Question: Greetings, Dr. Younce. I am a true believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that God wants ALL to choose Him; however, He gives us the choice. And, from what I have read and understand, God predestined that ANYONE who chooses Jesus as his Savior will be adopted (made a child of God), with all the benefits. I am trying to convince a good friend that may be headed down the wrong trail. He confuses the usual ideas about predestination, and his big quote is “Jacob I love, but Esau I hate.”
Answer: We shall begin by quoting Romans 9:13,
“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."
God never chooses anyone for salvation. He does "choose" or "elect" individuals, or even whole nations, to perform certain tasks or services for Him.
As it is never correct to take Scripture out of context (2 Peter 1:20), we will begin with the context of this verse, which begins in Romans 9:7 and continues through to Verse 13.
"Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. (7) That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (8) For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come and Sarah shall have a son. (9) And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (10) (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (11) It was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger. (12) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Romans 9:7-13).
As we read these verses we find out that God was electing or choosing, by "selective breeding," a nation for Himself. Even though within that nation, not everyone would be looking for the coming of Christ. In other words, He was selectively breeding a people that would be known as the nation of Israel.
God exercised His own choice as to who would be the father of the nation. When it came to the promise to Abraham and Sarah, God had promised them a son. Of the children they were to have, God would choose through which one the seed and the promise should come. God promised the seed by Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 15:3,4. Too impatient to wait on God's promise, Abraham went in unto Hagar, who was Sarah's Egyptian handmaid. She conceived and bore a son by the name of Ishmael; but, this was not the promised seed through which the nation of Israel should be born.
We find out that later, at a very old age (Abraham being 100 years old and Sarah being 90), that God fulfilled His promise and Isaac was born. (Genesis 21:1-5) We find that God had said:
"But my covenant will I establish with Isaac..." (Genesis 17:21)
God had selected him. This has nothing to do with the salvation of Isaac!
As we continue, we find that Isaac married Rebekah and they had two sons, Jacob and Esau. If you will notice carefully, God had said: "...the elder shall serve the younger."
We find this in Genesis 25:23. This was only to establish the birthright, and the ancestral headship, of the nation; and had absolutely nothing to do with Esau's salvation! God had the right to choose through which individual the nation of Israel would be born. But, because of that, it does not mean that Esau could not have been saved. In fact, this leads us to the very next point. Those who say you are chosen to salvation, miss the point of this passage altogether.
"As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Romans 9:13).
Notice carefully, the Bible says "As it is written..." Where do you find this written? Turn with me to Malachi 1:1-3, and this is where it is written. This was not written before Jacob and Esau were born! God did not elect one to be saved; and the other to be lost. He did not say "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." prior to Jacob and Esau's birth. This was said some 1500 years later, after Esau had chosen to practice his evil acts. Then God said, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Remember—this was not done before they were born! It was not God's will to hate Esau before he was ever born! He only chose Jacob as the seed through which the Messiah would come; and, as an ancestral head in building the lineage of the nation of Israel.
Let us read in Malachi 1:1-3
"The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. (1) I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob. (2) And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains waste for the dragons of the wilderness of the wilderness." (3)
Notice carefully that God had already done what He had said in Malachi. But, this was done only after Esau had practiced the evil things, and despised his heritage. Most certainly did God do what He said! But God did not say this before Esau was born; nor does it relate to his salvation. God has said to us before we were born:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
But after we reject Christ in this life; God hates all workers of iniquity. He most assuredly does! But, then, we are going to find out that God will honor our choice.
It is your choice. Whether you accept or reject Christ, God will honor that choice. If you choose to reject Christ, you will spend eternity in the lake of fire. (Matthew 25:41). If you choose to accept Christ, you will be "...passed from death unto life." (John 5:24). But it is your choice, because God is "not willing that any should perish." (2 Peter 3:9).
Another thing we might notice here is, that while this portion of Scripture occurs in the New Testament, it was written almost 400 years after Malachi's words. So there are actually about 1500 years between Verse 12 and Verse 13 of Romans, Chapter 9. How important it is to take time and to study these Scriptures pertaining to Esau!
I will pray for you in your quest to win your friend to believe that Jesus Christ paid the price for the sin of the WORLD on Calvary. God did not choose some to go to Heaven and some to go to Hell. God said He loved the WORLD, and Jesus Christ came to pay for the sin of the WORLD, and WHOSOEVER believes that, has everlasting life. (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8,9; 1 John 5:13).