Southern Christian University

James A. Turner

A Study of Romans #4

Please read all of the references. They will help you to get a fuller understanding


“So, then, brethren, we are not debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh, for if we live after the flesh, we must die (will die spiritually) but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Romans 8:13)."  And again, if a child of God does not continue to try to live by the law of Christ, he is going to die spiritually, even though, he was saved when he obeyed the gospel.  If he doesn't continue to try to live right, he is going to be back in spiritual death again.  "For if we live after the flesh, ye must die.  But if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live (8:13)."  The Spirit tells us how to live, through the word, and if we follow the Spirit and live by the Spirit, ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  "But if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.  For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba Father.  The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God."  That is a wonderful statement there.  The Spirit himself bears witness, and Spirit is capitalized, which means that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit, our mind.  "That we are children of God."  Well, how does the Spirit bear witness with out spirit?  The Spirit has given the instruction.  It has given the law of Christ.  It has told us what to do to be saved.  Our spirit tells us whether or not we have done as the Spirit has directed us to do; right?  Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”  And so our spirit tells us that we have done that, and so we are saved.  The Spirit tells us, through the word, that when Christians sin and they repent and confess and ask for forgiveness that we will be forgiven (John 1:8-9). "So the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." 


Now, what kind of a person is a joint heir?  If we are children, then we are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.  Joint heirs receive on the same basis of the other children, which means that every child of God at the end of the way is going to be as rich and as glorious as Christ himself!  "If children, then heirs.  Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ."  But notice the condition.  "If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him."  What about that person that when it comes time to “take up his cross and follow me,” when suffering time comes, he says, no sir, this is not for me.  Is he going to be then an heir of God, and joint‑heirs with Christ?  No sir. II Timothy 3:12 says, "All they that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."  Not may, but shall, and we need to keep that before us all the time, that there are conditions that must be met.  When Paul and Barnabas returned to those churches on the return part of their first journey, they exhorted them that it would be “through many tribulations we must inter into the kingdom of God.” They were already in the earthly kingdom so it means the eternal kingdom. But just think of the strength of that statement in verse seventeen.  "If children, then heirs; then heirs of God, and joint‑heirs with Christ."  Talk about looking for a good long time investment.  How can a person invest in a better way than just to be a faithful child of God? 


I like that good song, I believe the title of it is, “I Am A Child Of The King”.  Let me see if I can get part of it.  (Brother Turner begins to sing part of this song.)  "My Father is rich in houses and land.  He holdeth the wealth of the world in his hand.  Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold, his coffers are full, his riches untold.  I'm a child of the king, a child of the king, with Jesus my Savior; I'm a child of the king.  A tent or a cottage, why should I care?  They’re building a palace for me over there.  Though here I'm a stranger, yet still I may sing all glory to God, I'm a child of the king.  I'm a child of the king, a child of the king, with Jesus my savior, I'm a child of the king."  Don't you think that is a meaningful song?  I think when we sing that song, we ought to think of this passage here.  But the song itself has got another passage, but I think this is a better passage for that song.  All right, Verse eighteen, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us."  Think of all the things that Paul had suffered, that he tells us about in II Corinthians eleven, and he wrote this book after that book.  After suffering all of those things, he said the sufferings of this present time are not even worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed to us. 


Now, we begin with a difficult passage and one that brethren have disputed about down through the ages.  There are two primary views of this passage, verse nineteen, down through about verse twenty-three.  One view is that the creation that he is talking about here is people.  And they would say that when the Lord gave the great commission as recorded by Mark. He said, “go ye unto all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”  And Colossians 1:23, that the “gospel had been preached in all creation under heaven”, meaning it had been carried to all the people.  And that is what they would reason that it is talking about.  The other primary view is that because of the sin of Adam that all creation, plant life and animal life, was subjected to that continuous process of life and death and life and death.  And that is surely the case.  And the question is raised, could that have been the case before the sin of Adam.  Well, let's start and read.  I do not mind telling you what my view is, but when it comes to a passage like this, as far as I can see, it does not make any difference which view you take, because it does not affect your salvation.  And I do not know of any way that anyone can be absolutely sure in regard to the passage, so I do not think there is any room for us having what might be called a big argument over a passage like this.  With a passage like this, if brethren will just let me present my views, and then let the other brother present his views, I will tell him why I think as I do and we will still be good friends.  And I believe that is the way it ought to be on a passage like this.  But let us read it, verse nineteen beginning.  "For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the  revealing of the sons of God."  Well, that would be the Day of Judgment, wouldn't it?  That would be when it will be revealed as to who the true children of God are.  "For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of it's own will, but by reason of him who subjected it in hope, that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God." 


