Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath— prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory. 24 Even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” 26 and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” 27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. 28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.” 29 It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.”
In our passage for the week Paul talks about God’s sovereignty: His freedom to choose whom he wishes to choose to include as His people. He is free to choose whom he wishes, and He chooses from Gentiles as well as Jews.
I must admit that when you read this passage it does make you think, “Well, that’s not fair.” How can God hold humans responsible if God’s sovereignty is the deciding factor? This freedom on God’s part belongs to His very nature as God and it neither means that he acts unfairly, nor does he wrongly blame people for what they have chosen by Him to do. There is no contradiction in the reality of God that Paul is describing here. This is one of the great mysteries of God. This is how He has moved throughout salvation history—His redemptive activity within human history to effect His eternal saving action—we can trust Him, what he does for the good, what is best, what accomplishes His will. Remember that what he does is part of His plan to bring salvation.
I think if we’re going to begin to understand this, then it’s important that we understand what is meant when we say “Sovereignty.” It’s not a word we use much outside Christian circles. Its definition is: supreme power or authority; independent of all others. So when we use it to talk about God, we’re essentially saying, “God is in control.”
As one writer put it:
There is absolutely nothing that happens in the universe that is outside of God’s influence and authority. As King of Kings and Lord of Lords, God has no limitations. Consider just a few of the claims the Bible makes about God:
-God is above all things and before all things. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is immortal, and He is present everywhere so that everyone can know Him (Revelation 21:6).
-God created all things and holds all things together, both in heaven and on earth, both visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16).
-God knows all things past, present, and future. There is no limit to His knowledge, for God knows everything completely before it even happens (Romans 11:33).
-God can do all things and accomplish all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him, and He orchestrates and determines everything that is going to happen in your life, in my life, in America, and throughout the world. Whatever He wants to do in the universe, He does, for nothing is impossible with Him (Jeremiah 32:17).
-God is in control of all things and rules over all things. He has power and authority over nature, earthly kings, history, angels, and demons. Even Satan himself has to ask God’s permission before he can act (Psalm 103:19).
That’s what being sovereign means. It means being the ultimate source of all power, authority, and everything that exists. Only God can make those claims; therefore, it’s God’s sovereignty that makes Him superior to all other gods and makes Him, and Him alone, worthy of worship.
John Piper says: God’s unimpeachable sovereignty grounds our salvation. He has mercy on whom he will have mercy.
If you’re a Christ follower, God in His grace and sovereign will, has chosen to have mercy on you—to save you and give you life eternal, not because of anything you’ve done, but because of His mercy. There is nothing that will ever be able to separate you from His love… His sovereignty guarantees this reality. Because of His sovereignty we can have confidence in His promises.
When we think about God’s sovereign activity, the mysteries of God, we together with Paul, can place our complete confidence in God and shout in praise, “Oh, the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!”
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest; Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.