Romans 9:21-26/ Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of Mercy (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on January 28, 2014


This is the thirty-seventh in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Romans. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of January 26, 2014. This message deals with whether one chooses to be a vessel of wrath or a vessel of mercy. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

AUDIO – Listen Now:


Rom 9_21-26


Rom 9_21-26 Outline


Romans 9:21-26

vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy. This refers to people who receive wrath, and people who receive mercy.

The language of this section of scripture is very important in order to understand it correctly.

Did God create some people just so that He can damn them? Is that what was meant by the reference to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart?

Notice that God did not “make” anyone for the purpose of wrath, but that they were “prepared for destruction.”

“Prepared for destruction” does not mean that some people are created for the sole purpose of receiving God’s wrath.

In fact, God’s patience toward people indicate that this cannot be the case.

2 Peter 3:9

“prepared for destruction” designates a ripeness of sinfulness that points to judgment unless such people turn to God, yet God is not made responsible for their sinful condition.

The preparation for destruction is the work of human beings, who allow themselves to deteriorate in spite of knowledge and conscience.

A person’s own actions are what invites the judgment of God.

we see a reference to Pharaoh in v.17

Did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?

The Bible makes it clear that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

Exodus 8:15

Exodus 8:32

Exodus 9:34-35

Exodus 9:12

From Exodus 3:19, we see that God knew Pharaoh and what decisions he would make.

Because of this, God raised him up to be king, so that God’s power might be shown

Romans 9:17

God did not harden Pharaoh’s heart in the sense that he was created for the purpose of damnation, it is one’s own actions that bring judgment.

As for the vessels of mercy, man was made from the beginning to reveal God’s glory.

Romans 9:23

This was God’s purpose for creation, and is consistent with a loving God.

This mercy, though, is not automatic. Man must believe and ask God for mercy.

At that point God bestows His grace on us.

This makes it clear that everyone has the opportunity to receive mercy and share in God’s glory.

About seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth, Hosea told of God’s intention to restore his people.

Through the prophet Hosea God declared his freedom to call others to be his people.

Hosea 2:23

Paul applies Hosea’s message to God’s intention to bring Gentiles into his family after the Jews rejected his plan.

Verse 25 is a quotation from Hosea 2:23 and verse 26 is from Hosea 1:10.

In calling the Gentiles to salvation, God calls a sinful people to himself, just as in saving Israel he showed mercy to the undeserving.

In calling anyone to salvation, he shows undeserved mercy to those who were not his people.

Thank God that we weren’t created to be vessels of wrath, and can choose to be vessels of mercy.

Posted in: Sermons