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Blog

There Is No Partiality With God (Part I)

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 3:09 PM Comments comments (196)
Texts: Malachi 1: 1-3; Roman 9: 8-13

Introduction

One of the major debates about God is whether He is partial.  In my introduction of the topic (“Is there any partiality in God? What does He mean by “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated,”), the first issue I want to address is, there is no partiality with God.  What is cleared in the texts is God’s election and sovereignty. The term election use here is not in the Calvinistic position because God calls both Edom and Judah to repentance.  Calvinism believes that God predestined some to salvation and others to eternal separation from God.

In Roman 9: 8-13, Paul compares the election of the Gentiles to faith in Christ to that of the election of Jacob instead of Esau while they were not born. Paul argues that no one can question God, He does what pleases Him. This special act of God is called sovereignty.

The issue here is in Malachi 1: 1-3 when the prophet reaffirmed Jacob’s election and Esau rejection initiated in Genesis 25: 22-23 with a strong emphasis: “Esau I hated.” What many commentators have not seen in this covenant language is the parallelism embedded in this text. “Parallelism generally refers to the repetition of content by using the same or a similar construction, but using different words that have similar or related meanings.” 

In God’s election, Esau was not selected, but the word “hate” was used at this time in direct reference to Esau’s rejection of God's sovereignty and had persistently fought against Jacob in revenge. God’s election for His redemptive purpose is not partiality.

The objectives of this teaching are to

  • prove scripturally that God is not partial;
  • know the definition of election and sovereignty;      
  • understand Paul’s position regarding election and sovereignty;     
  • prove that the word “hate” used in Malachi has a double meaning in God’s covenant language;  
  • know that God’s election is based on divine grace, not human merit.


To be continued.


Bratcher, R. G., &  Nida, E. A.  A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 191.