Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 9

To whom does God show special kindness?

Romans 9:15

We cannot earn Godís kindness - not even by our best efforts (4:1-8). So we certainly cannot force him to show kindness to us. It is foolish and evil to imagine that we could demand his support. That is a very proud way to behave, and God will not accept it (compare 1 Samuel 15:17-23 and Micah 6:7-8).

Instead, God chooses those people to whom he will show special kindness (8:28-30). He works powerfully in their lives. He does not just want to help them with their present difficulties. Rather, he has chosen to adopt them as his own children (John 1:12-13). They will live with him always in heaven and the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:3-7).

This subject astonished Paul. God had worked powerfully in Paul's life at a time when Paul was an enemy of the first Christians (1 Corinthians 15:9-10; Galatians 1:13-16; 1 Timothy 1:12-16). Paul saw that he did not deserve Godís great kindness to him - but Paul was very grateful to God for that kindness.

Paulís words in Romans 9:15 come from Exodus 33:19. That verse is part of a very sacred Bible passage, Exodus 33:12 to 34:14, where God permits Moses to see him. In that passage, God describes to Moses his (Godís) true character (Exodus 34:6-7). God is kind and patient, and his love is great. Although, as our judge, he must punish guilty people, his character and his strongest desires are to forgive people. He can forgive every kind of evil deed; but people must turn from their evil behaviour and invite him into their lives (Ezekiel 18:27-32). Those people who do that, will receive a right relationship with God. It is God who made that possible. Long ago - even before God created the world - he chose those people to be his people (Ephesians 1:4-5).

Next part: God wants to help us, but we cannot control him (Romans 9:16)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.