Answered Questions – Who Can Resist His Will

Calvinists often quote Romans 9 in an effort to claim that God’s will always and forever is happening:

Rom 9:18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
Rom 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”

They believe that God’s will is never thwarted. This is despite the fact that a major theme in the Bible is Israel’s continued thwarting of God’s will. But a very contrite answer is “lawyers”. Lawyers can resist God’s will:

Luk 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

The Calvinist takes Romans 9 out of context. Paul is not asking “who can resist God’s will on any matter ever?” Paul is saying “Because God’s calling of a chosen people was not based on merit, God is revoking this status, and who can oppose Him?” In fact, the beginning verses of Romans 9 details Israel’s rebellion in spite of divine advantages. And then in Romans 10, Paul warns the Gentiles that God will cut them off if they too rebel. And then in Romans 11, Paul makes it clear that the elect Israel are enemies of the gospel:

Rom 11:28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.

All these fact do not lend itself to an interpretation that “For who has resisted His will?” is a rhetorical question meant to be broadly applied. It only applies to the context of Paul’s point. Paul believes plenty of people resist God’s will.

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