Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Romans 9 is awesome! So much to ponder.

Anybody - jump in! "...made me like [what]?" What is this about?

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

I can't get these verses off my mind today. Paul is writing this letter to the believers in Rome. Now, he imagines that one of these believers will ask him, "Why does God still find fault? Who can resist His will?" Paul is not imagining that an unbeliever or a heathen would ask that. A believer in the Messiah of Israel is asking this. Next, Paul chastises for this attitude and says to the believer: "O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

So ... why would a believer be asking God "Why have you made me like this?" Like what?

43 Comments:

  • This is a great text to counter the Arminian notion that election eliminates the culpability of the non-elect.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 9/21/2007 12:43 AM  

  • Jonathan,
    Thanks for visiting. Tell me about this verse. Like what? Why have you made me like what?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/21/2007 6:29 AM  

  • I agree with whatever Antonio says about this.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/21/2007 10:13 AM  

  • Hi, Rose! You are persistent when you want an answer. I can at least give you my thoughts if I have no answers. :)

    I keep going back to verse 18 in explanation of what "this" is. It must be the hardening that is described there. Is this your understanding?

    By Blogger Missy, at 9/21/2007 1:28 PM  

  • I believe Missy is onto something! Since the immediate context is regarding hardening, it may be that the clay is said to be arguing with its maker as to why it was made in such a way that it must become hardened. The Lord will eventually force us to make the decision that is in our hearts, like He did with Pharaoh, which is why I believe He said it was why He raised him up to the position of power that he had. Pharaoh made the decision he made because he rejected God, & therefore God used him to show His own power in his life through destruction that his own sin caused. Thsi would certainly become a warning to us all. It certainly is to me, anyway! But the point about the clay's argument seems to be that it wants to remain pliable forever & not have to make a final decision. MAN! My toes are hurting right now!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 9/21/2007 10:46 PM  

  • Rose, Paul explains the what in the following verses:

    Rom. 9:22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
    Rom. 9:23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 9/21/2007 11:10 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose,

    Here's my stab at it, as you word it in the previous posting:

    I say that these words "Why does God yet find fault? etc., could well have been spoken by an unbeliever or a heathen. Certainly, I would not hang any serious argument on it, one way or the other, although I would think that the balance tips towards it being anyone in general. I glean this from the context in that Pharaoh (a heathen) is the example given of one abandoned to his sin (v16-20) The reply is to those designated under the address"O man" which includes believers and non believers alike. The subject matter of the whole chapter (election and reprobation) links it to the whole human race, finishing off with the "whosoever" promise of v33.

    No one (Saint or sinner alike) has any right to challenge God on what He has done. None of us deserved anything because of our sin and therefore God deals with us as His justice and mercy sees fit. He is not a tyrant, exercising control unbounded by love or wisdom, but He is sovereign and does not deal with every man the same way. On some He has mercy and compassion (suggesting that they stand in need of such because of their sin) while others He hardens, which I take to mean that He both leaves them in their sins and withdraws by degrees any softening mercies which they might have enjoyed. The merciful dealings are always on the basis of grace (mercy cannot be defined any other way) while the hardening dealings are judicial, and based on what the sinner deserves. Hence the gift of God is eternal life, while the wages (earned) of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)

    Regards.

    P/s Matthew writes: I agree with whatever Antonio says about this. You have used this phrase before which I took as a humorous remark. Do I still chuckle or are you being serious? The political hacks in the UK were summing up Blair's response to Iraq as "I agree with George" De ja vu?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 9/22/2007 5:58 AM  

  • Goodnight, some of us do not find it easy to think for ourselves.

    I am sure a lot of people just agree with whatever John MacArthur's thinks about something, but they would never admit it.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/22/2007 9:49 AM  

  • Matthew,
    There are things that you do not agree with Antonio about, so how can you be so sure that you will agree with what he says about this?
    I suppose if Antonio doesn't get his fingers over here and tell us what he thinks, then we will never know if you do or not, will we?

    Antonio, Antonio, wherefore art thou, Antonio??