Now, I do not mind telling you that I am inclined to think more of the creation, meaning everything that God created, all plant life and animal life, that with Adam's fall, God put them in that same pattern of Adam of returning to the dust of the earth.  We do not read of any death until after Adam's fall, and then God made clothes out of skins for them.  In the first chapter, the latter part of Genesis, God gave them herbs and the fruit of trees to eat.  Genesis 1:29, "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth and every tree, which is the fruit of the tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food."  And in the Garden of Eden God planted trees that were good for food, Genesis 2:9,  "And out of the ground made Jehovah to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food."  Man could live on that.  Think of all the trees and different kinds of fruits and nuts, man and animals could have a livelihood just with that.  But going back to verse twenty-nine, "I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.  And to every beast of the earth."  Notice nothing is said about one beast eating another beast.  "To every beast of the earth."  So God gave the trees yielding seed, and all the plants yielding seed, to man and to the animals.  "To every beast of the earth, and every bird of the heavens, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food:  And it was so."  And that includes not only man, but everything else that God had created.  And I think the Bible strongly indicates that man did not eat any meat until after the flood.  Chapter nine of Genesis, picking up with verse three, "Every moving thing that liveth shall be food for you; as the green herb I have given you all.  But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; even at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man."  So, see, after the flood, he says as I have given you every herb, I have given you every living thing, every moving thing that liveth.  Well, that would be animals, birds, and fish.  Now, in regard to how plants and animals could live on and on?  Well, if God saw fit to make them that way, why could they not live on and on?  And you do not kill a tree by eating the fruit off the tree, and you do not kill a plant by eating a seed or whatever comes from the plant.  And so if God made them that way in the beginning, it would be possible.  But I do not know that that is the way that God did it, but I am more inclined to that view rather than the other on the basis of verse twenty-one. How could the unrighteous be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God?  If creation means all mankind, how are the unrighteous going to be delivered?  And that is my primary objection to that way of reasoning that it is just referring to human beings.  "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."  Now I think it is true that unbelievers and believers alike are ‑‑ when all the pains and aches come, why it would be said of them, they are groaning and travailing in pain to be delivered.  But the pitiful thing about it is that unbelievers are not going to be delivered into that liberty of the glory of the children of God.  "And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.  For in hope were we saved:  But hope that is seen is not hope:  For who hopeth for that which he seeth."  We walk by faith and not by sight.  We hope for that which we see not.  "But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."  In Hebrews 6: 18-19 Paul speaks of “hope as being an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and entereth into that which is in the veil," or into the heaven itself. 


"And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity."  This is a very important passage for all of us.  Whether we can understand verses nineteen through twenty-three or not, we can understand this.  "And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:  For we know not how to pray as we ought."  There are times when we just do not know how to begin our prayers; right?  "How to pray as we ought:  But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."  When we think of this passage, the Holy Spirit making intercession with groaning which cannot be uttered, He knows the mind of God.  He makes intercessions for the saints according to the will of God.  When we think about Luke eighteen, where Jesus talked about the publican and the Pharisee.  The publican prayed, God look, see how good I am, I am not like other men.  But the publican would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote his breast and said, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.”  And Jesus said, “I say unto you that this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.”  So that person who may not present things in very accurate language if his thinking is right, and if his spirit is right, his prayer is going to avail! 


Remember how James said, “confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that you may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  And sometimes it may be that that person who has little ability, so far as the king's English and how to state things, that his prayer may avail much more than some that can pray a very beautiful prayer as we would regard it.  And not only that, but Christ makes intercession for us, and in Hebrews 4:15-16, "For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; But was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may receive grace, and mercy to help in time of need."  So all of us have strong encouragement, and let us use these passages to encourage those who are hesitant about trying to lead a public prayer.  If they are trying to live faithful as a Christian, their prayers may avail more maybe than some that as far as wording do a fine job.  Verse twenty-eight, "And we know that to them that love God, all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose." 


