“For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.’ And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.’ What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.’ Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?’ But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As He says also in Hosea:
‘I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.’
‘And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.’
Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:
‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.
For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth.’
And as Isaiah said before:
‘Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed,
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.’
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written:
‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’”
What is the true predestination planned by God?
Let us now turn our attention to what ‘predestination planned by God’ is. In order to understand precisely what predestination is, we must regard the written Word as God’s Word, and correct ourselves if there is anything wrong in our faiths. For this, we must first understand why God loved Jacob while He hated Esau. We also need to find out whether or not the contemporary Christian understanding of predestination deviates from the Scripture. We must all have an accurate understanding of the predestination established by God.
To receive blessings from God, we Christians need to find out how God’s predestination fits into His plan. When thinking of God’s plan, many contemporary Christians think that their destinies were predetermined before their births, without any relevance to their faiths, as if the fates of Jacob and Esau were unconditionally and unilaterally determined by God. But this is not the case. Whether we are loved by God or not is determined by whether we believe in His righteousness or not. This is the truth that God has given to us in His plan.
If you want to correctly understand God’s predestination, you need to throw away your own thinking and focus on the righteousness of God
Because many people cannot think of and believe in the righteousness of God manifested through Jesus Christ, they tend to think of God’s love in whatever way that they may choose, and some even think that God’s love is not just. They must realize that this is not the right way to think. We need to cast away our wrongly arrived convictions of faith by not considering God’s righteous plan, manifested through Jesus Christ. If you simply think that God loves some while He hates others, you must realize that this is a wrong kind of faith, concocted by your own wrong thinking.
Human minds are plagued by mistaken thoughts. Many contemporary Christians do not have the right faiths because their minds are too often overflowing with wrong thoughts. This is why you need to throw away your worthless thoughts and put your faith on the right path by following the Word of God and believing in His righteousness.
Because predestination is planned within the righteousness of God, it can be correctly understood and believed only when we believe in His righteousness. We must therefore have faith in His plan and in His righteousness. God’s plan is to clothe those who believe in His love within His righteousness in righteousness.
Thus, His predestination is that He would make the believers His people by clothing them with the salvation of the remission of sins, paid for by Jesus’ baptism and His crucifixion. We must establish the right relationship with God by having faith in the truth planned by Him within His righteousness. God has made those who are like Jacob the objects of His love, while He has made those who are like Esau the objects of His wrath.
God’s predestination is not that of fatalism
Predestination within God’s plan was established within His righteousness. God’s love is not something set arbitrarily without any plan. If everyone was unconditionally elected before his or her birth, as if his/her life was set by fate, how could one be delivered from sin by believing in the righteousness of Jesus? If one’s fate was set before his/her birth in such a way that whether or not he/she was to be loved by God was a preplanned and predetermined outcome, who would think that God is just, and who would believe in such a God? No one would want to believe in such an arbitrary and dictatorial God.
But our God’s plan is neither arbitrary nor dictatorial, but only to deliver us from our sins within His righteousness and to make us His people. God gave us His righteousness within this plan, and within this righteousness of love, He gave us His forgiveness. He has prepared to clothe those who believe in the love of His righteousness in love, and those who do not believe in it in wrath.
I would like to say the following to those who are resentful of God’s predestination under a misunderstanding. God’s plan is to make us, who were created by Him, His own people. We must therefore be thankful for His predestination. It is better for us to be the thankful people who believe in God’s righteousness than to be the resentful ones who reproach Him. Everyone who believes in Jesus as his/her Savior must have an accurate understanding of and faith in God’s predestination, planned within His righteousness.
God’s true predestination was established by Him who calls
Today’s passage says, from Romans 9:9, “For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.’ And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.’”
This passage tells us that God’s predestination is that of love, planned within the love of God’s righteousness. As shown in Genesis 18:10, although it was humanly impossible for Sarah to bear a child, Abraham believed in God’s promise because He had given His word. This is how God justified Abraham: God gave his son Isaac to him because he believed in Him, and God approved his faith.
So when we talk about faith in the righteousness of God, we are talking about faith in the Word of God. Our discussion of God’s plan and predestination should also be guided by our faith in His Word. Those who do otherwise—when, for instance, people confuse their pursuit of the righteousness of God with illusions or signs they claim to have seen while praying or dreaming–are making a huge mistake with their faiths.
