The Way of the Burning Heart

The focus of the message this morning comes from verse 24 “…even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” God is glorified in the display of his sovereign grace through radical diversity. Why use the phrase “radical diversity”? Because Paul was clearly concerned about the view the Jews had about their inclusion in the kingdom of God. He goes to great lengths to prove that the election of God (or the display of his sovereign grace) is not based upon anything but his own mercy and thus, Isaac not Ishmael, Jacob, not Esau. He goes further in this argument to prove that God has, within his sovereign purposes and plans, designed to save Gentiles as well. Look at the argument:

The Election of God is Not So Limited to the Jewish People that It Can’t Include Other Nations (25-26). 

God intended, even in the Old Testament to save Gentiles as well (Genesis 12:3 “In you all the nations of the world will be blessed”). The quotes Paul uses come from the book of Hosea, so we need to do a little background work on Hosea to see where Paul is coming from. At this time in the history of Israel, the kingdom had split. There were 10 tribes in the North, called Israel or Ephraim and 2 tribes in the South called Judah. Hosea was sent to the 10 tribes in the North and speak against their apostasy and religious infidelity toward God. He was told to do so through the illustration of his own marriage whereby he married a prostitute who leaves him to continue her lifestyle of immorality and he finds her and brings her back home. It is an incredible story about the redemption and reconciliation of God. It is in this context that these verses are set.

(v25) Hosea 2:23; Paul’s wording of the Hosea text is a little different. He reverses the clauses, probably in order to highlight the inclusion of the Gentiles as the people of God; he adds the word kaleo which means “I will call” rather than “I will say”, like the Hosea text. The idea of calling is the typical Pauline idea, which is that of the effectual call, or the call that God offers to those who are born again to which they respond in repentance and faith. He also adds the word “loved” to the Hosea text instead of using the word “mercy”. Commentators argue about these insertions, but I have to add that it doesn’t harm the text at all for Paul to use it in this manner. If I asked all of you to tell me how to get to Pasta House some of you would tell me how to get to the one on LIndbergh, others the one in Arnold and even if you were talking about the same place and everyone was going the same way, you wouldn’t all use the same words to get me there. The same is true of Paul in this instance. I think Paul adds the word “loved” in this text because it fits within the context of mercy and still it’s bigger than that. Look at 1 Peter 2: 9-10 as well.

[9] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. [10] Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV)

(v26) Hosea 1:10. This is an exact quotation. He doesn’t monkey with the wording at all. The idea is that those who once were not the people of God now are the people of God, and thus we conclude that the church is part of the group called the people of God. The reality is that the calling of the Gentiles was not outside of the plans of God, no matter how radical it might have appeared. It fits with the way that God has acted all throughout the Scriptures. God isn’t finished with Israel (11:26), but Gentiles are a very real part of the covenant people of God now. 

We don’t like it when we think we have God’s plans figured out and he changes things. Some of you don’t like it that we’re going over these verses and talking about election so much, and I completely understand and I’m trying not to be any more offensive than the words of the Bible already are. But most of the time, when we’re offended by the Bible, we blame it on the preacher, or the Sunday School teacher or the way we grew up, when in reality, we just don’t like it that we thought things were one way and we just now found out we were wrong. We don’t like it when it seems like God has changed the plan on us. The early church had this problem in Acts 15. They heard that God was saving the Gentiles and they called a council to determine if that was okay or not and if they should make them more like Jews first.

[6] The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. [7] And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. [8] And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, [9] and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. [10] Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? [11] But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
[12] And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. [13] After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. [14] Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. [15] And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
[16] “‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
[17] that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things [18] known from of old.’
[19] Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God…(Acts 15:6-19 ESV

In the end, the phrase you should focus on in this passage is v25. You were once not his people and now you are. Not just forgiven, but adopted. SDG.

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