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To Make Known His Glory


You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

—Romans 9:19–24

Along with the doctrine of unconditional election comes the difficult doctrine of reprobation. It is this doctrine most of all that causes many to cry, “That’s not fair!” That cry comes from the prideful assumption that man is the center of redemptive history. But we are not the center; the center of the biblical narrative, God’s story, is God himself.


Barnhouse tells of a shop in Paris that is world—famous for its magnificent, intricate white lace. To display their samples in the store windows, the proprietors place the darkest black velvet behind the lace; only in this way can the intricate details of the craftsmen’s achievement be seen. It is the same with God’s grace. Were no one ever condemned—were there no display of God’s judgment and wrath—there would be no knowledge of the glories of God’s grace. In that case, the true God would be unknown to His creatures, and His purpose in creation—to display the fullness of His glory—would be unrealized. Having failed in this purpose, God would no longer be God. For this reason, God’s decree of reprobation is necessary. God being perfect in every attribute, it is necessary for His every attribute to be exercised: goodness in creation, power in triumph, mercy in grace, and justice in wrath.

—Richard D. Phillips, What’s So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? (Reformation Trust, 2008), 44.

Posted 2013·11·27 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Donald Grey Barnhouse · Mercy (of God) · Reprobation · Richard Phillips · Romans · Soli Deo Gloria · Unconditional Election · What’s So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? · Wrath (of God)

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