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Sermon #109 — Romans Series

 

Title:                                        Vessels of Wrath

and

 Vessels of Mercy

 

Text:                            Romans 9:22-24

Subject:                     The Justice of God’s Wrath and The

            Sovereignty of His Grace

Date:                          Sunday Morning — January 22, 2017

Reading:       Jeremiah 18:1-23 or Isaiah 64:1-12

Introduction:

 

Why are some people saved, while others are lost? Why are some taken to heaven, while others are cast into hell? Why was Adam allowed to fall in the garden and plunge our race into sin, spiritual death, and a state of wrath and condemnation? Could God not have prevented the fall? Could he not have kept Adam from sinning? Why was the sin-atoning blood of Christ shed only for some? Why is the atonement limited to the elect? Why do some reap the benefits of Christ’s work as the sinner’s Substitute, while others perish without atonement? Is not the blood of Christ of sufficient worth and merit to save all men, were it so intended by God? Why is it that some have the gospel preached to them, while others live and die without ever hearing a preacher’s voice? Why is the gospel made effectual to some who hear it, but not to others? In a word, why is it that some people are saved and others are lost? Why are not all people saved?

 

These questions have baffled the minds of men throughout history. Many have endeavored to answer these questions by ascribing to man a power that he does not have, and by placing limitations on the power and grace of God. We are told that, “God wants everyone to be saved, and that he has done everything he can to save all men. But God has given man a free-will. And he loves man too much to ever violate his will.” What kind of love is that?

 

In the state of Kentucky, if a father says to his three year old son, “Fasten your seat belt,” and the boy says, “I don’t want to,” if that boy is killed in a car wreck, the father can be tried, convicted, and sent to prison for manslaughter. If he pleaded, “But I loved my son too much to violate his will,” I daresay his love would be seriously questioned by both the judge and the jury.

 

It is beyond ridiculous, it is blasphemous to suggest that men and women go to hell because God loves them too much to violate their wills! Men are not lost because there is any lack of power in God to save the people he loves. Men are not lost because the blood of Christ is not sufficient to redeem the people for whom he died. Men are not lost because the grace of God the Holy Spirit is not powerful enough to overcome the will of those he calls.

 

Why, then, are some people lost and others saved? I know that there are many answers to that question which we shall not know until we have entered that blessed land where all things shall be revealed, and we shall know even as we are known. But the Word of God does give us one plain, clear, unmistakable answer to this question. It is found in Romans 9:22-24.

 

In the 9th chapter of Romans, Paul is vindicating the character of God, declaring both the justice of his wrath upon the unbelieving and the sovereignty of his grace toward his elect. This is what he says in our text — Romans 9:22-24.

 

(Romans 9:22-24) “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”

 

As God the Holy Ghost will enable me, I want to talk to you about these — Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of Mercy. That is the title of my message. — Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of Mercy.

 

Four Facts

 

Here are four indisputable facts which Paul gives us by divine inspiration in the 9th chapter of Romans:

 

1.    God’s eternal purpose of grace in election must and shall stand (vv. 11-13). It cannot and will not be altered. God loved Jacob and hated Esau, before they were born, before they had done anything, either good or bad. And those two men represent all men. We are all either Jacobs, the objects of God’s love, or Esaus, the objects of God’s wrath.

 

2.    God is absolutely sovereign in the exercise of his saving mercy (vv. 15-18). Salvation is not, in the least degree, determined or accomplished by the will and works of men. God “hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

3.    It is right for God to either save us or damn us, according to his own sovereign will (v. 21). He is the Potter. We are the clay. He is the Creator. We are the creatures. He is the Owner. We are his property. He can do with us what he will, as he sees fit (Jeremiah 18:1-6).

4.    In the end, some men and women will be saved and others will be damned (vv. 22-24). Why? The language of Holy Scripture is perfectly clear.

 

(Romans 9:22-24) “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”

 

Proposition: This is what I want you to see and know. — The vessels of wrath shall be damned, because, by their own evil deeds and unbelief, they are fitted for destruction; and the vessels of mercy shall be saved, because God, by his grace, has prepared them for glory.

 

Divisions: I want us to look carefully at these three verses (vv. 22-24). I am going to show you eight things which Paul states in them.