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/22/2007 10:42 AM  

  • Okay, if Antonio says nothing, I will change my comment to:

    'I agree with whatever H.A. Ironside's commentary on Romans says about it.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/22/2007 10:46 AM  

  • Okay, I will say a bit more.

    I think it may be difficult to be sure what the objector is saying.

    We do not know exactly what debates Paul was having. Likewise, there are difficulties as to the objector in James chapter 2.

    I think basically, he ahs a problem with the idea of God making use of the unbeliever in His purposes.

    Paul's reply is an assertion of God's sovereignty without offering any specific model of divine-human relations.

    That is what I think.

    Is that enough for you?

    I hope nobody gives me a clever reply and makes me feel silly.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/22/2007 10:49 AM  

  • Sorry if this comes out as more of a ramble. These are my thoughts.

    I have a question... One thing that I have been struggling with is the attitude in many fundamentalist churches that WE MUST be fully engaged in the activity of WINNING SOULS for Christ.

    I am not wanting to argue the value of sharing the gospel. I think the Bible speaks for itself... that we should share.
    But my concern over the last few years has been that often we Baptist's seem to get into the attitude that so much hinges on US! How often do we hear variations of " The blood of the unsaved will be on our hands because we are not sharing enough." ????
    I consider myself closer to the Arminian thought, my husband is a little less inclined to say so much is of our free will... He and I were more impressed by the Holy Spirit through inner promptings and Bible reading during our conversions than any christian ministry.

    This topic Rose started got me thinking about how my husband is also one that is more inclined to Ask God this very question... "Why am I like this? Why am I going/ gone through this?"

    Isn't asking this question part of coming to acknowledge God's sovereignty?

    Why would one ask God this if he weren't in fact believing God?

    I don't see this passage as representing doubt but showing man's emotional side not always 'liking' what God has decided though trusting His word will stand all the while.

    I especially like what David Wyatt says.

    By Blogger jacinda, at 9/22/2007 10:49 AM  

  • Missy,
    Thank you for making me think harder! Yes, I think your thought about the hardening is a good jumping off point.

    David,
    I also appreciate what you have said here. Yes, it is a good warning. We cannot remain pliable, wavering between directions. Very good application of this passage - very PRACTICAL! Now, why do your feet hurt?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/22/2007 11:20 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I appreciate your desire to know God more and your insights into this and to this we can both agree: this text is awesome. Truly the thoughts of God are incredible to grasp. I am still more of Jonathans and Colins insights here though. I really never have changed my mind on that. Finding my rest here is actually calming because I can rest in that whatever I am going through God has ordained and that I am a vessel fit for honor because I have believed and do trust in our Saviour. Unfortunately unrest will continue to exist for every unbelieving soul who will continue with this question throughout all eternity and never rest in that God is in control and that we can delight in his tender mercies instead of His wrath. This is a text for both the believer and non believer who will always question why God has made him thus and never accept Gods tender mercies and instead delight in their hardness of heart and use this as an excuse to continue to live in their sin. Moses and Pharoah are brought up here so the text is applicable to both.

    May the Lord continue to bless you in your studies and your desire to know him more and to make him known.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 9/22/2007 11:22 AM  

  • Hi Jonathan,
    I am thankful that you wish to lend your insight.
    So you would say then, (I just want to make sure I get your meaning here) that this is a picture of a person who is in hell, "destroyed" in an eternal, reprobate state, asking God "Why? ... why have you made me like this?"

    Please answer. I don't want to miss what you are getting at. I do appreciate your comments.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/22/2007 11:56 AM  

  • Hello goodnight,
    OK, so you are taking issue with my idea of who is asking the question, "Why does God still find fault?" Fair enough. You see it as Paul saying that anyone could ask 'why does God still find fault' and Paul answers him by saying 'don't sass the LORD, man. How can the thing made question the Maker?' OK.

    The subject matter of the whole chapter (election and reprobation) links it to the whole human race, finishing off with the "whosoever" promise of v33

    I can't follow your reasoning so easily because I am not coming at this from the "assumption" that this whole chapter is about salvific election/reprobation. That *could* be what it is about, but I am trying *to see* if that is what it is about. So, when you say what you say there, you are asking me to jump to that conclusion without reasoning me to it. sooorry. But thanks for your efforts. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/22/2007 12:02 PM  

  • Matthew, You have offered a fine comment. Thank you very much.

