Thesis:"Being fitted for destruction" means to be allowed to illegitimately respond to God until there is no possibility of being developed into a servant of God.
Introduction:In our last study we attempted to make the case that there is a significant interplay within the desires of God that explain why God is preemptive in regard to individuals. It seems to be the indisputable case that God cannot reveal the alternative realities regarding His own nature to created persons unless He is willing to allow them to function as real persons: selecting objectives; developing plans to achieve them; and executing the actions necessary to the plans. In other words, God had the option of not creating persons, but once He rejected that option, the larger issues were governed by that choice.
Then, once "persons" were created, the "problem" of getting them to the point of "love" that would carry them through all of eternity became the issue. In the larger context of our text, it is clear that the apostle Paul, a created person, had "arrived" in respect to this issue. Now, in the smaller context of our text, this created person who had "arrived" in respect to the kind of love that will carry through forever is attempting to unveil at least some of the answers to the questions that surround the question of "how" a created person comes to such love.
In these answers, there are some details that "surface" as more critical than others. One of those details is the significance of "revelation" (a tool of edification unto Life). A second of those details is the order of "purposes" (God's purpose takes precedence over man's). A third of those details is the necessity of removing man's works from consideration so that he might be given Life (Life is either a reward or a gift and the either/or is an absolute exclusion). A fourth of those details is the absolute understanding of the righteousness of God (He never judges any one who has not done evil). And a fifth of those details is the absolute requirement upon every creature to take the place of humility before his/her Creator (it cannot be established by man that creations ought legitimately to be exalted above Creators).
That brings us to a sixth detail: the decision by God to make a glorious Life possible for created persons. It is to this sixth detail that we again turn our attention this evening.
I. The Requirements of "a Glorious Life".
A. There must be a manifestation of God's "other side".
1. Paul raises the question, "What if God was willing to make His wrath manifest and to make His power known?"
a. The issues of "making manifest" and "making known" are absolutely tied to the capacities of the objects to perceive and to understand.
1) This means that God had to adapt Himself to the necessities inherent in man's capacities.
2) Among those capacities is the ability to grasp data and integrate it into a useful form and inherent to this capacity is the necessity of some form of one-on-one physical/spiritual presentation.
a) On one side of this issue is this question: Why did Christ have to resolve the "Justice/Mercy" conflict on the earth? [What good would it have done man for the resolution to have taken place in a way that left him totally ignorant of its reality?]
b) On the other side of the same issue is this question: How is it that it was enough for only "some" men to actually witness the demonstration? [If a man can learn from another without the actual events taking place in his proximity, why was not "witness" enough?]
c) The biblical position is that creatures "must" have an in-their-spheres-of-necessity "demonstration" that carries with it a rationally indisputable legacy, but, once that has been given men are under the obligation of rationality [in a sense, if it happened to any human being, it has happened to all of us].
b. The issues of "making manifest" and "making known" within the parameters of man's capacities are also absolutely tied to the use of a legitimate demonstration.
1) Any level of fraud destroys the capacity of "faith" which, in turn, undercuts any real perception and understanding.
2) Thus, for "wrath" to be known, there have to be "vessels of wrath".
a) For there to be "vessels of wrath", there has to be a "permission" of the development of "fitness".
b) For the manifestation of the "wrath", there has to be a "destruction" of the appropriate objects.
c) For the manifestation to have its long term impact, there has to be a "legacy" from the demonstration [thus, the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever (Revelation 14:11)].
2. Paul's question rests within the progression of the "details" mentioned in the introduction above.
a. God has not acted frivolously or arbitrarily.
b. The willingness of God was a "driven" willingness: the development of His Life in His creation made it a necessity.
B. There must be a greater demonstration of God's "former side".
1. Paul raised this issue in the words "make known the riches of His glory".
a. A richness of revelation requires a significant extension of the attribute under consideration (note Paul's words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15-16).
b. The significant extension of "mercy" involves two elements.
1) On the one side, there must be the establishment of a profound level of disqualification (the sinfulness of Sin must be highlighted to an extreme).
2) On the other side, there must be the establishment in a profound level of glorious Life.
2. Paul refused to relinquish the fundamental "point of contention": He "afore prepared" those who would inherit the glory.
a. This returns us to his previously established "details".
b. This makes us aware that there will be no development of the kind of "love" to which Paul had "arrived" unless we take each step as it comes in the development of the details.