"it needs to be given me"10-01-2014 - Posted by Andre Piet
If faith is a gift of God, as Paul wrote in Eph.2:8, how can a man then be called upon to believe? “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31), said the same Paul, earlier. The medal appears to have two sides. Nowhere in the Bible is this two-sided coin discussed as profoundly as in Romans 9. Paul gives Pharaoh as an example (9:14-21), who was told by Moses, God’s representative, that he had to let the people of Israel go. That was God’s WILL. But was it also God’s INTENTION (council) that Pharaoh would let Israel go? The answer to that is equally definite: No! God had said in advance to Moses that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let Israel go (Ex.4:21). Please note: this was said to Moses, not to Pharaoh. When Pharaoh, then, appeared to break down under the pressure and wanted to give in to the call, it was God, Himself, who strengthened Pharaoh’s heart, so he could continue to refuse. God intended to demonstrate His power and to that end a rebellious Pharaoh served His purpose (Rom.9:17). Pharaoh knew nothing about this! Nevertheless, it is a fact that God has a purpose with everything (Proverbs 16:4)! And then, Paul let’s his opponents say:
You will be protesting to me, then, “Why, then, is He still blaming? for who has withstood His intention?” -Rom.9:19-
Pharaoh, explicitly, did not resist God’s intention (that is impossible), but God’s will, he did resist. To the question, “Why then is God still blaming him, Paul’s answer reads:
O man! who are you, to be sure, who are answering again to God? That which is molded will not protest to the molder, “Why do you make me thus?” -Rom.9:20-
Paul’s answer is a question in return: Who are we to berate God’s ways? It simply is not for the clay to make critical remarks about the work of the Potter. The Potter forms and molds the clay; not the other way around. God makes known His Word. That is for man to believe. Period! Does man not respond positively, then he also has nothing to do with God’s hidden intention. A secret, such as election, God makes known to believers (Eph.1:4), even as Moses knew God’s hidden intention, while Pharaoh did not have a clue. Untroubled, we may proceed to make known the Good News Message of God, Who will save all. Everyone should know that. For it says, in 1Timohy 2:4, God wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth. Does one believe this, then he will also learn that he was known in advance and destined for this (Eph.1:4). So that, all glorying-in-self is excluded.