For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (ESV)
I enjoy going to "consignment" shops. Many of the things found there are at a price that I can afford. Can you imagine going to a consignment shop full of items that were all marked, "Disobedience"? Not exactly the kind of store that would attract many shoppers. Paul says that God has consigned all to disobedience.
What does it mean that God consigned us all to disobedience. Quite simply, God allows every man and woman to pursue their disobedience. Instead of stopping us, he allows us to sin freely as our sinful nature is wont to do. I may wish that he would stop me of all my disobedience, but that is not part of God's plan. The reason why is found in the remainder of the verse.
"That he may have mercy on all." Imagine if you will, that God is out shopping. It is not as if he needs anything, but he pokes his head into the humanity store and asks the store owner, Satan, how much all of the humans cost. Each one of them have been tagged, "disobedient." Satan looks them over and says, "It will cost the life blood of your own son for the whole lot of them."
In this illustration the Lord says to Satan, "Deal." Jesus went to the cross so that God the Father could offer his mercy on those who were consigned to their own disobedience. In the end of it all, God gets all the glory because he did all that was necessary to purchase us and make us his own. We have gone from "disobedience" to "received mercy."
What tag is on you? If you have been consigned to disobedience I would like to invite you to come to the Lord. He will give you a new tag (received mercy) and a new life.