Summary: God’s wrath has been revealed throughout history. It is being revealed right now. Why does God show us some demonstrations of his wrath in history? To warn us. To teach us that one day God is going to judge sin.
I heard about a pastor after he would preach a man would say to him, “Pastor, that was a warm message today.” or the man would say, “Pastor, that was a warm sermon” or he would sometimes say, “I appreciate those warm words.” One day the preacher caught him and said, “You’re always talking about the “warm” sermon and the “warm” message what do you mean by that word “warm”? The guy said, “Well, look it up. It means “not so hot!” When it comes to Roman, chapter 9, I’ll tell you, most preachers would just kind of skip over it. I used to be what I call a hopscotch preacher which means I would just skip over from text to text. I would never have dealt with a text like Romans, 9, because it is rather deep. But, a number of years ago, God laid upon my heart to be an expository Bible preacher where we study the Bible verse after verse, line upon line, precept upon precept. That way you are exposed to every portion of the Word of God. Today we are going to be looking at Romans, 9, that we started last week. Do you remember we looked at difficult statements like, God saying, “Jacob I loved; Esau I hated.”? Do you remember we talked about how he was referring really not to individuals, but to nations? We looked last week at the verses where God said, “I’ll have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will harden whom I will harden.” How God hardened the heart Pharaoh after Pharaoh had already started to harden his own heart. When some people read Romans, chapter 9, they just react negatively. They say, “I just can’t understand this.” or “I just can’t believe this!” Well, here in the final part of Romans, 9, the apostle, Paul, is addressing some of those objections.
Look in Romans, 9, verse 19 he already anticipates what his audience is going to say. So he says in verse 19, “One of you will say to me, “Well, 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?” keep your Bibles open because as we read each section, then we will talk about it.
I. DON’T RESIST GOD’S PLAN—HE WANTS TO MOLD YOU!
1. God’s “shaping process” is often confusing
The first point I think Paul is trying to make here is this. “Don’t resist God’s plan.” Make sure you don’t resist God’s plan for your life because he wants to mold you. He wants to fashion you to shape you. Somebody says, “Well, I feel pretty “moldy” today.” Well, I’m not talking about that. He’s trying to say like a potter shapes clay into something beautiful, God the Father is trying to shape you and me he’s trying to mold us into something. As he is in this process of molding us, we have to understand it’s hard for us to picture exactly where we are in the process. That’s why the first thing I want you to notice about this process is God’s shaping process is often confusing. It is often confusing to us.
Here’s a potter who takes a lump of clay. He plops that lump of clay down on a spinning wheel and he then takes his hands and he roughly fashions it into the shape he wants. He adds some water he throws in some sand until it gets to be the right consistency and then if it is not exactly what he wants, he just kind of balls it up into a roll again, plops it back down again, spins it and starts all over again. Then, he fashions it into something when he gets it just about right, he pops it into a hot furnace. In the fire of that furnace it is hardened. I can imagine if clay could express feelings in that process, the clay would say to the potter, “What in the world are you doing to me? I’m getting dizzy spinning around like this. I’m drowning from this water. I’m choking from this sand and this heat is killing me!” But, the potter knows what he is doing. In this picture, we are the clay and God is the potter. Sometimes we get so confused about what he is doing in our lives but, just trust him he knows what he is trying to produce.
2. God can already see the finished product
If any of you are looking for a new Bible, and most of you have more than you read, there is a wonderful paraphrase called “The Message” which is paraphrased by a guy by the name of Eugene Peterson. As you are shopping for Bibles you need to understand the difference between a version and a paraphrase. A version like the New International Version I use means a version was translated from the original Hebrew and Greek. On the other hand a paraphrase is just some person who takes a version and changes it, paraphrases it into modern vernacular. I want you to listen to the way Eugene Peterson kind of paraphrases this passage of scripture we just read because at least it makes a little bit more sense to me. He writes, “Who in the world do you think you are to second guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay does not talk back to the fingers molding it saying, “Why did you shape me like this? Isn’t it obvious a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding beautiful flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right?” In other words God has a right to do what God does. The reason we sometimes don’t understand what he is doing is because he is still in the process which leads to the second thing about his process. God can already see the finished product. We can’t but in the mind of the potter he already has a picture of what he wants that lump of clay to become. Isn’t it good to know in the mind and in the heart of God he already has a picture of what you and I are going to become in Christ.