose. We also know that God's foreknowledge preceeds His Predestination. And from verse 17 we know that we are joint heirs with Christ "if" we suffer with Him.

SO why do Unconditional Electionists make it seem as if God's purpose in election is arbitrary and unknown?

Romans 9:11

"10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man,
even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having
done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might
stand, not of works but of Him who calls),
12 it was said to her, “The older
shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I
have hated.”"

Did Paul write Romans 9:10-12 independently of Romans chapter 8? If Romans chapter 8 speaks of conditional election then why would Paul talk of unconditional election in chapter 9?

Also Calvinists like to pull a fast one in regards to Jacob and Esau. They make it seem as if faith is a work when Paul never says such a thing. Paul makes a distinction between Faith and works. In Romans 9:30-33

"30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue
righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;
31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of
righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by
the works of the law.
For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is

“ Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”"

Surely Faith is not a work/merit and we can insert what Paul said in Romans chapters 8:28-29 and 9:30-33 into the Jacob and Esau situation.

The only reason why people of today believe in unconditional election is because Augustine changed his mind about the issue in his later years. If it wasn't for him then the doctrine of "unconditional election" would not exist.



The Seeking Disciple said...

Good post on election and a difficult subject.

Godismyjudge said...


I agree that predestination in Romans 8 is conditional and think you make a fair point about verse 17. I see conditionality in verse 29 in 2 different ways.

First, in the term foreknow. Calvinist’s often claim foreknow means fore "love" or have a special loving relationship with. They think that gets them off the hook. It doesn't. I can here George Thorogood now: WHO DO YOU LOVE? WHO DO YOU LOVE? Who does God have a special loving relationship with except those who have been grafted into His Son, through faith?

Before predestination, God looked at us not as pre-created mankind (as supra-lapsarians think) nor as fallen and sinful mankind (as sub-lapsarians think), but as those whom He loved, as they were united to Christ through faith.

I also see the conditionality of predestination in the phrase “conformed to the image of His Son”. Christ is perfectly righteous, so God predestine some people to be righteous. The process starts in this life and finishes in the next. Faith, isn’t part of Christ’s image. Christ knew the Father and didn’t need to rely on Himself for salvation. So predestination takes us from faith to righteousness. It doesn’t give us faith.

God be with you,

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