1.    God is willing to show his wrath.

2.    God is willing to make his power known.

3.    God patient and longsuffering with unbelieving sinners.

4.    Men are fitted for destruction by their own evil deeds.

5.    God has chosen some as vessels of mercy.

6.    It is God’s purpose to make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy.

7.    God prepares the vessels of mercy for eternal glory by the work of his grace.

8.    All who are called of God to life and faith in Christ are vessels of mercy, prepared by God for glory.

 

God’s Wrath

 

1st — Look at verse 22. Here Paul raises a question in answer to man’s charge that if God saves some and not all, according to his sovereign will, he is unjust. In this verse, Paul shows us that those who are the objects of God’s wrath justly deserve his wrath. This is the first thing Paul shows us — God is willing to show his wrath.

 

These words are terrible, but they are true. “God, willing to show his wrath.” Though we hear little about it in this day, the God of heaven is a God of wrath; and he is willing to show his wrath. His holiness, justice, and truth require it. — The Bible tells us plainly that God’s wrath burns against men.

 

I know what the prophets of deceit say. They say, “God hates sin, but loves the sinner.” That just is not true. David says, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5). God’s wrath is not like the wrath of man. Man’s wrath is a fickle passion. God’s wrath is a calm, settled determination to punish sin and destroy his enemies. It is God’s determination to do what is right. Here are three things plainly revealed about the wrath of God.

1.    The wrath of God is revealed against all sin.“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). — “For which things’ sake, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.”

2.    God’s wrath is constant.“God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11).

3.    God’s wrath is intolerable.“Who knows the power of thy wrath?” (Psalm 90:11). — “Who can stand before his indignation? And who can abide the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire” (Nahum 1:6).

 

We know that God is willing to show his wrath, because he has already shown it many times. Did he not cast the angels out of heaven down to hell in his fierce anger and wrath (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6)?

Š      Judgment fell upon them immediately.

Š      No opportunity was given for them to repent.

Š      No redeemer was found to retrieve them.

 

In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world and all the race of Adam in the flood, except for eight souls (Genesis 6: 5-7; 7:16-24; 2 Peter 2:5).

Š      Noah and his family, alone, found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Š      Noah and his family, alone, knew the gospel.

Š      Noah and his family, alone, believed the gospel.

Š      Noah, alone, preached the gospel.

 

Every other preacher in the world said, “Smile, God loves you; expect a miracle; God wants you to be happy, healthy, and wealthy; something good is going to happen to you today; God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life; good news, world, God loves you.”

 

They were all liars. Everyone who believed them died in the flood of God’s wrath. Noah alone was honest and faithful. Noah alone told his generation the truth. He said, “God is angry with you; and he will destroy you in his wrath, unless you get into the ark he has provided. Get into the ark! Get into the ark! Get into the ark!”

 

Surely, the smoldering ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah should be enough to convince all that God is willing to show his wrath (Genesis 19:24-25). The fire of God out of heaven destroyed those cities. Every building crumbled. Every tree, every flower, every blade of grass was incinerated. And every man, every woman, every teenager, every child, every baby in Sodom was consumed in the fire of God’s holy wrath!

 

The greatest exhibition of God’s just and holy wrath that could ever be seen was the death of his dear Son as the sinner’s Substitute (Isaiah 53:10).

Š      Christ is the dear object of the Father’s love.

Š      Christ had no sin of his own.

Š      Yet, when God found sin on his own dear Son, he was willing to show his wrath. He said, “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow…smite the Shepherd!” (Zechariah 13:7).

 

God is willing to show his wrath upon you who believe not (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10).

 

(2 Thessalonians 2:8-10) “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, (10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

 

I solemnly warn you who despise the Christ of God, I warn you who go on in your determined unbelief, I warn you who now refuse to bow to Christ, God will, without restraint, pour out his wrath upon you in hell!

 

God’s Power

 

2ndGod is willing to make his power known. God is willing to show his wrath. And it is God’s will to make his power known to all his creatures. He said to Abram, “I am the Almighty God” (Genesis 17:1). David said, “The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty, the Lord is clothed with strength…The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea than the mighty waves of the sea” (Psalm 93:1, 4). Jeremiah said, “Oh, Lord God! Behold thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17). And God himself raised the challenge, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).

 

The Lord our God has given us many brilliant examples of his power.

