Unlimited: By Him Who Calls
Mar 9, 2023 385
…not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” (Romans 9:12).
Even before Jacob and Esau were born, their mother Rebecca had been told that the older (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob). Esau, who should have inherited the promise, did not, and Jacob was the one who inherited it instead.
We know that Esau was a violent and vengeful man. Yet in many ways, his brother Jacob was no better. God had told Rebecca that Jacob would inherit the promise before either son had done anything good or bad to either deserve or not deserve inheriting God’s promise.
It is not by works but by him who calls.
Paul’s concern here is the salvation of his own people, those who are of the nation of Israel. Therefore here, and in the following chapters, Paul isn’t talking about the salvation of individuals. Instead, the individuals named represent nations, and Paul is principally talking about God’s sovereign purposes for those nations.
In the broader argument of this epistle, however, there is an application with regard to the salvation of individuals as well. It supports Paul’s argument that our righteousness before God is not determined in any way by our works. It is God’s desire and action to save us that counts, and not our own (See v.16.) Instead, our righteous standing before God is granted to us by the grace of Christ, and it is accessed by trusting in him.
What Paul teaches us in his letter to the Romans puts our salvation entirely out of our control. It is a gift, entirely at the discretion of the giver. As part of a culture that values individual choice and control above everything else, how does this make you feel?