Paul further adds that, “Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’”
The Scripture tells us that Isaac, having no child of his own, prayed to God, and God answered him by giving him twins. We can see that the predestination planned within God’s righteousness has a certain relationship with the faiths of those who are loved by Him.
It is worth repeating verse 11 here again: “for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls.” The key to understanding the truth of predestination and election within God’s plan is that the purpose of God stands “of Him who calls.” Between Jacob and Esau, according to the predestination within God’s plan, God called and loved Jacob.
When God calls people and loves them, in other words, He calls and loves people who, like Jacob, are far from being righteous. God did not call Esau, who thought of himself as righteous and was full of pride. In God’s predestination set within His plan, it is a matter of course that God would call and love people like Jacob. God’s purpose in calling people like Jacob was to make sinners into His own children, free from sin. He who calls to clothe the called in love is God, and between Jacob and Esau, he who was called was Jacob.
We must know and believe in the righteousness of God within His plan. Jacob represents the typical figure of a sinner to whom God has shown His mercy within His righteousness, while Esau represents one who turns against God by ignoring His righteous love and pursuing their own righteousness. This is why the key to disclosing God’s Word on predestination set within His plan is to understand that the purpose of God stands “of Him who calls.”
We must free ourselves from the illusory faiths created by our own thoughts. God could, within His righteousness, only love Jacob and hate Esau. God’s explanation of His plan and predestination is provided to everyone through His declaration that the purpose of God stands “of Him who calls.” God’s plan is the truth of love fulfilled within His righteousness. When God loved Jacob but hated Esau, the predestination was meant to fulfill the righteousness of God, according to His plan for salvation.
It is not, as claimed by many other religions, by good works that you are loved and saved by God, but only by believing in His plan and His righteousness do you become His children, redeemed from your sins.
Is God wrong?
God loves those who believe and love His righteousness. There is, in other words, nothing wrong with the fact that our Father decided to love and make those who believe in the righteousness of God within Jesus Christ His children. God did not plan to love everyone in Jesus Christ, but to love people like Jacob.
We must, then, ask ourselves whether we are like Jacob or Esau. But even those who are full of their own good deeds and their own righteousness still want to be loved by God, but no one can stop them from rushing down the wrong path. So these two kinds of people are always there, loved or hated by God even as we speak now.
We must give thanks to God and praise His glory by believing in His righteous love and His plan for our salvation. We should also thank Him for the fact that the gospel of the water and the Spirit, in which we believe, wondrously reflects upon the righteousness of God. Everyone must realize that to be clothed in God’s love, he/she must first recognize his/her own infirmities and sins before God and believe in His righteousness.
The problem is that many Christians, unable to believe in Jesus’ baptism and the truth of the Cross that fulfilled the righteousness of God, wrongly believe that God loves certain people while others are simply fated to be abandoned by Him.
Even more problematic is the unfortunate fact that this kind of unsound faith is prevailing and being preached to others with great conviction. It is quickly being spread; leading to more and more people who misunderstand God’s love, shown by God’s predestination planned by Him. What God is trying to tell us with the story of Jacob and Esau is that to become His children, it is not human righteousness that is needed, but only the faith in the love of God’s righteousness, predestined according to His plan.
The Scripture tells us that God gave Sarah the son that He promised to Abraham. This tells us, even today, that only those who have faith in the love and the Word of the righteousness of God can become His children. To become such children, we must recognize the truth that was given with our faiths in God’s righteousness and His plan, and to believe in this truth, we need to believe in God’s love and His righteousness.
Jesus Christ’s love toward us and God’s plan for us is the absolute truth and love given to all of us. To save us from our sins, Jesus took upon all our sins with His baptism, died on the Cross and was resurrected from death, all to give those of us who believe in Him eternal lives.
This truth does not mean that just by being religious and displaying our own efforts, we can become God’s children, but it means that the only way to become God’s children is by believing in the Word of love and the righteousness of God, told to us and planned for us by Him. We must all realize that only those who believe in God’s love and righteousness are clothed in His love.
What, then, should be our disposition? To have faith in Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross. We must ask God to have mercy on us. We must recognize before Him that we do not deserve to be called His people, for we are all sinners. We must understand that it is only through His plan for us—that we may know His righteous love—that we can become His children.
Those who are hated by God are hated because they do not need or believe in His love and righteousness. We must therefore know and believe in the plan of love that God has predestined for us. The clear truth is that those who know and believe in the love of God’s righteousness will be loved by Him, while those who reject and repudiate His love will be hated by God.
