The Grace of God When We Grieve Over Loved Ones Who Are Not Yet Saved.

In one sentence, this is a summary of Romans 9: God has always sought to redeem those whose sin has taken them away from Him.

The next section we will study is Romans 9:6-13. This passage flows from the description of Christ in verse 5.

God saves by His sovereignty and His Word. Verse 6 reminds us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (See Romans 10:17.) It is a sword that discerns our hearts (Hebrews 4:12). We must trust the Word of God in our witnessing to do the work that only it can do.

It is exclusively God's choice to save a soul (verse 12). This truth is rephrased in verses 16 and 18. God's choice is always based on His mercy and compassion (verses 15-16). These two truths help our hearts when we grieve for those who have yet to know Christ.

We were dead in sin before God made us alive (Ephesians 2:4-5). Only He can do that. In his conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus made clear that spiritual new birth is the result of God's initiating love (John 3:1-21).

"That mercy was seen in sparing a sinful nation. Lest that mercy be construed as depending on man's desire or effort, Paul denies that any such qualification in verse 16. Mercy, like grace, stands over against human worth and effort whenever salvation is concerned. Mercy is free because God is not bound to show mercy on anyone."

God does not save by natural birth and biology. Salvation is never the result of a human choice, even being born into a family. Salvation must be a result of God's choice and your willingness to repent personally.

Romans 9:6-7 states an apparent contradiction. Biologically, all people who are born into the Jewish nation are Israelites; but spiritually, this is not the case. Physical birth does not ensure spiritual life. Verses 7-9 refer to the events of Genesis 16-18. Although Ishmael was Abraham's physical firstborn, God altered the natural order for His supernatural purposes. Paul gives another example in verse 10 when God altered cultural priority by declaring that Jacob's descendants would serve Esau's descendants. The quotation from Malachi 1:2-3 is simply a summary of the two nations' history hundreds of years later. God's sovereign will is always successful.

Salvation is always a result of God's initiating choice of mercy as He works all things out for His glory and our good.

Application Points

  • Keep these two truths in mind when your heart grieves for the lost: 1) Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. 2) Salvation is always the result of God's choice, based on His mercy and compassion. Be grateful for whoever God does save and trust Him for the rest, because He will do right. (See Genesis 18:25.)

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: "Depth of Mercy"

Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

Whence to me this waste of love?
Ask my Advocate above!
See the cause in Jesus' face,
Now before the throne of grace.

I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

Jesus speaks, and pleads His blood!
He disarms the wrath of God.
Now my Father's mercies move;
He receives me with His love.

I my Master have denied,
I afresh have crucified,
And profaned His hallowed Name,
Put Him to an open shame.

There for me the Savior stands,
Shows His wounds and spreads His hands.
God is love, His grace so free,
Depth of mercy, there for me!