God’s Responsible Love is the Source of God’s Sovereignty
Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
(Romans 9:18-24 NKJV)
Because God wants to reach people who do not know a God who loves, God will show His power, based on His love. God’s power will favor certain people. It may seem to us as humans that God is showing favoritism. But if God hardens someone, it is precisely because God wants to reach that someone. God wants to show His sovereignty and His power, and He wants to show these attributes through His ultimate attribute – love.
This idea of favoritism will generally trouble us.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
I know may people who have problems with God when He finds fault with us. Their problem is a problem of sovereignty (or authority). The question they are asking themselves is: “Who runs my life?” They answer this question by saying that they themselves run their own lives. When I decide that I want to be in total control of my life (while I am really saying that I have problems with God when He wants to work in my life), I am questioning God’s authority and sovereignty in my life. As a Christian, I certainly have no right to question God’s authority in my life. As a human, it is the struggle through which I come to discover that God is the ultimate authority in my life. Let me illustrate what I mean:
If God loves me by creating me, can I as His creation question the way that He created me?
But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
Can I question God because He made me white, black, or brown? Can I question God because of where I was created (Iraq, China, or the United States)?
If God loved me by giving me parents, can I as a child of these parents question the way I was raised?
If God loved me by giving me less than He has given others, can I as a poor person question God about my financial situation?
Of course not.
Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
When we come to know God better, we will understand that His love is the source of His sovereignty over our lives. We will learn to better understand that sovereignty and follow it. We will learn to follow it, not because we think God is prejudiced, but because we know that He knows how to love us better. God knows how to love us responsibly. Because He knows this, He will use his authority over our lives to give us good things in our lives, and show us that He loves us.