Monday Morning: 01 Apr 2019 – Romans 9:18-33 ~ vessels of mercy

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (Collect for Purity)

Almighty God: to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of my heart through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ my Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Romans 9:18-33 (NLT)

So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.

Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”

No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.

Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea,

“Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.”

And,

“Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”

And concerning Israel, Isaiah the prophet cried out,

“Though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore,
only a remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth quickly and with finality.”

And Isaiah said the same thing in another place:

“If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of our children, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah.”

Israel’s Unbelief

What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said,

“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

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Morning Reflection:

“God’s glory is promoted in the overthrow of a sinner as much as in saving one.” – James M Stifler, “The Epistle to the Romans”

Today’s reading doesn’t get any easier. Paul continues his teaching on God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. (See Romans 9:1-18 ~ chosen to receive mercy.)

In today’s reading, Paul uses the analogy of the potter’s right to shape and use the clay any way he chooses. Some vessels are used for beauty, and some are used for garbage. (vs 21)

“The human race is dealt with by God according to his own wisdom, and there are vessels of mercy unto glory, and vessels of wrath unto destruction.” – T F Lockyear

Paul then cites the examples of realized prophecies in the Old Testament –

+ Hosea – God’s right to reject Israel for idolatry, and God’s right to restore.
+ Isaiah – God’s right, while rejecting Israel, to spare a remnant, with whom the Gentiles would be joined.

Up to this point in our reading, the obvious question is: “Has God made me a vessel of mercy or a vessel of wrath?” And in the last verse, Paul gives us a clue – a standard by which we can assess our status. Speaking of Israel’s unbelief –

God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” – Romans 9:33

Questions for consideration:

  • What does it mean to be a “vessel of wrath,” destined for destruction? Think about people that you know. What are some of the practical implications? Please explain.
  • What does it mean to be a “vessel of mercy,” destined for glory? Think about people that you know. What are some of the practical implications? Please explain.
  • How does God’s patience fit into all of this? Why does God delay his judgement on those with whom he is angry? Please explain.
  • What does it mean to trust in the “stumbling stone” God has provided? Please explain. If you’re not sure, click here for help.

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Morning Prayer:

Heavenly Father: You are the potter, I am the clay, shape me into a vessel of mercy according to your great purpose for my life. I place my trust in your Son, Jesus Christ who is my Savior and Lord. Do what you must with me that the riches of your glory may shine brightly in me. I ask this in Jesus’ name and for you glory. Amen.
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“Cornerstone” – Hillsong

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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