One of the most prevalent arguments leveled against the doctrine of individual, unconditional election is that it makes God out to be an uncaring monster, that it somehow makes him unjust. People said the same in Paul’s day. In Romans 9:14, Paul anticipated the fact that many would believe God to be unrighteous for exercising His sovereign choice of individuals. Paul’s response in Romans 9 is that the righteousness of God is manifested most in the fact that He acts with a sovereign freedom in choosing who will receive His mercy.
How do we find nourishment for our souls? What is the fuel that keeps us going in the hard times? These questions and more are examined, particularly highlighting the food that sustained, nourished, and satisfied Jesus Christ as the sent one.
Christ here puts his compassion on full display as he gently exposes the sin of the Samaritan woman and guides her in the truth of what true, new covenant worship ought to look like.
When we get into the doctrine of election, the reason people struggle with it the most is not just because it challenges our individualistic notions of free will, but because it challenges our understanding of God. A Sovereign God, a God who is in the heavens and does whatever He pleases (Psa 115:3), does not seem to us to be a “good” God. The problem lies with our perspective. What we see in Romans 9 is that God is good, and in his goodness, He chooses who will be saved, thereby establishing the certainty of His purpose and the wonder of His grace.
Jesus demonstrates the content of the gospel to a Gentile woman (the least of these), in terms of giving eternal water to the perpetually thirsty. He helps this woman see the eternal realities of salvation by grace through faith, despite the temporal realities of her sin and shame, by confronting her confusion with instruction and encouragement.
When Paul considered how his fellow Israelites rejected their Messiah, he was filled with great sorrow and unceasing grief. He knew He could not redeem them himself, but in his own heart, he would willingly be separated from Christ if it would accomplish the salvation of his kinsmen. They were a privileged people, and the righteous Son of God was born among them, but because of their unbelief, Jesus did not belong to them. But their unbelief did not thwart Paul’s passion for ministry, it fueled his mission. To live life on mission is to share the burden of Christ for this world, and to reach sinners with the gospel by acting and speaking and loving and ministering and suffering like Christ until He brings us home to glory.
When we look around and see a world in chaos, we often feel overwhelmed and helpless. How do we get to a lave where we can act according to God’s will? Pastor Terence shows us that we must first be moved to inquiry, which will move us to compassion, move us to prayer, and moved to courage. It is from here than we can be rightly moved to action.
The truth of God’s election and the fact that men are ultimately saved only by God’s electing grace should never make us stoic or dismissive of the souls of men. It didn’t for Paul. Even though he knew the plight of his brethren was completely a matter of God’s sovereign will, he was still moved by godly love to grieve for them. As we consider our service to each other and to the lost world, this is the kind of heart that is to drive us. Out of our love for Christ, we are to be moved to ministry.