Who can receive the gospel of the water and the Spirit?
The gospel of the water and the Spirit given to us by God is the only truth that reveals His righteousness. What kind of people, then, are those who receive this truth into their hearts? These are the people who, recognizing that their destinies lie in eternal damnation and that they are sinners before God and His Word, ask for His mercy. “I am a sinner, Lord, who cannot live by Your laws at all. I give up my heart and surrender to You.” These are the people to whom God has granted the remission of sins of His love in His righteousness. The faith in the gospel that manifests God’s righteousness is of utmost importance for all sinners.
God did not give us His law so that we would follow each and every clause of them, a fact often misunderstood by many. The purpose of the law, rather, was to lead us to the recognition of our own sinfulness. Why, then, do sinners attempt to follow the law? It’s because every sinner’s instinct seeks redemption and the absolution of his/her sins.
But no one is capable of following all the laws. The attempts were only imitations, merely instinctive mimicking, trying to cover their sins in desperation—a faith of deception before God. That’s why sinners should throw away this faith of deception, turn to the faith in the righteousness of God, and be clothed in His love.
To clothe us in this love, God sent Jesus to the earth, who, in being baptized by John, took upon His shoulders the sins of the world, and by bleeding on the Cross, blotted them all out. God has recognized the faiths of those who believe in the love of His righteousness. When we are delivered from all our sins through our faith in the gospel of water and the Spirit, which is the fulfillment of the righteousness of God, we become clothed in His love. This is the promised truth that God has set out for us in His plan.
God will hate those who rely only on themselves. There are many such people around us. But you must be saved from all your sins by believing in Jesus’ baptism and His blood that have fulfilled God’s love and His righteousness. You will then surely be clothed in God’s love, which has been reserved for those whom He calls. People often try to do things on their own for God to win His love and forgiveness, but these efforts are futile without any faith in the righteousness of God.
God called only Jacob to be clothed in His love, not Esau. Before God, Jacob was a cunning and deceitful liar, but because he believed in God’s love and His righteousness, he became one of the fathers of faith. We, too, must receive God’s love by believing in Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross, the fulfillment of the righteousness of God, as our redemption. Because Esau tried to be blessed by his father with his own hunting, he became the symbol for those who could not earn God’s blessing. We need to spend some time thinking carefully over this matter. Who in this world are like Esau? Are we not like him?
People like Jacob are those who engross God’s righteous love. We know that we, too, are weak and wicked, as Jacob was. God, who has called us even before we were born to stand not by our works but by His call, has told us to believe in His love and righteousness to receive His love. God sent Jesus, who fulfilled the righteousness of God within His plan, for all of us.
When God first called us, He came to call the sinners, not the righteous. Those who are hated by Him are those who think themselves to be full of their own righteousness and who do not believe in His merciful love. Those who have such misled faiths are hated by God and cannot be clothed in His love to be His people. God has predestined this truth for us in His heart. So, Paul states definitely, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!” (Romans 9:14)
Those who are loved by God are those who are like Jacob
When God looks at you, are you truly the kind of person on whom He would have mercy? What reason does God need when He has compassion for whomever He has compassion for and hates whomever He hates? How can we say to God that He has done us wrong?
There are a countless number of people living on this earth. While some of them are loved by God, others are not. Does this mean that God has wronged them?
God is also a just God who judges the sins of those who have turned against His righteousness. We should avoid any misunderstandings in this matter by understanding God’s plan manifested within His righteousness with our faith in this righteousness. There are many misled Christians whose hearts, like the Pharaoh, are hardened. These are the kind of people who are hated by God, as the verse 17 of this chapter explains: “For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.’”
We all are insufficient before God. Then, we should not become like the Pharaoh. Should God hate us, who are as obstinate as the Pharaoh, for not believing in Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross as our redemption? Yes. People like the Pharaoh turn against God. Such people boast of and rely on their own righteousness, but their own righteousness cannot redeem them from their own sins.
What did the Pharaoh rely on? He trusted in and relied on the Nile River. He thought that as long as he had its bountiful supplies of water, everything would be just fine. This is why God hates people like the Pharaoh. Anyone whose heart is hardened like that of the Pharaoh will be hated and accursed by God. You must not be like him. By receiving the merciful love that God has given you so freely, you can instead become His children.
Do you joyfully agree with God’s righteous plan?
