17 Sections

"Clay in the Hands of God"

Chapter: 14.62
(Section 14: Selective Salvation)
Copyright Michael Bronson 1998 -2005

Important Note

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Romans 9:20-24 says, "Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why has thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, on the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?" This verse is often used to support selective salvation. Selective Salvationists say this is proof God creates certain people for eternal damnation. Hoeksema says the following:

  • "God’s absolute sovereignty to determine the final destiny of men either to honor or dishonor, to salvation and glory or to damnation and desolation." (Hoeksema, Good Pleasure, p. 60)

Are these verses talking about God creating people just for the sake of damning them to Hell, or are they talking about something else? The illustration of the potter and clay is used several times in the Old Testament (see the following list).

  • Isaiah 29:16
  • Isaiah 45:9
  • Isaiah 64:8
  • Jeremiah 18:1-6

Since not all of the Israelites became believers, these references could not have been referring to salvation (look at the chapter Nation of Israel for more information). When God referred to Israel as clay, He was talking about forming it to be used to bring the Messiah into the world. It is talking about service, not salvation.

The passage in Romans 9 is also talking about service. God is saying He can do whatever He wants with us. He often intervenes in our lives to fit things into His master plan. He has a plan for each of our lives. We often choose to ignore it and as a result we miss out on many blessings and rewards. Yet, there are times when God steps in and intervenes. Sometimes it’s for the purpose of punishment and sometimes it’s for the purpose of redirecting our lives toward a better path.

All God is saying in Romans 9 is He has the right to do whatever He wants to do in our lives. He has the right to mold our lives into whatever He desires. If He wants to make us live in deplorable poverty, He has the right. If He wants to make us live as kings, He has the right. If He wants to make you a successful world-renowned Christian leader or a lowly janitor at a rest stop, He has the right.



Other Chapters in this Section

PART 1: What is Selective Salvation?
PART 2: What Does the Bible say about Selective Salvation?
PART 3: Problems with Selective Salvation
PART 4: “Choice” –The Achilles’ Heel of Selective Salvation
PART 5: Difficult Questions Answered

Jacob and Esau
Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart
"I have Chosen You"
Nation of Israel
Clay in the Hands of God

Appendix: Foundational Documents used by Selective Salvationists

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