You are listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. Still ahead, Dave and Tom continue their weekly in-depth study of the doctrine of salvation. Please stay with us.Now:
CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
In this regular feature Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here is this week’s question:Dear Dave and Tom, Would you give me your understanding of Romans:9:20-24?
Dave while you are getting into your Bible, let me read it for our listeners.Romans:9:20-24, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”Well what’s your understanding of that Dave?I think you dealt with that in your latest book, What Love is This?
Well, first of all, obviously the clay can’t complain to the potter.And we can’t complain to God.God could do anything with us that he wanted to. He could torture us if he wanted to, but that’s not the character of God.God is sovereign, but God has also said to all of the clay, “I want to make each of you into a vessel of honor.”Human beings do have something to say about this.We do have the power of choice.Now there are those of us who deny that we have the power of choice.Luther wrote an entire book about it, The Bondage of the Will.John Calvin also denied that man has the power of choice.Now when you say that, then you have to go the next step and that is what Calvin taught and what Calvinists say today.God is the cause of everything.Edwin H. Palmer in his book The Five Points of Calvinism says God is the author of sin.Everything that happens happens because God willed it, even the mistake of a typist.So now we’ve turned human experience into a puppet show practically, but worst of all it makes God the author of sin.Every evil thought, crime, murder, rape, robbery, and so forth in history, God has foreordained it because man has no will.Man cannot even will to sin.But this is all that God has foreordained.I do not believe that this is what this is saying.But it is saying that whatever happens we can’t complain.But also the Bible tells us that God—he loves mankind.He has the best in mind for us.It is our stubborn rebellion against God that causes these things.Now what about “enduring with much longsuffering” in verse 22, the “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”.
Yes, “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” how do we understand that?
Well Tom, predestination, and election are always connected with foreknowledge. Romans 8, “whom he foreknew he predestined” not to salvation, but to be conformed to the image of his Son.Predestination and election are always unto a blessing never unto salvation.Why even mention foreknowledge if it if God just does it?No, the ones that he knew would respond to his grace and to the gospel, he has marked out blessings for them.Now these vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, these are the ones that God knew what they would do.He knew their evil hearts.He knew their rebellion.We go back a ways to Pharaoh, it wasn’t that God made Pharaoh be the bad guy that he was, but he knew the heart of Pharaoh and he arrange for Pharaoh to become Pharaoh, just to be there at that time.It does say that he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but on the other hand, Pharaoh hardened his own heart before God did that.And if you go back and read the story God tells Moses one of the first things he says is, “I know he won’t let the people go.”Well then why does God harden his heart?If Pharaoh is as the Calvinists teach totally depraved, God wouldn’t have to harden his heart.Well Pharaoh is scared to death because the plagues have been so awesome he would let the people go out of fear.Not for the right reason and his heart wouldn’t have changed.So you go back in the Hebrew, the word for “hardened” there means “strengthened”.He strengthened; he gave him the courage—
The backbone that spinelessness couldn’t produce.
Right, to keep saying no until God had executed all the judgment he wanted upon the gods of Egypt.“Now even us (verse 24), whom he hath called non only Jews only, but also the Gentiles….”Well, he calls all mankind.For example, chosen—“many are called, few are chosen.”Judas was even chosen.Jesus said, “Have not I chosen you twelve and one of you is a devil?”When Jesus said, “You haven’t chosen me, I have chosen you,” in John 15 when we get to that.Well Tom, I’ve had several hundred employees in the past when I was in the business world and I could say to each one of them, you didn’t choose me, I chose you.In other words, they couldn’t push themselves on me.I’m the employer, I have the final word, but it doesn’t mean that they became my robots.They had to agree to work for me as well.So when we just understand what it is saying with a little common sense, I think it removes the onus from God and making him out to be the puppet master and he is the cause of everything that happens.No, he’s not, but he can take these players on a stage that he knows what they will do before hand and he can put them into where they will fit in his will.But it is still their evil that is doing it.