Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ok, I think I have one of the main issues free-willers are having. Is it: If God sovereignly controls and ordains everything...

Ok, I think I have one of the main issues free-willers are having. Is it: If God sovereignly controls and ordains everything...

May 16, 2010 at 10:19pm
Tuese Ahkiong Ok, I think I have one of the main issues free-willers are having. Is it: If God sovereignly controls and ordains everything that is to happen in history even the choices of the creature, how is it that the creature can be held responsible for the commands God has place on him or her unless he or she had "free-will" b/c it is God who is predestining everything? Is this it?
May 12 at 6:24pm · Comment · Like

Darren Ooyman This is good Tuese. Because without free will there is no explanation for the tendency to disobey. If there is no freewill, and we disobey, than logically, God is disobeying himself through us. This would mean that the Kingdom of God is divided and thus cannot stand. There is no explanation for why God gets angry. God's anger in the OT would be against himself if there was no freewill. Do you see this? It doesn't make any sense.
May 12 at 10:44pm ·

Mike Boswell I ditto Darren. There would also be no real purpose for God to command anything if we had no choice in the matter in the first place. That would make God's commands and actions purposeless. Why command Mike Boswell to love others if God is going to just control my actions any way? Why make it appear as if we have choices (even whether or not to follow Christ) if we really don't? Either God is in some way dishonest and leading us to believe a lie or it just doesn't make sense.
May 12 at 11:06pm ·

Bryan Maddox This is one of the core issues as Darren pointed out.
May 12 at 11:31pm ·

Tuese Ahkiong What you talking about!!! I pointed it out. lol.
Don't worry guys I got my Biblical answers for you. I'm just waiting for a little more people to comment and then I'll share. hehehe????
May 12 at 11:46pm ·

Mike Boswell Just baiting a hook, huh Tu?
Thursday at 6:27am ·

David Fitzgerald Heya Tu: No comment, just here to see how this conversation plays out...
Thursday at 8:30am ·

Galen Sterling-Smith God's sovereignty and man's choices aren't separate issues.
Thursday at 9:19am ·

Angelo Aroche how can i get into your bible studies on thursday.
Thursday at 11:37am ·

Jordan Grant One must presuppose that accountability necessitates moral "freedom". This isn't justified biblically when it comes to God and man. Pretty simple case to me :)
Thursday at 11:44am ·

Tuese Ahkiong Angelo,
I will send you my address.
Thursday at 2:18pm ·

Chang Yuon God has the right to do to his creatures as He pleases. God can demand obedience without any assumption of ability on our part.

Romans 9 addresses God's prerogative as Creator:

7For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20But 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?'

The issue is not whether we have a choice--the issue is why we make the choices that we make. Genuine heart-felt obedience to love others arise not from sheer human will or effort, but from God who work in us, "to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Phil. 2:13).

Question: Does God have the right to create sinners who cannot and will not obey him for the sole purpose of displaying His wrath (i.e Does God have the right to make objects of wrath?) I think Romans 9 clearly says that He does. And if so, this in no way, shape, or form suggest that God is "against Himself." He does all things for His Glory--that is, even His anger/wrath displays His Glory.

Finally scriptures teaches our inability to obey God (Rom. 8:6-8).
Thursday at 4:18pm ·

Darren Ooyman "God has the right to do to his creatures as He pleases. God can demand obedience without any assumption of ability on our part."

So I could just blame God for my disobedience then? Or, for someone else's disobedience? Please clarify. Romans 9 can't be the whole story. Something is missing. If it was whole pie, than I could just blame God for everything. But if you are honest, you know you can't do that. Do you see the problem with the premise you are operating off of? This vague premise insinuates that God's purpose for us was to sin in order for him to get glory.
Thursday at 5:24pm ·

Chang Yuon Darren, thanks for the question.

Actually, Romans 9 does address specifically the issue of blame. Hypothetical objector in 9:19 says, "Then why does God still blame us?" That is, if God has the right to do to his creatures as He pleases, how can God blame us, for wouldn't the blame be on Him? ("God, you made me this way!"). I think the important point here is that Paul say this objection is not valid. It may "make sense" to us, but Paul pushes us back to God's prerogative as Creator (9:20).

James 1 teaches us that culpability is rightly placed on us and our sinful nature, and not God.

You said, "God's purpose for us was to sin in order for him to get glory." I don't have a problem with this statement. But you see, the issue is blame. The assumption you seem to have is that if God controls all things, He is culpable for sin. However, I'm saying that scripture goes against this.