Is your heart prepared to receive God’s righteous love predestined for you in His plan? There are some people who, though they believe in Jesus, suffer in anguish because they have misunderstood God’s plan. Such people wonder, “I believe in Jesus, but did God really elect me? If He did not elect me, what use does my faith serve? What should I do then? I can’t just stop believing in Jesus; what can I do? I truly believe in Jesus, but what happens if I am not in His election?”
They may then try to comfort themselves by thinking, “Since I believe in Jesus and attend church services, God must have elected me. Surely that’s the case! Heaven will certainly have a spot for me!” But when they fall into sin, they wonder again, “God must have not elected me! It might be time for me to quit believing in Jesus!” In other words, they think by themselves, conclude by themselves, and end everything by themselves. These people particularly need to rethink their understanding of God’s plan and attain the right comprehension to believe in Jesus as their Savior.
Those who believe more in theologians’ teachings than God’s own Word, on the other hand, might say, “Didn’t God say that the older shall serve the younger, and that He loved Jacob while He hated Esau, even before they were born? Since we believe in Jesus now, surely we must have been set to be saved even before our own births.” But the Apostle Paul tells us that the predestination planned by God is “to stand, not of works but of Him who calls.”
Following the law does not make one God’s child. Only by having faith in the righteousness of God and His mercy and love shown by Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross can we become His children.
Because of doctrines set by theologians, many people are unable to believe in Jesus’ baptism and His blood, the manifestation of the righteousness of God, as their salvation. Those who have heard the gospel’s love, showing His righteousness, yet do not believe in it are just like the Pharaoh. God hates those who, without believing in the righteousness of God revealed in Jesus Christ, try to become God’s children by believing in Jesus according to their own tastes.
If you did not believe in God’s righteous love shown through Jesus Christ, it is time for you to do so. Then, you will be clothed in God’s love. We were all like Esau originally, yet we were at once saved from our sins by believing in the love of the righteousness of God. We have received God’s blessed love by believing in His righteousness.
God has made available, to both the Israelites and the Gentiles, the blessing of allowing those who believe in His righteous love to become His children. Just as God said, “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved,” He has given us the gospel of Jesus’ baptism and His blood, and to those of us who believe in it, His righteous love.
The following passage, “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God,” is God’s Word of love that has been fulfilled for us today. We can thus realize that because we came so short before God, God saved us by coming to us in flesh and making the love of His righteousness available to us.
That you and I are saved from all our sins before God is the redeeming love that has been planned within the righteousness of God. To be redeemed from all our sins by believing in the love of God’s righteousness, without hardening our hearts, can only be possible by the faith in the truth. Except for this way of faith, there is no other way to receive the remission of sins. We all are born with stubborn hearts, but the Word of God can win over our hearts and our obstinacy. Our hearts would then be ruled by God’s peace. If you believe in God, the righteousness of God will be yours.
If the gospel of the truth that contains the righteousness of God we are preaching did not exist, everyone in this world would be facing his or her own destruction. Without those who are spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit, all of mankind would have lost its hope. Were it not for those who are clothed in God’s righteous love, the world would have already come to its end, with everyone having been judged of their sins. But God has left on this earth those of us who believe in the love of His righteousness. We can be only thankful to God that He works through us, despite our many weaknesses and shortcomings.
The faith that is clothed in the love of the righteousness of God is the righteousness that has come from Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross. The faith in the righteousness of God is found in a heart that believes in Jesus’ baptism and His blood. It is through our faiths in His righteousness that we are delivered from our sins. This truth is the plan, predestination, and election that God has set for us.
God has said that whoever believes in the Word of God, which fulfills His righteousness in Jesus Christ, will be saved from his or her sins. One faces destruction not because the righteousness of God has not eliminated all the sins, but because in his/her hardened heart, he/she did not believe in it.
We must make our hearts meek before the Word of God and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Our hearts must kneel before Him. We were blessed by believing in the love of the righteousness of God. He saved us from all our sins because He had so much mercy for us. We give thanks to Him. We who believe in the righteousness of God have nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, we have every reason to be proud of His righteousness.
That God has saved us wholly from our sins is because we have come short before Him—praise the Lord for this salvation! To be loved by God, we must be able to believe in His righteousness.
Do you know this righteousness of God? If so, then believe in it. God’s righteous love will then come to your heart. May your faith in the love of the righteousness of God that He has planned for you be free from misunderstanding.
May the love of redemption that God has set for you come to your heart. Hallelujah! I give thanks to the triune God who has made us His children in His righteousness.