What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. (Romans 9:14-16)
All these texts indicate is that Jah is the ultimate judge and who are we to question His perfect justice and righteous decisions,as His love and mercy are toward those he finds worthy and his wrath,culminating in complete destruction in the Second Death,is perfectly warranted as well,due to impenitence and unrighteousness,as indicated throughout scripture.Romans 9 may not address WHY God has mercy and compassion on some and not others(only indicating that it is whoever he wills to) ,but it isn't like we don't have the rest of scripture to elaborate why he wills to have it on some and not on others..When these texts say that OUR will isn't considered here,it doesn't mean we don't possess free will,but that GOD is the ultimate judge as to who has abused it or used it well,and that we have NO say in the matter of how he will judge us.There are no more appeals and cries once that judgment has been made righteously and justly.But what we can know is that he judges according to our faith,repentance and conformity to his standards simply because scripture indicates these basic facts throughout its pages.Just to reiterate,again,Paul was anticipating the objections ISRAEL would have to being rejected due to their rebellion and sin,NOT the foreordination of individuals' eternal destiny.In other words,how dare such an impenitent people question God's disposition and lack of mercy toward them when they denied His very Holy One,his Christ!Obviously,he didn't ARBITRARILY reject them nor force then to either sacrifice their children to Molech in the past(He said it never entered his mind!) nor to reject the Messiah.In fact he pleads for anyone willing to start exercising faith in righteousness.
Let's examine the following to see who God has mercy upon and WHY:
Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7)
... be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." (I Peter 5:5b)
Scriptures like these are exceedingly abundant in the bible..And only eisegesis and bias and throwing logic by the wayside could possibly result in a Calvinistic interpretation.It's time Calvinists stop interpreting texts "in light of Romans 9",(which Calvin has a skewed and dishonest interpretation of to begin with,as if it doesn't even have context),but instead let the entirety of scripture actually speak and make sure Romans 9 doesn't conform.And sure enough,it does!After all,all scripture works harmoniously and the entire bible shouldn't have to have a concept read into it that CLEARLY doesn't fit (but by the fallacious force of fallible men)just because certain people can't exegete one chapter in the bible in context(especially its OT context)and realistically.
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. (Romans 9:17-18)
Again,this text gives no indication that he hardens people who aren't disposed to being hardened by their own actions and stubbornness..In correlation with God's will working in concert with ours,there are a number of texts in Exodus that say Pharaoh hardened his own heart.So when GOD hardened Pharaoh's heart,He was doing something that gelled with the wickedness Pharaoh already harbored,and not some arbitrary task.He could've simply murdered Pharaoh,but instead he gave him every opportunity to repent,presenting scenarios where Pharaoh could either soften or harden his own heart.God allows for us what he sees in us,giving us over to evil if that's what he perceives in us.(Romans 1:24)As the great reader of hearts.. Of course,despite this golden opportunity,Pharaoh did not repent and God showed his power in him.God uses even wicked people for good sometimes and to showcase his power but that does not in any way equal foreordained salvation or condemnation for individuals based on a haphazard decision ultimately equalling a duck duck goose type of game/scenario.Again,even Paul could've rejected God's grace and molding and rebelled.But his heart accepted the gifts and mission, and so he was humble and faithful.And THAT is what will result in his eternal salvation,as opposed to God molding him for a specific purpose.Otherwise,Solomon would've been eternally unable to trangress to the point of loss of favor if God was so controlling over those He manipulates to accomplish certain spectacular purposes that He wills.But,alas,Solomon lost favor.And if I'm not mistaken,Calvinists don't believe if you're saved that that can ever be lost.Yet to say Solomon wasn't saved when he was actually in God's favor before he lost it,to me,sounds positively ridiculous.Scriptural clarity reiterates my sentiment,indicating that we MUST ENDURE in the race and to BEWARE that we don't fall even as we stand.What in the world are these warnings for in the world of Calvinism?Only reading a bias theology INTO texts could result in one believing that salvation cannot be lost if one unrepentantly transgresses after having been saved.When Jesus says things like "no one can snatch them(his sheep)out of my hand" ,it has to mean,in correlation with the rest of scripture,that the TRUE sheep will remain faithful and it is THOSE that cannot be snatched.Obviously,some sheep who aren't true CAN fall away.(Otherwise,many texts are meaningless.)That get "grafted out" after having been "grafted in".One cannot be "grafted in" if one isn't favored by God nor "grafted out" if one cannot lose that favor,which happens,according to scripture,due to unrepentance and unrighteousness that God never attributes to himself.Is God unrighteous?NEVER may that be said!
