Another King James Bible Believer

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The Potter and the Clay - Does Jeremiah 18 contradict or refute Romans 9?



The Potter and the Clay - Does Jeremiah 18 contradict or refute Romans 9?

A rabid “free willer” posts: “God is leading every human being without exception to repentance and by repentance, salvation. (Romans 2:4).

Because God is leading to repentance, every human being without exception CAN of their own freewill, choose to repent.”

He then quotes Jeremiah 18:1-13, as do many “free will” believers in an effort to overthrow the clear teachings found in so many parts of the Bible that teach the election of grace, and the facts that it is God who gives both repentance and faith to his chosen people and that the new birth is NOT of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Jeremiah 18:1-13 read:

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 

4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.

12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.

13 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.

Now, let’s contrast Romans 9:13-25

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15 For he saith to Moses, I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I WILL HAVE MERCY, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then IT IS NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH,  nor of him that runneth, BUT OF GOD THAT SHEWETH MERCY.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore HATH HE MERCY ON WHOM HE WILL HAVE MERCY, AND WHOM HE WILL HE HARDENETH.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 HATH NOT THE POTTER POWER OVER THE CLAY, OF THE SAME LUMP, TO MAKE ONE VESSEL UNTO HONOUR, AND NOTHER UNTO DISHONOUR?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering THE VESSELS OF WRATH FITTED TO DESTRUCTION.

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on THE VESSELS OF MERCY, WHICH HE HAD AFORE PREPARED UNTO GLORY,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.”

Notice that Romans 9 refers to the Potter, who out of the same lump of clay, makes both “the vessels of WRATH FITTED TO DESTRUCTION (not “non-service) and the “VESSELS OF MERCY, WHICH HE HAD AFORE PREPARED UNTO GLORY” (not “service”)

Also notice that the idea of “free will” is totally excluded from the election of God.  Man has no part in it.  

Romans 9:16 clearly tells us “So then IT IS NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, nor of him that runneth, BUT OF GOD THAT SHEWETH MERCY.”  

And He has mercy on whom HE wills, and whom HE wills He hardens.

God is speaking of the eternal destiny of both vessels. Not some kind of “earthly service” as the “free willers” try to tell us in their efforts to prop up their “will of the flesh” brand of Christianity.

And it concerns those who are God people from those who are not his people.

So, how do we explain Jeremiah 18 without creating a whole bunch of contradictions in the Bible?  

“Free will” theology ALWAYS ends up pitting a few verses they misunderstand and misapply against so many other clear verses that teach God’s election of grace, that the end result is that the Bible seems to constantly contradicts itself.

If your theology ends up creating all these contradictions, it is not the King James Bible that is in error, but your theology.

Let’s look more closely at the passage.

Jeremiah 18:3-12 King James Bible.

3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

 

4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Notice that the vessel of clay was FIRST marred, and afterwards the Potter makes a good vessel that pleases him.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

 

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

 

7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

 

8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

Here we see that the nation or kingdom he refers to is ALREADY in a marred state.  They are already doing evil and they deserve judgment.

This is the natural, fallen, sinful and rebellious state of all men if left to themselves.  But if, after being warned of impending judgment, they REPENT, then God will not judge them as they deserve.

The key to understanding the power of the Potter, who at his will makes vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy, is WHO it is that gives repentance?

Man SHOULD repent. And God calls upon him to do so. But this does not mean that man, if left to his own sinful nature, can or will do so.  The fact that he does not, proves his guilt and sin.

The Scriptures tell us in no uncertain words that it is GOD Himself who gives Repentance.

Repentance is also a gift of God 

Just as God Himself gives us the faith to believe the gospel, so too He gives Repentance. 

In Acts 5:31 the apostle Peter says in his preaching: "Him (Christ) hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, FOR TO GIVE REPENTANCE to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." 

Again, in Acts 11:18 when Peter is before the brethren in Jerusalem telling them how God had sent him to preach to the Gentiles the gospel of the grace of God and how God had given them the Holy Ghost just as He had to the Jewish believers, we read: 

"When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, THEN HATH GOD ALSO to the Gentiles GRANTED REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE."

In 2 Timothy 2:24-25 the apostle Paul writes to Timothy telling him how to deal with those who hold false doctrines.  He tells him: 

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; IF GOD PERADVENTURE WILL GIVE THEM REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the truth."

