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It is written:
“I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” (Romans 9:1-5)
Before leaving our study of Romans 9 and the Calvinist miscue of this Scripture, let’s take a few moments and look at some of the glaring contradictions between this passage of Scripture and the doctrine of unconditional election.
First, let’s talk for a moment about the sorrow of Paul for the unsaved. The Apostle (in Romans 9:1-5) is very clear about the sorrow he has in his heart for the unsaved among his countrymen. He is so saddened, in fact, that he prays to God for their redemption (Romans 10:1-3). He is willing to be condemned in their place if it would mean that they could be saved!
Now, according to Calvinism, the lost are in such a state because God had predestined them to be damned before the foundation of the world. They were to be the recipients of God’s wrath and hatred (according to Calvinism). So the question must be asked: why would Paul have such sorrow for the lost? Was he more merciful then God?
“(Reflecting on Calvin’s belief that the mass of Israel were not of the elect and were instead unconditionally and eternally reprobate by the will and good pleasure of God, one is left to wonder what Calvin conceived to be the real import of Paul’s expressions of profound sorrow and compassion for Israel-after-the-flesh and his intense yearning for their salvation (9:1-3 and 10:1). Why should Paul have “great heaviness and sorrow” for those for whom God had no such sorrow? Why should he even wish himself accursed from Christ for those who were reprobate by the design and will of God? Why should Paul care so much for those for whom God cared nothing-whom even He hated (as Calvin presumed Paul to understand and teach). Why should Paul pray to God for Israel, that they might be saved, when (as Calvin presumed Paul to understand and teach) he knew that “the rest were blinded” and consigned to everlasting perdition-for which, alone, they had been created by the immutable will of God and for His eternal praise and glory! Why should the Apostle endure such anguish of heart and spend himself in such profound yearning of spirit in prayer to God for the salvation of men whom God had created only to be the objects of His everlasting hatred and wrath? Why did not the Apostle pause to consider what God must have thought about such foolish agonizings and pleadings for men whom he knew to be forever excluded from His saving purpose? Why did not Paul get in step with God and stop insulting him with ridiculous prayers for something he knew to be contrary to His will?)”. (Robert Shank, Elect In The Son: A Study Of The Doctrine Of Election, 1160-1168 (Kindle Edition); Minneapolis, Minnesota; Bethany House Publishers)
I have asked Calvinists this question-how could Paul be more merciful then God-and have gotten nothing but silence.
Clearly, Paul was not of the opinion that the lost were such because they had been foreordained to damnation before the foundation of the world: they were lost because they refused to accept Jesus (Romans 10:1-3), and this saddened Paul tremendously!
Second, this leads me to another point: why was Paul so determined that the Gospel be preached to the lost if the saved and damned had already been predestined eternally?
Romans 10:14-How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
Paul clearly teaches that the lost need to hear the Word of God, which is one reason why Christians need to keep on believing in Jesus and keep on confessing Him (Romans 10:9-10). We are sent to share the Word of God with the lost. Jesus has sent us into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). Every creature that believes in Jesus, repents of their sins, and is baptized will be saved (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47).
However, Calvinists sidestep this issue. Why did Paul encourage us to teach the lost the Word of God if they were predestined to be damned?
Third, this passage presents another Calvinist conundrum. According to the teachings of Calvinists, people are actually saved and born again BEFORE they hear the Word of God (we will study this strange doctrine in detail when we get to our studies of Irresistible Grace). For now, please notice the Divine order of salvation that Paul catalogues here:
Romans 10:13-14-For “WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.” 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
Before salvation, the person must call on the name of the Lord; before a person may call on the name of the Lord, he must believe in Jesus; before a person can believe in Jesus, they must hear about Him; and before a person can hear about Jesus, one must be sent to teach them.
In reverse order, the Divine order that Paul lists goes like this:
According to Calvinism, the order is:
Do you see the contradictions?
Fourth, let’s recall the reason why the vessels of wrath in Romans 9 are condemned:
Romans 9:22-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,
We observed that the vessels of wrath were “made” such by the vessels themselves. To quote Mounce:
“28 They are , “objects of wrath.” They are “prepared for destruction” in the sense that by their life and conduct they have determined their own destiny. Murray comments that “there is an exact correspondence between what they were in this life and the perdition to which they are consigned. This is another way of saying that there is continuity between this life and their lot of the life to come” ( Romans , 2:36).” (Robert Mounce, The New American Commentary Volume 27: Romans, 234 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group)
Now, according to Calvinism, the vessels of wrath were that way because God had predestined them to become such. However, Paul is clear that the vessels that of wrath were made such by the vessels themselves.
Do you see the ways, my friend, that Calvinism is utterly refuted by the Word of God?
Finally, notice one more contradiction from Romans 9-11 and Calvinism. The Bible says:
Romans 11:19-22-You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
According to Calvinism’s doctrine of unconditional election, a person who is elected by God may not do anything to forfeit that salvation. Yet Paul clearly shows us here that those among the chosen people of God (the Jews) were indeed cut off from God’s grace and were not accepted by Him as His people, specifically because of their rejection of Jesus Christ.
If one thus elected to salvation may not be able to do anything to forfeit that salvation, then how could these chosen people of God lost their status and salvation and been broken off by unbelief?
Further, if Christians cannot forfeit salvation, then why does Paul use these apostate Jewish people as examples of the goodness and severity of God toward us?
These are some of the many ways that this passage of Scripture disproves the Calvinistic doctrine of unconditional election.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.