Romans 9:22

Romans 9:22-23 (see also 2nd Timothy 2:19-21; Matthew 25:41)
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.

When Israel was at its worst, God was at His best. As the context goes, Israel was ripe for judgment, but God endured them with much patience, which patience, resulted in the provision of salvation to all men.

Either you are a vessel of Gods glory or you are a human garbage can. Do you decide which you are? 2nd Timothy 2:21 states: If anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Non-Calvinist, Laurence Vance, explains: “So as we have seen time and time again, it is the Calvinists themselves who often overthrow their own doctrines.” (The Other Side of Calvinism, p.348, emphasis mine)

Here is a perfect example:

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, states: But it does not say anything about fitting men for destruction; they fitted themselves. They did that: God had nothing to do with it. (Jacob and Esau, emphasis mine)

Spurgeon adds: My soul revolts at the idea of a doctrine that lays the blood of mans soul at Gods door. I cannot conceive how any human mind, at least any Christian mind, can hold any such blasphemy as that. (Jacob and Esau, emphasis mine)

Calvinist, John MacArthur, comments: “The Greek verb rendered prepared is passive. God is not the subject doing the preparing. There is the very clear sense in this use of the passive voice to relive God of the responsibility and to put it fully on the shoulders of those who refuse to heed His Word and believe in His Son. They are prepared by their own rejection for a place (hell) prepared by God, not originally for them but ‘for the devil and his angels’ (Matt. 25:41).” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Romans 9-16, p.40, emphasis mine)

Calvinist, R.C. Sproul, comments: It sounds like God is actively making people sinners. But that is not required by the text. He does make vessels of wrath and vessels of honor from the same lump of clay. But if we look closely at the text we will see that the clay with which the potter works is ‘fallen’ clay. One batch of clay receives mercy in order to become vessels of honor. That mercy presupposes a clay that is already guilty. Likewise God must ‘endure’ the vessels of wrath that are fit for destruction because they are guilty vessels of wrath.(Chosen By God, p. 153, emphasis mine)

Calvinist, R.C. Sproul, writes: “The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God WORKS in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin. This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin
who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.” (Double Predestination, emphasis mine)

However, here is what John Calvin had to say about God, allegedly, fitting men to destruction:

John Calvin writes: “Solomon also teaches us that not only was the destruction of the ungodly foreknown, but the ungodly themselves have been created for the specific purpose of perishing (Prov. 16:4).” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, pp.207-208, emphasis mine)

Calvin adds: “Conceited men are resentful, because, in admitting that men are rejected or chosen by the secret counsel of God, Paul offers no explanation, as though the Spirit of God were silent for want of reason, and does not rather warn us by His silence—a mystery which our minds do not comprehend, but which we ought to adore with reverence.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.209, emphasis mine)

Calvin adds: “There are some, too, who allege that God is greatly dishonored if such arbitrary power is bestowed on Him. But does their distaste make them better theologians than Paul, who has laid it down as the rule of humility for the believers, that they should look up to the sovereignty of God and not evaluate it by their own judgment?” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, pp.209-210, emphasis mine)

John Calvin writes: “Since many interpreters also destroy the meaning of this passage in attempting to minimize its harshness, we must note first that in Hebrew the expression I did raise is I have appointed thee.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.206, emphasis mine)

Calvin adds: “At this point in particular the flesh rages when it hears that the predestination to death of those who perish is referred to the will of God.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.208, emphasis mine)

Calvin writes: “For Paul teaches that the race of Abraham consisted of both elect and reprobate. Further, he declares in general that there come from the human race vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy for the manifestation of the glory of God.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.160, emphasis mine)

Calvinist, Erwin Lutzer, writes: “On the one hand, God pleads with the sinner to believe; yet, on the other hand, he plans the damnation of many.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.170, emphasis mine)

Lutzer adds: “Men are rescued from this slavery by God, who elects some to eternal life and others to reprobation.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.177, emphasis mine)

Adrian Rogers explains: “When Paul says that the vessels of dishonor are ‘fitted’ for destruction, he simply means they are ready for destruction. And the middle voice of the word ‘fitted’ implies that they fitted themselves for destruction, not that they were fitted by God. The potter is longsuffering with vessels who are bent on destroying themselves. The potter, by contrast, ‘...will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy 2:4). That is why the apostle Paul spent time reasoning and persuading those, especially in the synagogues, who might appear to be vessels ‘fitted for destruction’ (see Acts 18:4).” (Foundations For Our Faith, Vol. II, A Study In Romans Chapters 5-9, p.121, emphasis mine)

Additionally, to say that some are created to be vessels of wrath while others were created to be vessels of honor is proved absurd at Ephesians 2:1-9 which shows that we were all vessels of wrath by virtue of our sin: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:1-9)

Question:  What determines whether a vessel is of wrath or of mercy?

Answer: 2nd Timothy 2:21 states: If anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. God doesn’t want you to be a vessel of wrath, but of mercy, honorable, sanctified and useful to Him.
Question:  What does it mean that vessels of wrath are “prepared for destruction”?

Answer: The Greek word for “prepared” in this application is “katartizo’” which according to the Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, means: “to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair (literally or figuratively) or adjust:--fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect (-ly join together), prepare, restore.” (p.40) These vessels of wrath are thoroughly and completely fit for destruction. They are suitable for damnation in Hell. But instead of destroying them, God “endured” them with “much patience.” So what is God patiently waiting for? He wants to pour out His mercy upon them.
Question:  Romans 9:22 states: And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.” What did God prepare “beforehand”?

Answer:  Glory for those in Christ whom He did foreknew, according to Romans 8:29. God desires to make known to you the riches of His glory. He doesn’t want to destroy you. He wants to glorify you, and is patient toward that end. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2nd Peter 3:9) Do not exhaust God’s patience or else you will “fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) To “fall” into something implies something unintended, such as falling into money or falling into a mud hole. They are not planned. God does not want His children (by creation) to fall into judgment, which is not what He had purposed them for.
Would R.C. Sproul be willing to confess that John Calvin taught “hyper-Calvinism” through a “radical form of supralapsarianism” which constitutes a “monstrous assault on the integrity of God,” that inevitably “makes God the author of sin”?
Man is one or the other. On Judgment Day, Jesus will separate believers from unbelievers like separating sheep from goats. If one can choose to be a believer, then he can choose to be a sheep. So does God sufficiently enable anyone to believe in Him in order to go from being a condemned goat to a redeemed sheep?
Question: So they choose to remain unbelievers, and hence, fit themselves to destruction. That much is agreed, but can they choose to repent of their sin, by the  enablement of divine intervention, so that God may fit them for honor?

Answer:  Calvinists do not dispute that God’s mercy can be received by choice, but that man’s choice, due to Total Depravity, will always be the wrong choice. Calvinists insist that in order to make the right choice, it has to be irresistible, in order to overcome man’s sin nature. However, if man cannot choose to repent, then what is God being patient towards? Is God being patient with Himself for the time to implant an Irresistible Grace? So if that is wrong, which it seemingly is, then people can repent and God is patiently waiting for this very thing.