Romans 9:21-23 (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?
What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--
This is a very heavy passage of scripture. It makes me shrink in awestruck wonderment. The idea that God is the creator who has the right to make us any way he pleases and then to predestine us to any end he chooses is fearsome. And yet I cling to the wonderful truth of John 3:16.
There is some disagreement among scholars regarding the phrase "prepared for destruction." The word for prepared has the idea of being ripe or ready for. In this sense, it is not God doing the preparing but our sin that has made us "fit" to be objects of God's wrath. On the other hand, God did foresee this and approved it before the foundation of the world, after all, He is the potter. That's sobering and rightfully so.
This passage does not end on a low note but on a high one. God does not condemn men who ought to be saved, rather He saves men who ought to be lost.
John 3:16 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.