Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
22 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? 23 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. 24 Even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
This is a tough few verses… and I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure if I fully understand what it is saying, but as best as I can tell, these verses are an illustration of the principle that was stated in verse 21 (the Potter and the lump of clay).
Here’s what we do know: God created a world in which both his wrath and his mercy would be displayed. Indeed, his mercy shines against the backdrop of his just wrath, showing thereby that the salvation of any person is due to the marvelous grace and love of God. If this is difficult to understand, it is because people mistakenly think God owes them salvation! (ESV Study Bible notes)
So if that’s true, then we know that no one can call God to account for what he does, otherwise he’s not sovereign. We can be assured that He doesn’t exercise His freedom of choice in an arbitrary way, that is to say, a way based on some random choice or personal whim. Everything He does has purpose. What I’m saying is this: God is outside our box, He is beyond randomness or just because I feel like it. In other words, He doesn’t wake up one day and decide that He’s done with you or I. We may have those temptations, but He doesn’t. As far as God is concerned, He shows great patience even towards the objects of His wrath.
And notice too that Paul has already spoken about God’s patience back in chapter two where he talks about God’s righteous judgement and how some were showing “contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” In God’s kindness he holds back His judgement, giving people time to turn from their sin in repentance.
God is patient with the objects of His wrath and at the same time He also desires to display His grace on objects of mercy, the ones on whom He has set His redeeming love. And who are these whom He has prepared in advance? It’s both Jews and Gentiles.
So what are some personal takeaways we can gather from these verses?
We know that in His grace and mercy God has called people to Himself. We already know from chapter one that some will suppress the truth even though the truth has been made plain to them, they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. They do this of their own free will, God simply hands them over to the life and death they have chosen.
And here in these verses Paul seems to say that God’s chosen course (to save some and leave others) will in the end be more fit to show forth God’s glory than any other scheme we can imagine.
I know this may seem strange to us, but that is the point — we are not God, and cannot know everything or decide what is best.
Just remember this: the purpose of such patience from God is to bring about repentance.
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest; Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.