Š      In the creation of the world, “he spake and it was done…he commanded and all things stood fast” (Psalm 33:9).

Š      In the providential rule of the world all things are upheld by the word of his power and “he doeth according to his will” (Daniel 4:35; Psalm 115:3; 135:6).

Š      In ruling, governing, restraining, and bridling the wicked, God shows his mighty power (Psalm 76:10).

Š      In the conversion of sinners by his grace, God reveals the greatness of his power.

 

Conversion is accomplished “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord(Zechariah 4:6). We are saved by “the wisdom of God and the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). I fully agree with Robert Murray M’Cheyne, who said, “I believe the converting of a soul is something greater than the making of a world.”

 

But, Romans 9:22 declares that God is willing to show his power in the destruction and eternal ruin of your soul, just as he did in the overthrow of Pharaoh at the Red Sea (Romans 9:17). God raised up Pharaoh for this very purpose, that he might show the power of his wrath in him. And I tell you who believe not, if you die in your sins, God has raised you up for no other purpose but this, to show his power in you. You will serve no other useful purpose. If you believe not, the only way you can serve the cause of God’s glory is in your eternal ruin.

 

Illustration: Old Yeller

 

This is what God says. — “I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment” (Isaiah 63:3). — You “shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord that judgeth” (Matthew 10:28). God will not destroy your being; but he will destroy your well-being. This is the power of his wrath. God will hold you up with one hand and pour out his wrath with the other!

 

God’s Longsuffering

 

3rd — Paul shows us that God is patient and longsuffering with unbelieving sinners.Notice Paul’s language. — God is willing to show his wrath and make his power known, but only after he has “endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”

 

God was longsuffering and patient with Pharaoh. He gave Pharaoh every benefit of life, fed him, and clothed him royally. God spoke to Pharaoh by his prophet Moses repeatedly. God urged him to repent. God warned him, by indisputable miracles, of his power and judgment. But Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to repent. Who can charge God with unrighteousness in destroying such a man? And none of you can deny this fact: God has been patient and longsuffering with you!

Š      God supports you in life, feeds you, clothes you, and maintains your health, while you live in rebellion to him. That is patience!

Š      God has providentially bestowed upon you the good things of life.

 

You live in a land of freedom and prosperity. You have healthy children, a devoted companion, a secure job, a comfortable house, plenty of food, nice clothes, a dependable car, and money in your pocket. Yet, you use it all to gratify your own lusts, and never look up to God with a thankful heart. And you live on in downright enmity against him. God is longsuffering!

 

Š      And God has given you the means of grace. He has declared the gospel to you repeatedly by his servant.

 

You have a Bible. If you would search the Scriptures, you might find Christ. But you despise the Word. You have a gospel ministry. Three times every week you could attend the ministry of the Word in a comfortable, air conditioned building. You could hear the message of grace every day by modern media, every hour, if you wanted to. But you are too busy to go to church. You are too anxious to go to hell to take a few minutes to hear the gospel. You have a mouth. You could call upon the name of the Lord. If you would call, he would save you. But you will not. You are too proud, too much in love with yourself and too much full of hatred toward God. It is a thousand wonders to me that God did not send you to hell long ago! God is longsuffering! Yet, you will dare to challenge God’s justice in casting you into hell! What madness! What folly! What insanity!

 

Fitted for Destruction

 

4th — Paul tells us that men and women are fitted to destruction by their own evil deeds. The vessels of wrath are “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction,” fitted to destruction, not by anything God has done, but by your own willful sin, rebellion, and unbelief!

 

If you die in your sins, and you are forever lost in hell, it will not be because of God’s decree that you are lost. It will not be because God would not save you. It will be because of your own willful, deliberate unbelief. Eternal damnation is the direct fruit of unbelief (Proverbs 1:23-33).

Š      Every time you hear the gospel and despise it, you hardened your heart, like Pharaoh in Egypt, and become a little harder (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). — Oh, may God break you, for Christ’s sake!

Š      Every time you hear the gospel and refuse to believe, you spit in God’s face and called him a liar (1 John 5:10).

 

You have despised the goodness, forbearance, patience, and longsuffering of God. And “after the hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5). If your soul is forever damned, you are inexcusable! What man in his senses could ever find fault with God for casting all such vessels of wrath into the pit of destruction? — Repent this moment! Believe on Christ now! “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:1-8).

