Chapter 9, Verses 19-24
"Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who
hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that
repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed
it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over
the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and
another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to show his wrath,
and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the
vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make
known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had
afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of
the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"
One of the
objections to the sovereignty of God in salvation and election is
that if God is sovereign then we are just puppets on a string and
cannot help what we are. Therefore, why does God find fault with us
for who hath resisted his will? God is indeed sovereign. He has
chosen whom he will and we cannot change his choice by our actions
or will. We are not however puppets on a string following the
actions of the puppet master. However, we cannot act different from
our nature to act. Elephants cannot fly no matter how much they may
want to fly. Our nature is fixed and we act according to that
nature. The elect, who have been born of the Spirit, have two
natures. They have the nature of the outer man and the nature of
the inner man. Those who have not been born of the Spirit have only
O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing
formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?" God
did not make anyone a sinner. Sin entered into the world through
Adam's transgression. From the time of Adam till now, men have been
conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity. We are sinners by nature,
but God did not make us sinners by nature. We are that way because
of the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. But, what right do we
have to reply against God? We have no right. He is the creator we
are his creation though fallen by sin. Hasn't the creator the right
to form man as he pleases? Surely the creator of all the universe
is the one who is sovereign and has the right to act sovereignly.
The created have no right to reply against the creator.
the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel
unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" The potter takes a lump
of clay and makes what he wants to make out of it. The thing formed
shows the workmanship of the one who formed it. The potter can make
anything he wants to make. The clay has no power to insist that the
potter make something out of it. If that potter chooses to make of
the same lump of clay a vessel unto honour and another vessel unto
dishonour, then he has the sovereign right to do so. The clay has
no choice in the matter. How much more so the Creator of the
universe. He has the right to take of the lump of clay from which
he created Adam and to make vessels unto honor and unto dishonor.
The clay has no choice in this matter.
God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured
with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:"
Those whom the Lord did not choose before the foundation of the
world are indeed vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. The result
of these vessels is that they will endure God's everlasting wrath in
a state of destruction in the lake of fire. God did not fit these
vessels unto destruction, they fitted themselves unto destruction by
their sins. They will be judged according to their works and it
will be a righteous judgment. God will make his power known upon
them in the eternal judgment of their sins. Now, however, God is
longsuffering toward them until he brings home the vessels of
Vessels of Mercy
he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy,
which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath
called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?" The
vessels of mercy are the elect whom God chose before the foundation
of the world. God's mercy is manifest upon them and they are saved
by his mercy. God afore prepared the vessels of mercy unto glory.
This preparation was by the covenant of redemption set forth in Rom.
8:28-30. This covenant was made before the foundation of the world
and there he prepared those he chose unto glory. As we live here in
time God makes known through the true gospel the riches of his glory
on the vessels of mercy. Though many of the elect never hear the
gospel, yet they will know the riches of his glory in its fullness
beginning in the morning of the resurrection.
vessels of mercy are found both among the Jews and among the
Gentiles. According to the covenant of redemption, they are all
called to spiritual life by the effectual calling of God. It is
through the evidences of this calling that we can identify ourselves
with the covenant of redemption and know that all that was entailed
in the covenant of redemption works for our eternal good.
9, Verses 25-29
"As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were
not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it
shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them,
Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the
living God. 27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the
number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a
remnant shall be saved: 28 For he will finish the work, and cut it
short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon
the earth. 29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth
had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto
A People Among
continues on with the theme of God's sovereignty in election. Here
he shows that God has a people both among the Gentiles and among the
children of Israel. In the Old Testament economy, the Israelites
did not think that the Gentiles were a part of the people of God.
The Israelites referred to them as dogs. In the eyes of the
children of Israel, the Gentiles were not beloved of God as they
viewed themselves as being the beloved of God. However, Paul refers
to Hosea's prophecy set forth in Hos. 1:9 "Then said God, Call his
name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of
the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to
pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my
people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the
living God." Clearly this had reference to the Gentiles who before
were not considered by the Israelites to be a part of the people of
God but now it is revealed that they are a part of the people of
refers to Isaiah's prophecy: Is. 10:22 "For though thy people Israel
be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the
consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness." A remnant
is a portion. Sometimes a remnant is a small portion, but it can
also be a large portion. It literally means a portion of the
whole. God has a remnant of the Israelites and a remnant of the
Gentiles that he has chosen to be his people by covenant promise.
