Jacob Have I Loved and Esau Have I Hated
By Pastor Christopher W. Burke
The subject of our text in Romans 9 is divine election unto salvation. Beloved, you don’t have to be a theologian to understand what Paul is saying here under divine inspiration. You only have to love the Lord and the truth of His Word, in order to receive the plain teaching of this passage.
In my studies I read several commentaries on this passage. I came to the conclusion that, if what some of them say is true, then no one could simply read their Bible and understand what this passage means. They go way out of their way to make this entire chapter say something other than what it plainly and simply teaches. Oh, beloved, if only men would just except and love God’s Word for what it says and what it means, and quit trying to put words in God’s mouth!
We want to notice just two points this morning from the 9th of Romans. Many, many other things could be said, and many other sermons could be preached, but this is what the Lord has given us this morning.
1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
The situation was that Paul was very heavy hearted about his brethren, and his kinsmen according to the flesh, which were his fellow Jewish people.
Please notice three thoughts with me from these verses:
1) First, Paul had great love and concern for his brethren and his kinsmen according to the flesh, even though he knew full well that God is sovereign in the salvation of His people.
Paul had a heaviness, and continual sorrow in his heart!!! Wow!!! Paul lived with this sorrow and heavy burden continually. Wouldn’t you say that Paul had a love for souls, and a great desire to see them saved? May God give His pastors and churches this kind of love and passion for souls!
Beloved, belief in sovereign grace didn’t make Paul anti-missionary, or unzealous for the salvation of souls!
May God give you and I such a burden for our brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh!
2) Secondly, Paul could wish himself accursed (or separated from Christ) for the souls of those He loved.
READ verse 3:
3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
I can think of no greater expression of one’s love for souls, than to be willing to be accursed, or that is, eternally separated from Christ, if this could secure their eternal salvation. How many of us can relate with Paul in our love for souls? How many of us could truthfully say that we love lost souls so much, that we could wish to be accursed from Christ if they would be saved?
No doubt Paul had close relatives that were lost. Perhaps his parents, or brothers and sisters, were stooped in the dead legalism of Judaism. How he desired to see them saved through faith in the Gospel of Jesus!
Paul was also concerned for all his kinsmen, the Jewish people and nation. He was burdened and troubled for them, because he loved them, and he knew what their end would be, if they did not repent and believe the gospel of Jesus for salvation.
Beloved, may we who love sovereign grace, also love souls and earnestly desire their salvation!
3) Thirdly, in spite of His great love for souls, Paul knew that only the elect would be saved.
Paul said concerning the Jews, that unto them pertained the adoption, and the glory of God, and the covenants of God, and the law of God, and the service of God, and all the promises of God. Not only this, but even Christ came forth in the flesh from the Jewish people and nation.
But all these things not withstanding, Paul knew that only the children of promise would be saved, even from among the Jewish people. He knew that only the elect would be saved.
READ verses 6-8:
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Ishmael was Abraham’s child according to the flesh, but not according to promise. The Arab’s may claim Abraham as their father, “but in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” This is not to say that God doesn’t save Ishmaelites; I’m certain that He does; but the point is, it isn’t according to the flesh that men are saved, but according to the promise of God in the election of grace.
Beloved, this may be difficult for us to accept, and to reconcile with our natural reasoning, but the fact remains that God is God, and He doeth whatsoever He please with His creation.
And although these things are true concerning election, may we not lose our love and zeal for the lost. We don’t know who the elect are, but we do know that God is still saving sinners for His glory, and that He saves His elect through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus. It is our place to preach it out of love for their souls, and it is God’s place to save them according to His eternal plan and purpose of grace.
2. Secondly, what are some of the implications of this passage?
READ verses 10-13:
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.
1) First, God doesn’t love everyone equally. Regardless of how men define the love of God, or the hatred of God, it is clear from this passage that God doesn’t love all men equally. I know that this truth is contrary to the belief of most of Christendom. The slogan “God loves you”, is one of the most popular evangelistic tools of most churches today. They misinterpret John 3:16 to mean that God loves all men without exception. They teach and preach that God loves everyone the same, and that all men are beneficiaries of God’s redeeming love in Christ Jesus. Beloved, this may sound good to the flesh, but it just isn’t true.
2) Secondly, God doesn’t love some people at all in a saving way. This fact of the Scripture is impossible for most religious people to believe or accept! I believe that there is a temporal sense in which God loves all men, as He causes His temporal blessings to fall upon both the just and the unjust. God certainly bestows His goodness, and kindness, and mercy upon the non-elect. But beloved, this is only true of the temporal blessings of this life. In God’s eternal plan of redemption, He made no provision for the non-elect.
3) Thirdly, God loves His elect with an everlasting love. God said, “Jacob have I loved.” He didn’t start loving Jacob at some point in time, nor will He quit loving Jacob sometime in the future. But “Jacob have I loved”, with an everlasting love in eternity.
