Sermon #1321†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† Miscellaneous Notes
††††††††††† Title:†† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† Objections To
Godís Sovereignty Answered
††††††††††† Text:†††††††††††††† Romans 9:19-33
††††††††††† Subject:††††††††† Objections to Godís Sovereignty Answered
††††††††††† Date:†††††††††††††† Sunday Morning Bible Class - April 12, 1998
††††††††††† Tape #†††††††††††† U-62b
††††††††††† Whenever unbelieving men hear the message of Godís sovereignty, unless they are converted by Godís grace, they respond by raising three very common objections. Throughout the age, the objections have always been the same. They do not vary as much as a syllable. I want to deal with those objection in this message. If you are taking notes, the title of my message is OBJECTIONS TO GODíS SOVEREIGNTY ANSWERED. Our text will be Romans 9:19-33. The answers given to those objections in this chapter will not stop the mouths of reprobate men ho despise Godís sovereignty, or satisfy their quibbles. But they will satisfy the hearts and minds of all who believe God.
††††††††††† If we declare that God has forever cast off the Jews as a nation, that the chosen objects of his grace are found among both Jews and Gentiles, and that these chosen sinners scattered among all the nations of the world are the true Israel of God, they respond saying, If that is the case, then the Word of God is of no effect. Either God will yet turn again to Israel and restore to them his kingdom, or his Word is null and void.
††††††††††† Paul answered that objection in verses 6-8. The purpose of God has not failed at all. Salvation was never promised to Abrahamís physical seed, but to his spiritual seed. His spiritual seed is Christ and all who are in Christ (vv. 6-8; Gal. 3:13-16).
Galatians 3:13-16† "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (15) Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. (16) Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
The casting off of natural Israel was always in the purpose of God. The Jews rejected the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, nailed him to the cursed tree, and were cast off by God precisely because he had purposed from eternity to save his elect his true Israel, and gather them from the four corners of the earth. The Lord God cast off the Jews that the fulness of the Gentiles might be brought in, that he might save us by is grace. God still has an elect remnant among the Jews who must be saved; but his true Israel includes his elect remnant among the Gentiles too (Rom. 11:25-26).
Romans 11:25-26† "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (26) And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:"
††††††††††† When we declare the glorious gospel doctrine of Godís sovereign election, his free, electing love in Christ, as Paul did in verse 9-13, where he gives the very words of God himself, who said ďJacob have I loved, but Esau have I hatedí, unbelieving men and women, specially religious people, raise this objection - Thatís not fair! That isnít right!. That makes God unrighteous. Paul answers that objection in verse 14-18.
††††††††††† This eighteenth verse is a plain, crystal clear declaration of Godís absolute sovereignty in the whole affair of salvation. God almighty has the unquestionable right and power to have mercy on whom he will. The illustration Paul used of Godís sovereignty was Pharaoh.
††††††††††† The Scriptures declare that Pharaoh hardened his heart against the Lord (Ex. 9:34-35) and that the Lord hardened Pharaohís heart (Ex. 10:1). Both are true. Pharaoh hardened his heart in rebellion and unbelief; and God hardened Pharaohís heart in leaving him in his rebellion and unbelief.
††††††††††† God still hardens menís hearts today, just as he has in the past. All it takes for God to harden your heart is for him to leave you lone, to leave you to yourself, to your own wisdom, and your own evil ways. If light is not given, darkness will reign. If faith is not granted, unbelief prevails. If grace is not bestowed, hardness of hart only increases. Wherever the Word of God is rejected, wherever the means of grace is despised, it becomes a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, leaving those who despise it in greater hardness of heart and greater condemnation (2 Cor. 2:15-16).
2 Corinthians 2:15-16† "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"
††††††††††† If we get this far without being stoned to death and assert that God does indeed have mercy on whom he will and then dare to declare that Godís sovereign, eternal will and purpose is absolute and irresistible, eyes begin to bulge, veins pop out, and raging sinners, who are so mad a God they could spit nails, raise this third objection to his sovereignty, which Paul states in verse 19
††††††††††† The objection is this - If Godís will is absolutely sovereign and irresistible, if he so completely governs all things that even the wrath and evil deeds of wicked men serve his purpose, if no one and nothing has the power to resist his will, that just makes us nothing but robots. Why does he blame sinners for anything?
††††††††††† Paul give three answers to this third objection in verse 20-33.
††††††††††† 1. It is utter foolishness and the height of absurd arrogance for any man to dare presume to sit in judgment upon God! Who are you, who am I to dare question the wisdom, righteousness, and goodness of God? How dares a worm sit himself up as the judge of God! God almighty does not do something because it is right. What God does is right because he does it! (v. 20).
