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God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

In my last post, I started talking about Israel as God’s chosen people. In looking at Paul’s writings, he said that it was only the children of promise that were Abraham’s true children. Paul continues…

For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac.

Romans 9:9-10

Isaac was the son born of a promise. But, the same was true when Isaac went on to have children of his own. Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, had twins. They were born at the same time, in the same bloodline, into the same family.

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad — in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls — she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:11-13

Now there’s a mouthful. What does that phrase, God’s purpose in election mean?

God has a purpose in choosing. Actually this goes along with Romans 8:28. Remember, in Greek that verse says, God works together with all who love Him to bring about good – the purpose to which they were called.

In the above verse from chapter 9, Paul uses a special word for purpose. It means something held out. It’s the Greek word that’s also used for the showbread in the Temple. They are also called the “bread of the presence.”

This showbread was displayed in the holy place of the Temple on a weekly basis. Then, incense would be poured on top of any that was not eaten. So it was eaten and burned each week.

Only those offering service to God may eat this in His presence with their prayers. It was constantly provided for the priests who served at the altar. I believe that it’s also a picture of Christ, since He called himself the Bread of Heaven (John 6:51).

That’s the word Paul used in describing God’s way of choosing. God has a purpose in His calling and choosing.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12

Everything that God does is based upon His preordained plan. His plan was set out from the beginning.

So, God wanted to show that it wasn’t by works that He makes His choice. He didn’t wait to see who gave Him the better offering or service. BEFORE they did anything – God looked ahead and chose the one who would obey His plan for their life.

Getting back to the verse in Romans, in order to see what’s being said, we have to understand love and hate. Contrary to current opinion, when the Bible uses these words, they’re both without emotion.

It’s all about choices. Love is the choice to positively participate in someone’s life. Hate is the choice to negatively participate or not to participate at all.

Knowing that Jacob would participate with His plan, God participated with him. Knowing that Esau would ignore His will, God chose not to work with him.

At first, it may seem unfair that God would say such a thing. But, after the twins progressed, it was obvious that God made the right choice. That’s especially true since it was obvious that Isaac was trying desperately to groom Esau to be the chosen son.

It’s good to know that God has a plan for me. He knows the choices I’ll make, even before I make them. I’m so glad that He works with me to bring about His destiny for my life.

Question: How do you see God’s hand upon your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Working Together for Good

Working Together for Good

As we continue through the book of Romans, we arrive at another verse that gets us all turned around. We need to really understand it in its context.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

This is great verse and I’ve heard many people quote it and preach about it. They usually say something like, “Don’t worry, no matter how bad your situation gets, God will turn it around to good in the end.”

Is that what Paul’s saying here? To answer this, we need to think about the verse just before this one. What’s the context of this statement?

Remember, the apostle told us that our spirit and the Holy Spirit are in conference over us. The purpose of this conference is to bring about God’s will in our lives.

It turns out that there’s an alternate translation of verse 28.

“God works together with all who love Him to bring about good – the purpose to which they were called.”

Remember – I don’t know the objective precisely as needed. However, the Holy Spirit of God will work with me to overcome that weakness. This translation melds perfectly with what Paul said in verse 27.

Of course, many people want to believe this verse the alternate way. They feel they can do what they want – just “love God” – and He’ll work everything out.

I don’t believe that’s the case. The Lord will work together with me to bring about His good purpose in my life. That’s more in line with the context of this chapter.

Think about what the rest of Scripture teaches.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:20

As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.

2 Corinthians 6:1

This concept is found all throughout God’s Word. The Holy Spirit and the saints working together. Why would Paul say that God will do the work Himself, all you have to do is love Him? I believe that it’s clear, God wants to work with us to bring about His will.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:29

The next big question is about predestination. The key is that those He foreknew, He predestined to be like Christ.

We forget sometimes, that God is outside of time and space. Before you were born, He saw the day you would receive Him as your Savior. So, He already made a place for you in His Kingdom.

He set a destination for you, based on your future decision. It’s the destination that’s the important part of this verse.

What is that destination? That we are conformed to the likeness of His Son. It says that we’re morphed together into the picture of Christ.

This is the plan that the Holy Spirit and my spirit are working together to accomplish. Everyday, I want to look more and more like Jesus. That’s the goal of prayer in the spirit. That’s the only way to truly overcome the flesh and its sinful nature.

Question: How have you changed since coming to Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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