    I think basically, he has a problem with the idea of God making use of the unbeliever in His purposes.

    That is what I am seeing to. I am open to the other view, because the next few verses that Jonathan refers to are leading there. We shall see.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/22/2007 12:05 PM  

  • Jacinda,
    Oh, it is so nice to see you comment here!

    Why would one ask God this if he weren't in fact believing God?

    I don't see this passage as representing doubt but showing man's emotional side not always 'liking' what God has decided though trusting His word will stand all the while.


    That really made me think. I have several pictures in my mind.

    1. A person sitting in the flames of hell asking God, "Why have you made me like this?"

    2. A person struggling with their place in the world asking God, "Why have you made me like this?"

    3. A person weeping over the state of their nation (like Paul had) asking God, "Why have you made me [us] like this?"

    4. A person struggling with their own propensity and personal make-up and asking God, "Why have you made me like this?"

    It is very interesting to think about. You are right – it does seem to be an emotional plea. Kind of like Paul in the beginning of the chapter, right?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/22/2007 12:26 PM  

  • Brain,
    Thanks so much for your kind thoughts.

    and instead delight in their hardness of heart and use this as an excuse to continue to live in their sin.

    That is an excellent insight! So now I am thinking in yet another direction. This is a picture of a person blaming God for the way they are acting? But them there are the following verses. How would I reconcile that with those/ Hmmm... you got me thinking.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/22/2007 12:29 PM  

  • Thanks Rose,

    That is from our perspective Paul is speaking. His elect will find their delight in Him though and eventually rest in His sovereignty and one day all will fully and finally understand that it was for His purpose He saved us that we would meet the cheif end that he created us for and that is to Glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. At what point he draws back and leaves man to his own hardness of heart? That to me is the mystery and his choice. He could have left me to my own hardness and unwillingness of heart, but he saw fit to redeem me and show extreme patience with me. As I look back. I've been such an impossible case, yet he never failed to love me as he came to me as a child and saved me and later revealed to me that my salvation was secure before all time began and is timeless in the finished work of Christ where I now rest forever.

    May the Lord be with you all as he continues to reveal himself to us.

    Love in Christ,

    Brian

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 9/22/2007 3:14 PM  

  • Rose & Jacinda,

    Thank you for your (far too) kind words, but actually it is through interaction with the Text & other fine believers as those here that the Lord can help us see the spiritual gold He has planted in His Word. My toes are hurting because He is speaking to me! I am the one that would like to ride the fence rather than make the hard decisions a lot of the time.

    Bro. Brain! (I agree with Rose that you are a Brain!) Seriously, I appreciate your thoughts too. Actually, I believe the Lord is extremely patient with us ALL! Even a rascal like Pharaoh. he has a lot of spiritual light through Moses shone on his heart. Also like Judas sitting right beside Christ in the place of honor in the upper room, hearing the gracious Words coming from the Lord Jesus Christ & seeing Him in action 3 plus years! But the same light that can illumine can also harden........

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 9/22/2007 8:12 PM  

  • Hey Dave,

    I am no Einstein:-) Very few catch that brother and I dunno if Rose did that intentionally or if it was a typo hahahaha.

    Blessings to you brother. Who can fully know the mind of the Lord?
    Learning more of Him everyday. He is an amazing God. He is very patient with us all..amen.

    By Anonymous bhedr, at 9/22/2007 10:45 PM  

  • If it was a typo, it must have been pre-ordained! Right, Rose?

