So I was challenged by someone the other day to read Romans 9 again, I won't say by who (cough* Jared) and I really didn't want to, so I delayed. Finally today I did actually read it and it once more scared me as it always does. It just seems so rank with injustice. Aristotle defines justice as 'giving to each man that which he deserves' but this is NOT the justice of God.
"Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad - in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls...Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" What then shall we say? is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion" It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." - Romans 9:11-16
I have yet to find - as Rob Whittaker says - some tricky expositional gymnastics and greek interpretations that get me out of the bluntness of that message. Even worse than that passage is what Paul says next:
"What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with a great patience the objects of his wrath - prepared for destruction?" What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of mercy" -Romans 9:22-23
... I sit staring at my bible not knowing how to respond. Phillip Yancey's 'helpful' side notes in my Student Bible mention nothing of Calvinism. No explanation at all. Just a small joke about rabbis asking questions.
That's the best you can do Yancey? ... St. Paul just said God made certain people to pour out his wrath upon for his own grand scheme of self-glorification, and all you can say is 'Rabbi's ask alot of questions' ... (hatred for evangelicalism boiling in soul....count to ten....)
I was watching this movie on Jacob on TV called "In the Beginning" -Jacob being the bible character, previously mentioned above as being loved by God - lucky him. Anyways, as I watched the clips of him and was wondering about why God loved him. He didn't do anything good. He was a bastard just like me. But for some strange reason, God revealed himself to Jacob, and for an even crazier reason he decided to hate Esau. ... did Esau ever pray? did he know God hated him? ... I wonder why God decided to hate him. I bet Esau wondered. I have a hard time thinking that Esau was some degenerate his whole life, I mean he didn't kill Jacob when he saw him again.. that has to be worth something.
So this troubles me because yes it's fine to preach about Jacob, and isn't God's grace awesome to him... but what about Esau. His life sucked. He got cheated out of his inheritance, his brother screwed him over, and his mom loved his brother more. I don't think St. Paul and Esau would've been friends, Paul would probably pat him on the back and say: 'tough luck Esau, but you know all this is happening because God hates you. But don't worry, in the end it's all working together for the good of those who love God'. ... I don't think that really helps. I wonder if Jesus felt like that 1971 years ago yesterday when he was crucified. I wonder if while he was in the immense pain on the cross if he was thinking 'at least this is working out for the good of those who love me... although it doesn't seem like it, Mom's crying and I even gave her my best friend John for a new son...Peter abandonned me... maybe I should totally make Bartholomew the new Rock on which I build my church...'
I realize that anyone reading this will probably think "BLASPHEMY" but luckily I know no one reads this. See I am troubled by most Christians because they simply say 'well we're all Jacobs, so fuck Esau' ... but what if I'M not a Jacob. What if my constant sin is actually proof that I have never been a Jacob, but I'm just stuck as an Esau, an unsaved, unregenerate, vessel of wrath. LOL better yet, what if all of our Protestant sacraments are invalid and none of us are saved... It's a really scary thought, because the system of Reformed theology says that you are totally depraved and sinful... but that if you exhibit those characteristics, then it's proof you aren't one of the elect. It's a painful contradiction that I simply do not understand. So I guess my prayer is, as I go off into life, bound to sin agian, bound to live a wrong and ungodly life, only to repent later... I guess my prayer is...
God let me be a Jacob.