I hope this clarifies some.
Thursday at 6:03pm ·

David Fitzgerald OK, I do have to weigh in here, because I'm not getting how Jordan & Chang can justify what they're asserting here. Assuming it's true that a god made our natures what they are, how is it NOT his fault? And more to the point, if the majority of people are going to hell because they are what he made them, how can he be considered a loving god at all?
Yesterday at 3:38pm ·

Chang Yuon Dave, those are great questions.

First, the way I justify my previous assertions is by Scripture. Since the Bible bears the authority of God, it is the sole infallible standard by which Christians correct and challenge each other (2 Timothy 3:16). I know you don't believe this, so exactly how I'm justifying what i've said may be puzzling to you. However note the kind of argumentation I'm making. I'm appealing first and foremost to what the scriptures say, and not merely to what "seems right" or "makes sense" to us.

Second, "fault" or culpability assume a moral standard. This is Euthyphro's dilemma all over again, but God is not bound by any moral court outside Himself. In other words, the real dilemma is this: even if it is God's "fault", who is going to bring him to court? Paul says, "Let God be true, and every man a liar..." (Rom. 3:4); "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?" (Rom. 9:21).

This leads to your last point. When the Bible says, "God is Love" it doesn't mean love defined by humanists. Certainly God is loving to His people, and in the sense God is patient and merciful to the wicked by allowing them to live, move, and exist at this very moment, we can say that God is loving to all. But God is also the God of wrath. Paul says, "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath" (Rom. 2:5).

Romans 9 again speaks of God's sovereign choice in terms of both love and hatred. "Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.' What then shall we say? Is God unjust?" (9:13-14) You probably would say yes, but Paul says, "Not at all!" God's saving love is very particular. And so, God's love is "unfair" to sinners like us.
Yesterday at 4:46pm ·

Jordan Grant #1) I don't deny God made us this way. This in no way makes him accountable for some sin, for he cannot sin by definition. So yes it's his "fault" that we're this way, in that He ordained it. It's not his "fault" in the sense of accountability for some "wrong" committed, for we are His creation.

#2) you have to presuppose things about "loving God" to make your assertion. God is holy X 3. he is wrathfal, vengeful, jealous, etc, as well.

He shows His love in many ways...justice in many ways, etc. Without men being depraved, the gospel has no meaning.
Yesterday at 4:49pm ·
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  • Chris Harrold Romans 9, a response: To read the passage in such a way is to read the arguments without the final conclusion. I suggest instead that you should draw your conclusion from his conclusion, and not your conclusion from his arguments. Follow his logic to t...See More
  • Chang Yuon I'll quote myself from above: "The issue is not whether we have a choice--the issue is why we make the choices that we make." 

    You said: "Paul makes it clear that the basis for Israel's rejection was her unbelief, not Him not choosing her (9:16) or H
    im not having mercy on her(9:18)."

    I'll grant (simply for the sake of argument) your first point that basis for God rejecting Israel was their unbelief. Now my question is, why did they not believe? why their unbelief? I believe that the trauma of this question is the context of Romans 9. And Paul say the reason for their unbelief is NOT their autonomous-self-determining- free-will, but God's sovereign choice in showing His mercy to whom He will show mercy.

    Chris, I'd love to see your exegesis of Romans 9, in particular, Romans 9:11-16. I don't know how to get around, "It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy" (9:16). 

    Finally, I'm again hearing the assumption that if God commands something we have the ability to obey it. This is the assumption Tu and I have been challenging since I don't know how long! 
  • Tuese Ahkiong ***The word CAN deals with one's ability and in regards to coming to Christ, the verses below state that MAN DOES NOT HAVE THE ABILITY to come to Jesus.

    John 6:37-39 

    ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVES ME WILL COME TO ME, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
    John 6:44 
    "NO ONE CAN COME TO ME UNLESS THE FATHER WHO SENT ME DRAWS HIM, and I will raise him up at the 
    last day.
    John 6:64-65 Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, "This is why I told you that NO ONE CAN COME TO ME UNLESS THE FATHER HAS ENABLED HIM." 

    John 3:3-8 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." 4"How CAN a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" 5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, NO ONE CAN enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

    Rom 8:7-8 
    because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh CANNOT please God.

    1 Cor 12:3 
    Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one CAN say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

    1 Cor 2:14
    The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he CANNOT understand them, because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED.

    Proverbs 20:24 
    Man's steps are ordained by the LORD, How then CAN man understand his way?

