• Jack Selcher

God Rules

A church misprinted a hymn’s title in the bulletin—"Hallelujah, the Lord God Omnipotent Resigneth.” When we look at our world, we might wonder if it’s so. It isn’t. God is the Creator, Owner, and Ruler of everything. History follows His predetermined course.

Paul blanches white at the thought that God is unfair. He says people aren’t qualified to pass judgment on God’s decisions. He refers to Exodus 33:19. It reveals that God chooses those on whom He’ll have mercy and compassion. His choice doesn’t depend on human desire or effort any more than a mother’s love depends on her child’s worthiness.

God sovereignly placed arrogant Pharaoh in a position where his stubborn disobedience would bring his own downfall and magnify God’s glory throughout the earth. Even Rahab in Jericho knew God had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt (Joshua 2:9–10). Consistent with Romans 1, God abandons those who reject His revelation of Himself in nature, history, and miracles. As a result, they indulge in ever greater excesses of sin and experience their consequences. Sinners prepare themselves for judgment. God prepares people for glory.

If people can’t resist God’s sovereign will, should they be blamed for what they do? Are evil and suffering God’s fault?

No. God is just. He does what’s right (Genesis 18:25). Yet sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Our fairness meter is broken. How so? God thinks it’s fair for the innocent Christ to pay sin’s death penalty for guilty humankind. Earthly courts don’t work that way, but we don’t want God to withdraw His unfair offer of salvation.

Paul illustrates that the creature shouldn’t talk back to God. The potter uses clay to make all kinds of vessels. Some are beautiful decoration pieces. Others aren’t attractive but are essential for daily living. An admirable vessel might be someone who’s attractive, intelligent, and athletic. There’s no room for pride. God expects ten-talent production from ten-talent people. We don’t understand God’s choices, but we can trust that Jesus perfectly reveals His character. God is kind beyond measure, but we can’t control Him. It’s foolish to ignore or defy Him.

God isn’t responsible for human sinfulness. Objects of wrath are those whose behavior deteriorates despite their knowledge and conscience. Paul applied it to those who stubbornly opposed the gospel. Objects of mercy are those whom God wills to show the riches of His glory.

Just because God doesn’t reveal why He chooses some and not others doesn’t make Him unjust. He sovereignly dispenses life-giving grace. He rescues and adopts us to know the riches of His glory. We’re not unwanted orphans. We’re the adopted children of a sovereign King!

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