Who is the Apostolic critic in Romans 9:19? (part 1)

Many Calvinists and Arminians in trying to explain the passage in question end up becoming Paul’s objector to the Godhood of God (i.e., the sovereignty of God). They are wonderfully confused about the simple, basic, fundamental, elementary teaching that they are not God. Even many famous, fashionable, and highly esteemed Calvinist theologians’/preachers’ treatments of passages like this one are superficial, abysmal, and pathetic. They either completely bypass (avoid) the important issues or if they actually do address them they writhe all over the floor and end up becoming Paul’s objector as they try to explain (or explain away) the clear meaning of the passage.


In contrast to the aforementioned, here’s an excerpt on Romans 9:19 from a precious brother in Christ:


“Let’s look in detail at this objection. It’s in the form of two connected questions:


‘Why does He yet find fault?’ And ‘For who has resisted His will?’ You could put it into this one question:


‘Why does God yet find fault, since no one can resist His will?’ And since these are rhetorical questions, you could also put it into this one statement:


‘God would be unfair and unjust to find fault, since no one can resist His will.’


The objector looks at the fact that God unconditionally, actively hardens certain people by causing them to sin, and then God finds fault with, is displeased with, this sin, and punishes these people for their sin. What could be more natural to an ungodly man than to say,


‘It is unfair and unjust for God to find fault with people whom God caused to sin. How could a just God cause someone to sin and then punish that person for the sin He caused?’


In the objector’s mind, what would be the only way in which God would be fair and just in finding fault and punishing sin? It would be if the sinner were totally free to sin however he wanted to sin, totally free from God’s control. Then, and only then, would the objector be satisfied that God’s finding fault and punishing people would be fair and just. Let me give you a quote that summarizes this:


‘Oh, Esau, it is in vain for thee to say, ‘I lost my birthright by decree.’ No, no. Jacob got it by decree, but you lost it because you sold it yourself — didn’t you? Was it not your own bargain? Did you not take the mess of red pottage of your own voluntary will, in lieu of the birthright? Your destruction lies at your own door, because you sold your own soul at your own bargain, and you did it yourself. Did God influence Esau to do that? God forbid, God is not the author of sin. Esau voluntarily gave up his own birthright. And the doctrine is, that every man who loses heaven gives it up himself. Every man who loses everlasting life rejects it himself. God denies it not to him — he will not come that he may have life. Why is it that a man remains ungodly and does not fear God? It is because he says, ‘I like this drink, I like this pleasure, I like this sabbath-breaking, better than I do the things of God.’ No man is saved by his own free-will, but every man is damned by it that is damned. He does it of his own will; no one constrains him.”


This, of course, is from the famous Calvinist Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon believed that the reprobate have uninfluenced, unconstrained free will to sin and are damned based on the sin they perform out of their own free will. He believed that if it were any other way, then this would be to make God the unjust author of sin. And, as we will see in a later quote from Spurgeon, the Lord willing, he believed that if you believe that God created the reprobate in order to damn him and destroy him forever, you think meanly of God.


Who, then, is the wicked objector of verse 19? Why, it’s Charles Spurgeon himself!”


For anyone reading this who would like to see a treatment on the God of Romans 9 that does not skirt around the issue or take issue with God’s right as the sovereign Potter, please listen to some of the following relevant sermons listed HERE.


Another excerpt from the sermon on Romans 9:22:


“The last time we were here, we looked at the three rhetorical questions in verses 20 and 21 that answer the objection in verse 19. The objection is this:


Romans 9: (19) You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will?


In other words, why does God, whose will is irresistible, find fault with those who are just doing His irresistible will? Now would this objection make sense if verse 18 read, ‘So, then, upon whom he wishes he has mercy, but whom he wishes he lets become obstinate’? That’s actually a real translation. That’s the translation that the Spurgeons and Dabneys and Shedds and Hodges and Gills and Haldanes and Edwardses and Murrays of the world would love, wouldn’t they? That’s actually how they interpret God’s hardening anyway, don’t they – that God lets people become obstinate. So embrace the translation, all you Calvinists who agree with them! I’m sure many of you are wondering what translation would actually come out and say what these Calvinists and their Arminian brothers believe. Well, the translation is called the New World Translation, and it’s the Bible of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The translation ‘lets become obstinate’ has no basis in the original Greek, but why should that stop them?”