You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory ... (Romans 9:19-23)
Let us see why God has some vessels for honor:
(II Timothy 2:20-21)-if anyone cleanses himself , he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
My explanation here is about the same as it was for the previous verses.The scripture doesn't indicate WHY some are used for honor and some for dishonor..only that they are.Given an enormous number of cues throughout the bible,the only conclusion I have is that he honors those in His justice who are humble and good and dishonors those in His perfect justice who are haughy and unrighteous.Paul says these things,again,anticipating the reaction of the nation of Israel to being rejected by God.But we know WHY it was rejected..Was it because God was partial and haphazard and arbitrary?Of course not!It was because they were impenitent and haughty and rejected,even killed, the Messiah.When people are haughty,unrepentant,unrighteous,rebellious,gross sinners..there should be NO question as to why God prepares their souls for destruction and their vessels for dishonor!Because they deserve it,plain and simply.On his scales of divine retributive justice,they are abhorrent for rejecting the Messiah,among other hideous things.Israel and the godless people in it(not all of them of course!) would never be able to justifiably inquire WHY God will cease to continue to show favoritism toward it(and even when He did,the individuals who weren't decent and obedient were NOT "saved").As for the vessels of mercy..again,why not look at scripture(the lot of it!) to determine upon whom He will have mercy and why.The riches of His glory will bless those who remain in His favor by cleansing themselves white in the blood of the lamb,not through works that cannot save,but through faith in the savior who God gave the power to make his servants clean through genuine faith that produces obedience from love.It is those who exercise that faith that God prepared beforehand for glory.Even IF God knew every individual that would remain faithful(and it would be pure conjecture to say so,as opposed to Him simply knowing the number that would),it would still not prove He incorporated force on them.That would be tyrannical and in opposition to clear texts that abound with statements of our ability to choose for ourselves what we will do.I for one wouldn't be comfortable on judgment day blaming God for my sin!Or having to answer why I thought he forced me to do everything that inspires his rage.
He doesn't arbitrarily destroy some and save others..it is conditional upon how we behave and who we are in our hearts,minds,and actions.So many scriptures indicate these simple truths that it is really amazing to me that this position actually has to be defended.
Couple random final thoughts:
God is not our puppetmaster unless he is truly responsible for everything that he said Satan was.Is Satan the father of the lie and Adam and Eve sinners or is God the liar and the sinner,although He indicated the former?And how could Satan be the father of the lie if Jehovah really is and made Satan lie?Why is Satan evil at all if he has a puppetmaster forcing him to do everything he does?And wouldn't that make God deserving of all the hatred we're supposed to have toward Satan?Why doesn't Satan curse God for forcing him to be deplorable and evil?Surely that would be a constant cursing if the Calvinist God weren't fictional.As opposed to a constant taunting of God,not for making him sadistic,but just because he IS sadistic,choosing to rebel against God in all his tragically abused free will.
I'm not negating the compelling power of God's holy spirit and how it can change minds and hearts and motivate Christians to follow God in a more awesome way.But if it cannot be resisted then how can it be grieved?And why is a sin against it unforgivable..why was it there to begin with if this "vessel for wrath" was chosen to never receive it?If one receives it,wouldn't that indicate that God can save him?And if one grieves it,what evidence is there that God forced him to?And wouldn't that indicate that salvation CAN be lost,contradicting Calvinist theology?
If you're a Calvinist,did you become one through scripture alone?Or did you read the smooth rhetoric of men and conclude that they somehow made sense in their exegesis of Romans 9?Did you then start reading your new theology INTO the rest of scripture because you somehow think it is justified to do so?If the entirety of scripture,with its pure unadulterated explicit statements(free from panged special pleading),contradicts your interpretation of Romans 9 and the few other Calvinist "strongholds",considering the size of the bible,shouldn't that at the very least make you skeptical and cautious?Did it ever occur to you to earnestly heed the OT context of the chapter and all the texts that expound upon this chapter,always proving we have choice,but that God will judge us according to his will in accordance with our choices that He never says He makes for us,which scripture lets us know is just and always good toward those good and culminates in a perishing of those who aren't?Never at all indicating he forces anyone to either be good or be evil.EVEN IF he molds them to fulfill a specific will,we have evidence whoever he uses can absolutely choose their own ultimate course of good or bad and that THAT is what will equal eternal salvation or eternal perishing.Because that is how he chooses upon whom he will have mercy and whom he will prepare for either glory or destruction.
SO much more could be said but I'll leave it at that for now.