The Letter to the Romans



32. God's Mercy and Sovereignity


Romans 9:19-24

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

20 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?' "

21 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?

22 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?

23 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-

24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?


Key Words

Objects of wrath

Objects of mercy

Prepared for destruction

Prepared for glory


Paul has just expounded on the reality that God in His sovereignty chooses who will be His servants and who will not. Further, He is sovereign over even wicked people, and he uses them in the accomplishment of His purposes. Our salvation depends upon God's mercy, and "he hardens whom he wants to harden" (v.18).


1. Paul now addresses the question some will ask: why, if God is sovereign over the saved and the lost, does He "blame" us when we resist His will? Our resistance is just God's will. Compare/contrast Romans 3:7 with 2 Samuel 16:10, 2 Chronicles 20:6; and Daniel 4:35. What attitude is Paul addressing when he speaks to those who would ask why a sovereign God holds them guilty for their sin?



2. Is Paul silencing our questions of God, or is there another attitude he is reproving? (see Job 1:22; 9:12; 40:2)



3. Why do we not have the right to blame God for our circumstances and identities? (see Isaiah 64:8; 29:16; 45:9; 10:15; Jeremiah 18:6)



4. How do verses 20 and 21 inform the understanding many of us had that the Investigative Judgment and the millennium are for the purposes of God explaining Himself and answering all our questions?



5. Who are the objects of God's wrath, prepared for destruction? (see Proverbs 16:4; Romans 1: 18-20, 30; 2:5-11; Revelation 16:9-11)



6. In light of the fact that we cannot call God to account to us for what He does, how do we know that His judgments are not arbitrary? (see Romans 2:4-5; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Revelation 2:20-21)



7. What are the "riches of his glory" which God is making known to the objects of His mercy and from which we have all "fallen short"? (see Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:5-6; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10; Hebrews 2:5-12)



8. Based on verses 22-24, God has people prepared in advance both for destruction and glory. Which does this passage emphasize more: God's wrath or his mercy? Explain.




9. Are you an object of God's wrath or of His mercy, and how do you know?



10. In what ways has God exercised His great patience with you?



11. What areas of your life is God asking you to surrender to Him in order that He may transform it with His glory?



12. Praise God for His patience that brings those like you and me deserving wrath into His mercy. Ask Him to reveal to you the areas of your life which you need to surrender to Him. Ask Him to fill you with the power of His Spirit and to heal you and make you new in the places of your brokenness. Thank Him that he has chosen you to receive His mercy, and ask Him to live out His mercy through your life.


Copyright (c) 2006 Graphics Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted June 21, 2006.
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