Letter to Christians in Rome: Chapter 9 (pt 11 of 13)

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Another obvious question is whether God is unfair?

Are you going to object, “So how can God blame us for anything since he’s in charge of everything? If the big decisions are already made, what say do we have in it?” (Romans 9:19)

In other words, if God can harden your heart and set you in your ways, then why does he blame you for doing only what he allows you to do? Many people have trouble with that. God could kick the Devil out of the universe. God could heal every person who is sick, all over the world. God could eradicate the evil that happens every day. He could do that. But he doesn’t. Some people say, “I don’t want to serve a God who allows evil when he could eradicate it.”

Paul has an answer for that one, too:

Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right? (Romans 9:20-23)

You might not be a lump of clay, but we are all undeserving of God’s grace. God is not condemning, with a wave of his hand, people who deserve heaven. God is choosing out from among those people, who are all deserving of hell, a people for himself. Evil is not God’s fault. God is not the author of evil. He is not the author of tragedy. He is not the author of sickness. He is not the author of Satan’s work. He is not the author of sin and rebellion. Therefore, we should not accuse YHWH of unfairness and of being unjust because he has allowed others to be set in their own ways. We should be thanking Him that we are numbered among those that are chosen. No one can accuse Him of being unjust.

Either or both happens to Jews, but it also happens to the other people. Hosea put it well:

I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies;
I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.
In the place where they yelled out, “You’re nobody!”
they’re calling you “God’s living children.”

Isaiah maintained this same emphasis:

If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered
and the sum labeled “chosen of God,”
They’d be numbers still, not names;
salvation comes by personal selection.
God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name.
Arithmetic is not his focus.

Isaiah had looked ahead and spoken the truth:

If our powerful God had not provided us a legacy of living children,
We would have ended up like ghost towns, like Sodom and Gomorrah (Romans 9:24-29)

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