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11 (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),


National heritage or personal merit have nothing to do with salvation. God’s way of salvation does not depend on the individual. God always maintains the same system of salvation in any culture, at any time, and under any circumstance. He will never change the way He saves souls.

11 (for the children not yet being born,

God projected that any foreseen works of any kind are not part of His plan. The issue here is that God consistently saves by His saving plan with Israel. He does not have different plans for different people. God’s purpose is the same from beginning to end. God chose Jacob’s plan of salvation before he was born.

nor having done any good or evil,

God chose Jacob before he did anything “good or evil,” and this indicates God operates on the principle of grace. Even “good” was not the basis for God’s choosing Jacob. The idea is not that God chose Jacob over Esau before either had the opportunity to believe but that He chose Jacob without reference to the principles of good or evil. Salvation has nothing to do with conduct but with God’s choice of His system of salvation. God is always consistent and just in the way He operates. This furthers the theodicy.

that [intended purpose] the purpose [plan] of God

The issue is how the plan of God comes into effect, not the election of Israel as a people.

We can translate the Greek word “purpose” as either purpose or plan. The idea involves design. God openly displays His plan. In His divine decree, He made His plan billions of years before any of us were born.

2 Ti 1:9, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

God’s predetermined purpose or design for salvation is always the same. It is a salvation that does not change. It remains without change; He never changes His plan of salvation. We see this in the next phrase.

according to election [selection, the electing purpose] might stand [remain unchanged],

God determined that His system of salvation would stand. It doesn’t change with the whim of man. Man does not have the option to choose which plan of salvation he prefers. This, again, argues against the thesis that “the word of God has taken no effect” (v. 6). This whole section is a running support for God’s veracity. God’s promises and plan of salvation are consistent and do not change by caprice. His election to determine which plan of salvation is the right one solely depends on Him. His way of salvation is purely His prerogative.

not of [source] works

God’s system of salvation is never by “works” (Ro 4:2-6). The nature of the choice between Jacob and Esau was God’s and His alone.

It is important to understand the idea of “election might stand” in relationship to “not of works.” Salvation has nothing to do with human agency performing something to gain God’s approbation. God’s plan does not depend on what man does; it rests solely on the grace principle.

but of Him who calls),

Salvation always functions by God’s plan. The way God deals with man is consistent from start to finish. He always saves people the same way—by faith in His provision. However, we need to note that the contrast is between God’s call and works, not faith and works. Faith is no work. The reason God does not mention faith here as the basis for election shows that God’s call and election, or establishing His way of salvation, is prior to faith. God determines that His plan of salvation is all that there is; there is no other option.


God’s promise is inviolate.


God’s system of salvation never changes, whether it is in the Old Testament or New.