A Sermon on Romans 9:19-24
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 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? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (ESV)
Why does God allow evil to exist? Many see the presence and reality of evil as something God should extinguish. What they fail to see, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims, is that evil is not an external force acting upon humanity, but an internal reality within humanity. To extinguish evil would be to extinguish humanity. The holiness of God will not tolerate anything sinful in His presence and His wrath is completely justified to protect His glory. That protect should immediately send every sinner to hell, however, it is God's grace and mercy that restrains His wrath. As seen in the example of Pharaoh, God endures sinners for a time so that His kindness may be on display and people brought to salvation (Romans 2:4). However, His kindness is not to be abused, and his patience and longsuffereing are not to be ignored. Though He may for a time endure sinners as Christ did with Judas, that patience did not save them, it only prolonged the time until their punishment. That is the lesson of the Old Testament, that God waits, longing for people to repent. However He will not delay punishment forever and when it does arrive, it will be without recourse. The lesson to humanity today is to repent while there is time, and while the longsuffering of God endures our sin. Be reconciled to God today and embrace the forgiveness only available through Jesus Christ.