Now before you get in a line to stone me, let me explain what I mean when I say that I’m “pro-choice”. I’m not talking about whether a person should have the right to choose when a life given by God is viable and whether or not to allow it to live past conception. In that regard, I am 110% Pro-LIFE! What I am talking about is that I am thankful God has chosen me to be one of His children.
In Romans 9, Paul begins the chapter by exhibiting his heart toward the lost, especially when it comes to those of the Jewish race. He is so emphatic about it that he seems to be willing to give up his own salvation if it meant that his brothers would come to the faith. I don’t know if I could say the same as much as I would like to believe that I would. Paul then spends the rest of the chapter explaining he is not the one who can make that choice. The choice of who will be saved is squarely on the shoulders of God.
For many years, I resisted this kind of thinking because I had been taught salvation was exclusively my choice and besides it seemed fatalistic to think God would choose some and not others. Paul isn’t shy though in giving examples of those in Israel’s history who had been chosen seemingly out of order and without natural rhyme or reason. In verse 14, Paul addresses our main beef with the concept of election by saying, “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!”
You see, we with our Western mindset want God to be fair instead of just. We want there to be a level playing field and an equal opportunity for all. The problem is that we start with the wrong premise. We believe we deserve God’s mercy instead of realizing we are all sinners who deserve God’s wrath. The great mystery is that God chooses to save anyone not that He doesn’t choose to save everyone. Paul goes on to say, “For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’” So, then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
We as human beings want to somehow be in charge of the situation. We want it to be exclusively our choice to follow God. Now, it is true we have responsibility to respond to God’s mercy. We must repent of our sins and wrong thinking and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved. But the reality is that we can’t do any of that effectively unless we are first empowered by God to do so. What adopted child has ever chosen his or her parents before the parents chose the child? Knowing God has chosen us should make us eternally grateful understanding I didn’t deserve it and could do nothing to make it happen.
If what Paul says is true, how should we think about the lost? Should we just leave them alone knowing that God is going to save who He is going to save. No! We should obey Scripture and pray for the lost and preach the Gospel to everyone knowing that God chooses to use those means to call them to salvation. We should have the heart of Paul who was willing to give up everything if it meant one more person would come to salvation.
An excellent handling of a difficult passage. Thanks for being willing to do it.
Straight and to the point. It is not something we like to think about but it is scriptural truth. Thanks for sharing this boldly yet kindly.
So thought-provoking that I went back and read it a second time – and what gratitude to God it inspires! Thanks.