Romans 9:18-24 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.  One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?”  But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?  “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”  Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?  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?  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 – even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
I have tended to avoid having to deal directly with the confronting way Paul presents to us the very controversial and divisive doctrine of Predestination, or God’s Electing Grace.  I hold to it firmly, but find myself at odds with many other believers who, along with John and Charles Wesley, refer to it as that “horrible decree”.

But we really cannot escape what God (through the Apostle Paul) is saying in the above verses.  And it is in the context of two things: 1. of his earnest longing that his fellow-Jews would turn (repent) and come to faith in Christ (verses 1-4); and 2. of his commitment to the truth that we, the ‘clay’, are really in no place to question the hand and mind of God (the ‘Potter’) (verses 20-29).

There isn’t room here to give an adequate defence of the ‘Five Points of Calvinism’, which are a very humbling reminder of the ’height, breadth and depth’ of God’s love and of my total and absolute dependence on his grace and mercy for everything, even for the desire to turn to him in repentance-and-faith and to put my trust in Jesus as my only Saviour.  This lump of ‘clay’ is content to let God be GOD, even when I have to admit that my limited, finite perspective must leave me struggling with some of the things he is revealing to me from his infinite, eternal perspective.  As he says through the prophet Isaiah: ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, … As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
– Bruce Christian