Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Files: Beet's Commentary on Romans 9

In Joseph Agar Beet's commentary on Romans 9 (pages 255 -288 in his A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans) he explains that Paul is teaching that God's plan was to save through the Gospel not the Law. Beet is a good author - he asks good questions and gets right to the point. I love the way he explains why the word 'faith' doesn't appear in the first part of the text. "Paul puts, not faith, but Him that calls, in contrast to works. For God's purpose is no more a result of faith than of works." The objection in verse 14 is that "we are working so hard and God is letting in believers who hadn't been previously working". Paul responds by explaining God is being merciful, so merit doesn't come into play. Beet sees hardening as a punishment for prior sins that makes obedience more difficult, but not impossible. Beet sees the multiple hardenings in the Exodus account of Pharaoh as making obedience more and more difficult. But God hardens through longsuffering by showing them the way to salvation, so they have no right to complain.

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