on Romans 9 :23
And that he might make known - God endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath:
1. To show his wrath, and to make his power known. And also,
2. That he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy.
Which he had afore prepared unto glory - The Jews were fitted for destruction long before; but the fittest time to destroy them was after he had prepared the believing Gentiles unto glory. For the rod of the Messiah's strength was to be sent out of Zion, Psalm 110:2. The Jewish nation was to supply the first preachers of the Gospel, and from Jerusalem their sound was to go forth into all the earth. Therefore the Jewish state, notwithstanding its corruptions, was to be preserved till the Messiah came, and even till the Gospel preached by the apostles had taken deep root in the Gentile world. Another thing which rendered the time when the Jewish polity was overthrown the most proper, was this, because then the immediate occasion of it was the extensiveness of the Divine grace. They would not have the Gentiles admitted into the Church of God; but contradicted, and blasphemed, and rejected the Lord that bought them: thus, then, the extensiveness of the Divine grace occasioned their infidelity, Romans 9:33; Romans 10:3; Romans 11:11, Romans 11:12, Romans 11:15, Romans 11:28, Romans 11:30. Thus the Jews were diminished by that abundance of grace which has enriched the Gentiles. And so the grace of God was illustrated; or, so God made known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy - the apostles and primitive believers among the Jews, and the Gentile world, which received the Gospel by the preaching of the apostles and their successors.
on Romans 9 :23
And that he might make known - That he might manifest or display. The apostle had shown (in Romans 9:22) that the dealings of God toward the wicked were not liable to the objection made in Romans 9:19. In this verse he proceeds to show that the objection could not lie against his dealings with the other class of people - the righteous. If his dealings toward neither were liable to the objection, then he has "met the whole case," and the divine government is vindicated. This he proves by showing that for God to show the riches of his glory toward those whom he has prepared for it, cannot be regarded as unjust.
The riches of his glory - This is a form of expression common among the Hebrews, meaning the same as his rich or "his abundant glory." The same expression occurs in Ephesians 1:18.
On the vessels of mercy - People toward whom his mercy was to be displayed (see Romans 9:22); that is, on those toward whom he has purposed to display his mercy.
Mercy - Favor, or pity shown to the miserable. Grace is favor to the undeserving; mercy, favor to those in distress. This distinction is not, however, always strictly observed by the sacred writers.
Which he had afore prepared - We are here brought to a remarkable difference between God's mode of dealing with them and with the wicked. Here it is expressly affirmed that God himself had prepared them for glory. In regard to the wicked, it is simply affirmed that they "were fitted" for destruction, without affirming anything of the agency by which it was done. That God prepares his people for glory - commences and continues the work of their redemption - is abundantly taught in the Scriptures; 1 Thessalonians 5:9, "God hath appointed us, to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Timothy 1:9, "who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." See also Ephesians 1:4-5, Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:28-30; Acts 13:48; John 1:13. As the renewing of the heart and the sanctifying of the soul is an act of goodness, it is worthy of God, and of course no objection could lie against it. No man could complain of a course of dealings designed to make people better; and as this is the sole design of the electing love of God, his deal, ings with this class of people are easily vindicated. No Christian can complain that God has chosen him, renewed him, and made him pure and happy. And as this was an important part of the plan of God, it is easily defended from the objection in Romans 9:19.
Unto glory - To happiness; and especially to the happiness of heaven Hebrews 2:10, "It became him, in bringing many sons unto glory, etc." Romans 5:2, "we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:17, "our light affliction worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 5:4. This eternal state is called "glory," because it blends together everything that constitutes honor, dignity, purity, love, and happiness. All these significations are in various places attached to this word, and all mingle in the eternal state of the righteous. We may remark here,
(1) That this word "glory" is not used in the Scriptures to denote any "external national privileges;" or to describe any external call of the gospel. No such instance is to be found. Of course the apostle here by vessels of mercy meant individuals destined to eternal life, and not nations externally called to the gospel. No instance can be found where God speaks of nations called to external privileges, and speaks of them as "prepared unto glory."
(2) as this word refers to the future state of individuals, it shows what is meant by the word "destruction" in Romans 9:22. That term stands contrasted with glory; and describes, therefore, the future condition of individual wicked people. This is also its uniform meaning in the New Testament.
On this vindication of the apostle we may observe:
(1) That all people will be treated as they ought to be treated. People will be dealt with according to their characters at the end of life.
(2) if people will suffer no injustice, then this is the same as saying that they will be treated justly. But what is this? That the wicked shall be treated as they deserve. What they deserve God has told us in the Scriptures. "These shall go away into everlasting punishment."
(3) God has a right to bestow his blessings as he chooses. Where all are undeserving, where none have any claim, he may confer his favors on whom he pleases.
(4) he actually does deal with people in this way. The apostle takes this for granted. He does not deny it. He most evidently believes it, and labors to show that it is right to do so. If he did not believe it, and meant to teach it, he would have said so. It would have met the objection at once, and saved all argument. He reasons as if he did believe it; and this settles the question that the doctrine is true.
on Romans 9 :23
9:23 That he might make known - What if by showing such longsuffering even to the vessels of wrath, he did the more abundantly show the greatness of his glorious goodness, wisdom, and power, on the vessels of mercy; on those whom he had himself, by his grace, prepared for glory. Is this any injustice?