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Verses 6-29

God chooses according to his will (9:6-29)

Paul’s first assertion is that the promise of God has not failed. He reminds his readers of what he said earlier, namely, that people who are Israelites physically are not necessarily Israelites spiritually. In other words, not all who are physically descended from Jacob (Israel) are the true people of God in the spiritual sense (6; cf. 2:28-29; 4:11-12).To illustrate that not all descendants of a chosen person are truly God’s people, Paul refers to the fathers of the nation. Abraham, for example, had several sons and many descendants, but the only descendants who were God’s covenant people were those who came through Isaac. People belonged to God because of his promise, not because of their physical descent (7-9). Isaac, in turn, had two sons, Esau and Jacob, but God chose Jacob to be the father of his people and rejected Esau (10-13).God’s choice of one and rejection of the other does not mean that God is unjust. All people are sinners and none deserves his favour, but because he is God he may choose to have mercy on some (14-16). He may also choose to harden some, such as people like Pharaoh who persistently rebel against him. But always he does what is right, according to his perfect will (17-18).The opponents of God may argue that God is unjust to save some and harden others. Paul replies sharply by asking who do people imagine themselves to be if they think they can argue with God? God is not answerable to the human beings he created. A potter does not have to tell a lump of clay why he decides to make it into either a beautiful bowl or a common pot (19-21). So it is with God. He is always patient and longsuffering towards sinners, but when he chooses to show his judgment and power in some and his mercy and glory in others, no one can question his right to exercise his power (22-23). In choosing his people, therefore, God may decide to call Gentiles as well as Jews (24).Even the Old Testament records the principle that God may call those who were previously not his people and make them his people. This is what he has now done in building his new people, the church, largely from Gentiles (25-26). He has included in this people only a minority from Israel, since most of the Israelites, as in Old Testament times, have been stubbornly rebellious (27-29).

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