Not Chosen To Salvation

By Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor

P.O. Box 573| Walnut Grove, MN 56180 | Telephone (507) 859-2519

CHAPTER ONE (continued)


"Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come and Sarah will have a son.

And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

It was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger.

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."

Romans 9:7-13

As we read these verses we find out that God was electing or choosing (by selective breeding) a nation for Himself.  Even though within that nation not everyone would be looking for the coming of Christ; nevertheless, He was selectively breeding a people that would be known as the nation of Israel.  God exercised His own choice as to who would be the father of the nation.  When it came to the promise to Abraham and Sarah, God had promised them a son.  Of the children they were to have, God would choose through which one the seed and the promise should come.  God promised the seed by Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 15:3,4.  Too impatient to wait on God's promise, Abraham went unto Hagar who was Sarah's Egyptian handmaid.  She conceived and bore a son by the name of Ishmael.  But this was not the promised seed through which the nation of Israel should be born.

We find out that later--at a very old age (Abraham being 100 years old and Sarah being 90)--that god fulfilled His promise and Isaac was born (Genesis 21:1-5).

We find that God had said:

"But my covenant will I establish with Isaac..."

God had selected him.  This has nothing to do with the salvation of Isaac!

As we continue, we find that Isaac married Rebekah and they had two sons, Jacob and Esau.  If you will notice carefully, God had said:

"The elder shall serve the younger."

We find this in Genesis 25:23.  This was only to establish the birthright and the ancestral headship of the nation and had absolutely nothing to do with salvation!  God had the right to choose through which individual the nation the nation of Israel would be born.  But because of that, it does not mean that Esau could have not been saved.  In fact, this leads us to the very next point.  Those who say you are chosen to salvation miss the point of this message altogether...

"As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."

Romans 9:13

Notice carefully, the Bible says "As it is written..."  Where do you find this written?  Turn with me to Malachi 1:1-3 and this is where it is written.  This was never written before Jacob and Esau were born.  God did not elect one to be saved and the other to be lost.  He did not say "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" prior to Jacob and Esau's birth.  This was said some 1500 years later, after Esau had chosen to practice his evil acts.  Then God said, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."  Remember--this was not done before they were born!  It was not God's will to hate Esau before he was ever born!  He only chose Jacob as the seed through which the Messiah would come and as an ancestral head in building the lineage of the nation of Israel.

Let us read in Malachi 1:1-3:

"The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.

I have loved you, saith the lord. Yet ye say, wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob.

And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains waste for the dragons of the wilderness."

Notice carefully that God had done what he had said in Malachi.  But this was done only after Esau had practiced the evil things and despised his heritage.  Most certainly did God do what He said!  But God did not say this before Esau was born nor does it relate to his salvation.

God has said to us before we were born:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on his should not perish, but live an everlasting life."

John 3:16

But after we reject Christ in this life---God hates all worker of iniquity.  He assuredly does!  But then, we are going to find out that God will honor our choice.  It is your choice.  Whether you accept or reject Christ, God will honor that choice.  If you choose to reject Christ, you will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.  If you choose to accept Christ, you will be passed from death unto life.  But it is your choice, because God is "not willing that any should perish."

Another thing we might notice here is that while this portion of Scripture occurs in the New Testament, it is written almost 400 years after Malachi's words.  So there are actually about 1500 years between verse 12 and verse 13 of the 9th chapter of Romans.  How important it is to take time and to study these Scriptures pertaining to Esau!

Another portion of Scripture concerning Esau is found in Hebrews 12:16,17:

"Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

For ye know that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."

We find concerning Esau in verse 16, "Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person...".  The word "profane" here actually means "outside the temple or worldly."  He was a worldly person and a fornicator.  This describes him "...who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing..."  This is not speaking of eternal life at all!  This is speaking of inheriting the blessing as far as the headship of the nation is concerned.  Again--nothing is said of salvation, whatsoever!

Then we find that "...he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."  The word "repentance" is the Greek word "metanoia."  Concerning this verse, "Vine's Expository Words on the Greek New Testament" has this to say:

"The word means afterthought or change of mind and is used of repentance from sin or evil. A change of mind about sin or evil. Except in Hebrews 12:17 where the word "repentance" seems to mean not simply a change of Esau's mind but such a change as would reverse the effects of his own previous state of mind. Esau's birth bargain could not be recalled, it involved an irretrievable loss."

Esau was simply sorry to the point of tears, but he did not change his mind about what he had done in forfeiting the blessing he would have inherited.