    I love the way Paul ends his discussion regarding Israel's present unbelief: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
    Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
    For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 9/22/2007 11:17 PM  

  • Hi Rose. I think this article might be of help.

    http://www.e-grace.net/jphbrom9.html

    By Anonymous danny, at 9/23/2007 12:35 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Judas was a vessel of wrath and the son of perdition. (Jn 17:12)
    He was chosen to be a disciple, but he was not chosen to be a vessel of mercy.
    -------------
    Luke 6:13
    And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:

    ---------------------
    John 13:8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, [1] but is completely clean. And you [2] are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
    --------------------
    John 13:16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant [3] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, [4] ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.
    ----------------

    He showed evidence of having a seared conscience (hard heart) by his theft of Jesus's treasury money and by his plans to betray the Lord for money. Jesus said he was a devil. Satan entered into Judas's heart at the last supper helping him to carry out the final stages of his evil plan to betray innocent blood.

    Looking at it in light of God's decree though, we are told that God ordained Christ's betrayal and death. Judas had a part in working out God's plan of salvation even if it was an evil part of that plan.
    He was following his own evil desires with the help of Satan. He was responsible for his actions, even though they were used by God for good.

    ----------------
    J. M. Boice: "Every person who has ever lived or will ever live must glorify God, either actively or passively, either willingly or unwillingly, either in heaven or in hell. You will glorify God. Either you will glorify him as the object of his mercy and glory, which will be seen in you. Or you will glorify him in your rebellion and unbelief by being made the object of his wrath and power at the final judgment" (Romans, vol 3, p. 1108).

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 9/23/2007 11:42 PM  

  • Thanks, Danny.
    I will check it out!

    Susan,
    Do you have any comments about this post? Thanks in advance.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/23/2007 11:58 PM  

  • Brian,
    It was a typo! I am sorry! I have a few words I do that with - I get letters mixed up. The worst one is friend. I always type it "frined". I cannot do it right no matter how hard I try. I always have to correct it. But you really are a brain anyways. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/24/2007 1:27 PM  

  • [Susan,
    Do you have any comments about this post? Thanks in advance.]

    Yes, I do Rose. I tried to post here several times earlier today but for some reason it would not take my posts.
    [Now, he imagines that one of these believers will ask him, "Why does God still find fault? Who can resist His will?" Paul is not imagining that an unbeliever or a heathen would ask that. A believer in the Messiah of Israel is asking this.]
    I think that Paul is using a hypothetical objector in order to make his point. This objector is accusing God of injustice for making him an object of wrath instead of an object of mercy. He tries to escape his responsibility by reasoning that if God is sovereign in election, then man cannot possibly be blamed for his sins. He is trying to use God's secret will (concerning election or non-election) to nullify man’s responsibility for following God’s revealed will (commands). The person with an evil heart of unbelief responds to God's goodness and kindness to him, and to God’s commands and repeated warnings by hardening his heart. It is true that God does harden the hearts of those who have already hardened their own hearts, but the sinner is still responsible for his sin.
    We were all vessels of wrath before God showed us mercy in drawing us savingly to Himself. Paul's sharp answer silences anyone who would dare to accuse God of injustice. God has a right to choose some sinners for glory while leaving other sinners to perish in their sin. Paul speaks of the unrepentant sinner’s responsibility and danger earlier in the letter.
    ---------------------
    Romans 2:5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.
    -------------------

    I think the made me like this in the quote refers to the objector accusing God of making him into a hardened sinner, as though it is entirely God's fault.

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 9/24/2007 9:59 PM  

  • Ah but Rose, He did ordain even our failures for the good:-)

    All failure is imperfection and imperfection falls short of the glory of God and misses the mark so it is unruly evil that God means to use for good and it gave opportunity for David to chime it with his clever jabs:-)

    As Spurgeon taught...even the oceans spray particles are under the Sovereign control of our Lord.

    Swimming pool splash? That does encounter some freewill but usually God puts in it the heart for another to splash out of affection and of course he knows the response will be another splash and then even the cannonballs are of Supreme and high Sovereign order. It cannot be done unless it hath been ordained of old.

    Thanks orf the compliment oseR:-)

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 9/24/2007 10:16 PM  

  • The potter takes the clay as he finds it, but uses it as he wishes.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 9/24/2007 10:36 PM  

  • How have you been, my most beautiful Rose? Long time no chat.

    (And as I know Matthew reads your blog quite regularly) Hello, Matthew!!!