Verse twenty-eight is a wonderful promise, “And we know that to them that love God, all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose”. But this has also been a much-misused passage.  I have heard people reason this way when there was a tragic accident in the family.  And a member of the family would say, I just know that everything is going to be all right, for we love the Lord, and this cannot continue, he is going to come out of this.  Well, that is not what this passage is saying.  That member of the family may die the same day, but it still holds that God is going to make things work together for good, for those that are living according to his will.  And I have also heard people reason this way.  Say if man had gotten drunk and went and slept with another man's wife, and finally he repents, and somebody says, why I just know that this is going to work out for his good.  In other words his wrongdoing is going to make him a better person!  That is not the meaning of this passage.  He does not love the Lord, when he does a thing like that.  Doing wrong does not make any person a better person!  But it's still a wonderful promise that God will make all things work together for good.  Think of all those hardships that Paul had experienced, but all of those were going to work together for his good.  And they will work together for our good. 


"For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son."  Now this is one of those fore ordination passages, and when we get to Ephesians chapter 1, we will try to deal with several of them together.  According to that old false Calvinist doctrine, God foreordained and predestined certain ones to be saved, and those that God didn't foreordain and predestine to be saved could not be saved.  Our brethren knew that was false doctrine, but some of them went to the other extreme as though God has not foreordained and predetermined or predestined anything.  But the scriptures plainly teach that God has foreordained, and has predestined some things concerning our salvation.  He has predetermined some things.  And verse twenty-nine is one of them "For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed."  But notice what he foreordained.  "To be conformed to the image of his Son.  That he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  And whom he foreordained them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”  And, you know, you can take a passage like this and just remove it from the rest of the Bible, and it sounds like that old hard Calvinist doctrine that God has foreordained and predestined some to be saved, and those he has not, cannot be saved, is Bible doctrine. Such a doctrine would make God everything but a kind, loving, and compassionate God who is a rewarder of them that seek after him (Hebrews 11:6).” Such a doctrine would make God an arrogant, arbitrary, cruel and unjust God who is a respecter of persons. Think how cruel and unjust God would be if he created some that were already condemned to hell with the devil and his angels! And what would be the purpose of the Bible and many such passages as John 3:14-18; Matthew 9:36-37, 11:28-29; Hebrews 5:8-9.


But the Bible does teach that every person who is saved is saved by the foreordination and predestination of God. Ephesians 1:3-5 reads, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” Acts 13:48 reads, “And as the Gentiles heard this they were glad, and glorified the word of God: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” So, not one more or one less than God had ordained to eternal life believed! II Timothy 1:9 reads, “who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before times eternal.” In I Peter 1:20 says of Christ, “who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of the times for your sake.” And again Romans 8:28-29 “For whom he foreknew he also foreordained, to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren and who he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them also he glorified.


Now, do these references leave any room for doubt that every person who is saved is saved in part by the foreordination and predestination of God? So a very important question, what has God foreordained and predestined concerning the salvation of man? When we put everything together the answer is:

1.      God knew that if he created man a free moral agent in process of time man would sin.

2.      Before God made man the decision was made to send Christ to become a sin offering for man, and when Adam sinned the first promise of the Christ to come was given (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 53:4-6; I Peter 1:20; Luke 1:26-35; Galatians 4:4-6).

3.      God also foreordained and predestined that all men could be saved by applying the cleansing blood of Christ (Hebrews 2:9, 9:15, 10:4-10; Ephesians 1:7, 2: 1-6, 5:22-32; Colossians 1:13-14; Acts 20:28).

4.      So God foreordained before he made man that all who would believe and obey Christ would be saved (John 3:14-18; Hebrews 5:8-9). And remember that God calls men through the preaching and teaching of the gospel (II Thessalonians 2:13-14).


Verse thirty-one, "What then, shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who is against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?  It is God that justifith.  Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."  So a child of God who has the right kind of heart or the right kind of spirit, he has a lot of help when he prays to God.  The Holy Spirit makes intercessions for him with groanings, which cannot be uttered.  Christ who died for us makes intercession for us.  He is our high priest.  Hebrews 7:25  He is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near to God through him, seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”  I like that word uttermost.  That is the fullest degree that a man can be saved.  So Christ is living, and he makes intercession for us! 