    John 3:27 
    John answered and said, "A man CAN receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

    Prov 20:9 
    Who CAN say, "I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin"? 

    Jeremiah 13:23 
    Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

    Matt 19:25-26 
    When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then CAN be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." 

    The verses you quoted HARMONIZE with the verses I quoted. These people serve the Lord b/c they have been enabled by the Lord. 

    But how do you reconcile your verses with the one's that state NO CAN COME TO JESUS and so forth????
    Remember the Scripture does not contradict itself.
  • Tuese Ahkiong Chris,
    You quote these passages:
    Deut 30:11-14, Romans 10:6-9, Deut 30:15-20.

    But do you see how your presumption of man’s “free will” contradicts other passages of Scripture like the one’s I quoted. Your verses harmonize with mine in that man chooses only b/c God has chosen first. But the verses you pointed would cause the Bible to contradict itself if you were to compare them with the verses I posted. 

    Psalm 65:4 How blessed is the one whom YOU CHOOSE and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. 

    Eze 36:26-27 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I WILL REMOVE THE HEART OF STONE FROM YOUR FLESH AND GIVE YOU A HEART OF FLESH. 27"I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU AND CAUSE YOU TO WALK IN MY STATUTES, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

    1 Cor 12:3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and NO ONE CAN SAY, "JESUS IS LORD," EXCEPT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.

    Phil 1:29 For IT HAS BEEN GRANTED TO YOU ON BEHALF OF CHRIST NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also to suffer for him, 

    What comes first: man’s choice or God’s?

    Compare the above verses with how you interpreted the passage below:

    [His conclusion: Romans 9:30-33 (NIV)
    What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

    Paul makes it clear that the basis for Israel's rejection was her unbelief, not Him not choosing her (9:16) or Him not having mercy on her(9:18).]

  • Tuese Ahkiong "Agenda," hmmmm?
    Show "free willers" the inconsistent, unBiblical, man-centered/man-glorifying/man-exalting, God dishonoring worldview they have embraced. 

    btw, did you type in all the passages you quoted or did you cut and paste?
  • Tuese Ahkiong Chris,
    If you would like to debate in public please let me know so I can set it up. I think we can arrange to have it at Alma Heights, too. It would be good for the students to see both sides.
  • Chang Yuon I guess i'm guilty of cut and pasting in that sense. LOL! 
  • Chris Harrold Romans 9, An Exegesis, part 1:
    Norman Geisler writes in When Critics Ask, “Regarding unclear passages, one should always use the clear passage of scripture to interpret unclear ones.”

    To restate Geisler, I would further add, rather than taking one verse or one chapter from the Bible and basing doctrine on just that, one should consider the entirety of the Bible to explain individual passages and not use the difficult passages to explain the entirety of the Bible.

    In Romans, particularly Chapter 9, Paul is explaining to the Jews how God could accept the Gentiles and reject part of the nation of Israel. This was a hard concept for God's “Chosen People.” So Romans 9 is dealing primarily with the nation of Israel.

    In the New American Standard Bible (NASB) the heading of Chapter 9 says "Solicitude for Israel." Merriam-Webster defines "Solicitude "as:
    1 a : the state of being concerned and anxious b : attentive care and protectiveness; also : an attitude of earnest concern or attention
    2 : a cause of care or concern -- usually used in plural

    J. Vernon McGee's Thru The Bible says the theme of Romans Chapter 9 is: "Israel defined; Israel identified; the choice of Israel in the sovereign purpose of God; the choice of Gentiles in the scriptural prophecies." McGee writes of the section of Romans containing Chapters 9 through 11 "it deals with the eschatological, that is, the prophetic, section of the Bible that reveals God is not through with Israel. Now as we begin chapter 9, notice that this has to do with God's past dealings with Israel. In chapter 10 we will see God's present dealings with Israel and, in chapter 11, God's future dealings with Israel as a nation…”

    What is being described is selection for "service" not "salvation." God was talking about forming clay (Israel) to be used to bring the Messiah into the world.

