Romans 9: Who Is The Potter and Who Is The Clay?

Control freak!

There are a lot of us out there.  We like things a certain way.  It’s not so much that we are selfish and must have it our way, it’s more so that we are more comfortable when things go our way.  Life is more predictable.  Control freaks don’t like surprises.

On the other hand, control freaks really like performance-based systems.  Do something and get a predictable result.  One can know how they will be judged, so there are no surprises.  Performance-based systems like religious laws and customs because they bring, well, control.

The problem, though, is that we are not in control of the big matters of life, things like salvation, election, destiny, and calling.  Nor were the Roman Christians.  This was not their church, it was Christ’s.  They were not the ones who call people out of darkness, God is.  They were not the gatekeepers of the Kingdom, Jesus is.

To say it a different way, Paul reminds them that they are only clay in the hands of the Potter.  He will do what He will.

Who can stand against his purpose?  Are you, a mere human being, going to answer God back?  Surely the clay won’t say to the potter, “Why did you make me like this?”  Doesn’t the potter have authority over the clay? (9:19b-21a)

So the Potter has chosen to include Gentiles with their different way of life in this previously homogeneously Jewish Church.  That is God’s right.  It is up to us to accept and adapt.

We today should probably ask ourselves who the Gentiles of our world are. Who is God bringing into our churches or at least into relationship with Him even though they don’t fit our mold?  Are we trying to tell the Potter He can’t do things like that?

What do you think?

Categories: Romans | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Romans 9: Who Is The Potter and Who Is The Clay?

  1. I could write about the Potter and the Clay for days : )

    What’s MOST striking to me is that the once we choose God, he places the Spirit in us which allows us to be co-creators, co-potters with him in the lives of others.

    From Colossians 1

    27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.

    28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that WE may present everyone FULLY MATURE IN CHRIST. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy CHRIST SO POWERFULLY WORKS IN ME.

    Who doesn’t love an artist to lets YOU create along with them. It’s much more exciting to be a part of the creative process than to just simply sit by and watch it all happen with out you. Good is good.

    • Thought you might enjoy this post!

    • Pat

      Co-creators, co-potters—Interesting idea. I like it.

      The Spirit helps me to grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As a mother, a teacher, a wife, a co-worker, a believer, I can help create those qualities in others as well as in myself. It gives new meaning to even the small tasks of each day.

      A verse that caught my attention in chapter 8 is 6b. “…to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace.” I do so love the peace that the Spirit brings. I can remember when I was depending on myself to do all the right things, to meet all the “requirements” that someone had decided made a “good church member.” What peace came into my soul when I embraced God’s Holy Spirit.


  2. : ) Nice picture too. Did you steal that from my website?

  3. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?

    Tell me, if you know so much

    – Job 38:4

  4. Pingback: We are the clay and You are our Potter O Lord God « bummyla

  5. Having been raised with a strong, strong dose of free will theology, this chapter has always been an enigma because predestination seems to be all over this chapter. Maybe this is a good, universal point to grab from this chapter: “Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question?” For as many problems as I see in a belief in Calvinistic predestination, if “free will” is just code for “I want to be able to know and control what God is doing” then there is a problem there too.

  6. Eddy

    Even master potters have days when the clay seems like it has a mind of its own.

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