God’s mercy and compassion are His to give as He determines. The nature of mercy is that no one can demand it. No one can even deserve it. Mercy is God’s goodness dispensed on whomever He chooses for His own purposes. Although we probably never will be able to understand how God’s sovereignty and human responsibility work together, they work together and not in contradiction to each other. We may be thankful God offers mercy in accordance with His purposes. God is not accountable to humanity for how He exercises His sovereign freedom. At the same time He extends patience so that sinners from “every tribe and language and people and nation” will be saved.
Read Romans 8:28-39:
- What do each of these actions of God have to do with our spiritual journey?
- If you are “for” someone or something, what does that entail? What does it mean to you to know that God is for you?
- Of the things listed in verses 35-39, which stands out to you the most, and why?
Read Romans 9:1-13:
- How does our awareness of an unbeliever’s need for mercy and grace change our attitude and actions?
- What does it mean to be chosen by God?
- If God has detailed plans for the future and they always come to pass, how does that affect human responsibility?
Read Romans 9:14-24:
- What part do we play in salvation? What part does God play?
- How have you seen God’s sovereignty and human responsibility work together in your faith journey or in the salvation story of someone you know?
- What do you learn about God through His sovereignty and justice that you don’t learn from other aspects of His character?
Taking it home:
- What difference does trusting in God’s love for you make as you try to persevere through difficult times?
- How should our lives reflect God’s mercy to the world around us?
Other Scriptures to Engage with this week:
Ezekiel 18:14-32 • 2 Peter 3 • Luke 18:1-17 • John 6:29-66 • 1 Timothy 1:12-2:6 • John 17.