 

(Isaiah 55:1-3) “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (2) Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. (3) Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

 

(Isaiah 55:6-8) “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”

 

Some Chosen

 

5th — Now, I want you to look at verse 23. Paul has told us why some are lost.

1.    God is willing to show his wrath.

2.    God is willing to show his power.

3.    God has been patient and longsuffering with you.

4.    Vessels of wrath are fitted for destruction by their own willful sin and unbelief.

 

In verse 23 things are different. Here God the Holy Spirit tells us why God’s elect are saved. — “That he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” — This is the fifth thing I want you to see. — God has chosen some of Adam’s fallen race as vessels of mercy. God’s elect are called “vessels of mercy.” They are made from the same lump of clay as the “vessels of wrath,” but God has chosen to make them “vessels of mercy.” The honorable end of the vessels of mercy and the dishonorable end of the vessels of wrath were both predestined by God, the Potter, before he ever made the clay, our father Adam. God knew what he was doing when he took the clay in his hands. I may not be able to understand his sovereign predestination, but I will not attempt to rob him of the right. This much we are told, and told in unmistakable terms. —— God predestined the end of both the vessels of mercy and the vessels of wrath. But the vessels of wrath fitted themselves for destruction. Whereas the vessels of mercy were prepared by God unto glory. John Gill wrote concerning these vessels of mercy…

 

“They are not called vessels of mercy because they are more deserving of mercy than others. They are in no wise better than others, and are by nature children of wrath even as others. They are called vessels of mercy because God, of his infinite goodness, fills them with his mercy, displays it in them, in the redemption of them by his Son, in the regeneration of them by his Spirit, and in their eternal salvation.”

 

Who are the vessels of mercy? — The people of God’s choice, prepared for glory in the covenant of grace. Who are these vessels of mercy? — Even we “whom he hath called.”

 

These vessels of mercy were prepared for eternal glory in the purpose, decree, and covenant of God’s grace before the world began. I will say more about the preparation of the vessels of mercy for glory. But now I want you to simply see that they were “afore prepared unto glory.” God chose who would be vessels of mercy and predestinated them unto eternal glory before the foundations of the earth were laid (Ephesians 1:3-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 8:28-30).

Š      God’s election took place in eternity (2 Timothy 1:9).

Š      God’s choice of his people was an unconditional election of grace (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).

 

Illustration: Billy Graham tried to explain away the gospel doctrine of election, saying, “God voted for you; and the devil voted against you; but you must cast the deciding vote.There are just three things wrong with that statement. (1.) The Devil was not a registered voter. (2.) You were too young to vote. And (3.) God alone made the choice (John 15:16).

 

Š      God’s election was the personal choice of specific individuals to eternal life (Romans 9:11; Jeremiah 1:5).

Š      God’s election was an act of mercy, grace, and love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Š      God’s election is an immutable, unalterable, unchangeable decree. — “I will be your God – You shall be my people” (Ezekiel 36:24-28).

Š      God’s election secured and guaranteed the everlasting salvation of his people (Jeremiah 32:38-40; Psalm 65:4).

Š      God’s election of his people in Christ is a cause for great joy, praise, and thanksgiving (2 Samuel 6:21).

 

“`Tis not that I did choose Thee,

For Lord, that could not be;

This heart would still refuse Thee,

Hadst Thou not chosen me.

Thou from the sin that stained me

Hast cleansed and set me free;

Of old Thou hast ordained me,

That I should live to Thee.

 

`Twas sov’reign mercy called me

And taught my op’ning mind;

The world had else enthralled me,

To heav’nly glories blind.

My heart owns none before Thee,

For Thy rich grace I thirst;

This knowing, if I love Thee,

Thou must have loved me first!”

 

In order to accomplish his purpose of mercy and grace in Christ toward us the Lord God predestinated all things for that end.

Š      God predestinated that we should be like his Son (Roman 8:29).

Š      God predestinated all things to bring us to his Son and conform us to the image of his Son (Ephesians 1:11).

Š      And God rules all things according to his purpose of grace in predestination for the ultimate, eternal salvation of his elect (Romans 8:28).

Everything God does, or allows to be done, is to prepare the vessels of mercy unto glory.