 

The same truth is taught in the Old Testament.  

In the book of Jeremiah we read: "Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; TURN THOU ME, AND I SHALL BE TURNED; for thou art the LORD my God. Surely AFTER I WAS TURNED, I REPENTED."  Jeremiah 31:18-19. 

 

Lamentations 5:21 "TURN THOU US UNTO THEE, O LORD, AND WE SHALL BE TURNED; renew our days as of old."

It is recorded in 1 Kings when the prophet Elijah was contending with the false prophets of Baal and telling the people of Israel - 

"How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him."  

In his prayer to the Lord God Elijah then says: Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and THAT THOU HAST TURNED THEIR HEART BACK AGAIN." 1 Kings 18:37

So if a nation repents of their evil and turns to God, it is because the Potter Himself is forming a new vessel that pleases him, and it is HE who gives them repentance.

Jeremiah 18 contines - 

9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

 

10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

This was true of the nation of Israel. God chose them to be his people and He redeemed them.  He did not do this with any other nation.

Deuteronomy 7:6-8 King James Bible.

6 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: THE LORD THY GOD HATH CHOSEN THEE TO BE A SPECIAL PEOPLE UNTO HIMSELF, ABOVE ALL PEOPLE THAT ARE UPON THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

7 The Lord did not SET HIS LOVE UPON YOU, nor CHOOSE YOU, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

8 But BECAUSE THE LORD LOVED YOU, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, AND REDEEMED YOU out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 10:15 King James Bible.

15 Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers TO LOVE THEM, and HE CHOSE THEIR SEED AFTER THEM, EVEN YOU ABOVE ALL PEOPLE, as it is this day.”

Amos 3:2 King James Bible.

2 YOU ONLY HAVE I KNOWN OF ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

When God brought the chosen and redeemed children of Israel out of the land of bondage, he gave them his 10 commandments.  And three times we hear the people say: “All that the LORD hath spoken we will do, and be obedient.”  See Exodus 19:8; 24:3 and 7.

Yet, what did they and their children many years later end up doing?  They ended up worshipping idols, killing their own prophets, and rebelling against their God. They had become “marred” by their own sins in the hands of the Potter.

So, Jeremiah 18 continues: 

11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.

12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.”

God warns them of impending judgment. And what is their response?  Repentance? No.  They chose to walk after their own evil heart.

God is teaching us all a lesson here.  If man is left to himself to follow his own heart, he will always do evil and become “marred” in the hands of the potter.

It is only when the Potter decides to make a new vessel that is pleasing to Him, that things turn out right.

AFTER God had judged Israel for their sins, we see these promises from God in this same book of Jeremiah.  

In Jeremiah 24:5-7 we read -

5 Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.

6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I WILL BRING THEM AGAIN to this land: and I WILL BUILD THEM, AND NOT PULL THEM DOWN; AND I WILL PLANT THEM, AND NOT PLUCK THEM UP.

How does this happen?  He goes on to say: 

7 And I WILL GIVE THEM AN HEART TO KNOW ME, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for THEY SHALL RETURN UNTO ME WITH THEIR WHOLE HEART.”

WHY do they return?  Because it is God himself who gives them a new heart.  

We read essentially the same thing in Jeremiah 32:37-40.

37 Behold, I WILL GATHER THEM out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I WILL BRING THEM AGAIN unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:

38 And THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE, and I will be their God:

39 And I WILL GIVE THEM ONE HEART, and one way, THAT THEY MAY FEAR ME FOR EVER, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I WILL PUT MY FEAR IN THEIR HEARTS, THAT THEY SHALL NOT DEPART FROM ME.”

This is the Potter making the once marred clay vessel into one that pleases him, AND IT IS ALL OF GOD’S DOING.

“But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are all the work of thy hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

Related topics -

See “WHY do some believe the gospel and others do not?”

http://brandplucked.webs.com/originoffaith.htm

“Did you choose God or did He choose you?”

http://brandplucked.webs.com/godchoseyou.htm

Revelation 22:17 “WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely.”

http://brandplucked.webs.com/rev2217whosoeverwill.htm

 


Can God “repent”?  


Genesis 6:6 KJB - "And it REPENTED the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart."


http://brandplucked.webs.com/godrepents.htm