"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"  Now for many years, this passage, beginning with verse thirty-five through the rest of the chapter, has been misused by many denominational preachers.  And now in recent years some of our brethren have been using it in the wrong way.  Denominational preachers have been saying to people for years that regardless of what you do, God still loves you.  And they will leave the impression on the minds of people that a person can just be rebelling against God day in and day out, but tears are flowing from the eyes of God because he is going the way of sin.  The Bible does not teach such! And any time a person talks like that, he is leaving a false impression upon the minds of men and encouraging them, in effect, to go the way of disobedience with that plan of, when I have one foot in the grave and another on a banana peeling, I will turn to the Lord. 


Let us notice at least a few passages that plainly show that this is not the case.  "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation?"  Well, that is one of the things that separates man from the love of Christ; right?  In regard to things that would take place before the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew twenty-four around verse ten or twelve, I think.  "Because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold."  Well, would they be in a saved condition, certainly not.  Iniquity caused them to fall away.  "Or anguish or persecution."  Suppose our government should start persecuting every person who meets for worship on the first day of the week.  How many would go to worship on the first day of the week if the government started putting in jail every person that did?  "Or famine."  Some would reason if God is God, he wouldn't permit this.  "Or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"  All of those are potentials for causing some men to turn away from the Lord.  "Even as it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."  II Timothy 3:12, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."  But when persecution comes, the love of many wax cold.   


Now, Paul is expressing his confidence in these Roman brethren, and Paul was a man who expressed confidence in his brethren.  And as long as there is any room for confidence, we need to express confidence in people.  You are appealing to the very best in a man when you appeal to him that I believe that you will do this.  If there is a basis for such a confidence, we need to express that confidence.  And if you do not have any confidence in them, what is the purpose of telling them anything in the first place, if they are not going to do better.  Jesus said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you (Matthew 7:6).”  Jesus was talking about two legged dogs and two legged swine. Some men have no respect what ever for things that are right and holy, and when we learn a person is like that we are not to waste our time trying to teach them.


"For I persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (8:38-39)."  Again Paul is expressing his confidence in these Roman brethren. If a man cannot be separated from the love of God, then he cannot be separated from Christ, and we have just read from the Galatians letter where Paul said, ye are severed from Christ.  Ye are fallen from grace.  Ye who would be justified by the law are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).”  And so they had fallen, they had fallen away from Christ, and the love of God. The love of God is manifested in Christ.  Jude said, in verse twenty-one, keep yourselves in the love of God”.  Does not that statement strongly imply that God's love has boundaries, that God's love and mercy and grace all have boundaries?  As long as we do our part, we keep ourselves in the love of God.  I wish we had time to move to and read from Ezekiel 5:1-14 and 18: 19-24.  If you have not read these references from Ezekiel, this would be a good time for you to read them. 


In the book of Numbers chapter eleven, the latter part of it, when the Israelites were so lustful over the quails that they stayed up all night and all the next day gathering quails and he that gathered the least gathered ten homers full or sixty-five bushels. The latter verses of that chapter say that God sent a plague among them and “there they buried those that lusted”.  In chapter sixteen of Numbers, after God had opened up the earth and swallowed up Kora, Dathan, and Abiram and their houses, those who were trying to usurp the office of the priesthood, God opened up the earth and swallowed them up; and the two hundred and fifty that were trying to offer incense, he burned them up.  And then the next day, the people accused Moses and Aaron of killing the people of Jehovah, referring to those that God had killed, and God sent a plague among them.  And before Aaron could go between the living and the dead, fourteen thousand-seven hundred died.  In Numbers chapter twenty-five, twenty-four thousand fell because they turned away and served Baalpeor.  The women of Moab invited, the men of Israel to worship, and they committed spiritual adultery and physical adultery.  The result, twenty-four thousand fell, twenty-three thousand in one day, according to I Corinthians chapter ten referring to that.  Let me take time to read one more passage. Hebrew 12:28, "Wherefore receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.  Let us serve God with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."  When people rebel against God, and just continue to rebel, the Old Testament scriptures, as well as the New Testament scriptures, teach that God counts them as his enemies and finally deals with them as such.  Now God is a very merciful God, but when people just outright rebel, and continue to rebel, finally God counts them his enemies. 


