Read for This Week’s Study: Romans 9.
Memory Text: “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (Romans 9:18).
What is Paul talking about here? What about human free will and the freedom to choose, without which very little of what we believe makes sense? Are we not free to choose or reject God? Or are these verses teaching that certain people are elected to be saved and others to be lost, regardless of their own personal choices?
The answer is found, as usual, by looking at the bigger picture of what Paul is saying. Paul is following a line of argument in which he attempts to show God’s right to pick those whom He will use as His “elected” ones. After all, God is the One who carries the ultimate responsibility of evangelizing the world. Therefore, why can He not choose as His agents whomever He wills? So long as God cuts off no one from the opportunity of salvation, such an action on God’s part is not contrary to the principles of free will. Even more important, it’s not contrary to the great truth that Christ died for all humans, and His desire was that everyone have salvation.
As long as we remember that Romans chapter 9 is not dealing with the personal salvation of those it names, but that it is dealing with their call to do a certain work, the chapter presents no difficulties.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, December 9.
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons