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Romans – Lesson 14: The Potter and His Clay

Scripture Reading: Romans 9:1-29


Paul uses strong dialogue in talking to the Jews about their unbelief in following after Jesus. The Jews seemed to feel that they were already saved due to their birthright (of the lineage of Abraham). He tells them that the children of God are those who follow after Jesus and His teachings. Paul also emphasizes that you cannot attain this relationship through baptism, church membership, confirmation or any other works. We are saved by grace, not by birth or works. We are still to do the works, but not so we can earn the right to become heirs of God.

An example of this teaching proving God’s election is the choice of Jacob over Esau. Today we would say that this was not fair, that Esau had that right by birth, and it should not be taken away by some form of trickery. But God chose Jacob and told of this promise to Rebecca before either Jacob or Esau was born.

Becoming children of the promise (election) is not of works, but of God who calls men to salvation. In this chapter, Paul focuses on the difficult subject of God’s sovereignty. He is the potter and we are His clay to be molded and perfected in His image.

Lesson Questions:

  1. Ten people are guilty of the same crime. The judge decides to pardon all but one, who serves the full sentence. How would you evaluate the judge’s decision?
  2. From Romans 9:1-5, why does Paul have great sorrow for the people of Israel?
  3. How do Romans 9:6-13 demonstrate that God has not failed in His promises and purposes for Israel? Who are the true children of God? Discuss how man’s selections and salvation are by God’s own election and grace, and not by personal merit (works).
  4. How do you respond to the idea of election (Romans 9:11), God choosing certain people to be the objects of mercy?
  5. From Romans 9:14-18, is God being unfair when He selects one man and rejects another, or when He favors one people and not all? In reply, Paul speaks of God’s mercy rather than His justice or injustice. Do you agree with Paul? Why?
  6. Based upon Romans 9:19-21, does man have the right to question God, or to dispute God’s sovereignty? Can you identify with the Jew’s objection raised in Romans 9:19?
  7. How does the illustration of the potter and his clay help us gain a proper perspective? Romans 9:20-23.
  8. From Romans 9:24-29, if God has rejected the Jews, then who are the “chosen”? Are they just the Gentiles?