    John Wesley writes of Romans 9:

    In this chapter St. Paul, after strongly declaring his love and esteem for them [the Jews/Israel], sets himself to answer the grand objection of his countrymen; namely, that the rejection of the Jews and reception of the gentiles was contrary to the word of God. That he had not here the least thought of personal election or reprobation is manifest,
    1. Because it lay quite wide of his design, which was this, to show that God's rejecting the Jews and receiving the gentiles was consistent 
    with his word

    2. Because such a doctrine would not only have had no tendency to convince, but would have evidently tended to harden, the Jews;

    3. Because when he sums up his argument in the close of the chapter, he has not one word, or the least intimation, about it.
    Source: www.biblestudytools.net/Commentaries/WesleysExplanatoryNotes alsogospelcom.net/comments/romans/wesley/romans9.htm

    Calvinists use the 9th chapter of Romans as proof of God's predestining some for salvation and some for hell and use Paul's three illustrations in this chapter to prove their point: 
    • God loving Jacob and hating Esau
    • Hardening Pharaoh's Heart
    • Clay in the Hands of God

    God loving Jacob and hating Esau

    In Hebrew the word that is translated into English as “hate” can also mean “love less” or “put in second place.” See Genesis 29:31, Deuteronomy 21:15, and Luke 14:26.
    [Source: New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus: Insight from His Jewish Context by David Bivin. Published by the En-Gedi Resource Center, Inc. 2005]
    'Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."' Romans 9:13

    I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated Malachi 1:2-3

    God's choice of Jacob had nothing to do with salvation, but rather with who would be the father of the nation of Israel.

    Billy Graham's magazine Decision once covered this particular verse. The article said in English “love” and “hate” are primarily words of emotion. 
    However, the Hebrew words so translated in this passage have a meaning different from what we might expect. The Hebrew verb translated “love” means having a positive relationship. The Hebrew word for “hate” indicates a non-relationship, or a negative relationship.

    The statement might be paraphrased and explained thus: “I offered Jacob a positive relationship with Me and he accepted it, so he enjoys everything that the relationship implies; I offered the same positive relationship to Esau, but he rejected it, so he can expect nothing that is brought by a positive relationship.”

    From another website:
    ...Maybe the choice of words was to produce an emphasis or contrast. In Luke 14:26, God uses the word "hate" to contrast what our love should be toward Him. Here He says, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brother and sisters –yes, even his own life –he cannot be my disciple." Obviously, God is not saying we should actually hate our parents (or ourselves). He was only making a contrast of how great our love for God should be in comparison to our love for our family. (www.biblehelp.org/esau.htm)

    God does not contradict Himself and hating your parents would violate the 5th Commandment Honor your father and your mother Exodus 20:12

    and it would also contradict Jesus when He spoke to the Pharisees and teachers of the law:
    Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father ' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition." Matthew 15:3-6

    Also, the writer of Hebrews tells us Esau was rejected because he rejected his birthright for a morsel of food. Esau was more interested in his stomach than his relationship with God:
    "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears." Hebrews 12:

    Genesis 25:34 states “Esau despised his birthright.” The other point to remember here is Jacob and Esau are being discussed not only as individuals but as nations. Keep in mind what was being described was not salvation but service and inheritance. To verify this point go back to Genesis and read the account of the birth of Jacob and Esau:
    Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD.

    The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."

    When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. Genesis 25:21-25

    When you read the whole Genesis account of Jacob and Esau you see Esau never had much interest in his birthright. As far as Jacob stealing Esau's blessing, that has nothing to do with his salvation.

    Also the reference in Romans 9 is talking about the nations that resulted from Jacob & Esau, not their individual salvation. As you can see no matter how you slice it Paul in Romans 9 was not talking about predestining the salvation of any individual.
  • Chris Harrold Romans 9, An Exegesis, part 2:

    Hardening Pharaoh's Heart

    For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. Romans 9:17-18

    In Thru The Bible Commentary on Exodus J. Vernon McGee (www.ttb.org) writes:
    The hardening is a figurative word, which can mean twisting, as with a rope. It means God twisted the heart of Pharaoh. He was going to squeeze out what was in it. God forced him to do the thing he really wanted to do. God's part in this was to bring to the surface that which was already there...

    And elsewhere McGee writes:
    ...There is an old familiar illustration which says that the same sun will melt the wax but harden the clay. It is the character of, or the condition of, the element and not the sun that melts the wax and hardens the clay. God is not going to harden you. He did not harden Pharaoh's heart. Pharaoh already possessed a hard heart, and God only brought that fact out into the open.

    Even if you accept that God specifically made Pharaoh do something he might not have done otherwise that has nothing to do with salvation but rather it has to do with causing action for a specific task.

    If God had not compelled Pharaoh to do what was already in his heart, or if God had not forced Pharaoh to do what God wanted him to do, God would have found someone else. The Book of Esther offers a good example.

