Monday, August 18, 2014

Vessles of Wrath, Vessles of Mercy

Romans 9:22-23 "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"

Alistair pointed this out to me, and I can't believe I didn't realize it before. Set right down in what is perhaps the hardest passage in all of Romans, Paul makes a statement that God's purposes are only for mercy, and ours are for destruction. Traditionally I had understood this as "I'm fitting vessels for wrath to endure forever, and I'm fitting vessels for mercy to endure forever. But on closer inspection I realized I was importing this bad understanding into the text, not getting it out of it.
I'll put the passive voice in red and the active stuff in green.
"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"
What is God doing in the first half of this sentence? He's enduring. He's putting up with. It takes long suffering and much patience and He's waiting them out. And notice what He's not doing, He's not fitting them. That must mean that man fits himself. This is like Pharaoh, who Paul also doesn't forget to mention earlier in the chapter. How did Pharaoh fit himself for destruction? By rejecting the grace of God. By throwing away the second, third, and hundredth chance given to Him. By continually fighting against God.

What is God doing in this verse if He's not fitting the vessels for wrath? Why, preparing the vessels for mercy of course. And how do you prepare someone for mercy? You have them fall and endure their sinfulness. It's the same action, but depending on the will of the person it gives two different results. God outfits everyone for mercy, it's just that the non-elect fit themselves for wrath by rejecting that mercy while the elect God makes to accept it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The hole in the mind

I've heard humans called "leaky vessels" and I think that's a very accurate term. There is a hole that opens up in our minds put there by God's grace, and taken control of by sin--the hole in the mind.
The hole is a gift in the sense that it allows us to forget the things of sin done by and to us, it helps us move forward. But sin opens it up and has it leak out the things of God, and I'm convinced that the older we get the bigger the hole becomes, and the less energy we have to fix it or seal it closed, or pour new things into the mind. The old people I teach have largely forgotten all that they had learned because they are too weak to close the hole, and it drains them completely. In extreme old age a second childhood onsets because the hole has claimed all the knowledge and memories. Alzheimer is what happens when the hole grows too big as well, ultimately killing the person and leaving the body behind after the mind has drained out.

This is a call to the young then, to fill the mind with as much as soon as possible. Because it won't be long until the same amount of work only gets them to the break even point, and it's not long after that until the leak is so bad that there is no stopping it.

Remember your creator in the days of your youth.