The Lord Righteously Saves.

In Romans 9:19, Paul anticipates another question from his readers, then proceeds to dispel any fear or doubt they might have about God's justice in saving. God saves righteously: He is equitable, fair, and just.

From the tone of the whole letter, we know the Roman Christians were not argumentative; this would have been a straightforward, honest question. How can people be held responsible for rejecting Christ when God is sovereign over who is saved? We may not understand the mystery of God's choosing, but we can be assured that He is in control and He is fair.

Paul explains God's intention in saving three different ways.

Divine Intention

Paul uses the metaphor of a potter and clay (the "molder" and "molded") in Romans 9:20-21 which is used elsewhere in Scripture. The clay represents sinners. We are all born creatures of wrath. Some are saved ("vessels of mercy") and some are not ("vessels of wrath"), but God's intention is realized in both (Romans 9:22-23).

God's desire is that all sinners would repent and be saved. (See 2 Peter 3:9, Mark 10:45, John 3:16, 11:25-26, Philippians 2:8.) Yet some are not. The Greek form of the verb "prepared" means this is something sinners decide for themselves. God does not prepare vessels for destruction, but if they choose to reject, He allows them to choose.

Patience is the attribute of God highlighted in this passage. We noted last week that God offers mercy every time He acts in judgment. Even in the Tribulation, mercy is offered! God waits long before His final judgment (Revelation 6:9-11). One day, mercy will no longer be available to those who reject Christ; but today, there is still time!

Global Intention

Two quotes from the Old Testament book of Hosea show God's global intention to save (Romans 9:24-26). He always intended for the glory of salvation in Christ to be demonstrated to all people! (Also see Genesis 26:4.)

Sincere Intention

Paul quotes another Old Testament book, Isaiah, to note that the majority of people still reject God's demonstration of His love (Romans 9:27-29). This echoes Jesus' words in Matthew 7:13. God used righteous and unrighteous Jews to bring Jesus to the whole world. He gives many opportunities for the Jews to accept their Messiah (Matthew 10:5-6, Ephesians 2:19-3:10).

"The nation of Israel rejected His will, but this did not defeat God's purposes. At the Exodus, God rejected the Gentiles and chose the Jews, so that, through the Jews, He might save the Gentiles."

Application Points

  • God's sovereignty never excuses believers from their responsibility to go and tell others about Christ. God desires to save lost people, and we can be a part!

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: "Chosen as His Children"

Chosen by the Father’s mercy,
Set apart to serve His Son,
Sanctified by His own Spirit—
Praise the Holy Three in One!
Saved by resurrection power,
Shielded in His faithful love,
Now no enemy can tarnish
My inheritance above!

I’m born again!
I’m God’s own chosen child of mercy!
Born again! What love and grace!
Father, keep me walking worthy
‘Til I look upon Your face.

Led by wisdom into suffering,
Grieved by many trials below,
Yet rejoicing in His purpose,
That my faith as gold may glow.
Granted faith for overcoming,
Filled with love for Christ unseen;
Even angels cannot fathom
What salvation God will bring!

Fixed upon this hope completely,
As obedient children, fear;
For the Holy One who called you
Purchased you with blood so dear.
Born anew from seed eternal,
By His lovingkindness spurred,
Lay aside all tasteless yearnings—
Crave the true and living Word!

Built on Christ, the sure foundation,
We are free from guilt and shame;
He is fitting us together
As a house to praise His name!
We are chosen as God’s people,
Called from darkness into light;
O what mercy now entreats us
To proclaim His glories bright!