Jacob I Have Loved, Esau I Have Hated

Here is a brief (and belated) response to a comment on my post on the justice of God.

Morsec0de wrote:  “You have two people who live identical lives. The one and only difference is that one is a believer, and the other is not. Do you view it as just that one of those be tortured for all eternity and the other not? I’m sorry, but that is an absolutely revolting concept, and the being who instituted it would be despicable. I’m quite glad there is no good evidence to support such a being actually existing.”

My response:

I quoted from Romans chapter 9 in my last post concerning God’s choice of Jacob over Esau and I think that shedding further light on this will answer Morsec0de’s question.  Readers be warned, this answer will probably not be a popular one, but it is a biblical one.

The bible tells a story of two people who led identical lives.  Jacob and Esau were twin brothers born to Isaac and Rebekah.  Isaac was the son of Abraham. God made a covenant with Abraham, declaring that his offspring would be made into a great nation and that the nations of the earth would be blessed through him.  God would choose one of Isaac’s sons to carry on this blessing.  According to ancient middle eastern culture the firstborn was accorded the greatest honor in the household.  Esau was born first, and Isaac planned to grant him the blessing of Abraham, but God saw fit to choose Jacob. He did so that his purpose in election might stand.  God did not honor the culture, but his own desire to exalt Jacob instead of Esau. Both were sinners because they were descendants of the original sinner, Adam. Neither deserved God’s blessing, but neither did Isaac nor Abraham. They were chosen in order to fulfill God’s plan of redemption for the human race. The Messiah would be born from this tribe of people that God had called out for his very own. The apostle Paul in Romans chapter 9 makes it abundantly clear that God did not choose Jacob because he was better than his brother. After all, he deceived his father in order to receive his blessing!  No, Paul states, “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.

God elected Jacob for reasons that lie outside of Jacob himself. The Lord chose him before he had done either good or evil.  God did it for his own purposes, for his own glory.  We should not marvel that God hated Esau.  He was a God-hating rebel by nature.  The true marvel is in the love God showed toward Jacob, who was equally a God-hating rebel by nature.  Yet the Lord chose him and renewed his mind and transformed his heart to be the Father of  the nation of Israel. Neither brother deserved grace but Jacob received it.

Don’t make the mistake of crying out to God for justice and fairness.  If we demand justice be done then all of mankind would perish.  Thank God for his mercy.  The Creator and sustainer of all things has the absolute sovereign right to  have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and to have compassion on whom he will have compassion. This mercy and compassion is man’s only hope.

10 thoughts on “Jacob I Have Loved, Esau I Have Hated

  1. Indeed. Thank God for His mercy and grace. Though not a popular believe to hold, it is what the bible teaches. And even if you’re not one to believe the bible to be anything worth regarding, your convictions concerning justice and fairness are certainly being informed by something/some source.

    It is the responsibility for each person involved in this discussion of God (is He or isn’t He), to investigate the presuppositions and belief systems we all bring to the table. It’s the only way to have an honest conversation on the matter. That is, if we’re all interested in discovering the Truth.

  2. That’s why I don’t shy away from the doctrines of grace, even in discussion with unbelievers. Some may say that discussing election and reprobation is not appropriate for any group except the very mature Christian but I disagree. We have no right to veil that which God has plainly revealed.

  3. THAT and I’ve found that if someone is really wrestling with the nature of the gospel and coming to grips with the character of God, as revealed in Scripture, it seems inevitable…at least in the evangelistic conversations I’ve had. I even try to stay away from it, but I’ve come to see that most people see the necessity of understanding these things right away. These truths lie at the very HEART of the gospel.

  4. Read the article concerning the transformation of John Macarthur’s church at the link following this excerpt:
    Of interest, Grace Community Church elder and executive director of Grace to You, Phil Johnson, is a Baptistic Calvinist. This statement appears on his website: “Theologically, Phil is a committed Calvinist—with a decidedly Baptistic bent.” (Who is Phillip R. Johnson?) Even more interesting is this statement: “He…is a member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (FIRE).” The slogan of FIRE is “In essentials Unity, In non-essentials Liberty, in all things Charity.” (FIRE) Why is this interesting? FIRE’s slogan is nearly identical to the slogan of Phoenix Freemasonry! “It is the glory of Masonry to teach Unity in essentials, Liberty in details, Charity in all things; and by this sign its spirit must at last prevail.”


  5. There is simply no substitute for the great historic Biblical Doctrines of Grace. I am astounded at the many who after swearing an allegiance to the doctrine of saved by grace alone, will spin off on an Armenian tangent of men able to resist the call of a Sovereign God.

    The entire framework of Christian faith hangs best on the Doctrines of Grace as revealed in Christ and none other.

    I just last night had to deal with a man who believed God looked through the corridor time and then saved those whom He saw would come to Him. And again, this man believes that every human being has the opportunity to be saved because God is love.

    These comments and many more are locked into the minds of believers (so called) who have never read or researched for themselves the true faith of the Apostles. They have instead remained safe in the false notion that a God of love would never broach the sanctity of human free will.

    May God pour out His grace and give Pastors the willingness to risk all on the truths of the Bible doctrine of Salvation and even more, rely solely on the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world to protect and give His preservation and perseverance.

  6. Kristine:

    You couldn’t be more right. My wife and I have been searching for a church for almost a year now. And at one time we even considered a Wesleyan – Arminian church because the atmosphere there was so gracious, even to the many visitors there from the local mission.

    But a call to the pastor to discuss things turned me away. I gave him my conversion story … which showed I didn’t “make a decision”. His response was “God doesn’t work that way!”. So, I guess I’m still lost?

    He never did offer me the gospel. Go figure.

    Anyway, As we’ve worked through this time, I’ve decided that we *must* go through the doctrines of grace as a couple. If for no other reason to help her (and remind myself) of what the Gospel really is…we cannot and dare not minimize the importance of Biblical truth concerning the GOSPEL. You get that wrong and nothing else matters.

    Yes, I so totally agree with your comment!

  7. …my point from the previous, I think, is “try ignoring the doctrines of Grace and watch it blow up in your face!”. So, we may as well deal with it and understand *why* we aren’t going to even try to fit into a church that adheres, wittingly or unwittingly, to any form of Arminianism…

  8. So, God made some people to go to Hell? I know what you’re going to say, but I just ask you to put aside your preconcieved ideas for a second and give it serious thouht. What do you think it’s like for thos hopeless non-elect people? Do you think John 3:16 supports this? Do you really think Jacob and Esau were identical just because they were brothers? Just think.

  9. i think all those “hopeless non-elect” people could care less and they would only be getting what we all deserve. the question will never be answered though. why did God love Jacob and not Esau? because it was His choice. of course that doesn’t suit the human intellect so we have to ask, “but why?” to fulfill His plan for salvation. “But why?” I feel like a child asking mommy and daddy if I can have a new bike. No. “But why?” Because mommy and daddy know that if they buy you that bike they won’t have money to pay for bills that’s why, but you wouldn’t understand that because you are just a child! Or better yet, I am just a child and i have to trust that Daddy knows what is best. Still not good enough for me though. Curiosity killed the cat. Mans reach often exceeds his grasp. etc. etc. Curious to see your reply on such an old thread beaconlight. Inquiring minds would like to know your response.

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