Romans #19 – Predestination Problems: Unbiblical?

Pastor Mark tackles a much-debated topic of predestination in this sermon from Romans 9:1-13 and the question of whether we choose God or God chooses us and how a loving God could choose some people and not others.

Predestination Problems: Unbiblical? (Romans 9:1-13)

  • Some XN, some non XN. Why? Who chooses?


            OT – plan, purpose, choose

            NT – predestine, elect, choose, appointed

  • ALL XN agree – a Christian is chosen by God & chooses God. Which first?

Millard Erickson: “Predestination” refers to God’s choice of individuals for eternal life or eternal death. “Election” is the selection of some for eternal life, the positive side of predestination.”

  • Paul anticipates 5 questions about Predestination (Romans 9-10)

Does Your Heart Break for Lost People?

Romans 9 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

  • Some families have a lot to be rightly proud of
  • Paul is heartfelt not heartless toward lost people
  • Jesus also wept over Jerusalem
  1. Knowing your relationship w/God is secure allows you to focus on other people
  2. Knowing God saves allows you to do your part, & trust Him to do His part

Thinker: NT – 13/14 of 27 books, Acts 13-28; Luke (daily devos, study guides, long sermons, books/ebooks)
Doer: roughly decade walked avg 20 mi day, single, poor, side jobs, riots, prison

All Things New! – Closed 1 yr. this week, work done, online, opened June, 4th anniv., Sat. 4pm, fall prophecy, 237%, 1500 kids, hundreds baptisms, Prayer Mtg – gym, Sat. 6pm, kids, studio, park, parking – $1.5 million by Easter, $530k matching fund, NW Campus


Question #1: If many Jews did not love Jesus, did God’s Word fail?

Romans 9:But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”


  • Gentile from a pagan godless family chosen by God (family named Babel Gen 10-11)
  • Father Terah left Ur of Chaldeans in Iraq SE Babylon (Gen. 11:31, Acts 7:4)

Joshua 24:1-3 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel….2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. 3 Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac.  And to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau.

  • Chosen & saved by God,
  • Circumcised self & family 13-14 years later = begin Jewish people
  • Promise bless nations – Jesus “seed”/“offspring” (Gal. 3:16)
  • Jesus – Jewish descendant of Abraham
  • Most of the early XN Jewish (? about circ., food etc. from Gentiles)
  • Many Jews rejected Jesus & do so to this day
  • We Gentiles follow their father, worship their savior, read their Bible about their family
  • Abraham 3 kinds of offspring

1. Physical (Paul pre conversion)

2. Physical & Spiritual Paul post conversion)

3. Spiritual (me – adopted by the God of Abraham )

  • Paul was 1 before conversion, 2 after conversion; I am 3

Jacob and Esau (Abraham’s Grandsons)

  • Conflict Jacob & Esau started in womb
  • Mom Rebekah prayed, God said boys struggle & the older would serve the younger
  • Esau older, “hairy” & also called “Edom” red Daddy’s boy ate meat, hunted, was outside

Alpha, truck, boots, meat, country music, cage fighting

  • Jacob younger, “trickster” birthed grabbing brothers heel, Momma’s boy @ home spoiled

Beta, Prius, Crocks, vegetarian soy boy, Disney musical soundtracks, safe spaces,

  • Each boy grew into a nation. Esau = Edom. Jacob = Israel
  • Nations @ war – yrs later King Herod (Esau) sought kill Jesus (Isaac) Matt. 1:1-2; 2:13
  • Esau entitled family birthright – double portion of estate, next head of family
  • Traded birthright for a meal,
  • Younger displaced older (like Cain & Abel; Isaac & Ishmael, Joseph & brothers)
  • Esau did not care for God’s calling on their family
  • Neither was godly, but God chose one before they were born & had done anything


Do We Choose God? Or, Does God Choose Us?

  1. Universal Damnation

No one is saved and everyone is damned like the demons.

  1. Universal Salvation

Heresy rejected throughout church history

  1. Pelagianism

We are good people who can freely choose God.

  1. Arminianism

We are sinful, but God grants everyone a free will choice by “prevenient grace”

  1. Double Predestination

“Calvinism”, before time God chooses to damn most & save some

  1. Single Predestination

Augustine, Luther. Everyone chose hell, God freely chose to save some not all


How Can A Loving God Hate Some People?

Romans 8:13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Malachi 1:2-5 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’” 5 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”

1.    Double Predestination – “Calvinism” – God chooses heaven/hell before foundation world

2.    Single Predestination – Augustine/Luther – all choose hell, God chooses heaven for some

  • Hate can mean “pass over”; “choose not to use”, or “not prefer” to bring forth Jesus
  • “rejected” (TLV, CEB, Jubilee Bible, New Am Bible Revised Edition, NET, NLT)
  • “did not accept” (Easy to Read Version)
  • “chose Jacob instead of Esau” (NIRV)
  • Luke 14:26, Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

3.    Nations not Individuals

  • @ that time Edom was seeking genocide Israel
  • Both sons/nations are not just undeserving, but ill deserving
  • Remnant – spiritual Israel within physical Israel

“So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.” Rom. 11:5.

  • The failure of all Israel to be saved is not a failure by God or His Word
  • Big idea: not being just born physically, but born again spiritually
  • Religious families assume they are the same
  1. In love, God saves people from all nations.
  2. In love, God can save the unborn.
  3. In love, God can save the mentally limited.
  4. In love, God can reach the unreached.
  5. In love, God can save the worst people.
  6. In love, God is not obligated to save anyone.
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Mark Driscoll

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