Okay.  I am reading from Jeremiah chapter six beginning with verse sixteen, "Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask ye for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.  But they said, We will not walk therein.  And I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet.  But they said, We will not hearken.  Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.  Hear, O earth:  Behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, and as for my law, they have rejected it. To what purpose cometh there to me frankincense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country?  Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing unto me.  Therefore saith Jehovah, Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall stumble against them.  The neighbor and his friend shall perish.  And thus saith Jehovah, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, a great nation shall be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth."  And God went ahead and told Jeremiah not to pray for them anymore.  He was not going to hear them. Why, because, they had such a stubborn and rebellious spirit. 


So there is just no room for giving such an interpretation.  Now, if you think of the love of God as looking out for the next generation, this might be the case, but when you leave the impression upon the minds of the people that, “sinner you can just go ahead and curse God, and turn up your nose at everything that is right, and he still loves you, and he is ready at any time to show mercy,” you are teaching false doctrine.  Again Isaiah the prophet said, Isaiah chapter fifty-five "Call upon the Lord while he is near."  And the Lord is not always near for rebels.  And there came a time when he was not near to the people of Israel.  He would not hear them.  He would not hear their prayers. 

Chapter nine,

"I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart, for I wish that I myself were anathema or accursed from Christ, for my brethren's sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh."  So Paul had great concern for his fleshly Jewish brethren. He wished, that he could be cursed, and in a lost condition, if it would mean their salvation. So he had great love for his kinsmen.  "Who are Israelites; according to the flesh; whose is the adoption, the glory, and the covenants."  God had given the Old Testament covenant to the Jewish people, and the New Testament covenant was given first to the Jewish people.  Acts 1:8; "Ye shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and then to the uttermost parts of the earth."  The gospel had been preached to the Jews several years before it was carried to the Gentile people.  "And the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever.  Amen."  In other words Christ came of the seed of Abraham, and then through Abraham's son, Isaac, and then through Isaac's son Jacob.  And God made a choice of those two sons of Isaac as we read in this chapter. 


"But it is not as though the word of God had come to nought.  For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel."  Back there, when Sarah said, “Cast out the handmaiden and her son, he is not going to inherit with my son.”  Abraham did not want to do it, but God told him, you do as she told you to do, “for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”  But God told him that he would make a great nation of Ishmael.  But the descendants of Ishmael and the six sons of Keturah (Genesis 25:1-6) were not counted Jewish people. Then of those two sons of Isaac and Rebekah God made a choice that the seed would be called through Jacob, and that before those twins were born. God made a choice that his seed would be called through Jacob and not Esau.  Verse seven, "Neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children:  But, in Isaac shall thy seed be called."  See, that is referring back to Genesis 21:12, that occasion when Sarah said, “Cast out the handmaiden and her son.”  Do you remember the fourth chapter of Galatians, that we are not children of the handmaiden, but children of the promise and the children of the free woman?  "For this is the word of promise, according to the season, will I come, and Sarah will have a son.  And not only so; but Rebekah having conceived by one.  Even by our father Isaac; for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to the election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, that the elder shall serve the younger."  And that is from Genesis chapter twenty-five.  The twins struggled in Rebekah’s womb and she prayed, and God told her there were two nations in her womb, and that the elder would serve the younger.  "Even as it is written."  Now, notice this is said later in the book of Malachi 1:2.  Jacob I love, but Esau I hated”.  Malachi said that after Esau had shown himself to be a fornicator or profane person, (Hebrews 12:14-16).  But it means loved less, that he loved Jacob more than he loved Esau.  "What shall we say then?  Is there unrighteousness with God?  God forbid."  In other words God is God, and he has a right to make some decisions on his own.  There is a passage in Isaiah, “Woe unto him that striveth with his maker, a potsherd among the potsherds of the earth!” (Isaiah 45:9)   A broken pot among the broken pots of the earth, trying to argue with God!  Woe unto him that striveth with his maker.


Verse fiftteen through eighteen, "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, for this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might shew in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth, so then he hath mercy on whom he will and whom he will he hardeneth."  Now, we could just remove these verses fifteen through eighteen from the rest of the Bible and conclude that God is an arrogant, hard, unjust God who is ready to just have mercy on one fellow because he wants to have mercy on him for no good reason, and that he is ready to harden the heart of another man with no proper reason.  But that is not the case.  I wish you would write down beside these verses in the margin Isaiah 66:2, which says, “to this man will I look, he that is humble and of a contrite spirit and trembleth at my word”.  God is always ready to show mercy to a man like that. 


