Sunday, March 22, 2015

In the Potter symbolism, St. Paul is essentially recounting in metaphorical terms the journey of Israel through Bible history.

Curt Russell April 29th, 2013 2:57 am :
De Maria
Wow! Ok, let’s jump right in. Some things I say here may be reiterations of things said previously, but I want to walk straight through so the logic stays in order. I sure hope i can keep the blockquotes straight!
Wow is right! Awesome response. I’ve read it all the way through and I’d like to pare it down a bit. I think we’ve got a lot of stuff in common that we agree upon, even though we don’t seem to, because of our point of reference. The important stuff we agree upon. But we invert the order. For instance, you say salvation first then works. I say faith, then works then salvation.

But, I think the biggest thing which we don’t agree upon is this idea that God chooses some to destruction. I don’t want to misrepresent your view. Is that what you believe?

If so, what do you make of this verse?
1 Timothy 2:3-4
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the [a]knowledge of the truth.

That seems explicit. God desires all men to be saved.
That is correct.
So, it is your opinion that no can snatch us out of the Father’s hand.
What about John 15, the vine and the branches. Can the Father cut us off the Vine?
The Scripture in John 10 says this:
If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26 But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
From Romans 9 we read:
15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
Two things here:

One. Romans 9 is referring back to the Old Testament. And I believe, if we read the text, that Pharaoh hardened his heart first and then God used that hardening to show forth His power. And that is consistent with the Teaching of the New Testament:

Romans 1:22-24
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [a]crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
Two. God has revealed to whom He will show mercy:
Exodus 20:6
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
This is to whom God will show His mercy. To those who love Him and prove their love by keeping His commandments.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?
Let me add a bit of context and then explain how I understand this verse. The idea continues:

The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel [l]for honorable use and another [m]for common use? 22 [n]What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

We see that St. Paul is using the Potter symbolism. And this also hearkens back to the Old Testament:
Isaiah 45:9
New American Standard Bible
“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker— An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?

If we may, lets focus upon Rom 9:22

22 [n]What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
If you have ever tried your hand at pottery, you will understand this verse. The clay does not always mold easily. And what is done with the vessel who does not cooperate with the Potter’s design? It is destroyed.

And that is what I believe Rom 9:19-22 is saying. St. Paul is essentially recounting in metaphorical terms the journey of Israel through Bible history. God, the Potter, was willing to show His wrath and make His power known. That is, He was ready to destroy Israel in the desert of Sin. But Moses withstood Him:

Exodus 32: 10 Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” 11 Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

God endured them with much patience, but eventually, they were destroyed. Yes, even all of Israel. Only a small remnant remained.

And Rom 9:19 is essentially a warning to the Gentile reader. You might ask, “Why does God find fault for who can resist His will?” But don’t do it he says, because this is what the nation of Israel did and they were destroyed, except for a small remnant.

Well, its getting a bit late and I’ve got a plane to catch tomorrow. God willing, I’ll take up where I left off when I get settled in.

God bless you,
De Maria

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