19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, you foolish person, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” …
19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21Hath …
Why does God allow evil to exist? Many see the presence and reality of evil as something God should extinguish. In this sermon on Roman 9:19–24 titled “God’s Wrath,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that what fails to be seen is that evil is not an external force acting upon humanity, but an internal reality within people. 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 protection 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 longsuffering are not to be ignored. Though for a time He may endure sinners as Christ did with Judas, that patience did not save him and it only prolonged the time until his 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 their sin. Be reconciled to God today and embrace the forgiveness only available through Jesus Christ.
- The apostle Paul is addressing an objection to his teaching that God is sovereign in salvation. The objection is: "Why does God still find fault? For who has resisted His will?"
- Paul rebukes the questioner, saying "Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, 'Why did you make me like this,' will it?" We must approach God's Word with humility and reverence.
- Paul uses the analogy of the potter and the clay to show that God has the right to do as He pleases with fallen humanity. The whole lump of clay deserves to be condemned, but God chooses to make some vessels for honor and some for dishonor.
- God endures the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction with much patience. His whole being urges Him to punish sin, but He holds back in order to show His wrath, make His power known, and render the vessels of wrath inexcusable.
- God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but desires that all come to repentance. However, His will and determination is to save some, not all. We must distinguish between God's pleasure, desire, and will.
- God gave ample time for humanity to turn to Him, but they did not. Now all are without excuse. When God's punishment comes, it will be all the more striking and His glory revealed. The wicked will have no defense on that day.
- We can approach God with confidence, knowing we are vessels of mercy. We humbly worship Him for His grace in sparing us.
The Book of Romans
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.