Again--this has nothing to do with Esau's salvation.  Remember this--that there are some 1500 years between verses 12 and 13 of Romans 9.  Malachi had stated that God had loved Jacob and hated Esau after Esau had done these evil things.  After he had shown himself to be a profane person and was a fornicator, then God said, "...Esau have I hated."  But we find out that God's electing Jacob was only for the blessings that had to do with the headship of the nation of Israel and had nothing to do with salvation!

Proof of Hebrews 12:16 and 17 is found in Genesis 26:34 and 35:

"And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:

Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah."

You see, Esau loved worldly women and he should not have taken up a marriage with those that were outside of Israel.  He should not have done that, but he loved the worldly women.  This is why Hebrews states that he was a fornicator.  In Hebrews 12:15 we are told:

"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."

This could surely be descriptive of Esau.

Notice in Romans 9:15 where God says to Moses:

"...I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

This "have mercy" is not referring to the mercy of salvation that God shows to all sinners, but rather the mercy that God had on Esau allowing him to live as long as he did while living a sinful life.

Also speaking of "mercy" in Romans 9:15, we would like to go to Exodus 33 where this is recorded in verse 19.  "Where he saith to Moses."  Let us read the record and see what mercy he is talking about back here.  We pick up the story in Exodus 33:18:

"And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory."

This was Moses speaking to God.  Then God answers in verses 19 and 20.

"And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee: and will be gracious to whom to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for these shall no man see me, and live."

We find out that God allowed His glory to pass by the cleft of the rock, etc.  The point we would like to make is that the mercy that God speaks of...

"I will be gracious unto whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy to whom I will shew mercy,"

is the fact that God is saying, "I am the One who will determine whether or not I will show you my glory."  This had nothing to do with the salvation of Moses at all--neither did it have anything to do with the salvation of Esau.  This was God's answer as far as adhering to the request of Moses, and again, it had nothing to do with salvation at all.  It is amazing how many times one will take Scripture and apply it to their man-made philosophical doctrine instead of taking what the Scriptures specifically teach.  If those who use Romans 9 would only go back to where it was spoken to Moses and find out what it was spoken concerning, there would be no problem understanding what these Scriptures are speaking about.  Again, this is not speaking about Moses' salvation, but only God's mercy in granting Moses' request to see His glory.

Continuing in the book of Romans, in 9:22 we have the situation concerning Esau summarized.  In verse 22 we are told...

"What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering (I am sure God was very longsuffering with Esau.) the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction."

You see Esau was the type of man who was fitted for destruction by living a sinful life.  But God in His longsuffering (this includes the mercy that God extends), even though the individual is undeserving God extends it to them anyway.  This is the supreme "agape" love of God which is far superior to the the brotherly "phileo" love of man.

Now concerning Romans 9:17 where Pharaoh is used as an illustration.

"For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth."

We pick up the record of Pharaoh back in the first few chapters of Exodus.  We are going to find out that Pharaoh was a very wicked man who had already hardened his heart many, many years concerning the nation of Israel.  God also had raised this man up, no doubt, and given him the position that he had.  This did not mean when the Scriptures say " raise him up" that this man did not have a free choice, because he did.  You will find that the Bible says that God sets one up in authority and takes down another (Psalms 75:6,7 and Daniel 2:21).

"And he changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings, and setteth up kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding."

Daniel 2:21

You see, God had worked the circumstances out so Pharaoh would be the king of the nation of Egypt.  But Pharaoh's choice as to whether he would harden his heart or not was entirely up to him.  This man had already hardened his heart many times against the nation of Israel.  Israel had gathered the bricks and gathered their own straw at Pharaoh's command (Exodus 5:8-11).  They were slaves in the land at the hand of Pharaoh.  He was a very evil, wicked man who had already hardened his heart.  Then it came time for God to lead the nation of Israel out from the bondage of Egypt by the hand of Moses, His servant.  Moses, therefore, went unto Pharaoh to carry out the demands that God had made concerning this and challenged Pharaoh. The beginning of the record is found in Exodus 5:1,2:

"And afterwards Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go."

Then we find in Exodus 4:21:

"And the Lord said unto Moses, when thou goest to return unto Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go."

This has confused many, many Christians.  They say, "Well, God had hardened Pharaoh's heart.  Does that mean he did not have a free will as far as letting the people of Israel go?"  No, not at all.  We find out that Pharaoh hardened his own heart and that God also hardened his heart only by forcing Pharaoh to openly declare his decision.  This was done in response to God's command, "Let my people go."  We know Pharaoh's heart concerning his treatment of Israel, but we did not know his heart was hardened concerning the freedom of Israel from bondage.  God hardened his heart only in the sense of forcing him to make a decision in this matter.  Then his heart was hardened only because of the Word of God that had confronted him.

