My heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.
Imagine you are walking down the street, and you see a $20 bill on the sidewalk. You pick it up and look at it, and, sure enough, on the front is a picture of Andrew Jackson. You turn it over, and on the other side, there is another picture of Andrew Jackson. What do you conclude about that bill? It is counterfeit. Any bill that has the same picture on both sides is counterfeit. There has to be a different picture on the other side. It is the same for the teaching of predestination. Any teaching of salvation that shows only one side–the side of God’s electing some to be saved–is a counterfeit teaching of salvation. The biblical picture of salvation includes an equally compelling truth, and that is our responsibility to trust in the gospel and share it with others.
We looked in Romans 9 at one side of predestination–the truth that God elects some for salvation. Now in Romans 10, we are going to look at the other side of election. To understand the doctrine of salvation, it is important that we differentiate between God’s responsibility in salvation, the unbeliever’s responsibility in salvation, and the believer’s responsibility in salvation. Paul does all three in Romans 9 and 10.
What is God’s responsibility in salvation? It is election. We saw that in Romans 9:1-29. God elected some to be saved and passed by other people. Is that unfair? No. Romans 9:14 says, “There is no injustice with God.” A governor who chose to pardon a criminal from death row is not unjust because he did not pardon every criminal. The criminal who was pardoned received the governor’s mercy. Those who remained on death row received justice. But nobody received injustice. It is the same thing in election. All of us deserve eternal damnation for our sins. We are on death row, awaiting our execution. The fact that God chooses to pardon some people is a demonstration of His mercy. The fact that others are not pardoned and receive their punishment is a demonstration of God’s justice. But in no way does God ever act unjustly.
The question Paul answered in Romans 9-11 was this: “Why isn’t everyone in Israel being saved?” Paul said it was never God’s plan to save all ethnic Israel but instead to save all believing Israel. In Romans 9:1-29, Paul said the reason Israel is not saved is because only the elect will be saved. But in verse 30, he changed to discuss our responsibility. He said, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works” (9:30-32). In other words, the reason most of Israel is not saved is not because of God’s choice; it is because of their choice to pursue a right standing with God based on their works, not on faith. And the reason so many Gentiles are being saved is not because of God’s choice; it is because of the Gentiles’ choice to receive the right standing with God that comes through faith in Christ.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Is God Unfair?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.