Sovereign Grace

And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 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—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Romans 9:10-13 ESV)

Election is  also based in God’s eternal purpose (11). There are two elements of God’s purpose in election that we need to see. At the end of verse 11 we see that his purposes endure, or stand precisely because man has nothing to do with it. The plans and purposes of God, left up to man, would collapse in a heap of failure. But, the purposes of God are because of him who calls…By God’s good pleasure. Luke 10:21: “In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” (It was pleasing to you to do it) Deuteronomy 10:14-15: “Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.”

For God’s glory: John Piper reminds us, “In other words, the goal of election is to take all boasting off of man and focus all boasting on God. Humble man and exalt Christ. Make man see his utter dependence on God’s mercy and magnify the glory of God’s free grace. That’s why God has pleasure in election- it magnifies his name!” Ephesians 1: 4-6, 11-12, 14.

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Election is also based in the unconditional, free grace of God (12-13). The older will serve the younger. It is important to note that Rebekah was told this before the twins were born. Jacob I loved, Esau I hated: Malachi 1:1-4 reminds us that God’s saving love isn’t deserved by anyone, and yet, because of his sovereign grace, he chooses to set his affections on Jacob. The word for loved is the greek word that many of you are familiar with, which is agape, meaning unconditional. God decided to love Jacob, and did so without any conditions being met, as Jacob was a lying, cheating thief. The word for hated is hated. It doesn’t mean love to a lesser degree. Jacob was accepted, Esau was rejected.

Calvin: “The Lord, in his gratuitous election is free and exempt from the necessity of imparting equally the same grace to all; but, on the contrary, he passes by whom he wills, and whom he wills he chooses.” Election is based in the unconditional, free grace of God.


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