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What does Romans 9:21 mean in regards to molding people for different purposes?

Does God take ordinary people and mold them into evil people for his purpose, or does it mean God takes people who are always intent on evil to accomplish His purposes?

Romans 9:21

ESV - 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?

Clarify Share Report Asked November 03 2013 Photo Anthony Clinton

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Photo Anthony Clinton Teacher in China
The context of this chapter is revealed as to why Paul’s grief was so great for the Hebrews who were his countrymen. So he distinguishes between the children of the promise and the children of the flesh. In regards to this it means those who accepted Christ are children of the promise but those who rejected Him were not. 

So out of the same Lump, Israel, God takes those evil rejecters (vessels of wrath), and molds them to to accomplish His purpose in condemning Jesus to death. We will see that God had a reason for hardening their hearts and it’s in this Scripture

Mat_13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 

They shut their spiritual eyes to the gospel. So God continued to harden their hearts and blind their eyes knowing that they would never respond to the Gospel, just like He had done with Pharaoh in Egypt. The majority of Jews did this, Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law rejected God's purpose for themselves and refused to be baptized by John.

As regarding Paul’s election God could see something in him that was not in the others, 
1Ti 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

So out of that lump, Israel, God chose by election a Man named Saul because he did it ignorantly. God revealed it to Paul and there it is in Scripture. Saul obviously thought he was chosen of God to eradicate the Church. It was an honest mistake that was corrected on the road to Damascus. God saw that Saul would never oppose His will after it was revealed to him. But the others were so wicked they knowingly opposed His will.

Some have given us the impression that God is like a cold and callous Tyrant that gets bored in heaven so He creates an evil angel to go and tempt man knowing, man would fall. Then as if God is creating a chess game to play one against the other. The bad pieces He plays against the good pieces. So he creates Cain to be evil and Abel to be good. He decides to hate Esau and love Jacob. I don’t believe for one moment that is what God is saying in this chapter of Romans. 

God’s eyes run throughout the whole earth looking for those whose hearts are perfect towards him. The reason why David was molded into God’s vessel of honor was because God saw his heart; the other brothers were rejected for the same reason. The Bible teaches us that if we want to become vessels of honor we need to cleanse our hearts.

2Ti 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. 
So God endured those vessels of wrath, these were people that would never change and never accept God’s plan and then He would accomplish His plan with them.

So in summary I say this, God takes those evil persons that there was absolutely no intent to receive God’s plan into their lives and molds them as instruments to accomplish His plan whether they can see it or not. This is like Caiaphas who had prophesied of the purpose for Christ’s death that not all Jews would be lost and then was in the court to condemn Him. Judas by transgression fell and when Judas had given his whole heart to money God took him and used Him for His divine plan as a vessel of wrath.

If God created some for evil the others to be His elect rather than provide a free choice to all men to believe then you would have to re-write this Scripture, 

Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

November 04 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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Q jcryle001 JD Abshire
I personally do not believe The Lord makes people evil. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:13) Man left alone in his natural unregenerate state is capable of horrific acts. As you said, he uses the evil also for his purpose and glory.

We need to read the context in order to obtain a reasonable understanding of Matthew 13:15

Matthew 13:10 "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"
Matthew 13:11 "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
The Apostle Paul closely quotes and expounds on Matthew 13:15 in Romans 11:7-8 
"Romans 11:7 "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded"
Romans 11:8 "(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day."

What did God see in Paul? He was a murderer and also chief persecutor of the church by his own admission. According to scripture he was on his way to Damascus to arrest more Christians when The Lord Jesus knocked him to the ground and blinded him. (Acts 9) I believe a more accurate assessment is that God saw what he could do in Paul and called him for that purpose.

In Romans 3:10 Paul himself wrote "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"
3:11 "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
3:12 "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
3:13 "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:"

2 Timothy 1:2 "To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." And again in 2 Timothy 2:1 "Thou therefore my son”
Paul is obviously not writing to the general populous (saved and unsaved alike) but to Timothy as “beloved son” who probably became a believer through his ministry. 2 Timothy 1:8-9 “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”.
The churches in Asia had apostatized. 2 Timothy 1:15 “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” In regard to the verse you referenced, we need to at least read the two preceding verses to understand what Paul is addressing. 2: Timothy 2:19. “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2:20 “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.”

I.E. Depart from Iniquity, and separate yourself from the apostates because even in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver (honor) but also wood and earth (dishonor).

November 04 2013 4 responses Vote Up Share Report


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Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
All believers are a part of the body of Christ. You may only be a toe, but you are part of the body. God has set aside some for His own use. He has the power to make one vessel unto honor or dishonor. 

Christ is the head of the church. Eternal life is a free gift from God to all who believe on Him for eternal life. Romans 6:23. Not all who are saved live sanctified lives. There are those who are saved and yet produce no fruit will have few rewards in heaven. So there are those saved to honor, and those to dishonor. 

First Corinthians 5:5 Turn such a one over to Satan to kill the flesh so that his Spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. This was a born again believer that was sleeping with his fathers wife. He was about to lose his life, and his reward in heaven he could have had, but the man was still saved.

He was a vessel of the Holy Spirit who dwells in all believers, but a vessel unto dishonor. 

The bible says for the believer, to lean not to our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths. Those who walk in the Spirit will receive a greater reward and given a higher place in heaven. Those who walk in the flesh a lesser reward in heaven. Those who go though many trials and tribulation in life, will have great reward if they keep the faith. 

If they lose the faith, they are still saved. Second Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, He abideth faithful, He can not deny Himself. The Holy Spirit that lives in believers.

Paul said the dishonorable vessels are more needful to the body of Christ. They prove the power of God to save sinners which we all are to a degree.

All believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit when they believe. In the parable of the sower it talks about four different people. The first one heard the message but Satan stole the massage before that one could believe. The next two heard the message, received the message with joy, and sprang up for a short time, but then the cares of the world and other things left them with producing nothing. They were saved but produced no fruit.

The last ones received the message and produced much fruit. We produce fruit in different ways. Some win many to the Lord by giving others the gospel and they become believers. Out of those believers will lead other believers to receive the free gift of eternal life. And so on. 

Others produce fruit but it is not seen by the world. Only God. Only God will reward believers as He sees fit. We do not know what others go through in this life, only God. And he accepts anyone who will believe on Him for the free gift of eternal life. John 6:40 and 47. Since we have not walked in their shoes, we have only the outward to look at. Not the inward that God sees.

All believers have eternal life. That is a free gift from God to all who believe. How we live after we have received the free gift determines our rewards or lack of rewards in heaven. Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble.

April 19 2019 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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