Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
November 11, 2008
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
1901 ASV Translation:
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth.
18 So then he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will be hardeneth.
- I. The Introduction of "Mercy".
- A. As we have seen, there can be no "unrighteousness" in the display of "mercy" because the "justice" issues inherent in "righteousness" have been met in Christ.
- 1. Mercy is not something that can be extended without regard for "justice". If it could, we would not read in this very treatise by Paul that God set forth Christ as a propitiation so that "...He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). If mercy can be extended without regard for "justice" Christ would not have had to die.
- a. If, in fact, Jesus is the Son of God, it can hardly be disputed that the death of that Son was the most traumatic, painful, and massive event in the annals of eternity. Who can even conceive of a greater?
- b. If the death of the Son of God is the greatest imaginable pain-event in all of the time/eternity continuum, it, more than any other 'thing', would have been averted if it were, in any legitimate way, possible so to do.
- c. Thus, for Paul to say that God set Christ forth as a propitiation so that He could maintain the reality of His "justice" while opening a door for the expression of "mercy" was for Paul to clearly establish, in the most potent of terms, that "mercy" simply cannot be extended apart from that "propitiation".
- 2. On another, but related, note, "mercy" is not something that can be "demanded" by anyone.
- a. If, in fact, mercy is such an "opposite" to "justice" that the only resolution is the greatest imaginable pain-event in the annals of eternity, it cannot be said by any that "mercy" is an obligation. Obligation is a "justice" issue. Justice must be; mercy is an "option".
- b. And, if mercy really is only an "option", it is clear that it cannot be demanded. This boils down to this: only the one who is going to extend mercy has any "say-so" in that "extension".
- B. Because Paul moved unhindered from his denial that there is "unrighteousness" with God to his "proof" (that is what "for" introduces in 9:15) means that his "logic" was without complication.
- 1. The "proof" that Paul gives for his "God forbid" thesis is that God told Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy...".
- a. This is a declaration by God that the display of "mercy" is entirely within the realm of His prerogative and that He would, or would not, exercise that prerogative as He determined.
- b. This means that Moses was informed by God that the issue(s) of "mercy" was/were out of bounds to any but God Himself.
- 2. If this "proof" is, indeed, "proof", then Paul has established his case for "promise" and "faith".
- a. "Promise" means that God will do as He has said.
- b. "Faith" means that men accept God's declarations without argument or contradiction.
- c. And God's rejection of any and all who reject "faith in the promises" as the divine methodology is entirely His legitimate call.
- II. The Conclusion(s) to "Mercy".
- A. "It" is "not of him that willeth".
- B. "It" is "not of him that runneth".
- C. "It" is "of the mercy-extending God".