Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3
November 18, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<452> Thesis: The two excluded foundations of God's integrity are "will" and "power". Introduction: Last week we considered God's declaration to Moses that "mercy" is His exclusive prerogative when it comes to the question of whether it will be inserted into the human realm. This matter of "the insertion of mercy into the human realm" is a crucial factor in how things play out. We saw that one of the most fundamental realities concerning God is the distinction between those attributes in the divine character that must not be compromised and those that abide in the realm of "option". Though this is a rather complex concept, it is at the heart of Paul's questions in Romans 9. There are at least three major questions in Romans 9: 1) why is a totally selfless love often denied? 2) does the denial indicate a "problem" with the "integrity" of God in respect to His verbal declarations?, and 3) does the solution regarding the denial signal some kind of "unrighteousness" in the makeup of God? The first question is not the first answered; it is allowed to linger in our minds for a bit. But, the second question is answered by the declaration that God's verbal declarations must be understood in terms of His meanings, not man's ("Israel" has a technical meaning as well as a generic one). And, the third question is answered by the distinction that exists in the nature of God between those attributes which cannot be compromised and those which stand in what we have called the "optional" category. Justice and Grace have very little to do with one another; and Righteousness and Mercy are likewise very distant cousins. Likewise, Love and Hate are in this same stream of attributes which seem to men to be irreconcilable. Clearly God is not an uncomplicated Person and just as clearly man's understanding of the complications is directly related to his participation with Him in Life. Thus, this evening we are going a bit further into our consideration of the divine prerogative regarding the insertion of "Mercy" into the affairs of men and look into certain inescapable conclusions. Paul says there are two: "it" is not of him that willeth, nor is "it" of him that runneth. In order to understand these conclusions, we need to consider not only how they apply to man but also how they apply to God.