Gospel of Grace Alone 42

Romans 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 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? 21 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? 22 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? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

Once again, this is a passage from Romans 9 that declares that the Gospel is all of grace and nothing but grace. While this is impossible for the natural man to relish and understand with a spiritual understanding, which is why natural men hate this chapter (whether religious, ministers, professing Christians or not), this is a delight to those who love the freedom of God in saving sinners. This passage is sweet to those who have died to all hope in self and see themselves as utterly beyond saving unless God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. The soul that sees itself as dead and beyond doing anything spiritual in its own power will delight in this passage as it sees God as having the ability to save sinners without any help at all from sinners. The soul that has lost all hope in its own self-sufficiency and knows that it has no ability and no sufficiency in the realm of salvation is happy to think upon the grace of God which saves sinners, even despite who they are and what they are done rather than look to them for some good in them and/or some decent works.

The doctrine of God’s loving sinners freely and setting His love on them because of who He is rather than who they are strips men of all pride and confidence in the flesh. Indeed men will be inclined to complain and accuse God of injustice, but there is no real complaint against God the Potter that can come from man the clay. As one thinks through this, the conclusion is quite evident. Puny little man has no claim against his Maker who has the right to make of man as He (God) pleases. Is a potter wrong for taking a lump of clay and making one vessel for honorable use out of it and yet from the same lump making another vessel for common use? The difference between the vessels is not what the vessels have done and not the quality of the clay, but in the mere pleasure of the potter. The point is quite clear. It is the potter that makes the choice of what to make out of the clay. In the Divine sense, this teaches us that it is the Divine Potter who has the right over the clay to do with them as He pleases and there is no real complaint that will stand up.

Can we really complain if God does make human beings out of clay and endures with them as vessels of wrath? He is under no obligation to use a lump of clay and make all human beings the same out of that clay. To some, however, He will make known the riches of His glory upon them and in them as vessels of mercy. But again, what we see is the choice of the living God that makes the difference. The Gospel shines so brightly here and in a unique way. The Scriptures are clear that all men are sinners and that God must elect to save sinners or they will not be saved. But in this passage we see that all men are from the same lump of clay and God is free to make them as He pleases. Those who are vessels of wrath in some way make for the shining forth of His glory even brighter toward the vessels of mercy. This is not some ugly and horrid teaching stuffed away in a hidden part of the Old Testament, but instead this is set out to show how sinners are saved by grace alone. This should lead sinners to bow before the Lord of glory and marvel at His sovereign grace.

How this should move sinners to absolute humility and emptiness of self and pride before God. How this should teach sinners how to seek God in terms of salvation. They are not to seek Him as if He owed them anything, but instead as nothing more than a lump of clay that He can do with as He pleases. God has the right and the power to do with any and all sinners as He pleases, which shows us with great clarity that that Gospel of grace alone is true and cannot be wrong. The glorious Gospel of grace alone is that God saves sinners to the praise of the glory of His grace and so He can save the worst of sinners because He saves based on Himself and not on what the sinner has done. He is free and gloriously free to save by grace alone and there is no one who can charge Him with wrong. Oh how beautiful is the glory of sovereign grace!

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