 

God’s Glory

 

6th — Paul shows us that — It is the purpose of God to show forth and make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy. God’s purpose of grace is “that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy.” One reason why God endures the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction is that he may show by contrast the riches of his grace on the vessels of mercy.

 

Many things are learned best by contrast. For example: The rainbow is never so bright, colorful, and beautiful as it is when seen against the background of a dark cloud. And it would not be possible for us to see the love and mercy and grace of God so gloriously displayed in us, were it not for the contrast of his wrath upon others who are by nature just like us. We could never have known the greatness of redeeming love, had it not been for the sin and fall of our father Adam. And that is just the reason why God ordained the fall, that he might reveal his mercy, love, grace, and glory to us in the fullest way possible for the glory of his own great name in saving sinners.

 

God’s chief end in all things is his own glory (Proverbs 16:4; Revelation 4:11). And God’s purpose to glorify himself will not be frustrated. God’s primary goal in all that he does is to make himself an everlasting and a glorious name (Isaiah 63:12-14). Many think that God’s chief end is the happiness of man.

 

That is the constant theme of peaching by the modern religious hucksters we have around us today. They preach health, wealth, and happiness; and tell men, “God wants you to be prosperous, healthy, and happy.” But it is all a delusion. If it were God’s will for all men to be happy, all would be happy. God’s chief end is the manifestation of his own glory. Had that not been his purpose, why would he ever have created the world in the beginning?

 

There are vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy, so that both might be mirrors to reflect the glorious attributes of God forever. And in the end, when creation is done, when redemption is done, when judgment is done, when time is no more, there will be a complete manifestation of God’s glory in all things (Revelation 5:12-14). Even the final destruction of the vessels of wrath will be a cause for praise to God (Revelation 19:1-7).

 

Every one of us will show forth, in one way or another, the glory of God. Every creature must form a step to the Creator’s throne. You will either glorify God willingly, or unwillingly; but you will glorify God. Some of you would rob God of his glory if you could; but you cannot. You will either be a monument to his wrath, or a monument to his mercy. If you come to Christ in repentance and faith, you will show forth the glory of his grace in saving you. If you go on in your rebellion and unbelief, if you refuse to trust Christ, God will show forth the power of his wrath in destroying you as a vessel of his wrath, fitted to destruction.

 

But, thank God, he has chosen some as vessels of mercy on whom he will show the riches of his glory (Ephesians 2:7). The primary purpose of God in the election, redemption, and eternal salvation of his people is the glory of his own great Being (Psalm 106:8; Ezekiel 36:21-23).

 

M’Cheyne said, “I believe “the riches of glory” here spoken of are the whole rainbow of the Divine attributes displayed in the salvation of souls.” All of the Divine attributes are most gloriously displayed in our salvation; but I cannot here describe them all. Let me just call your attention to four of the many riches of glory which God has made known by saving the vessels of mercy; and in enduring the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.

 

1.    In these two things, the destruction of the vessels of wrath and the salvation of the vessels of mercy, I see the glorious sovereignty of God.

 

It is the contrast between the vessels of wrath and the vessels of mercy that reveal God’s sovereignty. We could not know God’s sovereignty in saving us, were it not for these vessels of wrath. We were all the same by nature; but God put a difference between the elect and the reprobate (1 Corinthians 4:7).

 

2.    In the ruin of the vessels of wrath and in the redemption of the vessels of mercy the infinite, inflexible justice of God is revealed.

 

Š      God’s justice is revealed in the torments of the damned.

Š      But his justice is most fully revealed, most gloriously revealed in the death of Christ as our Substitute. God would not bend his law, even to save his Son. — “He saved others; himself he cannot save!”

 

3.    God’s eternal grace and pardoning mercy is revealed on the vessels of mercy; but it could not have been revealed so fully had there been no vessels of wrath. Had there been no fall, we could never have known grace. Were there no vessels of wrath, we could not properly value God’s pardoning mercy. Yes, hell itself shall redound to the glory of God, and be used by God for our good, for heaven’s sweetness to us will be greatly enhanced by the constant remembrance that we deserved the torments of hell.

4.    And the everlasting contrast between the vessels of mercy and the vessels of wrath, most especially as it is seen in the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, reveals the infinite, indescribable love of God.“The Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.”

