Yesterday we started to look at the question, ‘If God is sovereign and chooses who to save and who to harden, how can we be responsible?’. God is patient in his wrath, wanting all to have the chance to repent. In Chapter 1 we saw that God’s wrath is currently shown in giving people over to what they desire.
In v.22-23 we see God is patient, not visiting us with wrath instantly. That doesn’t solve the mystery of why he prepares some people in advance for glory and allows others to prepare themselves for destruction, yet both are of God – His judgement, His mercy and His patience.
The objects of God’s mercy are both Jews and Gentiles as foretold by Hosea (v.25-26) and Isaiah (v.27-29). They seek to explain the amazing inclusion of Gentiles into God’s mercy and the, just as amazing, reduction of Jewish inclusion. Paul is grieved and conscious at the increasing number and imbalance of Gentile believers compared to Jewish believers. Jesus foretold it too, in Matt 8:11ff.
So what is the conclusion? Gentiles not pursuing righteousness get it, v.30, and Jews who were, don’t. The reason is because the pursuit was by works not faith. The bottom line for Paul is the law didn’t work. Christ is the end of the law, and righteousness comes (as it always did) by faith.
225 words don’t really explain it well! Lloyd Jones summed it up well “In verse 6 to 29 he explains why anybody is saved; it is the sovereign election of God. In these verses (30-33) he is showing us why anybody is lost and the explanation of that is their own responsibility.” Charles Simeon of Cambridge in the 19th Century, in the midst of battles over Arminianism and Calvinism, warned his congregation: “When I come to a text that speaks of election, I delight myself in the doctrine of election. When the apostles exhort me to repentance and obedience and indicate my freedom of choice and action, I give myself to that side of the question… As wheels in a complicated machine may move in opposite directions and yet subserve [help to further or promote] a common end, so may truths apparently opposite be perfectly reconcilable with each other and equally subserve the purposes of God in the accomplishment of man’s salvation.” Phew!
Believe in Jesus and know that He chose you!