The Radical God-Centeredness of God in Showing Mercy to Sinners

Our definition of worship was borrowed from Bob Kauflin: “Christian worship is the response of God’s covenant people to His self-revelation that exalts God’s glory in Christ in our minds, affections, and wills, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Worship is fundamentally an exaltation of God’s glory in Christ by the covenant people of God. If you belong to Christ, whether you belong to this church or not, you are part of the covenant people of God and your life is to be an exaltation of the glory of God in Christ. Nowhere do we see God’s glory in Christ more exalted than in the book of Romans and in the book of Romans, one of the central places where God’s glory is exalted is in the clear explanation of his sovereign grace in election from the 9th chapter.

[19] You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” [20] 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?” [21] 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? [22] What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, [23] in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—(Romans 9:19-23 ESV)

The apostle Paul has spent a great deal of his time in the 9th chapter of the book of Romans answering objections. Paul was devastated over the reality that there were those within ethnic Israel that didn’t believe in Messiah Jesus (1-3) even though they had been given so many blessings leading them to do so (4-5). With that passion in mind he answered the objection as to whether the Word of God had failed them with a definite NO, followed by a detailed illustration explaining and defending the righteousness of God and his unfailing Word. We learned through the illustration of Ishmael and Isaac that God never intended to save all of ethnic Israel and indeed had always been a God of election (6-9). We saw that the purpose of God’s election remains or continues to stand as illustrated in the lives of Jacob and Esau (10-13). Then Paul responds to the objection that God wasn’t just in verses 14-18. He defended the righteousness of God based upon his character and the rightful demonstration of his sovereignty [Read vv17-18]. That brings up another objection that Paul answers today with blistering clarity. His answer is so clear that it hurts a little. My prayer for all of us this week is that our hearts will be lifted in the exaltation of God in Christ through the examination of the Scriptures. That as we go deeper into God’s word, we will rise higher in praise of our great God.

The Objection (19)

“You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’”

Paul anticipates the objection coming from verses 17-18 when he says, “You will say to me then.” He assumes the previous context, so the objection is coming from the idea that God hardens whomever he wills. The objection centers on the idea that God still finds fault or that he assigns blame to the guilty. The reasoning is based on a theological reality. “Who can resist his will?” That is, who can oppose the plans and purposes of God? Who can fight with God and win? The real question here is pretty salacious. The real objection is better phrased like this, “If that’s the case, if God just saves whomever he wants and hardens whomever he wants, then he shouldn’t hold me accountable for anything! It’s not my fault! I’m a sinner because of predestination, and that’s your fault, so you shouldn’t hold me accountable for anything!” Tomorrow: The Rebuke


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