Salvation is by Divine SovereigntyBy His divine providence, God is completely in charge of what happens among men on earth. He can do with both good and evil people as He pleases. The reason: He is the sovereign Potter (v. 21) who can do with the "same lump" (of sinful clay) as He wishes. God is not under compulsion to save, all though all may come to Him if they wished. However none will by themselves. There is none who seeks after God, "No not one!" (Rom. 3:11). Total Depravity is a true doctrine describing the spiritual propensity of the human species to never from within the individual to seek after the Lord!
Though Paul will use in these verses the encounter of Moses with Pharaoh to illustrate God’s sovereign work, he still is not addressing the issue of personal salvation. His context is the sovereign election of God in choosing Isaac and Jacob through whom the Abrahamic covenant blessings would pass. Paul is continuing his discussion as how God can use a nation, one group over another. He starts out this section as a continuation from the previous verses: "What shall we say then?" (v.14). Paul is attaching verse 14 to what he has just previously written!
God can elect people groups, clans, and different ones within families as He wishes! His calling of the Jews through Jacob still stands. Thus a warning to all allegorists, replacement theology folks, and Arab revisionists!
Hodge writes in his commentary:
The key to understanding this verse is the same lump. The same lump is the sinful lump of clay described in chapters 1-3. The potter may pinch off a piece of clay and mold it as He sees fit. One pinch molds a worthless vessel while another pinch molds a vessel for His purposes, for honorable use. The potter has the right to discard and dispose of the entire lump of clay. The whole lump is polluted and spoiled!
In the verses that follow (9:25-33) Paul will show that, though the covenant promises come down through Jacob, those Jews who are to be blessed must still personally come to God by faith. They do not receive the blessings simply because they are Jews. Some of the covenant theologians falsely accused dispensationalists for teaching that the Jews are automatically saved by being Jewish. But no credible dispensationalist has ever said that! That is a foolish straw man argument leveled against dispensationalists in order to be argumentative!
This verse is not an abrogation of the covenant promises to the Jews. It is not replacing God’s working with Israel with a "new deal" with the church. It is not the creating of a "New Israel." But it is Paul’s way of reminding us that Genesis 12:3 is now being enacted. The nations are being blessed by what the Lord is doing with Israel.