ROMANS 1:1-7

 Called of God! Oh, what joy and delight to the soul!


  1. The Apostle Paul declares himself to be one of “the called” (Rom. 1:1), even as he declares the saved Romans to be among “the called” (Rom. 1:6).
  2. This “calling” is a sovereign act of an Almighty God for we are told in John 6:39 that those who come to Christ are given to God the Son by God the Father.
  3. The “called ones” are said to be “drawn to Christ by God the Father” (Jn. 6:44). It appears that God the Father draws the sinner to Christ by the preaching of the Gospel (Jn. 6:45; 12:32; Jas.1:18), by the revelation of the truth by God the Son (Mt. 11:27; Lk. 24:45), and by the witness of God the Holy Spirit and believers (Jn. 15:26-27).
  4. The “called ones” are said to be “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4; cf., 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9).
  5. The “called One” experientially responds to the drawing of God the Father by the “belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13-14).
  6. The “calling” of God the Father is not only a matter of a sovereign choice, but is entirely upon the basis of “grace” (Deut. 7:7-8; 9:4-6; Eph. 2:8-9; cf., Rom. 3:9-23; 9:11, 16; Gal. 1:6; 1 Cor. 1:9, 23-24, 26-31). The truth of the matter is that there is absolutely no worthiness in us (Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12; 7:14), therefore, the believer’s “calling” must be the result of both the sovereign choice and grace of God!
  7. The sovereignty of both God’s choice and grace are illustrated together in Romans 9:7-33

     a. In verses 7-13, God chooses the “second born” to receive His promised blessing. (Quite      contrary to the Old Testament custom of bestowing the double portion of blessing upon the first born; cf., Gen. 25:31-33). 

          (1) Isaac (Rom. 9:7-9) was Abraham’s second born, but the “chosen” seed.

          (2) Jacob was the second born (Rom. 9:10-13), but the “chosen” seed.

          (3) This “choosing” of the second born may be further seen in God’s choosing of Abel (Gen. 4:4) and the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:11-32), and serves to illustrate the need for the “second birth” to become the “chosen of God” (Jn. 3:3,7; Eph. 2:1,5; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23).

     b. At the same time God is “choosing” Isaac, He is rejecting Ishmael and as He is “choosing” Jacob, He is rejecting Esau. To this, God simply says, that it is His choice to “have mercy upon whom I will have mercy” (Rom. 9:15).

     c.  God further illustrates His right to reject as well as choose by speaking of:

          (1) His rejection of Pharaoh (Rom. 9:17-18)

          (2) His rejection of some anonymous individual, i.e., “O man” (Rom. 9:19-20)

          (3) His (“The Potter’s”) rejection of the clay (Rom. 9:21).

          (4) His rejection of the “dishonorable” vessel “fitted to destruction” in favor of the “vessels of  mercy.”

NOTE: Romans 9:23-24 is plainly a statement about the Body of Christ, which was “afore prepared” (Eph. 1:4; 3:9-11); a “joint-body” made of both Jew and Gentile for the construction of the “one new man” (Eph. 2:14-18; 3:6). If this is true, then, the “dishonorable vessel,” the “vessel of wrath fitted for destruction,” is none other than the nation of Israel which is temporarily set aside, blinded and concluded in unbelief throughout the course of this present Church Age (Rom. 11:25,32).

  1. God anticipates human viewpoint opposition of the “Doctrine of Sovereign Election and Grace” and in Romans 9:14 it asks the question, “is God unfair?” and then answers dogmatically, “God forbid.” Why such a dogmatic answer?

     a. First, it is impossible for God to be unfair (Gen. 18:25; Deut. 32:4; 2 Chron. 19:7; Ps. 89:14; 145:17; Rom. 3:26). God’s fairness, righteousness, perfection and justice are declared in Scripture  after Scripture. To suggest otherwise would be to impune the integrity of Scripture and the character of God.

     b. Secondly, “God is not willing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3:9), and has provided potential salvation for every member of the human race…i.e., “Doctrine of unlimited atonement” (Jn. 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:14-15, 19; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:11; Heb. 2:9;  2 Pet. 2:1; 1 Jn. 2:2).

     c. Thirdly, God has given each individual the ability to respond to the “calling of God” by faith in the Gospel (Jn. 3:36; Rom. 10:13;  2 Thess. 2:13). If man does not have this ability or freedom of choice then:

          (1) Every 3rd class “if” in a salvation Greek text,

         (2) Every subjunctive mood (probability) in salvation Greek text,

         (3) Every statement about man either accomplishing or not accomplishing the will of God,

         (4) Every warning of God to man about not doing the will of God is absolutely meaningless if man does not have this ability or freedom of choice! Christ paid for our sins (past, present and future) but some people will not have pardon. If people will not be saved, do not blame God. The reason people are lost is because they will not believe (Jn. 3:18, 36; 16:9-11). It would be good at this point to take note of the demonstrations of the Divine, Sovereign rejection of Pharaoh, the anonymous individual man, and Israel already mentioned in our discussion of Romans 9:7-33, point out that this rejection took place only after Pharaoh (Ex. 3:19; 7:22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:34), the anonymous individual (Rom. 1:18-28) and the nation of Israel (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:28; Rom. 9:32, 11:32) had turned down the Grace of God.

     d. Fourthly, God exercises all of His sovereign decrees upon the basis of His foreknowledge (Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Pet. 1:2; Heb. 4:13). Foreknowledge means that God has accurate knowledge of all events and details of a man’s life, including what a man would do when confronted with the issues of salvation. God foreknowing (in eternity past) that certain individuals would respond to the Gospel call by faith, decreed them “elect,” “called,” or “chosen” in Christ!

 A simpler answer to the question “why doesn’t God call everyone?,” would be simply to quote Deuteronomy 29:29, “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God…” and say “besides, what God does is God’s business” (Rom. 9:19-20).

  1. The fact that some members of the human race are “called” and some are not, ought not hinder our evangelistic zeal and efforts, but, rather, ought to stimulate us to greater soul-winning fervor, because we know that God the Holy Spirit is out there working on some to bring them to Christ (Acts 13:48, 18:10; Phil. 1:6; 2:13, cf., 1 Pet. 3:15).