Romans 9:15-21

In Romans 9:15-21 Paul continues his history lesson. He reminds the people of God’s words to Moses: “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” God doesn’t have to explain Himself to us. He is fully able to make choices and decisions as He wishes without explanation to any man. We must remember what mercy is. Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. God is never less than fair with anyone, but fully reserves the right to be more than fair with individuals as He chooses. Grace is one way God shows that compassion as He gives us what we don’t deserve without regard to who we are or what we have done.

The bottom line is the world happens as God desires without need for anything from mankind. God doesn’t need our opinions, or help, to keep the world going round and round. He alone is in control and does as He wishes. “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” God’s mercy is not given to us because of what we wish to do, or because of what we actually do, but simply out of His desire to show mercy. We serve a gracious and loving God who chooses to show mercy and provide a path to becoming righteous through grace that He offered us through Christ.

Paul continues by reminding us of how God used Pharaoh in Egypt to proclaim His name. “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” God allowed Pharaoh in the days of Moses to rise to power so that God could show the strength of His judgment against Pharaoh, and thereby glorify Himself. “So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”  Sometimes God will glorify Himself through showing mercy; sometimes God will glorify Himself through a man’s hardness. God is in control and determines that on His own.

Paul imagines someone asking, “If it is all a matter of God’s choice, then how can God find fault with me? How can anyone go against God’s choice?” “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” God is God and doesn’t have to answer to or even make sense to what we think. “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” God’s God. We’re not. We need to remember that. “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” God as Creator has the ultimate right to determine what happens in life and His world.

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