    By Blogger Nathaniel, at 9/25/2007 8:00 AM  

  • Hello Nathaniel.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/25/2007 8:51 AM  

  • Dear Rose,

    Isn't Romans magnificent? Positively my favorite book of the Bible.

    I believe Paul is addressing that mystery that we will ponder and likely never resolve this side of heaven. The absolute sovereignty of God and the free will of man...for which God holds us accountable on our choices.

    Just some thoughts...I would say perhaps one side of Paul's intent in part addressing this issue with believers because we humans tend to like to be lazy or not step out of our comfort zone. One easy pass for those who are not comfortable with sharing the Gospel...it the old standby...if it's God's will they will be saved. And indeed it's ever so true. Yet...since we don't know whom God has called to be saved by His predetermined will...and what's on the line for us is the measuring rod to our obedience. Obedience to God's call to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Will we obey in our weakness and look to God and His Holy Spirit to equip us?

    Secondly...may we never forget the sovereignty of God and the fact we are unable to save ourselves. There is nothing good in us, nor deserving that merits our salvation. It is purely God's grace. It can be so easy from a human standpoint to think that we are better than the next guy and that God got something pretty good when He chose us. Oh to be human! Thankfully and mercifully He chooses us despite our unworthiness.

    What a wonderful website you have...just packed with an abundance of God's word...and applying it to our lives personally.

    I stumbled across your blog when searching for info on Pastor Philip De Courcy. Your dear Pastor just accepted the call to preach God's word at Kindred Community Church...my church. He preached on Sunday...and many of us were brought to tears because Pastor Philip is faithful to preach the full counsel of God's word...Praise God! We have been without a Pastor for 2 years now since God called home our own dear beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski. Kindred Community Church members are praying for Emmanuel Baptist as God leads and raises up your next Sr. Pastor.

    Lord's blessings to you...and you have a wonderful website! In Christ...Susan

    By Blogger susanwalkergirl, at 9/26/2007 1:00 AM  

  • Hi again Rose. I'll post this long excerpt from J.Ph. Buddingh's article.

    (being quote) Here Pharaoh is another type of Israel, that, like that Egyptian monarch, had been repeatedly warned by the prophets, had experienced God’s goodness, had seen and enjoyed many signs and wonders, but refused to repent. So that people was finally hardened as well.

    God bestowed his mercy upon heathen that believed. Because they were a better kind of people? No, because they had accepted God’s message of grace through Jesus Christ. The words in verse 17: "For this very thing I have raised thee up from amongst men, that I might thus shew in thee my power, and so that my name should be declared in all the earth," do not signify that Pharaoh was doomed to perish because God had destined him for it.

    The meaning is, that God in His foreknowledge has known his character, his behavior, his hardening. God could have interfered before the man revealed his wickedness, but has not done so. God worked upon his heart by many signs and warnings, but in vain. It is wrong to suppose, that God has wanted the wicked behavior of this man. He has known it and incorporated it in His plan, but that is quite different from inciting someone to wicked behavior or giving him wickedness and perdition as destination.

    The words, “whom He will, He hardens,” say that God is free to harden someone when He judges the time and occasion for it has come, as with Pharaoh and with Israel. They do not say that the Lord closed the way to salvation from the beginning for someone.

    The apostle goes on with the image of the potter:

    (19) Thou wilt say to me then, Why does he yet find fault? for who resists his purpose? (20) Aye, but thou, O man, who art *thou* that answerest again to God? Shall the thing formed say to him that has formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Or has not the potter authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour?

    In relation to these verses it is often said that God is sovereign and can decide the destination of men as He will. If He decides to destine someone for salvation and glory, nobody can deny his right to do so, nor fight his right to destine another one to eternal perdition.

    Now God is sovereign indeed and nobody can say “What doest thou?” Nobody fights the sovereignty of God, but in this chapter that sovereignty is not at issue. It is therefore wrong to speak about it in relation to Romans 9. The chapter gives no reason for it.



