10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
1901 ASV Translation:
10 And not only so; but Rebecca also having conceived by one, even by our father Isaac---
11 for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth,
12 it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
I. God's "Love" For Jacob.
A. Paul moves from Abraham/Sarah/Isaac to Isaac/Rebecca/Jacob on a "not only this" basis.
1. Paul's argument progresses one step further as he moves to the next generation.
a. His "argument" is that God will not allow His words to "fail" (9:6).
b. It is beyonddebate that "faith" requires an adamantine commitment to "fulfillment".
c. There is only one factor that is more important than "faith" ("love") so that there are very few issues of more import than whether God will back up His words with His omnipotent power.
d. That God is so presented by Paul inexorably moves his readers into a particular perception of history: developments are "by the will of God".
1) There are those who rage against God because of the developments of history, but the very fact that a creature rages against his Creator ought to be a most sober warning to us.
2) Because men are "stupid", they have a tremendous need to stop raging and start yielding to Him Who would bring them out of their stupidity into the glorious light of understanding.
2. Both women were barren. This natural fact was as potent a threat to the promise of God as could have existed. When the promise is of "seed" and the vehicle of that seed is incapacitated, what greater threat could there be?
3. Both women conceived by deliberate divine intervention. The rationale for this deliberate work by God is "promise": God gave His "commitment" to Abraham and was not going to violate that commitment regardless of whether anyone "likes" it (there were times when even Abraham did not "like" it). One of the mostnecessary issues of "faith" is this question: will God allow anything to interfere with His words-revealed commitments?
4. There were two "sons" in both cases that created a "necessity" of "selection".
B. The "love" issue is the issue of deliberate selection on a non-performance basis.
1. Moses established this reality in Deuteronomy 10:15: "Only Yahweh had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and He chose their seed after them...".
2. The issue behind this selection is given: that the purpose of God might stand.
3. The reason for this selection is not hard to find: for the purpose of God to "stand" it had to rest upon a viable foundation that would make such "standing" possible.
a. "Works", by their very definition, are an insufficient foundation for the purpose of God.
1) The "definition" of "works" is: the actions of men that have arisen out of their heart/mind/volition base.
2) Since the history of man is replete with the fact that man does not love the right things, believe the right things, or choose the right things, how can the "works" of man provide any kind of viable "foundation" for the purpose of God to "stand"?
b. When Adam existed without sin, he did not withstand the temptation to "choose" to act in ways that undercut God's purpose of a Kingdom wherein righteousness dwells. When it is a fact that every son of his who lives in this world also "sins", how can anyone argue that God has put His purpose on the back of man's "works"? Even the most committed of believers in Christ do not live perfectly, choose well all the time, make sure they are being guided by love for God, or even know the biblical revelation well enough to make decent decisions. How then can the purpose of God "stand" on such a foundation? Jesus, Himself, taught that a house built upon sand could not stand the onslaught of the waters; so would His own Father be so foolish as to build His purpose upon the sand of man's "works". It is not even "hardly likely"; it is "absolutely not likely".