Three Things to Know About the “Vessels of Wrath”

, posted by finney.raju

  1. They rejected God’s mercy in unbelief. In Romans 2:4, Paul introduces the vessels of wrath metaphor. Addressing Israel, he asks, “do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Then he warns, “because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” When Paul speaks of their disobedience, it seems the main target is their refusal to rely upon faith instead of works for salvation. They did not seek righteousness “by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law” (Rom. 9:32). “Because of unbelief they were broken off” (Rom. 11:20).
  2. Their unbelief leads to mercy for others.  In Romans 11, Paul expands on God’s purpose in patiently bearing with disobedient Israelites, explaining that it is for the benefit of believing Christians. He asks, “What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” Paul repeats this explanation two chapters later, explaining that Gentile converts “have now obtained mercy through their [Israel’s] disobedience” (11:30). 
  3. They can still be saved Since Israel was broken off by unbelief, “if they do not continue in unbelief, [they] will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” (Rom. 11:23).