    The image of a potter - No unchangeable decree

    The apostle did not invent himself the image of a potter. The subject still is the question, “What about Israel and the promises for that people?" And about that the Lord had spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

    (1) The word that came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, (2) Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. (3) And I went down to the potter’s house; and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. (4) And the vessel that he made was marred, as clay, in the hand of the potter; and he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make. (5) And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, (6) House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are ye in my hand, house of Israel. (7) At the moment that I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to break down, and to destroy, (8) if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, then I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. (9) And at the moment that I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant, (10) if it do evil in my sight, that it hearken not unto my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them. (11) And now, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I prepare evil against you, and devise a device against you: turn ye then every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your doings. (12) But they say, there is no hope; for we will walk after our own devices, and we will each one do according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.

    People think, that in Romans 9 Paul is saying that God, in his unchangeable decree, has decided what will be the destination of everyone, for good as well as for evil, like a potter making of the clay what he wants. But that is not what the Lord made clear to Jeremiah. Does the image of the potter show, that God has an unchangeable decree, in which everyone's destination has been laid down? No. That is not what the image of the potter tells us.

    Investigating thoroughly what is presented to us in Jeremiah 18, we ‘ll see that it does not speak of an unchangeable decree but the reverse, that God changes the destination He originally had spoken about, either for good after repentance or for evil after deviation from the ways of God.

    That suits exactly the subject of Romans 9, viz. the question, how it can be possible, that Israel is not blessed, whereas He promised blessings, and how it can be that heathen are blessed, of whom God had spoken of judgment. The answer to those questions Jeremiah had given in chapter 18 and the Jews could have known that.

    God has not laid down in an unchangeable decree what will be the destination of this one and the other. He is acting as the potter and will make beloved children of God out of corrupt and wicked sinners if they believe in His Son Whom He sent, be they heathen or Jew, and did not bless Israel according to the promises, because they rejected Gods salvation through Jesus Christ, but judged them, just as He had said by Jeremiah.

    Election before the world’s foundation is not the subject here, nor is it mentioned, and we should not bring it into the reasoning here. We find it in Ephesians 1 only. Not here. (Not being the subject here, it is better not to explain extensively Ephesians 1. Let it only be known, that “election before the worlds foundation” has been “election in Christ”, that is “being elected in the election of Gods Elected, Christ”.)

    The apostle developed this some further:

    (22) And if God minded to shew his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; (23) and that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared for glory.

    So it is. God is showing endless long-suffering to them that prepare for themselves no other destination than perdition and judgment. God has been long-suffering with Pharaoh, He has been long-suffering with Israel, but whosoever despises and misuses his long-suffering awaits judgment at the end.

    On the other hand God has been endlessly good for them that were on their way to perdition as well, but to whom He showed his mercy after they believed. He changed their destination, as a potter does.

    The expression, “He had before prepared for glory,” does not undoubtedly speak of election before the world’s foundation, which, as said, is no subject here. The words make us think of an act in the past indeed, but the verb in Greek here is an Aoristus, expressing some doing in the past, the present and the future. We might possibly translate: “after having prepared them to glory”.

    This is sure, that the image of the potter does not speak of the unchangeableness of Gods decree, but of the right and freedom of God to change in time (not in past eternity) one's lot, for better or for worse. And ought not every Christian to be very grateful? We were on the way to judgment but God changed our lot and put us on the sure way to His glory.

    Here however Israel and the heathen are in view. And Israel, going on in disobedience, misses the blessing, whereas heathen, if they believe, will obtain salvation. With that God does not deviate from what He has said to do in his Word, on the contrary. He is acting in conformity to his words in Jeremiah 18. Let Him be praised forever, that he showed mercy to so many vessels of wrath and made them vessels of mercy!

    During and after the reformation the fathers did not understand this chapter, what can be traced in their scriptures. Owing to that, the thoughts of many Christians are directed in a wrong way and the consequence is much harm with relation to election and predestination. Even many evangelicals have been influenced by the vision of Calvin and have great difficulties in contemplating the doctrine that has been taught them, critically. It is my hope and prayer, that the Lord will use these lines to give the readers light over Romans 9, to his glory. (end quote)

    By Anonymous danny, at 9/26/2007 2:12 AM  

  • Hey Rose!