In that sense--God hardened Pharaoh's heart concerning this decision of letting Israel go.  I might point out again, this had nothing to do with the salvation of Pharaoh.  The hardening of Pharaoh's heart in Romans 9 was concerning letting the nation of Israel out of bondage from the land of Egypt.

God simply pressed the matter to a conclusion and forced Pharaoh to make a decision.  In that manner God hardened Pharaoh's heart...or made Pharaoh openly declare his refusal to obey God's command.

We come now to Exodus 8:15:

"But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said."

We find that Pharaoh hardened his heart again.  This is in response to verses 5,12-15:

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.  And they did so.

And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh.

And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out from the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields.

And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.

But when Pharaoh saw there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said."

Here we find out that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (7:13).  It was only in the respect that God forced him to make a decision that God hardened Pharaoh's heart.  God just pushed the matter to a conclusion.  The free will was Pharaoh's!  Again, the point we would like to make is that this had nothing to do with Pharaoh's salvation whatsoever.

Mr. Nettleton uses these verses to support his position concerning election on pages 30 and 31 of his book, but neglected to take his readers back to Exodus and show them what Romans was referring to when quoting these men as an example.  Pharaoh surely fulfills Proverbs 29:1 where we are told:

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

In Ecclesiastes 9:12 we are told:

"For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them."

This is exactly what happened to Pharaoh when he pursued the nation of Israel into the Red Sea and God drowned him there with his whole army.  He surely had no idea that the time had come when God would render His judgment.  He was surely a "vessel fitted to destruction" and a "vessel of wrath."  God did not make him that way.

If Pharaoh had no free will you end up with this conclusion--God ordered Pharaoh to free the nation of Israel while at the same time preventing him from doing so.  Why would God ask Pharaoh to do something He had no intention of letting him do?  This false doctrine makes the God I worship a God of confusion.  No--the confusion is the product of false doctrine and those that put it forth, not caused by God.  When God commanded Pharaoh to do something, God extended to him the free will to obey or disobey.  No--God is not some demented, deranged psychological being saying one thing and doing another.  He is omniscient, omnipotent and His acts and actions are in accordance with His Word (the Bible) and His attributes.

God raised Pharaoh up and showed that He was more powerful than even the mighty king of Egypt!  But Pharaoh had a choice.  He could have been saved.  God loved him, but he hardened his own heart, refusing obedience to God.  The power of God and the wrath of God was shown to be mightier than even this great king.  He not only did that to show His wrath upon the vessel fitted to destruction, but He also showed proof to the nation of Israel that no man, no matter what position he held, could ever stand under the hand of God Almighty!

It was an encouragement to the nation of Israel--showing them that whatever they faced in the land of Canaan God could overthrow.  If God could destroy the mighty king of Egypt, then they could trust Him to destroy any other king they might face on their march to the land God had graciously promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Let us go on and examine verses 20 and 21 of Romans 9:

"Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

One must simply remember that in God's sovereignty He has the right to place any person in the place of honor in the eyes of men without explaining to us the reason.  Many times God does tell us His reason for doing so, as he did concerning Pharaoh in verse 17:

"For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth."

Again, may I remind our readers that this has nothing to do with the salvation that God has offered by His grace to everyone.

Notice in Psalms 75:6,7 where God says:

"For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.

But God is the judge: he putteth down one and setteth up another."

We find that God does raise up certain ones to a position of honor, even if they are lost.  He raised up Pharaoh of Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonians, Alexander the Great of the Grecian Empire, Cyrus of the Persian Empire, Antiochus Epiphanes, even Herod the Great.  He put these men in a place of position and did show His mercy unto these men even while they hated Him for such a long time.  God was not obligated to do so, but He did.  God could have killed them at any time, but did extend His mercy to those who were fitted for destruction.  This is just simply God running things the way He wants to run them.  God has determined the 1,000-year Reign of Christ.  Who determined that?  God did.  He has prepared the Lake of Fire for the Devil and his angels.  Things of this sort are things that God has planned.  This is God exercising His sovereign will.

When it comes to God's creation, God says He loved the world.  And the fact is, when He says He loved the world, He means He loved the world!  He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever, the whosoever goes along with the personal responsibility of everyone and it corresponds with God's loving everyone.  He gave His Son for everyone, not just the elect.  Therefore, anyone who wills may come to Christ, believing that He died to pay for their sins and God will give to them eternal life.  This God's will for all; therefore, God would have to go against His own will if election to salvation were true.  This would be absolutely impossible!

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Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor

P.O. Box 573
Walnut Grove, MN 56180
Telephone (507) 859-2519


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