Romans (10): God’s Purpose And Justice (Traditional)

September 11, 2022 | Traditional Worship Service

Rev Lim Jen Huat
Romans (10): God’s Purpose And Justice (Traditional)

September 11, 2022 | Traditional Worship Service

Rev Lim Jen Huat

Scripture Passage: Romans 9:1-29 (NRSV)


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Summary l By the time he wrote Romans 9-11, Paul would have been preaching and teaching God’s salvation plan for more than 20 years. He had encountered these frequently asked questions that he needed to address:

1. Did God’s promises to Israel fail? (V6)

    -if God fails the nation of Israel, will He fail believers one day?

2. Was God unjust in favouring some? (V14)

     -why did God choose Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau?

3. Did God victimise some? (V19) 

     -were Pharaoh and Pilate victimised?

Paul used the analogy of Potter and Clay to explain V20-24.

V6,7 made it clear that it is not the children of the flesh but children of promise who are counted as Abraham’s descendants.

Four qualities about the relationship with God our Potter that will help us understand the above issues:

 1) Sovereignty of God

The Potter has every right to choose and mould His clay. God (the Potter) has the right to call whoever He chooses as He has the right over mankind and history (V16,18,21,24-26). However, we (clay) resist the Potter (Is 29:16) when we think we are self-made and answer to no one. Resistance to the Potter will not change His agenda but lead to ruin of the clay. God is not answerable to anyone. His acts are consistent with His character revealed in Jesus. He is our Abba Father, God for us (Rm 8:31). With this assurance we submit to God as work in His hands (Is 64:8).

2) Purpose of God

God’s purpose in election will continue (V11) and He has the right to make His clay for noble purpose or common use (V21). God’s promise to Abraham in Gen 12:3 and His salvation plan will usher in the Messiah in His salvation plan to all. God did not abandon His promise to Israel despite Israel’s rebellion and exile. Like a vessel that is spoilt and has to be reworked (Jer 18:4,6), God is faithful, and reworked to settle the sinfulness of Israel and extended His call to the Gentiles. He bore with great patience the objects of His wrath prepared for destruction to make the riches of His glory known to the objects of His mercy (V22,23).

3) Knowledge of God

Clay has to go through different steps as it progresses to the finished work. The potter has knowledge of every step and what the finished work is like. He chooses the colour, quantity of mass needed, etc. that the clay is not aware of. Unlike us, God is not limited to time and space. God decides on His appointed time of return when Sarah will have a son (V9), why the elder will serve the younger (V13), etc. He raised Pharaoh (who acted with free will) to display His power (V17). Our all- knowing and wise God foreknows history and has mercy on all He foreknows will trust Him. As clay, we come before God in humility knowing that our thoughts are not His thoughts, neither are our ways His ways (Is 55:8).

4) Grace of God

The potter must show much patience and grace without rushing or skipping a step. He will wait for the clay to dry if it is too wet, or add water and knead if it is too dry. Though Israel was rebellious, God did not exterminate them but preserved a faithful remnant. Due to man’s depravity, mankind is destined for destruction but by God’s grace, He sent His Son to atone for our sins that we may be justified, sanctified and glorified (Rm 3:23,24; 5:8,20, 23).

Today, God continues to call us to repentance and enter into a new life with Him, to walk in His ways as redeemed people who are commissioned as His disciples and workers in His harvest field.

(Sermon notes by Woo Choi Yin)


  1. What are some theological questions your friends ask that are similar to the 3 questions Paul had to face in verses 6, 14, & 19?
  2. How does each of the qualities in God address my fears & struggles in life?
    • Sovereign
    • Purposeful
    • All-Knowing
    • Patient & Merciful
Wesley Communications Team
Posted by Wesley Communications Team

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