    In the Book of Esther, Esther's uncle Mordecai told her (through Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs) to go to the king and plead with him for the Jews so that they would not be destroyed. To this Esther replied, through the eunuch to her uncle, that it would be death for her if she did as her uncle told her. She also indicated that even though she was a Jew she was in a protected group and feared she to jeopardize that protected position.

    Mordecai replied:
    "...Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" Esther 4:13-14

    What Mordecai was saying is God put Esther in that place for a reason and that she had free will to refuse to be obedient; and, even if she refused, God would work through someone else. In the end Esther did as her uncle directed and both she and the Jews were saved from destruction and were blessed.

    This is similar somewhat to the story of Jonah. In the Book of Jonah God directed Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn the Ninevites that if they didn't repent and follow God that they would be destroyed. Jonah thought the Ninevites deserved to be destroyed and refused to follow God's direction by sailing away in a different direction. In the end God did get Jonah's attention and he resentfully obeyed.
    Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me." But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Jonah 1:1-3

    So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Jonah 3:5

    Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. Jonah 3:10

    Later after the Ninevites repented:
    ...But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, "Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!" Then the Lord said, "Is it right for you to be angry?" Jonah 4:1-4

    So we see that initially Jonah refused and God took extra ordinary action to get his attention. Even if Jonah had continued to be disobedient and refused to go, God would have raised someone else up, just as Mordecai told Esther that if she refused God would use someone else. Note that, while God had a plan for service for Jonah and Esther God did not create either of them to automatically and obediently hop up and say "Yes sir, right away sir!!" God wanted them to do what He told them to do, but they still had a choice. God put pressure on Jonah and he chose to yield. Esther did not need so much persuasion.

    Oftentimes people interpret what's being described in the Bible as referring to "salvation" when in reality it is describing "service." God chose some for certain service and for others He may have planned for greater or lesser service. Again, Esther and Jonah bear this out.

    One last thought on doing or not doing what God has planned for us. It is possible for us to do what God never intended (basically isn't that sin?):
    This is what the LORD says...For they have forsaken me ...They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal--something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. Jeremiah 19:1-5 (also see Jeremiah 7:30-31)

    Clay in the Hands of God
    Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
    Romans 9:21 King James Version

    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?

    What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory-- even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? Romans 9:20-24

    If you look up the words from the King James Bible in a Greek/Hebrew lexicon you'll see the language of Romans 9:21 indicates that the KJV word for "dishonor" is rendered "common household use" as opposed to something used for more "noble" purposes.

    The context of this passage is not describing the fact that God creates some to be dishonorable or damned but that some people are used in more common ways and some are used in other ways. 

    The point is that God sovereignly chooses how He wants us to be used by giving us gifts, ministries, passions, opportunities, etc. If God wants to make us rich, powerful, or influential, He has the right. If God wants to make us a common servant, He has that right too.

    Paul is quoting Isaiah 29 and 45 and using the imagery of Jeremiah 18 at the Potter's house where God shapes the pot as it seems best to Him. Paul is noting that in our sin we miss the point (relationship over religion). He summarizes his case in vs. 30-33 by noting that the religious Jews were lost vs. the non-religious Gentiles were saved...all by faith vs. works.

    Those who reject God are the objects of wrath who by their own actions are heading for judgment. Destruction is the penalty for rejecting God. The Bible tells us that God is long suffering and patient. This is evident in the Old Testament and Paul notes it here as well. Objects of mercy are those who love God, and the Bible tells us from the beginning He had a plan for those who love Him and follow Him, just as He has a plan for those who reject Him.
  • Chris Harrold Romans 9, An Exegesis, A Conclusion, part 3:

    J. Vernon McGee suggests that “the ‘vessels of wrath’ are the Jewish nation, which was destroyed in A.D. 70. Jesus, you recall, announced this destruction, but He wept over the city, and he prayed, ". . . F
    ather, forgive them . . ." (Luke 23:34). When the final judgment came in A.D. 70, 
    God saved a remnant. These were "vessels of mercy."

    In conclusion, Paul was explaining to the Jews that if God wanted to use and save the Gentiles that God in His sovereignty had that right. In order to understand what God is saying through Paul one has to read what is before and what is after chapter 9 to get the big picture. 

    Rather than taking one passage from Romans one must look up specific words to see what they originally meant and also what they meant in context of what was being discussed and to whom it was being addressed. You have to consider the entirety of God’s word and not just certain passages or chapters.

    When put in Biblical and historical context there is nothing in Romans 9 for those in the Calvinist or Reformed Theology camps to justify their doctrine of predestination.

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