Rom.9:14,15 – What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 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 does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

This passage in Romans describes the mercy of God in relation to God’s election of grace. Paul is quoting a passage from Exodus where Moses had asked the Lord to show him His glory. The Lord answered Moses by passing over him and hiding Moses in His hand and placing him in the cleft of the rock. The Lord was extending His mercy to Moses and the children of Israel not on the basis of their goodness or their good deeds but simply because He wanted to. That is the point of the book of Romans, all of us have sinned, there is no one who is righteous. It is only the grace of God that can liberate us and reveal His love to us. You may ask, “Why me Lord?”. He simply responds, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion”. Here is how Henry describes this passage.

“The reason he quotes the Scripture he does is to show God’s sovereignty in dispensing his favors: I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. All God’s reasons of mercy come from within himself. He dispenses his gifts to those to whom he wants to, without giving us any reason. The expression is emphatic, and the repetition makes it more so: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. God will do what he wishes. God’s mercy endures forever because its reason is drawn from within himself; his gifts and callings are therefore irrevocable. Paul concludes from this, It is not of him that wills. The glory for God’s goodness is not to be ascribed to even the most generous desire of human beings, or to their most diligent work, but purely to the free grace and mercy of God.”

Many struggle with this whole concept of election but it is literally everywhere in the Bible. Moses taught it, Jesus taught it, and Paul taught it; election is the display of the love and mercy of God. All of us, all of mankind have sinned and are trapped in our life of sin until grace comes. He offers salvation to whosoever wills. The sticking point is the will part. Our will, the things we love, is enslaved to sin. Only God’s grace, His electing love, can liberate us. So why did I get saved on the lakefront in 1973? The Lord had fore-loved me, He knew me and loved me from eternity and was waiting for me on the bench at the lake that night in August of 1973.

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