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Sermon #3222

Holy God; Fallen Man

A Sermon on Romans 9:19-24


Romans 9:19-24 ESV KJV
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 …

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Sermon Description

Who is really in charge? Is a person free to do whatever they want? Is God really guiding everything to happen the way He wants? How can one understand the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of humanity? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones sheds some much needed light on this difficult subject as he preaches this sermon on Romans 9:19–24 titled “Holy God, Fallen Man.” The apostle Paul warns creation not to fight against the one who has both the authority and ability to exercise His power. In the same way that a potter has the right over the clay, God has the right to do what He desires. He alone decides what to make from the same raw materials, each person for a different purpose. Just as He chose to make both Jacob and Esau, He also chose to love Jacob and hate Esau. However, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains, God never created anything evil nor forces anyone to sin, as he quotes from James 1. But because of Adam’s choice to sin, human nature is fallen and sin is an instinct. So who then is responsible for salvation? The world offers hopeless, fatalistic answers that are contingent on heritage, context, and childhood experiences. While God is responsible for salvation, people remain responsible for their damnation. God offers hope since He sets His claim on His people and gives them His mercy in salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the sin payment.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is dealing with objections to the doctrine of God's sovereign election and reprobation as taught in Romans 9:6-13.
  2. The objection in verse 19 is: Why does God still find fault with people if no one can resist His will?
  3. Paul rebukes the objector in verse 20a: "But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?" He says it is absurd and blasphemous for a mere human to contend with God.
  4. In verse 20b-21, Paul asserts God's absolute right as the Potter to do as He wills with the clay (fallen humanity). God has the right to make some vessels for honor (salvation) and some for dishonor (damnation).
  5. The lump of clay refers to fallen humanity under condemnation for sin. God as the Potter has the right to make some vessels from this lump for honor (salvation) and some for dishonor (damnation).
  6. No one deserves mercy or salvation. All deserve damnation. If God chooses to save some, He has the right to do so. If He chooses to harden others, He also has the right to do so.
  7. The ultimate reason why God chooses to save some and not others is a mystery. We cannot question God's justice or right to do as He chooses with fallen humanity.
  8. If someone is saved, it is solely by God's mercy and grace. If someone is damned, it is solely their own fault for sinning against God. But no one has free will - all are enslaved to sin apart from God's grace.
  9. Those who reject God's sovereign election and reprobation have no better solution. They either believe in blind chance, fate, or determinism which also denies free will. Or they believe in "free will" but cannot explain why some believe and others don't.

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.