Romans 9:1-29 is one of the most disturbing parts of the Bible. Here the Apostle Paul leaves no doubt that we cannot save ourselves from damnation. As God once told Moses, we can only trust in his mercy.

Romans 9:14-21 (Today’s New International Version)

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh:

“I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for disposal of refuse?

Disposal of refuse? Were some of us made to be discarded as worthless? Perhaps.

Romans 9:22-24 (Today’s New International Version)

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

Yet even objects of his wrath may become objects of his mercy — if those objects repent. But pride demands we save ourselves, that we deny any need for God. Pride demands we seek perfection on our own by any means we can devise. Even when all previous attempts have failed, pride demands we seek Utopia.

What history has shown is that Utopia is a prime object for his wrath. Why? When prideful men force their Utopian visions upon other men, they violate the rights of those other men. Prideful men cannot create Utopia, but they can create strife.

When we seek perfection in idols of our own devising, we create monsters, and these monsters, when turn upon their makers in wrath, serve as examples of what we should not do.

There is only one way. We must humbly and personally submit to the One True God. Only then can we find salvation and mercy.

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