Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vessels of Mercy

Romans 9:23, "He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy...".

One can hardly give a greater and more elaborate expression of what a Christian is than the one used in this verse - "vessels of mercy." The previous verse in this chapter from Romans says that sinners are vessels of wrath dwelling under the the dark shadow of the wrath of God because of sin. Ephesians 2:3 says of unregenerate sinners that we were "by nature children of wrath." How sad, but how true!

And yet Romans 9:22 speaks of the mercy of God giving birth to patience with sinners that we might, by Christ's atonement and God's saving grace, become vessels of mercy. Ephesians 1:8 speaks of the grace of God being "lavished" upon unsaved sinners.

God could judge sinners, and one day God will judge sinners. God could have judged us a long time ago. But wrath is not part of God's essential being; it is His right response against sin and sinners because of the justice of God. And yet, God, the merciful and compassionate God, longed to pour out His grace on us for His own glory. And that is what He did! He planned to be merciful, and in the redemptive work of Christ, applied by the Holy Spirit to the soul of man, God achieved mercy. Mercy elected sinners, mercy sent Christ in human flesh, mercy paid for sin on the cross, mercy conquered death at Christ's empty tomb, and mercy is preparing a home for God's people in heaven.

When I go to church tomorrow, I will try to preach on Romans 9:22-23. I pray that God will lift my heart to the stratosphere of gratitude and joy; may divine mercy buoy my heart that the name of God may be exalted above all. Because now and forever I remain - - - a vessel of mercy.

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