Dec 22, 2019
Originally Presented: February 10, 2008
Scripture Reading: Romans 9:18-23
This passage in Romans plumbs the depths of the design of God's mysterious sovereignty in salvation more deeply than perhaps any other Biblical text. If God is a God of love, why would He create a man in the full knowledge that He would eventually send him to hell for his disobedience? This is the question Paul's 'objector' poses in Romans 9:19 regarding Pharaoh. If God hardens whomever He desires to harden, then "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?"
This question is the question of the problem of evil. If God is holy why would He create a world in which evil exists? Romans 9:22, 23 come the closest, in the Bible, to answering that question. Romans 9:22 says that God wants to make something known and verse 23 says that He wants to make something known.
In Romans 9:22 God desires "to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known" in the judgment of the wicked. The word 'destruction' in this verse refers to God's final condemnation in hell.
In Romans 9:23 God desires "to make known the riches of His glory upon the vessels of mercy."
God has so designed a world of good and evil in which, in the eternity to come, the full complement of His divine attributes will be on display in His creation, including His awful wrath and justice and His marvelous grace and mercy. And His mercy to His chosen ones will shine all the more brightly when seen in contrast with His justice toward the rebellious. "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" (Romans 11:33).