What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, Romans 9:22
The Calling of the Gentiles
…Does not the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special occasions and another for common use? What if God, intending to show His wrath and make His power known, bore with great patience the vessels of His wrath, prepared for destruction? What if He did this to make the riches of His glory known to the vessels of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory—…
Romans 9:22-23. What if God, willing, &c. — Referring to Romans 9:18-19. That is, Although it were now his will, because of their obstinate unbelief; to show his wrath — Which necessarily presupposes sin; and to make his power known — This is repeated from Romans 9:17; yet endured — As he did Pharaoh — With much long-suffering — Which should have led them to repentance; the vessels of wrath — Those who had moved his wrath, by still rejecting his mercy; fitted for destruction — By their own wilful and final impenitence: is there any injustice in this? And that he might make known — What if, by showing such long-suffering even to the vessels of his wrath, he did the more abundantly show the greatness of his glorious goodness, wisdom, and power; on the vessels of mercy — On those whom he had himself, by his grace; prepared for glory — Is this injustice? By vessels of mercy he means such persons as were formerly miserable by being dead in trespasses and sins, but had afterward, through believing the gospel, obtained mercy, even the great mercy of the forgiveness of sins, with the fruits and consequences of it; and by the term προητοιμασεν, he means, God’s fitting them for glory, by working in them true repentance and living faith, by justifying and sanctifying them, and giving them all those qualifications necessary for the attainment of it.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
9:14-24 Whatever God does, must be just. Wherein the holy, happy people of God differ from others, God’s grace alone makes them differ. In this preventing, effectual, distinguishing grace, he acts as a benefactor, whose grace is his own. None have deserved it; so that those who are saved, must thank God only; and those who perish, must blame themselves only, Hos 13:9. God is bound no further than he has been pleased to bind himself by his own covenant and promise, which is his revealed will. And this is, that he will receive, and not cast out, those that come to Christ; but the drawing of souls in order to that coming, is an anticipating, distinguishing favour to whom he will. Why does he yet find fault? This is not an objection to be made by the creature against his Creator, by man against God. The truth, as it is in Jesus, abases man as nothing, as less than nothing, and advances God as sovereign Lord of all. Who art thou that art so foolish, so feeble, so unable to judge the Divine counsels? It becomes us to submit to him, not to reply against him. Would not men allow the infinite God the same sovereign right to manage the affairs of the creation, as the potter exercises in disposing of his clay, when of the same lump he makes one vessel to a more honourable, and one to a meaner use? God could do no wrong, however it might appear to men. God will make it appear that he hates sin. Also, he formed vessels filled with mercy. Sanctification is the preparation of the soul for glory. This is God’s work. Sinners fit themselves for hell, but it is God who prepares saints for heaven; and all whom God designs for heaven hereafter, he fits for heaven now. Would we know who these vessels of mercy are? Those whom God has called; and these not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles. Surely there can be no unrighteousness in any of these Divine dispensations. Nor in God’s exercising long-suffering, patience, and forbearance towards sinners under increasing guilt, before he brings utter destruction upon them. The fault is in the hardened sinner himself. As to all who love and fear God, however such truths appear beyond their reason to fathom, yet they should keep silence before him. It is the Lord alone who made us to differ; we should adore his pardoning mercy and new-creating grace, and give diligence to make our calling and election sure.