As followers of Jesus, our greatest mission in this life is the pursuit of lost souls. Adrian Rogers says, “We are to evangelize or we will fossilize.”
In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul expresses sincere, steadfast, and sacrificial concern for lost souls. In Romans 9:1-2, he says, “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.”
Are some predestined for Hell? Absolutely not! There are three things we need to know about the character and nature of God that will bring our theology into sharp focus.
We first need to recognize God’s sovereign choices. In this passage, Paul uses the Jewish nation to explain the concept of God’s sovereignty. Jews are God’s chosen people; they have been given a name of honor, adoption, glory, covenants, law, service, promises, and the coming Messiah. The purpose of God’s choice is not for salvation, but for service. His choice also deals with preference. God has preferences for nations, but He does not predestine individuals for Hell.
Second, we need to know God’s spotless character: “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!” (Romans 9:14) Despite what we may feel about His sovereign choices, God answers to no one and He owes us nothing but judgment.
Yet, God pardons according to His sovereign will; He has decided to show us mercy when we don’t deserve it. It is not rooted in our merit but in His mercy. Punishment is according to man’s stubborn wickedness.
God has every right to punish sin because He is God. But God does not create people in order to destroy them. If we want mercy, God will give us mercy. But if we harden our hearts, God will further harden our hearts.
Finally, we need to be certain of God’s steadfast concern. He wants us to have salvation. If we want to be saved, He will save us, and keep us and present us spotless before His throne.
Apply it to your life
As you meditate on Romans 9 today, ask God to reveal His heart to you. Let the Holy Spirit affirm in your heart God’s sovereign choice, spotless character, and steadfast concern.