“Cannot I do with you as this potter?”
God’s glorious sovereignty is most clearly revealed in His works of grace (Romans 8:28-34; 9:1-24; Ephesians 1:3-14). — I rejoice to know that God is sovereign in creation and in providence, — that He is sovereign and in control of all men and devils, kings and paupers. I am thankful that my heavenly Father rules all the thoughts and deeds of men, all the elements, events, and influences of the universe. I cannot tell you how that fact rejoices this man’s heart. But, above all else, I rejoice in the glorious revelation of God’s sovereignty in the exercise of His grace.
God chose to save a people for Himself. He chose whom He would save. He found a way to save them – Substitution! He predestined all things to secure their salvation. And this great, glorious, sovereign Lord God graciously saves His elect, every one of them, at His appointed time, in His appointed place, by His appointed means (Psalm 107:1-3; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 4:7; Psalm 115:1). “Salvation is of the Lord!” — “By the grace of God I am what I am!”
I want you to know this, and rejoice in it. — God is absolutely sovereign. You are clay in His hands. He can and will do with you exactly as He pleases. You cannot resist Him. You cannot control Him. But that is not the only lesson to be learned from the potter’s house.
The message God gave Jeremiah in the potter’s house was twofold. The first lesson from the potter’s house is this: — Our God is irresistibly sovereign. We rejoice in that. But God is not arbitrarily sovereign. So this is the second lesson. — In the exercise of His sovereignty God is always equitable and just. That is the second thing Jeremiah was taught in the potter’s house (vv. 7-10).
God dispenses His favors sovereignly and unconditionally. Anyone who speaks contrary to that is a rebel against God, and is ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the character of God. But God does not punish men arbitrarily or unconditionally. God has not arbitrarily predestinated anyone to hell. Anyone who teaches such a doctrine as that is also ignorant of both the Scriptures and the character of God.
Our enemies attempt to mar the beauty of the Gospel we preach by telling men that we preach a God who has arbitrarily predestinated some people to go to hell, and that they cannot be saved even if they want to be. Anyone who lays that charge against us and against the Gospel we preach is a bald-faced liar! I have never preached such a doctrine, neither do the men with whom I am associated. — Salvation is unconditional, without works. Grace is free. But wrath, judgment, and eternal damnation are conditional, based entirely upon the works of wicked men.
· Vessels of mercy were “afore prepared for glory” by God. — Vessels of wrath are “fitted for destruction” by their own wicked works.
· There are no degrees of reward in heaven, because heaven and eternal life are the free gifts of God’s free grace in Christ. — But there are degrees of punishment in hell, because death and hell, the torments of eternal damnation, are the wages of sin (Matthew 11:20-24).
· If you are saved, forgiven, and an heir of eternal life, if you go to heaven, that is all God’s work and God’s praise. – He chose you. – He redeemed you by the precious blood of Christ. – He called you by the irresistible power and almighty grace of His Spirit. – He keeps you in His omnipotent hands of mercy, and will not let you go.
· But, if you are lost, if you die in your unbelief and sin, if you go to hell, that is all your own work and your own fault. – You earned it. – You deserved it. – You chose it. – And you shall eat the fruit of your own ways and be filled with your own devices (Proverbs 1:23-33).
God is always equitable and just in the exercise of His sovereignty (Psalm 89:13-14). When God threatens wrath, if the sinner repents, He will be merciful (vv. 7-8). God cannot and does not change His mind; but He does change His course of action, at least as it appears to men. We see this repeatedly in the Book of Judges. Whenever the nation of Israel repented of their evil and turned to the Lord, He forgave them and delivered them. — Certainly, God’s dealings with Nineveh in the Book of Jonah show this in a remarkable way.
When God bestows His blessings upon a people, if they despise His mercy, He will turn against them in wrath (vv. 9-10), as exemplified by God removing the priesthood from Eli’s house (1 Samuel 2:30-36), and in the casting away of Israel (Romans 11:20-27).
Just in Mercy
The Lord God Almighty is so righteous and just, so holy and true, so good and faithful that He will not save any sinner without a suitable Substitute (2 Corinthians 5:21). He who is “a just God and a Savior” (Isaiah 45:20) will not save any sinner without a suitable Substitute. Be sure you get that; but be sure you get this, too. – The Lord our God is so merciful that He will not turn away, or condemn, or refuse to be gracious to any sinner who turns to Him in faith, trusting the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-13).
Faith in Christ is the redemption purchase of Christ’s blood, the evidence of redemption by Christ; and none can perish for whom the Son of God shed His precious blood at Calvary!
There is only one way you can “make your ways and your doings good,” and that is by faith in Christ. Turn to Him, trust Him, and you will find that in Christ, in union with Him, “your ways and your doings (are) good” before God (Jeremiah 17:14)
We are but “clay in the Potter’s hand.” How thankful we ought to be. Our omnipotent, gracious, sovereign Potter, the God of all grace, will never suffer His chosen vessels of mercy to be marred in His hand!
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com