In this series, we are not going through Romans chapter 9 in depth. My goal is merely to give us some key cross-reference passages to help us come to a clear understanding of what Paul is communicating in Romans 9.
Let’s take a look at verses 19-21:
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?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
Here we have God represented as the Potter Who has sovereign authority over the clay. But those represented by the clay take issue with how God has dealt with them. Who are these people? In what way do they feel they have been misused by God? These questions are not difficult when we follow Paul’s argument from 9:1 up to 18.
Paul started off by telling his readers that Israel had been prepared for the promises of the New Covenant. But in their rebellion they rejected the Messiah and chose to boast in their ancestry and their devotion to the Law of Moses, instead of embracing the promises of God that are “Yes and Amen” in Jesus Christ. Their pride caused them to stumble over the stumbling block, and God in turn judged them by hardening them in their unbelief. They had sinned, and God justly judged them for their sin. But not only did He judge them, but He used their sin to further His purposes and bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. In this way, their sin did not hurt God’s glory in the slightest but actually magnified His grace to the nations. This is exactly what He had done with Pharaoh, which is why Paul used Pharaoh to represent the unbelieving nation of Israel in verse 17: “For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.’“
Continue reading “Keys to Understanding Romans 9 : 19-21 – Who is Arguing with the Potter?” →
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Continue reading “A Much Abused Passage – Ephesians 2:1-10 (Part 1)” →
Question: How does one become a member of Christ’s predestined people?
Answer: By believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ
When we talk about individuals being part of God’s Old Testament chosen people, Israel, because of their relationship with Abraham, it is not hard for us to understand the nature of that relationship. They were related to him because they had his blood running through their veins. But when we discuss the nature of the relationship between Christ and his Church we are not talking about physical ancestry. God’s New Testament chosen people are not determined by their race, but by their faith.
Continue reading “Five Questions About Predestination – #3 How?” →
The Calvinist’s Challenge:
Predestination is undeniable! The Bible clearly teaches it, and anyone who denies it has to deny the teaching of the Bible. God predestined who he would choose to save and bring to faith in Jesus Christ. Before the world was created, and before anyone had done anything good or bad, God decided which individuals he would save. He didn’t save them because of the faith they would have in him, or for any goodness that would be in them, but only because he was pleased to save them. This truth is taught so thoroughly throughout scripture that it needs no defense. It only needs humble hearts that will throw away the worldly pride of humanism which tries to deny God’s right to decide who will be saved. Continue reading “Five Questions About Predestination – #1 – When?” →
“Very, Very Dead”
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…”
The spirit of man is dead because of sin. A lot of people were crying and making all kinds of racket around Lazarus’ tomb during the four days he was laying their dead, but it didn’t wake him up or disturb his sleep. Lazarus didn’t help prepare his body for burial, didn’t give his opinion on who should be invited to the funeral or help decide on the menu for the guests; he was dead! We all know that dead men cannot do anything good or bad.
Lazarus was not able to respond to the people at his funeral. In the same way we couldn’t respond to God when we were dead spiritually. Everyone knows that a dead man cannot feel conviction for their sins or place their faith in Jesus Christ. Only living people can be convicted of their guilt or place their trust in something. A dead man can’t do anything. And a dead spirit cannot repent or believe! The only way that Lazarus could greet the guests who attended his funeral was by being raised from the dead. Only after he was alive could he be grateful that they had come to show their respects. And only after someone is born again by the grace and power of God can someone repent of their sins and place their trust in Christ. God decides who he will give life to, not because they repent and believe, but because of his predestined choice. He FIRST gives them new life, and THEN they are convicted of their sins, repent and believe. Faith and repentance are part of salvation, not the means by which we receive it.
Continue reading “The Extent of Spiritual Death” →