In regard to the verses quoted, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” That is a quotation from Exodus 33:19.  Moses had been very faithful to God, and he wanted God to show him his glory.  And God said, based on all his faithfulness, that he would hide him in the cleft of the rock, and give him at least some glimpse of his glory, which he did.  And it's in that context.  Moses was a very faithful man, and so God was ready to show mercy to him.  God is ready to have mercy on a man like Saul of Tarsus.  Even though he was doing wrong, he thought he was doing right.  And God knew that he was living by a good conscience, so he was ready to have mercy on him.  He was ready to have mercy on the Ethiopian eunuch, and we could go on and on with many like examples.  Any time there is a humble person who is not going contrary to his conscience, God is ready to show great mercy! 


What kind of person is he ready to harden?  Arrogant and hardened men like Pharaoh!  When God sent Moses and Aaron down to Egypt, and they demonstrated before Pharaoh God’s miraculous power, and of all the times that they did, and plague after plague; and he would make a promise and would not keep it.  And when they first requested, “who is God that I should obey him.”  He was stubborn and arrogant and thought that he just had the ability to control things himself.  And he is the one that God was saying, “for this purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power”.  God was willing for him to be hardened that he might show his power to all the people of the earth.  And so that is the kind of person that God is ready to be harden.  II Thessalonians 2:10‑12, tells us, that those who will not receive the love of the truth, he will send a, “working of error, that they should believe a lie and be judged.” I think the King James says, “a strong delusion that they might believe a lie and be damned because they believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” God is ready for those kinds of people to be hardened.  And he is ready for the people back there when God called upon them to walk in the old ways, the ways of God, and they said we will not do it.  He was ready then for them to be hardened further (Jeremiah 6: 16-19).  Many make mistakes, and, I guess, from time to time all of us have, of interpreting a passage just on the basis of the one passage!  If we do that very much, we will find ourselves contradicting another passage.  Any time we come with such an interpretation that is in contradiction to another passage, we better recognize immediately that we do not have proper, understanding here.  God is not the author of confusion (II Corinthians 14:33).  He does not say one thing in one passage and then say something contrary to it somewhere else.  So you see that this passage does not make God an arbitrary God, a God that does not care.  But he is God, and his wrath is kindled by stubborn rebellion.  And he is ready for people who continue to go the way of stubborn rebellion to be hardened. 


Verse nineteen, "Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he still find fault?  For who withstandeth his will?  Nay O man, who art thou that repliest against God? " That is much like that passage from Isaiah 45:9.  "Woe unto him that striveth with his maker."  "Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it."  Now, it is all right for us to ask a question if we ask it in the right spirit, but that right spirit includes that spirit that God is God, and I know you did the right thing, but I don't understand why.  That kind of question is all right.  But when we stop and think, the Bible gives the answer to most of those things that we might be raising questions about.  If we read enough and study enough, we will find that in most cases, if not all cases, the Lord has already given an answer to us.  "For hath not the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"  I wish we had time to turn and read from the eighteenth chapter of Jeremiah where God had Jeremiah to go down to the potter's house and witness the potter making a vessel.  And when one marred in his hand, he took that clay and made another vessel out of it.  God wanted Jeremiah to understand that he could make a good vessel out of all of those who would humble themselves.  And that's still the case today.  In II Timothy chapter two beginning around verse nineteen, Paul says that in every great house, there are two kinds of vessels:  Honorable vessels and those that are made of less honorable materials.  The great house is the church.  And then the passage reads, if a man will purged himself of these things, he shall be a vessel of honor, sanctified, meet for the master's use.”  So God is ready to make a vessel of honor out of every humble person.  Every person who is willing to do his will, he will make a vessel of honor out of them. 


Verse twenty-two "What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction."  Those who had committed such sins that they were worthy of being wiped off the face of the earth!  In short, God put up with sinful people until that time when he would show mercy through Christ to all men.  "That he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?  As he also saith in Hosea, I will call my people, which was not my people, and her beloved, that was not beloved."  Again, I'd like for us, if we had time, to turn back and read from Hosea.  He is the prophet that God had to marry a woman that would become a prostitute.  She left Hosea, and in process of time she became a slave, and the prophet went and bought her back.  All of this illustrated God's relationship with the people of Israel. 


