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Answers back (470)(antapokrinomai from antí = against + apokrinomai = to give off a judgment, to answer <> apó = from + kríno = separate, discern, judge) means to reply to something, especially by making a declaratory and argumentative reply. To make unjustified accusations. Answer back, demand one's right (so to speak). Talk back. Contradict. To reply in contradiction to the speaker. Robertson says the idea is "to answer to one's face" (emphasizing the prefix "anti-" meaning against). In modern slang we might say "he was in his opponent's face!" Wuest explains that "antapokrinomai is made up of apokrinomai “to give off a judgment,” thus, “to answer,” and the prefixed preposition anti - “against,” thus, “to answer by contradicting.” Vincent on antapokrinomai - “The word signifies here to reply to an answer which God had already given, and implies, as Godet observes, a spirit of contention.” The only other use of antapokrinomai is by Luke describing the Pharisees who tried to trap Jesus regarding the breaking of the Sabbath. His replies silenced His hypocritical adversaries "And they could make no reply to this." (Lk 14:6) There are 2 uses in the Lxx - Job 16:8 ("my leanness rises up against me. It testifies [Heb = anah = to answer, respond] to my face) and Job 32:12 ("no one refuted Job"). Denney - the objector is reminded emphatically of what he is, and of the person to whom he is speaking. It is not for a man to adopt this tone toward God....Paul...does not refute, but repels the objection. It is inconsistent, he urges, with the relation of the creature to the Creator. Newell - Literally, this reads: “O man, yes! but rather,--you! who are you, replying against God?” Alford well says: “The words yea, rather,' take the ground from under the previous assertion and supersede it by another: implying that it has a certain show of truth, but that the proper view of the matter is yet to be stated. They thus convey, as in Luke 11:28, a rebuke,--here, with severity: That which thou hast said may be correct human reasoning,--but as against God's sovereignty, thy reasoning is out of place and irrelevant; the verse implying. Thou hast neither right nor power to call God to account in this matter.' These verses are a rebuke administered to the spirit of the objection, which forgets the immeasurable distance between us and God, and the relation of Creator and Disposer in which He stands to us.” And Stifler warns: “He who replies against God must mean that it is God's hardening that deprives a soul of salvation; that if God did not interpose with an election and take some and leave others to be hardened, all men would have at least an equal opportunity of salvation. This is false. If God did not elect, none would be saved, for there is none that seek after God' (Romans 3:11). And, men are not lost because they are hardened; they are hardened because they are lost; they are lost because they are sinners. “God is not responsible for sin. He is under no obligation to save any one. Obligation and sovereignty cannot both be predicated of God. If He saves any one it is a sovereign act of mercy.” (Commentary on Romans) Henry Morris - We have no right to ask God: "Why?" Remember that He answered Job's pleas for understanding merely by reminding Job of the fact of creation (Job 38-41). As our great Potter, He has the right to make His pottery vessels both for honor and dishonor (Ro 9:21). We who have been redeemed by His mercy should be grateful that He chose us even before the world began (Ep1:3, 4, 2Ti1:9), confident that He--by whatever means He chooses--is preparing His "vessels of mercy" (Ro 9:23) to receive the full manifestation of His glory in the ages to come (Ep 2:10). The fact that our finite minds cannot comprehend the simultaneous operation of divine election and human responsibility is irrelevant. Both Scripture and human experience demonstrate both to be true. We must both rest in that fact and act in light of it. THE THING MOLDED WILL NOT SAY TO THE MOLDER, "WHY DID YOU MAKE ME LIKE THIS WILL IT: me erei (3SFAI) to plasma to plasanti (AAPMSD) ti me epoiesas (2SAAI) houtos: (Isaiah 29:16; 45:9-11) Paul quotes in part from Isaiah - Isa 29:16 You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made should say to its maker, “He did not make me”; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? Don't you know that God is sovereign, just, merciful & by all rights should have condemned all men & yet He has sovereignly chosen to save some. Then Paul describes 2 different vessels both made from the "same clay" (v21 "same lump") so to speak. Both deserve destruction & I have had mercy on some. God determines whether a man will be a Moses or a Pharaoh. Neither Moses, nor Pharaoh, nor anyone else, could choose his parents, his genetic structure, or his time and place of birth. We have to believe that these matters are in the hands of God. However, this does not excuse us from responsibility. Pharaoh had great opportunities to learn about the true God and trust Him, and yet he chose to rebel. Paul did not develop this aspect of truth because his theme was divine sovereignty, not human responsibility. The one does not deny the other, even though our finite minds may not fully grasp them both. Newell - In the Scriptures, those who meet God, fall into the dust. “I am but dust and ashes,” said Abraham, and Job: “Mine eye seeth Thee, and I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” A “thing,” yea, and a formed thing, owing its very being to a Creator! Have we thus considered ourselves? Our only proper creature-attitude is one of faith, not questioning. These are days of man-vaunting, and God-despising. But they shall soon end, and the very earth on which man's legions marched in such pride, shall flee away “before the face of Him who sits upon the Throne”! (Revelation 20:11) (Commentary on Romans) Romans 9:21 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? (NASB: Lockman) Greek: e ouk echei (3SPAI) exousian o kerameus tou pelou ek tou autou phuramatos poiesai (AAN) o men eis timen skeuos, o de eis atimian? Amplified: Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use? (Amplified Bible - Lockman) Barclay: Has not the potter complete authority over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for an honourable use and another for a menial service? (Westminster Press) ESV: Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? ICB: The man who makes a jar can make anything he