Prayer, Passion, and the Sovereignty of God in Salvation
Paul’s Epistle to the Romans has been a source of profound blessing to the church. Many of us, perhaps, know of the instrumental means Romans 1:16-17 was to Martin Luther’s conversion, which ultimately was a catalyst to the Protestant Reformation. I have been meticulously studying through the book of Romans with my church over the last number of years. Indeed, the book of Romans is a treasure trove of theology that provides balm to soul. One of the things that has increasingly surprised and impressed me about the book of Romans is the pastoral demeanor of the apostle Paul. It is an unfortunate misconception that if one is theologically astute then they cannot be pastoral or if one is pastoral then one cannot be theologically astute. Granted, there are some examples that can be given that seem to lend support to this misconception. I would submit that theological acumen and a pastoral demeanor are necessarily connected. One of the surprising places I found this was in Romans 9 and 10.
Typically, when one thinks of Romans 9 it is with reference to the difficult, and yet profound, explanation of God’s sovereignty in salvation. Indeed, Romans 9 is a high water mark, theologically speaking, in the book of Romans. However, I have been drawn, to what Paul states on both sides of his treatise on God’s sovereignty in salvation. It is for this reason that I have entitled this entry “Prayer, Passion, and the Sovereignty of God.”
Chapter 9:6-32 is the unpacking of the sovereign election of God in salvation; for both Jew and Gentile, though the emphasis lies on the Jews in this part simply because Paul is addressing the question as to whether or not God’s word had failed. To summarize the argument in these verses would look something like this: First, not everyone who is of physical descent of Israel belongs to the promise nor are those who are the physical offspring of Abraham included in the promise. In other words, physical birth does not merit anything when it comes to salvation. Paul cites the example of Isaac over Ishmael as