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Here God was speaking specifically to His nation Israel, but the same principle applies to all of God’s elect. Spiritually, all of God’s gracious favor toward His people is everlasting. Notice:
God’s covenant with His people is everlasting (Hebrews 13:20); the life He gives His people in salvation is everlasting life (John 3:16); His mercy toward His people is everlasting (Psalm 100:5); the righteousness He gives His people is everlasting (Psalm 119:142); the joy He gives His people is everlasting (Isaiah 55:11); His kindness toward His people is everlasting (Isaiah 54:8); the salvation He gives His people is everlasting (Isaiah 45:17); the inheritance of His people is everlasting (1 Peter 1:4); He will give His people an everlasting name (Isaiah 56:5); and so we can surely believe that He loved His people with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
4) Fourthly, God didn’t love or choose His people because they are good, or because of any virtues of their own.
READ verse 11:
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;)
This truth would come as a big surprise to most professing believers today, who think they did God a big favor by “joining up” with the Christian religion.
I’ve got news for them; God didn’t see anything good in any one of His elect. We were all sinners of the most deplorable kind. And if that doesn’t sit well with professing Christians, they would do well to examine their salvation experience. Did they ever see themselves as sinners? Did they ever truly repent? If there is no genuine repentance, it is certain there is no saving faith!
5) Fifthly, God chose to save His elect people because it was His free and sovereign will to do so. (READ verses 11, 15, and 18).
God is the sovereign Creator of the universe. He created the heaven and the earth, and all things therein. He created mankind as it pleased Him. And beloved, the sovereign God of the universe declares His sovereign right to do whatsoever He will with His own creation- including mankind.
People naturally don’t like this truth about God, yet it is still the truth! (Notice verses 19-21). Paul anticipated that people would object to the solemn fact of God’s sovereignty. But sinful men are not God’s judge, and they are in no position to object against their Creator. He is the Potter and we are the clay. It is His sovereign prerogative to do whatever He wills with His own.
6) Sixthly, we didn’t chose to be saved by our freewill.
READ verse 16).
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
We didn’t will of our own natural will to be saved. Even if we could will to be saved, it is not of him that willeth! Now, I thank God that He does “make His people willing in the day of His power” (Psalm 110:3). But this is a new will that God gives His people in the new birth, which causes us to repent, and come to Jesus by faith in the Gospel.
7) Seventhly and finally, we were not saved by our works and human efforts.
READ verse 16 again:
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
It is “not of him that runneth”. That is, salvation is not to those who try to do all that they can, and work as hard as they can for God, in hopes that He will accept them into heaven when they die. Beloved, salvation cannot be merited by works of any kind.
The works of men are nothing more than an attempt to by-pass the cross of Christ! If men could be saved by their works, then Christ died in vain (Galatians 2:21). Jesus said in John 10:7 & 9; “I am the door”. The works of men are nothing more than an effect to by-pass the door of the sheep, which is Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6; “I am the way…” to the Father and to heaven. The works of men are an attempt to go to heaven another way other than Jesus, Who is the only way!
In conclusion, because of God’s sovereignty in salvation, we don’t have to fear that some of the elect will not be saved. This truth, I am sure, was comforting to Paul in his sorrows over his lost friends and loved ones. Beloved, we don’t have to fret about whether God will save all of His chosen people for whom Christ died. He shall save each and every one of them through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus.
We all have lost loved ones that our hearts are heavy and burdened for. What can we do for them?
Well, what did Paul do?
1) First, he grieved for them. Beloved, don’t think it wrong to grieve and weep for your lost loved ones. I’m afraid that we don’t sorrow enough over them! Weep for them as often as God gives you the tears to do so.
2) Secondly, Paul prayed for them (READ Rom. 10:1). Beloved, I believe that God uses the prayers of His children in the dispensing of His blessings and His grace in salvation. I didn’t say our prayers change the will of God. But it is true that God works with our works to accomplish His plan of salvation. How do we know but what God might save that lost son, or daughter, or wife, or husband? Don’t give up praying for them.
3) Thirdly, Paul witnessed to them. If ever there was a man who preached the Gospel to everyone that he possibly could, it was Paul. The Gospel is the “power of God unto salvation”. Lost sinners must hear the Gospel message in order to be saved. So may our feet be “shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace,” and may we tell the lost how to be saved!
4) Fourthly and finally, Paul lived a good testimony before men. He said in 1 Corinthians 9:22 that he was “…made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Paul was very conscientious about the way he lived before the lost world. He used his life to win men’s acceptance, so that he could win the opportunity to preach the Gospel unto them. It is too often true of professing Christians, that men can’t here what they say, because of the way that they walk.
For our final thought; are you a Jacob or and Esau this morning?
You can know for certain even this very hour if you are one of God’s chosen people. How can you know? Repent of your sins, and believe the Gospel of Jesus and thou shalt be saved. Believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day for you, and “thou shalt be saved”!
But perhaps someone is saying in their heart: “Preacher, I just don’t believe that gospel of Jesus”. Well, if you die in your unbelief, then I can assure you that you are an Esau. All there is for you is a fearful looking for of judgment, at the Great White Throne Judgment of God.
My prayer to God for you is, that He will grant you repentance and faith in the Gospel, while it is yet called today! We pray that God will bless this message to each and every soul here in this house of worship this morning!