 

They say that hatred is the absence of love. That may or may not be true. But of this I am sure — We could never have known God’s love for us, were his wrath never revealed. And the contrast between love and wrath makes love more precious (1 John 4:9-10). The goodness of God could not be known, unless the severity of God were also known (Romans 11:22).

 

God’s Grace

 

7th — Paul tells us that God prepares the vessels of mercy for eternal glory by the work of his grace. The vessels of wrath are destroyed under the wrath of God, because they are fitted for destruction, made fit for destruction by their own sin, rebellion, and unbelief. And the vessels of mercy enter into heaven’s eternal glory, because they are prepared, made fit and worthy of glory, by the work of God’s rich, free grace in Christ. How does God prepare his elect, the vessels of mercy, and make them worthy of heaven’s glory?

 

I do not suggest that any are worthy of heaven in themselves, or that the vessels of mercy contribute anything to their own worthiness before God. We do not. In ourselves we are as sinful, vile, and wicked as any other wretch of Adam’s fallen race. But, in Christ, God’s elect are prepared, made fit and worthy, for heaven’s glory (Colossians 1:12). — How?

1.    The blood of Christ has cleansed us from all our sins (1 John 1:9).

2.    The righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:9).

3.    The nature of Christ has been imparted to us (2 Peter 1:4).

4.    The body of sin, the nature of our father Adam, shall soon be destroyed and separated from us forever (1 Corinthians 15:50).

5.    These bodies shall be raised, glorified, transformed into the glorious image of Christ, our glorified Savior (2 Corinthians 15:47-49).

 

Read these three verses together again (vv. 22-24). This is Paul’s argument: — If God is willing to show his wrath on the vessels of wrath, who fit themselves for destruction, whom he endures with much longsuffering and patience, who can charge him with injustice or cruelty? And if God is willing to show the glory of his great attributes on the vessels of mercy, by saving them and bringing them to heaven in a way entirely consistent with his holiness, justice, and truth, having prepared them for heaven through the substitutionary work of his Son, and by the mighty, gracious operations of his Spirit, who can charge him with folly? What man in his senses would object to God acting in such a manner?

 

The Called

 

8thAll who are called of God to life and faith in Christ are vessels of mercy, prepared by God for glory.

 

(Romans 9:22-24) “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”

 

Am I called? And can it be!

Has my Savior chosen me?

Guilty, wretched as I am,

Has He named my worthless name?

Vilest of the vile am I.

Dare I raise my hopes so high?

 

Am I called? I know I am,

For I trust God’s Son, the Lamb;

Here I lay me at Thy feet,

Clinging to the mercy-seat:

Yours I am and Yours alone;

Lord, with me, Your will be done!

 

Application

 

1.    It is not God’s will, purpose, intention, or desire to save everyone. God has ordained that there be both vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath.

2.    It is God’s purpose that all men serve his glory, and you will, either as a vessel of wrath or a vessel of mercy.

3.    God is now enduring with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath; but he will not always be so merciful. The day of his wrath is coming.

4.    If you go to hell, it will be your own fault. You will have no one to blame but yourself. But if you are saved, it will be God’s work alone. You will have no one to praise but God. Believe, and you shall live. Believe not, and you shall be damned.

5.    If you die in your sins, in rebellion to Christ, I want you to know three things. Most preachers would not tell you these things. You may think me hard and cruel. That does not matter. They are true, and you need to hear them. Maybe they will be blessed of God to your soul’s eternal salvation.

Š      If you refuse to believe, you will not frustrate God’s eternal purpose (Romans 3:3-4).

Š      If you refuse to believe, you will not rob God of his glory.

Š      If you refuse to believe, you will not have one eye to pity you at the bar of God, and none to pity your tormented soul in hell. The vessels of wrath will cause neither God nor his elect grief. — (Aaron and His Sons Eleazar and Ithamar in Leviticus 10)

 

The vessels of wrath will cause neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Ghost any grief. And the vessels of wrath will cause the vessels of mercy no grief. The redeemed will not shed one tear over the damned. The destruction of the vessels of wrath will only make known the riches of God’s grace on the vessels of mercy. If you repent and trust Christ, we will rejoice with you. But if you refuse to bow to our King, we will not suffer with you. Oh, may God now give you faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and save you by his almighty, irresistible grace, for Chris’s sake!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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