††††††††††† 2. God is the Potter, we are nothing but clay in his hands, just wet mud, nothing else! God, as our Creator, the Potter, has the absolute right, power, and authority to make what he wills of us, either vessels of wrath or vessels of mercy (v. 21; Isa. 64:8; Jer. 18:1-6).
Isaiah 64:8† "But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand."
Jeremiah 18:1-6† "The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, (2) Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. (3) Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. (4) And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (5) Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, (6) O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel."
††††††††††† 3. In verses 22-33, the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to tell us that God has determined to make known two things in this universe, by which all will be compelled acknowledge him alone as God: The Power of His Wrath and The Riches of His Glory in His Grace.
††††††††††† The Lord God almighty is a God of justice and wrath as well as a God of mercy and grace in Christ. As such, he is determined to make all men see both the power and justice of his holy wrath against sin in the ďvessels of wrath fitted to destructionĒ.
††††††††††† Notice that these vessels of wrath are people fitted to destruction. The word fitted means thoroughly and completely made up to. They are people fitted to destruction not by what God has done but by what they do, by their own sin, unbelief, and hardness of heart, just like Pharaoh (1 Thess. 5:9; 1 Pet. 2:8; Jude 4).
1 Thessalonians 5:9† "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,"
1 Peter 2:8† "And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."
Jude 1:4† "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
††††††††††† These vessels of wrath are endured by God with great longsuffering, not for their sakes, but for the sake of his elect, the vessels of mercy, whom he has purposed to save (2 Pet. 3:9).
††††††††††† Be sure you catch the difference in wording here. The vessels of wrath are said to be fitted (fitted by their own hands) for destruction. Whereas Godís elect are said to be ďthe vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto gloryĒ. They were from eternity prepared for glory, and are by redemption and grace prepared for glory by Godís hands, by what God has done for them and in them through the mediation of his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
††††††††††† Paul is here describing the distinguishing grace and sovereign mercy of God toward his elect (2 Cor. 4:7). We have not received Godís mercy, love and grace in Christ because were better, or wiser, or made a better choice than others, but because God chose us in Christ before the world began and revealed his grace in us to show forth and get praise to his own glory (Eph. 1:1-14; 2:4-7).
††††††††††† Again, in verse 24, Paul tells us that the promise of eternal not to Abrahamís physical seed, but to his spiritual seed - Christ, and all who are in him by the grace f God, both Jew and Gentile.
††††††††††† In verses 25-28 Paul quotes from Hosea (2:23), showing that the Old Testament prophets spoke plainly of a time when God would finish his work with the nation of Israel and call his elect from among the Gentiles. He made a truly short work in the earth, when he destroyed the Jewish church and nation in righteousness and sent the gospel to the nations of the world. Yet, there is still in that nation an elect remnant who shall be saved. How like our God this is. In wrath he remembers mercy!
††††††††††† Now, look at verse 29. Here the Holy Spirit shows us something of the glory and majesty of the doctrine of election. Many say, ďThat is a hard doctrine.Ē Nothing could be further from the truth. This doctrine is a cause for rejoicing. Election does not shut the gates of heaven. It opens them! Were it not for Godís electing mercy, love and grace in Christ, we would all perish, both Jew and Gentile. We would all be destroyed, like Sodom and Gomorrah.
††††††††††† Verses 30-33 show us the conclusion of the matter. This is the result of Godís purpose of grace toward his elect and his just wrath upon the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. The Jews, who had the oracles of God and sought righteousness not by faith in Christ, but by their works, stumbled over Christ the stumbling stone, and perished. Whereas, the Gentiles chosen by Godís grace, redeemed by Christ blood, and called by his Spirit, though they made no pretense of righteousness or of seeking it, have obtained it in Christ by faith alone. Thus, the Scripture is fulfilled in us believing Gentiles, where God said, ďI am found of them that sought me not.Ē
††††††††††† The Lord Jesus Christ, our crucified Substitute, is by Godís own appointment, a stumbling stone and rock of offense, over which proud, self-righteous religionists trip into hell. But he is a tried and sure foundation stone upon which guilty, helpless sinners, trusting his blood and righteousness alone, are built by the grace of God. And those who trust him shall never be ashamed. True believers, those who trust Christ alone for all righteousness before God, shall never be ashamed of trusting him alone, ashamed to confess that they trust him alone, or put to shame because they trust him alone.
∑ In Their Own Consciences.
∑ Before An Accusing World.
∑ At The Bar Of God.
∑ To All Eternity!