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Romans 9.20-Paul Implicitly Rebukes The Attitude Of The Creature Presuming To Judge The Ways Of His Creator

Romans Chapter Nine  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  57:47
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Romans: Romans 9:20-Paul Implicitly Rebukes The Attitude Of The Creature Presuming To Judge The Ways Of His Creator-Lesson # 313

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Wenstrom Bible Ministries

Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom

Thursday March 26, 2009

www.wenstrom.org

Romans: Romans 9:20-Paul Implicitly Rebukes The Attitude Of The Creature Presuming To Judge The Ways Of His Creator

Lesson # 313

Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 9:1.

This evening we will study Romans 9:20 in which Paul responds to the rhetorical questions he presented in Romans 9:19 by implicitly rebuking the attitude of those who would presume to judge the ways of their Creator.

Let’s read Romans 9:1-24 and then concentrate on verse 20 for the rest of the evening.

Romans 9:1-24, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: ‘THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.’ That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: ‘AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.’ And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.’ Just as it is written, ‘JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.’ What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, ‘I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.’ So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.’ So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’ On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”

Let’s now concentrate on verse 20.

Romans 9:20, “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?”

“On the contrary” introduces a rhetorical question that implicitly rebukes the two rhetorical questions in Romans 9:19.

Paul poses the rhetorical questions that appear in verse 19 since he anticipates one of his readers calling into question his teaching in verses 14-18 in which he demonstrates that God is never unrighteous because He is sovereign and can be merciful and compassionate to whomever He desires.

The rhetorical questions in Romans 9:20-22 serve as an implicit rebuke to those who would contend that God is accountable to sinners and by implication those who would question the justice in His rejecting those Jews who reject Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah.

The implication is that in Paul’s day, God was not unfair in rejecting those Jews who rejected Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah.

This further serves to illustrate his premise in verse 6 that not all racial or ethnic Israel is considered by God to be spiritual Israel and the children of the promise and spiritual descendants of Abraham.

Romans 9:20, “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?”

“Who are you, O man” is a rhetorical question that implicitly rebukes those who would call into question God’s sovereign decisions.

Paul is saying that those who object or call into question God’s sovereign decisions have no business doing so since they do not belong in the same class with God.

This rhetorical question expresses Paul’s deep emotion of righteous indignation that someone would even consider posing the rhetorical questions that appear in verse 19.

“Who answers back” is the verb antapokrinomai (a)ntapokrivnomai) (an-tap-ok-ree-nom-i), which is used in a rhetorical question that serves as an implicit rebuke to those sinful human beings who would dare to pose the rhetorical questions in Romans 9:19 that call into question God’s sovereign decisions and describes these individuals as “contradicting” God.

“To God” is the articular dative masculine singular form of the noun theos (qeov$), which refers to the Father since the articular construction of this word is used in the Greek New Testament to denote this member of the Trinity.

The word functions as a “dative of disadvantage” meaning that it is “against” or to God’s “disadvantage” that a mere human being would call into question His sovereign decisions, which are based upon His omniscient knowledge of all the facts.

Romans 9:20, “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?”

The second rhetorical in this passage “The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?” is a quotation from Isaiah 29:16 and reminiscent of Isaiah 45:9.

Isaiah 29:16, “You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, that what is made would say to its maker, ‘He did not make me’ or what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’?”

Isaiah 45:9, “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker -- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?”

“The thing molded” is the articular nominative neuter singular form of the noun plasma (plavsma) (plas-mah), which refers to man who has been formed by God.

Paul uses this word to draw the analogy between mankind and the clay that is employed by the potter who is analogous to the Sovereign Creator of mankind.

“Will not say” denies the idea of the object formed objecting with the artist as to how he shaped him, which is analogous to sinful mankind objecting to God’s creating him as He did.

“To the molder” is the articular dative masculine singular aorist active participle form of the verb plasso (plavssw) (plas-so), which refers to one who forms an object and alludes to a potter who forms an object from clay.

This word is analogous to the Creator of mankind.

Romans 9:20, “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?”

“Why did you make me like this?” is another debater’s rhetorical question that implicitly rebukes those who would pose the rhetorical questions in Romans 9:19 that call into question the wisdom of God’s sovereign decisions.

In Romans 9:20, Paul responds to the rhetorical questions he presented in Romans 9:19 by implicitly rebuking the attitude of those who would pose these questions and would thus presume to judge the ways of their Creator.

No one sinner has a right to call into question, God’s decision to extend grace to whoever He chooses to and harden those whom He chooses to harden since no one has any merit with God.

In fact, those whom He hardens are those who first harden themselves by rejecting His Son as Savior and those whom He extends grace to are those who appropriate His grace through faith alone in Christ alone.

Furthermore, every member of the human race is treated by God in grace since the offer of salvation is extended to all men since He desires all men to be saved and sent His Son to the cross for all men to make this offer possible for all men.

Whether you are Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Esau, Moses, Pharaoh, or unregenerate Israel in Paul’s day, or a member of the church, all are condemned before a holy God and only those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ as Savior are declared justified by Him.

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