Question: Why would we tackle the topic of “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction”?
Answer: God and people.
We have to warn people. We don’t want people becoming vessels of destruction. We must warn people. It’s like canoeing before Niagara Falls. If you don’t know it’s there or if you’ve got yourself deceived that there’s no drop-off, then you are in grave danger.
So, one reason we dare speak about vessels of destruction is that we have a desire to love people, to care for people, and to warn people.
But we are talking about this topic because we want to honor God. We want to make sure that we’re being faithful to present Him as He presents Himself. We don’t understand it completely, but He knows what’s best. Everything He does – including hell, the place of eternal destruction – is right and good and wise and perfect and holy.
We believe in a God who is free to do whatever He wants to do.
“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” (Romans 9:22-23)?
What if the Sovereign Creator of the universe decided to create vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? What if He did this to show us His power? What if He did this to show the ones He’s saving how great His grace is to save us and not destroy us? What if God decides that some get justice and some get forgiveness? What would you do if God chose to do this? Not believe in Him? Not be a vessel of mercy?
God is perfect and right in all that He does. We don’t have to “cover” for Him. We don’t have to “explain” Him. God is love. He is just. He is good. He is holy. He is merciful. He is a consuming fire. Everything about Him and all that He does is perfect.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
God isn’t just slightly smarter than we are. He’s infinitely more knowledgeable, more wise, and more right. He’s the Potter and we are the clay. Maybe it would be best for us to stop critiquing His justice and start submitting.
“But we wouldn’t send someone to hell if we were God!” That might be true. But would we have come up with a plan to send an only Son to suffer and die to save ungrateful rebellious sinners? Would we have come up with the idea to allow created beings to torture a Someone we loved, to rip the flesh off His back, and drive nails through his hands and feet to show off the glory of His love for the very ones who killed Him?
The same Book that talks about God’s love talks about His justice. And we can’t pick and choose which truths about God we embrace.
A spiritual leader, Francis Chan says, “No one wants to ditch God’s plan of redemption, even though it doesn’t make sense to us. Neither should we erase God’s revealed plan of punishment because it doesn’t sit well with us. As soon as we do this, we are putting God’s actions in submission to our own reasoning, which is a ridiculous thing… to do” (Francis Chan, Erasing Hell, p. 136). If we just knew a fraction of what God knows, we would realize hell is just and right.
We don’t need to be embarrassed about hell. We don’t have to apologize for God about His eternal plan of justice. As Chan says, “It’s time for us to stop apologizing for God and start apologizing to God.”
Please forgive me, Lord, for wanting to erase all the things in Scripture that don’t sit well with me. Forgive me for trying to hide some of Your actions to make You more palatable to the world. Forgive me for trying to make You fit my standards of justice and goodness and love. You are God; you are good; I don’t always understand You, but I love You. Thank You for who you are (Francis Chan, Erasing Hell, p. 139).
God will do what’s right. He’s the Source of justice and love. He knows what we all deserve. We can trust Him. We don’t have to figure out His justice. He’s not wringing His hands in heaven wondering if we think his plan is morally right. Because it’s his plan, it IS morally right. We simply need to bow the knee and trust.
We should weep over the fact that there are vessels prepared for destruction. But let’s never deny it or forget it or minimize it or ignore it. May it always motivate us as missionaries to have New Life conversations with people who desperately need to be invited to new Life in Christ.
Who are your NewLife10|24 prayer list will you pray for an reach out to today?