“What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 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, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called?
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
‘For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?’
‘Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?’
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 9:14-17,21-24; 11:33-36
There is a majesty in Paul’s cogent reasoning and explaining of supernatural inexplicables. He traces the mercy of God as His loving gift, and like glistening diamonds against black cloth, God’s glorious provision against the justice we deserve. Instead of our owning rights to life and salvation, he proves we deserve nothing but death, ‘but God.’ Instead of our arguing to justify ourselves and determine who deserves what, he silences us to consider the patience and power of God, all orchestrated for His glory. We cannot know His mind, but we can trust it.
The saving ways of God are mysterious, an inerrant blend of justice and mercy. We cannot comprehend every aspect, but we know they are perfect because He is perfect. His grace is wide, His majesty great, His providence sure. Who are we to question and bicker and chafe at His sovereignty? We are meant not to take His place, but to humble ourselves before His power and trust His love. Almighty God not only has the right to do what He has purposed from the beginning, but He will rightly bring it about to the praise of His glory. (Psalm 18:30)
Paul himself, master of intellect and word, concludes his contemplation of God’s sovereignty by breaking into worshipful song. It is the only human response. The more he considers Him, and the inexpressible gift of His irresistible affection unto our salvation, he cannot help but be amazed, open his hands, and offer Him all honor forever. Shall we do the same? Rather than dismissing what we do not understand, would we take time to think about it, and worship because we cannot understand?
Oh good Father, elevate my thinking to the point of asking, ‘what shall I say?’ Quiet me in reverent submission, then open my mouth to praise You for Your sovereignty and grace forever.