These were prophesied to be saved by God.
will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a
short work will the Lord make upon the earth." The Lord did indeed
finish the work of redeeming his people from their sins. The Lord
alone did this work and it is a complete work. It needs nothing
added to it. The use of the term, "cut it short," indicates that
the work of redeeming the elect from their sins and imputing the
righteousness of Christ unto them was a work that was completed with
the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and that it being a
completed work needs nothing added to it. There is no continuing
need for anything to be added to the Lord's work. Nothing can be
added to the Lord's work. Those for whom Christ died are perfected
forever. Nothing that they can say or do will ever change or alter
the work that Christ has done. Their works can neither make it
effective or ineffective. It is finished forever.
Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed,
we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha." The seed
we have is Christ: Gal. 3:16, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the
promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of
one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." Christ, our seed, is
multiplied in election before the foundation of the world so as to
be a great multitude of every nation, kindred, people, and tongue.
It is expressed as being as the stars of heaven, as the sand upon
the sea shore, and as the dust of the earth. Every one of the elect
are God's people by covenant promise. This promise was the work of
a sovereign God who chose his people before the foundation of the
world. Those who are not among the ones chose of God before the
foundation of the world are as Sodom and Gomorrah. Their eternal
condemnation based on their sins awaits them and they will be like
the children of Sodom and Gomorrah who suffered the vengeance of
eternal fire. All of this manifests God's sovereignty in the
election of a people to be his.
9, Verses 30-33
"What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after
righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the
righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after
the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of
righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith,
but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that
stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a
stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him
shall not be ashamed."
Righteousness is a
right standing before God
studying any passage of scripture it is important that we remember
that we are to "Study to show thyself approved unto God, rightly
dividing the word of truth." This is especially true when we look
at important bible subjects. The subject of righteousness needs to
be rightly divided. There is an imputed righteousness that we have
as a result of the sacrificial atonement of Christ when he "was made
to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we may be made the
righteousness of God in him," (2 Cor. 5:21). This righteousness is
a right standing before God brought about through the covenant work
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
is an attempted righteousness that many try to attain to a righteous
state before God by the keeping of the law of Moses. Today, many
try to keep a set of rules or actions that they believe will make
them righteous before God. None of this, however, can truly make a
person righteous before God. Those who try to get right with God
are ignorant of the fact that Christ has already made his people
right with God through his sacrificial atonement on their behalf.
there is the righteousness of faith as set forth in Romans chapter
4. This is living right through a walk of faith believing in the
finished work of Jesus Christ and following the teachings of his
word. Abraham was a great example of the righteousness of faith.
Only those who have the imputed righteousness of Christ can ever
hope to follow the righteousness of faith. A person who has not
been born of God cannot walk by faith for he does not have the fruit
of the Spirit. Not all of God's elect, however, walk by faith.
Many try to attain to righteousness by keeping a set of rules or
actions. This is a walk of flesh and not of faith.
shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after
righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the
righteousness which is of faith." The Gentiles, to which Paul had
reference, never had the law of Moses and therefore could not nor
would not use the law in an effort to get right with God. However,
they, by faith, had believed in the gospel report that Christ had
died for them and had made them righteous before God.
attained to a belief in the imputed righteousness of God and rested
in the finished work of Christ.
Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not
attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they
sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law."
Israel had attempted to make the law something that the law was
never designed to do. They attempted to make the law a recipe for
getting right with God through the keeping or observing of a set of
rules or commandments. The children of Israel had attempted to get
right with God through the keeping of the law. As the scriptures
2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law,
but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus
Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not
by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh
2. Gal 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under
the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth
not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do
children of Israel sought not the imputed righteousness of God by
faith, but they sought to be right before God by the keeping of the
law. It is, however, impossible to become righteous through the
keeping of the law. The law shines a light on sin and shows us that
we are sinners before God and that we are in need of a redeemer. No
matter how hard a man may try to perfectly keep the law, he will
still find that he has sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Perfection cannot be attained through the keeping of the law. We,
however, are made perfect through the atoning blood sacrifice of
Jesus Christ. The Jews, along with a great majority of God's people
in our day have failed to understand this. Because of the desire
and effort to attempt to get right with God through the keeping of a
set of rules or commandments or ordinances, Jesus becomes a
stumblingstone. Where can Jesus and his atoning sacrifice fit into
such a system? The truth is that he is not part of their system of
attempting to get right with God.
of saving the elect from their sins, is a work completed by the Lord
Jesus Christ. Because the work is all of the Lord, no works of man
can ever bring him into a right state with God.
"As it is
written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence:
and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." To the Jews
of that day and to the works system adherents of our day, the true
Jesus of the bible is a stumblingstone and rock of offence who does
not fit into their system. But to us who believe the word of God,
we are not ashamed of the finished work of Christ, but rather give
glory to him for accomplishing what we know we could not do.