Coming To Pharaoh’s Aid

“But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction.” (Romans 9:22)

Charles Hodge in his commentary on the above passage comes to Pharaoh’s aid:

“God does not create men in order to destroy them.” (Charles Hodge)

Paul contradicts Charles Hodge. For Paul just said that God DOES create vessels of wrath in order to destroy them. God desires to demonstrate His wrath and make His power known, and so He fits out vessels of wrath in order to fulfill this desire. God unconditionally desired to form and fit Pharaoh for destruction. Pharaoh’s being wicked did NOT result in his being a vessel of wrath (as if the Potter’s actions were determined by the clay). Rather, God’s unconditional determination to demonstrate His power and wrath in Pharaoh resulted in Pharaoh being wicked. In other words, God in His holy power and awesome wrath actively made Pharaoh wicked in order to destroy him SO THAT Moses would know God’s unconditional redemptive riches found SOLELY in the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. May God’s people rejoice in this truth.

“Even as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep….Jesus answered them, I told you, and you did not believe. The works which I do in the name of My Father, these bear witness about Me. But you do not believe for you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give eternal life to them, and they shall not perish to the age, never! And not anyone shall pluck them out of My hand” (John 10:15, 25-28).

“Because of this, it is also contained in the Scripture: Behold, I lay in Zion an elect, precious Stone, a Corner-foundation; and the one believing in Him shall not be ashamed, never! Then to you who believe belongs the preciousness. But to disobeying ones, He is the Stone which those building rejected; this One became the Head of the Corner, and a Stone-of-stumbling, and a Rock-of-offense to the ones stumbling, being disobedient to the Word, to which they were also appointed. But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you may openly speak of the virtues of the One who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; you who then were not a people, but now are the people of God; the one not pitied then but now pitied” (1 Peter 2:6-10).

Not only is boasting totally excluded in the salvation of the elect, boasting is also excluded in the unbelief and rebellion of the reprobate. The Biblical doctrine of unconditional predestinating grace nullifies any boasting on the part of the elect for salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9; Galatians 6:14). And the Biblical doctrine of unconditional reprobation and active hardening nullifies the final boast of rebellion and unbelief (cf. Isaiah 10:5-15).  One writer says:

“In Romans 9:11-22, the Holy Spirit through Paul appeals to God’s absolute sovereignty, not some blasphemous standard of justice that man imposes on God. God can do whatever He wants with His creation, including making some people vessels of His blessing and making other people vessels of His wrath. It is really that simple. Jacob was a vessel of God’s blessing, and Esau was a vessel of God’s wrath. Moses was a vessel of God’s blessing, and Pharaoh was a vessel of God’s wrath. God made Jacob and Moses vessels of His blessing not based on anything they did, and He made Esau and Pharaoh vessels of His wrath not based on anything they did. Both election and reprobation are unconditional. If either were conditional, then God would not be sovereign. God would not be God. In addition, and just as importantly, if God did not actively cause all actions and events, including the sin of men and angels, then God would not be God. If anyone has a problem with that, like the Spurgeons and Hodges of the world, who say that God would be unjust to find fault with those who have not resisted His will, God’s people say with Paul, WHO ARE YOU ANSWERING AGAINST GOD? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, to talk back to and shake your fist at God? Shall the pot say to the potter, Why did you make me like this? Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the one lump to make one pot to honor, and one to dishonor? Bow before the sovereign creator, the Lord of the universe, and confess that God is the Sovereign Potter who does whatever He pleases.” (

To quote Romans 9:22-23:

“But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction, and that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory.” (Romans 9:22-23)

This passage above clearly teaches that God does NOT create the vessels of wrath for the sole purpose of damning them. God does NOT perform this GRAND DEMONSTRATION in a vacuum. God DOES create them to damn them of course, but He ALSO creates the vessels of wrath for the BENEFIT of the vessels of mercy.

“God wants to show His wrath and make His power known FOR THE GOOD OF THE ELECT. He wants His elect to SEE Him show His wrath and to SEE Him make His power known. So here we see that God did NOT make the reprobate for the SOLE purpose of damning them. He has OTHER purposes, which include making the reprobate for the BENEFIT of the elect.”

The vessels of wrath are on display for the edification and education of the elect (as the remainder of the linked sermon above bears out).