Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 4 Study # 6
January 20, 2009
Lincolnton, N.C.

<466> Thesis: The preparation of the vessels of mercy for the glory that is to come gets its biggest boost at the time of their summons by God. Introduction: As we have worked through Paul's words in Romans 9 we have been given a Big Picture view of God's purpose. Back in Romans 8:28 we were told that there is a group of people on the planet for whom all things are manipulated into mechanisms of "good". This group is identified as "the called according to His purpose." Then, as a reminder, Romans 9:11 reminds us again of this Big Picture issue, the purpose of God, and ties it once again to "Him that calleth". Now, as we have come to 9:24 in our march through chapter nine, we see that, once again, Paul summons up this issue of God's "call". In very practical terms out of our own experience we recognize pretty readily that becoming a Christian is not "open to all" in any real sense. The level of information necessary to "faith" is simply not available in every place all of the time, and even where the information is available, the contradictions and challenges to it are already in place to make "faith" in it a difficult, if not impossible result. So, when we dig a bit below the surface and ask, "How does anyone ever come to faith?", we are compelled to give one of two answers: the superiority of some men over others; or the special work of God on behalf of some and not others. The former answer is arrogant; the latter is where Paul pitched his theological tent. He calls it being subject to the "grace" of an individualized and particular summons. This evening we are going to look into this Big Picture issue again. For us, the actual "point" is "old hat", but for the first century Roman believers it was a startling foundation for a new approach to living.