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The Called, the Willer, and the Runner
(Part 2)

So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (Rom. 9:16)

Who are "him that willeth" and "him that runneth?" Last month we examined who "the called" were from Paul's letter to the Romans in chapter 8 (v. 28). Although appearing in another chapter in Romans, the "Willer" and the "Runner" in chapter 9 (v. 16) are still part of the same building logic woven together in Paul's writing of chapter 8. Paul's letter to the Romans builds upon itself through its entire narrative, perhaps reaching its zenith in chapter 8. After what we know as chapter 8, Paul's comments in the remainder of the letter assume you've followed the logic he put forth up to this point.

...All that Paul has been building to [in Romans 1-8] is important context for some points he revisits in Romans 9. Given the gift that has been selected for all who believe and show their faith through action as Jesus did, then it is not birth as Jew or Gentile that has any bearing on this gift. Paul recognizes that this particular point is a hurdle for his physical brethren, those who were Jewish and refused to believe in Jesus as the prophesied Messiah (9:1-5). Paul reiterates early points that "God's people" does not mean just those with DNA tracing back to Israel or Abraham (9:6-7). Instead, it's those of the promise (the preselected promise, not the preselected people) to whom "God's people" refer (9:7-8)...

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Ben McManus


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