    I'm not sure if you're aware of a blogger named Keith Schooley??? He did some really good posts on Romans 9 here:
    http://schooleyfiles.blogspot.com/2006/08/new-perspective-and-romans-9-potter.html

    I don't always agree with everything he posts, but I think he did a pretty good job exegeting Romans 9. Check out his posts on John 6 and who was being drawn and why too.


    My opinion: Romans 9 needs to be looked at within the contect of how and whom it was written - Jewish believers who would have thought IMO that Paul was talking about God's dealing with nations - the verses used from the OT deal with nations not individuals and I don't really see Rom 9 as dealing with the salvation of individuals at all. For more on the Potter and the Clay I think it helps to go back to Jer 18 and also see 2 Tim 2:20 "Why couldn't God have made me computer savy like you Rose? It's just not fair! or why oh why can't I have a way with words like SelahV Humph!!!!"

    By Anonymous Mary, at 9/26/2007 2:35 PM  

  • Nathaniel,
    Thank you for visiting! Good to see you again.

    VA Susan,
    Thank you for your thoughts. Interesting. Definintely something for me to think about.

    Susanwalkergirl,
    Thank you for visitng!
    How neat to hear from a member of his new church! That is really cool. If you scroll down my blog you can see some of the designs I have done for his sermon series. I have worked with him at the church. He is a very good pulpiteer. I think you will really enjoy his pulpit ministry. God bless.
    Hey, you have so many blogs - which one should I visit?

    Danny,
    That is the link you gave me earlier. I read it and thuoght it was very good. Thanks a bunch.

    Mary,
    It is good to see you again. I think I am certainly seeing Romans the same way you do, but who knows? Maybe I will change my mind with the next post? God bless you, Mary. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/27/2007 11:43 AM  

  • Rose, I hope the day has been good to you! You've led me through a very interesting time of study, lately, in Romans 9. Verse 21 has now captured my attention:

    "Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the SAME lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?"

    Is there any significance to your question that the same lump of clay is being made into more than one vessel?

    By Blogger Missy, at 9/27/2007 4:45 PM  

  • Wasn't Eve the first one to want to be something other than what God created her to be? Isn't the heart of sin the desire to take the place of God? I think that is what got God's wrath going in the first place...:0)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/27/2007 9:56 PM  

  • Rose, sorry I've been gone for a few days. I'm hammering out the rest of the dissertation to turn in tomorrow before we leave for another trip.

    Yes, I believe the "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" refers to eternal damnation and the "vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory" refers to heaven.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 9/27/2007 10:23 PM  

  • Missy,
    Yes, from "the same lump." Is this the lump of humanity? Or the lump of Israel. I think the latter. He talked earlier about the Israel of Israel. Part of Israel is believing. These are the vessels that are re-thrown into vessels of honor. I am glad you brought that up. WHat do you think? Is that how it is lookig to you?

    Jonathan,
    So you see a picture of a confirmed-in-wickedness person asking God "Why have you made me like this?" Please, please, share your thoughts on this verse. Expound, Dr. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/29/2007 12:04 PM  

  • Rose, I think I am now obsessed with this passage, and I see you wrote more!

    Based on his audience, it would seem that the lump is Israel, but in verse 17 Paul references Pharoah, so it could also be humanity.

    I've actually started to envision the "same lump" as an individual being remodeled from dishonor to honor repeatedly (in direct response to the exemplified question) - but that may be way off the mark. However, it does keep in pattern with Paul's typical style of beginning broad and narrowing down to the individual.

    By Blogger Missy, at 9/29/2007 10:21 PM  

  • Rose, hello there! Good work.

    Missy, your statemrnt regarding going from dishonor to honor reminds me of good ol' Oliver B. Greene's testimony titled "From Disgrace to Grace." Do any of y'all remember good ol' Dr. Greene?

    OK, I'm through reminiscing now!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 9/30/2007 3:30 PM  

  • What does "confirmed-in-wickedness" mean?

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 10/03/2007 9:13 AM  

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