Q. I understand the passages you quoted in your answer on the Doctrine of Election and see it as you do. However, I’ve always been confused with Romans 9: 21-23.
This makes it sound as if God purposely makes certain people for destruction. This has never been very clear to me.
A. The key is actually in verse 24 where Paul identifies the objects of His mercy as both Jews and Gentiles who would become part of the Church. The whole passage reads:
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory– even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:21-24)
Remember the context of Romans 9 is God’s sovereign choice of the Jews (election). Although He chose them as His people, He knew before he did that they would reject Him and become objects of His wrath. When they did, it would provide the opportunity for Him to demonstrate His mercy to the Gentiles. Then, both Jews and Gentiles who chose to do so (choice) could receive His mercy through the Church, just as He had intended all along.
Jesus agreed to become the Savior of mankind before the Creation of Earth (1 Peter 1:18-20) His death avails without prejudice to anyone who chooses to accept it (John 3:16), and it’s His desire that everyone will (2 Peter 3:9). Sadly some will refuse and become objects of wrath. Since God can’t contradict Himself, these are the clear, simple statements that must form the basis for any discussion of passages like this one.
To those of us trapped in time, it can appear that He made some people one way and some another. But to God, who is outside of time and has seen the end from the beginning, it’s a matter of knowing what choices we’ll make and seeing that everyone gets what they’ve asked for.