We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. In talking about Israel’s place in the plan of God, Paul is explaining about God’s foreknowledge.
It’s a hard concept for us to grasp. The Lord sits outside of time and can view all of eternity at once. Our view is limited to where we are right now.
Because of this, some people get the idea that God makes everything happen. They say that He planned out everyone’s actions and reactions. I don’t believe this. Just because you know what everyone will do, doesn’t mean that you’re making them do it.
One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
If God already knows what will happen, then why does He blame us when we turn out that way? Paul asks us; who can stand against and oppose His resolve?
What do you think you’re doing when you talk back to God? He’s the Creator, the great Potter. We’re the ones being formed. How can we say to the Potter, “Why are you making me into this type of pot? I don’t want to be this.”
Some of the pottery is for noble purposes, like vases and ornamental pieces. Others are for common uses, like wash basins and bed pans.
Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s really up to the clay to decide what purpose it’s used for.
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21
It takes the right kind of clay to make a delicate vessel. Hard, unyielding clay can only make a common pot. The fact is that God determines the use, based on what He knows of the clay. The pliability of the person determines how God shapes him.
In my last post, I talked about Moses and Pharaoh. God shaped Pharaoh to display His glory, based upon the desire of Pharaoh’s heart. A resistant heart can never become what a soft, yielding heart can be.
Remember, Paul is still talking about Israel in this passage. He said that not all of Israel is Israel. Not all of Israel yields to His will.
What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
God desires to display who He is. Even in His wrath, He is passionate. The Lord shows forth His power and glory in all that He does.
He could, by His foreknowledge, immediately send everyone to hell that He knows will reject Him. He could also immediately translate to Heaven, everyone who accepts Christ. But, that wouldn’t show who He is.
In the Lord’s grace, He shows His patience, even to those who will someday enter His wrath. He does this so that He could show the wealth of His glory to the objects of His mercy, those who yielded to His molding. In Christ, we’re being prepared for His glory.
Question: How is God’s patience a blessing to you?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi