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When Clay Meets Potter

Foundations of Faith: Paul's letter to the Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God's sovereign choice in judgment and mercy is His right

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QUESTION: Is God just in choosing to save only some people?

Romans 9:19–29 ESV
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”

1. God has the right to deal with His creation as He sees fit (, 65)

See and . God chose to make a covenant with Israel exclusively even when they repeatedly forsook Him. When his wrath is loosed, many times creation suffers the penalty of man’s sin
Isaiah 65:1–2 ESV
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name. I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;
Isaiah 64:8–9 ESV
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people.
Isaiah 65:1–2 ESV
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name. I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;
Isaiah 64:8–9 ESV
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people.

a. He raises up and tears down (Isaiah 45:5-7)

See
Isaiah 45:5–7 ESV
I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.

b. Finite man cannot fully understand Infinite God (, 41)

See , and consider Behemoth/Leviathan. We cannot subdue the great beasts and forces of nature to our liking - how much more are we incapable of taming God!
Job 40:1–2 ESV
And the Lord said to Job: “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.”
Job 40:6–14 ESV
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? “Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him. Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you.

2. God’s will and judgments come from His character

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.” - C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
He is not safe, He’s not supposed to be / Your gonna want somebody wild and dangerous on your side / When you face your one true enemy / Only a fierce and reckless love is gonna save your life / The Lord is good, but make no mistake / He is not safe - Ross King, He is not Safe
Your gonna want somebody wild and dangerous on your side
When you face your one true enemy
Only a fierce and reckless love is gonna save your life
The Lord is good, but make no mistake
He is not safe

a. God is just, and will not clear the guilty ()

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
See . God judges the hearts of men and though he may forestall His judgement to permit opportunity for repentance, the judgement comes when He wills it - no one escapes it.
Exodus 34:7 ESV
keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
Exodus 34:6–7 ESV
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

b. God is merciful, and chooses to spare some rather than destroy all (, )

Hosea 2:23 ESV
and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’ ”
Isaiah 10:22 ESV
For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness.
See also , , . The judgments of the Lord are swift and terrible, but He always chooses to preserve a remnant to restore (Noah, Elijah/prophets of Baal, The Babylonian Exile).

CHALLENGE: Accept your role as created being, not Creator

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