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November 2021 - Header Graphics for Today in the Word Daily devotional Our God Reigns: A Study of Micah - A purple hue view of space, with the sun coming up on the earth .

Questions and Answers | Romans 9 Explained

If God has the authority to make some for glory and others for destruction (Rom. 9:22), how can John 3:16 say He desires to save the whole world?

A mistaken premise can lead to confusing conclusions. Let’s rethink this question. First, Romans 9:2–23 teaches that God has “mercy on whom he wants to have mercy” (v. 18, the predestination of believers). However, when speaking of “objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction” (v. 22) the text never says who prepared them. The verb “prepared” may mean that the vessels were prepared for destruction by someone else. Or it may mean that the vessels of wrath prepared themselves for destruction. Either way, God is not the One who prepared them.

Second, John 3:16 says God loved the world not that He desires to save the whole world. In 2 Peter 3:9 it says that God is patient, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” It is God’s desire that we repent and receive mercy but not His decree. He longs for us to be saved but He has not predestined all for universal salvation.

BY Dr. Michael Rydelnik

Dr. Michael Rydelnik is a professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the host of Moody Radio’s Open Line with Michael Rydelnik. He is the author of 50 Most Important Bible Questions inspired by both his radio show and his columns for Today in the Word. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael also appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, Ill.

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