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Said the Clay to the Potter

John Collins02/21/2012Paul speaking in Romans 9 told the listeners to listen to his words, he was telling the truth and did not lie.  His conscience was bearing him witness in the Holy Ghost.  He spoke in heaviness of heart and continual sorrow, because he wished that he was sent by Christ for his brethren, the Jews, who God blessed for ever.

But not all of the children were Israel which were from Israel's seed.  Because they are the seed of Abraham, they are all children, but in Isaac would their seed be called.  Those that were children by genealogy were not the children of God, but were the children of the promise.

Because they were members of the group living righteously at the time, that did not make them the only children of God.  God had told Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."  It was not because of them that had a strong will and were living according to the beliefs of the day, but it was all because God had showed them mercy.

Even Pharaoh was raised up according to God's purpose.  God raised him up so that He could show His power, and that His name would be declared throughout the earth because of the mighty works that God performed.  God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and will harden the hearts of any that he chooses to harden.

Some Jews of the time asked Paul, "Why do you find fault with us?  We have lived the very best we knew how, and have not resisted the will of God." Paul's reply was, "No, you are a man; who are you that you could reply against God?"  How can the clay respond against the potter who formed it? The potter can make one vessel good and beautiful, but can make another vessel for a different purpose.

Paul asked them, "What if God wanted to show his wrath, and make his power known, and instead of making righteous, holy people, He made a people that were set to destruction?"

God calls who He chooses to call.  It is not a "select" group that have lived according to the instructions of a "select" leader.  He forms vessels of mercy so that they can be His glory.  Just like the people of Osee, who He said He would call "His people", when they were not His people.  He called them His beloved, when they were not beloved.  One day, Paul said, there will be a place where God has said that "ye are not My people," and in that day the same would be called the children of the living God.

Paul said that it was not a small, select group.  It was not a people who lived righteously.  It was not a group following a certain leader.  The Gentiles did not live righteously, yet attained righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ.  Israel lived righteously, and sought after the kingdom of God by living righteously in the flesh and not the spirit.  Because of that, they stumbled like they had tripped over a stumbling stone.  And this was according to the scriptures: "Behold I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed."

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Do we think that we are righteous because we are a member of a certain group or a follower of a certain leader?  Do we think that God calls us only because we live righteously?  Do we look down on the unrighteous as the Jews did?  Have we decided that we are of the "good pots" by the potter, so we look downward on the "bad pots?"  Have we tripped over a stumbling stone?