Summary: This is the 17th of 30 Bible Studies on the Book of Romans

Romans 9:19-21

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?

Paul then foresees a couple of questions his readers will have in mind. Firstly, “Why does God find fault with people who don’t believe in Him, if He’s the one making the choices of people?” The second question is “If God is making the choices, then who can resist His will?” These questions, if put together, could read like this. If we are not resisting His will, and He is making the choices of people, why does God still find fault with us for not believing in Him?

Paul then goes on to answer these questions with two questions. He asks readers. “Who are you to question God’s ways?” The second question he asks is connected with pottery, and it goes like this. “Can an item made by the potter, question the potter why it was made the way it was?” He goes on to ask, “Does not the potter have the freedom to make what he wills with the same lump of clay – one vessel for honourable use, and one for not so honourable use?” It seems like Paul is saying that God can do what He wants with whomever He wants and none of us has the right to question God’s ways of working. But before we make conclusions about God making choices without our wills being involved, let’s read on to see what Paul has to say.

Romans 9:22-24

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Paul goes on to ask one more rather long question that seems to also contain an answer to the questions. This pertains to God’s choice of people. Here’s his question modified. “What if God wanted to pour out His wrath and make His power known to those who rebelled against Him (and were headed for destruction), after being patient with them for a long time, (in the hope that they would repent)?”

In the same breath he asks, “What if God also wanted to reveal the immense riches of His glory (heaven) to those He was willing to show His mercy to (because they responded to His invitation, and accept the gift of Salvation through His Son Jesus Christ)?” God has already decided that we who respond to His call to believe in His Son Jesus, will enter His glory, whether we be Jews or Gentiles.

Romans 9:25-29

25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.” 26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.” 27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. 28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth.” 29 And as Isaiah said before: “Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

Paul then begins to quote from several Old Testament Scriptures, where God had foretold that the Gentiles (non-Jews) too, would be saved. He begins with Hosea 2:23, where God said that He would call people who were not His people, His own people, and He will call ‘beloved,’ those who were not loved by Him. Paul is making it clear that God did have a plan to save the Gentiles and that this wasn’t an after-thought. He began the process with the Jews, but He didn’t intend to stop with them, (though they didn’t seem to be aware of his all-inclusive plan for all of mankind). God had already planned that he would adopt the Gentiles too into His family so they too could be called God’s people.

Until Jesus came, only the Jews enjoyed the title, ‘the people of God,’ or ‘God’s chosen people.’ Not only would the Gentiles be called, ‘God’s people,’ but they would also be called ‘beloved,’ meaning that God would love them just like He loved the Jews.

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