Verses twenty-six through twenty-nine "And it shall be that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the sons of the living God.  And Isaiah cries concerning Israel, if the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, (be innumerable).  It is the remnant that shall be saved. For the Lord will execute his work on the earth, finishing it and cutting it short:  As Isaiah has said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had become Sodom and been made like unto Gomorrah."  In short, the Jews would have been destroyed as a people if God had not left them a seed, through that more righteous element of Israel, a very small remnant.  "What shall we say then?  That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, attained to the righteousness, even the righteousness, which is of faith.  But Israel, which followed after a law of righteous, did not arrive at that law.  Wherefore?  Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works."  The Jews were reasoning, that they would merit salvation if they just kept certain requirements of the law.  And there are still some today who seem to reason that way that they can be saved altogether by their works and by their merit.  Well, works have a part, but no man is going to be saved just on the basis of works or merit.  "Wherefore?  Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works.  They stumbled at the stone of stumbling; even as it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling rock of offence:  He that believeth on him shall not be put to shame." 


Notice how the writer uses the scriptures there as quoted.  He is combining Isaiah chapter eight, I believe it is verses thirteen and fourteen and Isaiah 28:26.  I think I remember Isaiah 28:16.  "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation:  He that believeth on him shall not make haste."  And so he is quoting the very last of that verse. “He that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.”  In Isaiah 8:13-14, "And Jehovah of hosts him shall ye sanctify; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread."  And this is Christ that he is speaking of in verse thirteen.  "And he shall be a sanctuary; but for a rock of stumbling and a rock of offence to both of the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And many shall stumble thereon, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken."  Well, verse fourteen he would be a sanctuary for those that believe on him, but he would be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, to those who did not believe, to both of the houses of Israel.  And Isaiah's ministry, nearly all of it was during the time of the divided kingdom.  And so he would be a rock of offence to both of the houses of Israel.  So Christ is the stone of the Old Testament scriptures.  David had said of him, “the stone which the builders rejected is made the head of the corner.”    And you remember when Peter was before the Sanhedrin,  "He is the stone that was set at naught of you builders, which is also become the head of the corner.  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby ye must be saved (Acts 4:12).”  So Christ is the stone of the Old Testament scriptures. 


Chapter Ten

"Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them that they may be saved.  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, not according to knowledge."  Now, isn't it right to have a zeal for God?  Surely it is.  God wants all of us to be zealous, but zeal without knowledge can be dangerous.  And so the people of Israel at this time had a zeal for God, but it was not according to the knowledge.  What happens when people have a zeal for God and do not have proper knowledge?  They usually go about doing the same thing that the Hebrew people did back there.  "For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth."  And you remember from the third chapter of II Corinthians the same kind of instruction.  "For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law, shall live thereby."  And again that would be Leviticus 18:5.  "But the righteousness which is of faith saith thus, say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into heaven?  That is to bring Christ down.  Or, Who shall descend into the deep?  (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)  But what saith it?  The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:  That is the word of faith, which we preach; because if thy shall confess with thy mouth Jesus is Lord, and shall believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (10:3-9)". Now, the passage here is a quotation from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 30:14 where Moses exhorted, the word of the Lord is not far from you.  But here Paul uses it to encourage us under the New Testament law.  And, of course, it is true under the New Testament law, and even more so than under the Old Testament. 


Verse nine "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shall believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead."  A person must have the facts of the gospel preached to him before he can be saved, and must believe those facts, that God raised him from the dead.  "Thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart a man believeth unto righteousness; with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame."  And again he is quoting part of Isaiah 28:16.  "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek:  For the same Lord is Lord of all and is rich unto all them that call upon him.  For whosoever that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  And that is a quotation from the second chapter of the book of Joel, where Joel was speaking of the time when God would pour out his spirit upon all flesh, meaning Jews and Gentiles alike.  Peter also quoted Joel 2:28-32 as recorded in Acts 2: 16-21. And that when that time came, every humble person, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  But notice what is involved in calling upon the name of the Lord.  Think how many people have removed verse thirteen from the rest of the passage.  And the following verses show that they have interpreted the passage absolutely contrary to the proper meaning of it.  A person does not properly call upon the name of the Lord until he learns what he needs to do and does it.  He is calling upon the name of the Lord in such a way as to be saved when he learns and obeys the commands of the Lord.  But let us pick up with verse thirteen for our next lesson.  Thank you.