wants to make. He can use the same clay to make different things. He can make one thing for special use and another thing for daily use. NIV: Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? (NIV - IBS) NKJV: Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? NLT: When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn't he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? (NLT - Tyndale House) Phillips: The potter, for instance, is always assumed to have complete control over the clay, making with one part of the lump a lovely vase, and with another a pipe for sewage. (Phillips: Touchstone) Wuest: Or, does not the potter possess authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make, on the one hand, an instrument which is for honorable purposes and, on the other hand, one which is for dishonorable uses? (Eerdmans) Young's Literal: hath not the potter authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make the one vessel to honour, and the one to dishonour? OR DOES NOT THE POTTER HAVE A RIGHT OVER THE CLAY: e ouk echei (3SPAI) exousian o kerameus tou pelou: (Ro 9:11,18; Proverbs 16:4; Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:3-6) Read John MacArthur's response to the question "How do we understand Romans 9-22, -vessels of wrath prepared for destruction"?" It is not said that we are as clay in the potter’s hands, but that God has the right over us that the potter has over his clay. One lump the potter can use for a splendid vase; another for a vessel for base uses. Newell - As concerns the right of the Divine Potter over the human clay, we need to go with Jeremiah to “the potter's house”: “I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he was making a work on the wheels. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Such as is the clay in the potter's hands, so are ye in my hand, O house of Israel” (Jeremiah 18:3-6). God called man “dust” in Eden (Ge 2:7; 3:19). And, “The nations are as a drop of a bucket and are accounted as the small dust of the balance” (Isaiah 40:15). When the apothecary would weigh an article accurately, he whisks out with a breath from the balances any former dust remaining therein: and there go the nations, all,--as regards greatness before God! Yet here is one atom of this “small dust” replying against God, saying, “What right has He to do thus with me?” Now it will not do to answer, “God is love”; “God so loved the world.” True, indeed. But God is God, and the nations are “less than nothing, and vanity,” as you read in Isaiah 40:17, and in many other Scriptures. God has rights high above all our poor comprehension. We know that God will always act righteously. We are not God's judges! God has a right “from the same lump of human clay to make one part a vessel unto honor, another unto dishonor.” No godly person challenges that right. Nay, godly people most reverently bow to it! “What would the ability to fashion be worth, if it were under the dictation of that which is to be fashioned?” (Commentary on Romans) TO MAKE FROM THE SAME LUMP ONE VESSEL FOR HONORABLE USE, AND ANOTHER FOR COMMON USE: ek tou autou phuramatos poiesai (AAN) o men eis timen skeuos o de eis atimian: (Ro 9:22,23; Jeremiah 22:28; Hosea 8:8; Acts 9:15; 2Timothy 2:20,21-note) All men come from the same "lump" of clay so to speak for... just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Ro 5:12-note) Thus all are lost and destined for perdition. God does not have to choose them for hell. They are already headed there because of their inherent and imputed sin and the sins they commit. God in His sovereignty chooses some to be vessels of mercy and with the others exhibits a long fuse even though He has every right to destroy them. The vessels of wrath are not foreordained by God or chosen by God to go to hell. They prepare themselves for their ultimate destiny, which they receive because they have rejected the truth about God and His righteousness available only in Christ. Believer's Study Bible - Although the illustration of the right of the potter to do with the vessel as he wishes, whether to honor or dishonor it, may certainly be applied to individual election, nevertheless, the election of the nation of Israel is the primary subject under discussion in ch9-11, and the principal application of the passage is to Israel. (Believer's Bible Commentary) Denney - Either you must recognize this absoluteness of God in silence, or you must make the preposterous assertion that the potter has not power over the clay, etc. The power of the potter over the clay is of course undoubted: he takes the same lump, and makes one vessel for noble and another for ignoble uses; it is not the quality of the clay, but the will of the potter, that decides to what use each part of the lump is to be put. True, the objector might say, but irrelevant. For man is not clay, and the relation of God to man is not that of the potter to dead matter. To say that it is, is just to concede the objector’s point—the moral significance is taken out of life, and God has no room any longer to pronounce moral judgments, or to speak of man in terms of praise or blame. (Expositor's Greek Testament) William Newell has an interesting note... In His infinite wisdom and knowledge God reads with unerring accuracy the operations of the human heart: "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart." Man says, "If I am not one of God's elect, an object of His mercy, then I cannot do right, and God should not blame me." I asked an intelligent man in western Michigan if he had believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. He burst out into loud laughing, saying, "If I am elect, I will go to heaven; and if I am not elect, there is no use in my worrying about the question!" I rebuked him sternly, with these words: "'God commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent: inasmuch as He hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He hath ordained.' 'God's commands are God's enablings, 'and if you will hearken to Him, you will be saved. But you will not dare to say to God in that day, I could not come because I was not of the elect; for that will not be true! The reason you refused to come, will be found to be your love of sin, not your non-election!" God says, "Whosoever will" and the door is open to all, absolutely all. God means "Whosoever": and that is the word for you, sinner; and not election, which is God's business, not yours. (Romans Commentary)

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