Home > Brandenburg, The Gospel > WHY I’M NOT A CALVINIST (part one): Romans 9

WHY I’M NOT A CALVINIST (part one): Romans 9

It will help you if you pull out a Bible and turn to and look at Romans 9 as you read this.

I tell people I’d like to be a Calvinist but Scripture keeps getting in the way. Romans 9 is one place that gets in the way of my being a Calvinist.  If I’m supposed to be a Calvinist, the Bible will just make me one.  I won’t have to force it.  But Romans 9 runs away from Calvinism, contradicts it.  If we can’t be a Calvinist as a direct consequence of Bible teaching, then we shouldn’t be one.

At the end of Romans 8 (vv. 35-39), Paul promises that nothing will separate saved, justified people from the love of God.  He anticipated some argument with that point, in light of Jewish reaction to his preaching, regarding God’s faithfulness to Israel.  If God could not be trusted in His faithfulness to Israel, then how could someone count on Him for individual salvation.   The argument also goes that if God elected Israel and Israel was not saved, how could anyone be assured of God’s election.  Romans 9-11 defends God’s actions with Israel to buttress the truth that nothing can separate believers from the love of God.

God elected Israel (Jacob), “being not yet born” (9:11).   So Israel was unconditionally elect—she couldn’t very well merit her choosing before she was born.   So you see, I believe in unconditional election.  Part of being elect meant that Israel had tremendous advantages (9:4-5) that one would think would lend themselves toward Israel’s salvation.   God bestowed on Israel unique evidence that her God truly was the very God so that they would believe on Him, including the gift of Jesus Christ Himself, “who is over all, God blessed forever” (9:5).  Jesus added to those benefits by preaching His kingdom all over Israel during His ministry there.  But in Romans 9:1-4a, we see that Paul “could wish that [he] were accursed” for the salvation of Israel.

And right there at the very beginning of Romans 9 is where we begin seeing the contradiction to Calvinism.  Why would Paul be willing to be “accursed from Christ” (9:3) for those God chose before the foundations of the world to damn forever?  Paul surely wasn’t more loving and more righteous than God. Would he not be out of bounds in expressing such sympathy for those for whom Christ Himself did not die, if limited atonement were true?  Only if God Himself were unwilling for these Israelites to perish and if Christ Himself had died for them does 9:1-5 make any sense.  And that is just the start here in Romans 9.

If you are a Calvinist and you are reading this, before you start writing your missive, please read this to the end, because 9:1-5 really are hint of things to come.  They fit with the rest of the chapter, but they are not all there is.

Calvinists point to 9:11 as evidence of unconditional election, and it is true.  Israel was chosen unconditionally by God.  And God will save Israel (11:26), so Israel nationally is chosen unconditionally unto salvation.  But who are the Israelites whom God will save?   They are those whom He elects on the condition of personal faith in Him.  Paul distinguishes between personal election and national election in Romans 9, and he makes this crystal clear.

God continued faithful and loving to the nation.  God’s Word, especially as found in the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic covenants, did not fail.   Paul begins 9:6 by saying that God’s Word was still in effect for Israel, the Israel that God would save, which was not all of Israel (9:6b).   True Israel, spiritual Israel, would receive the promises God made to the nation (9:7-8).

Paul illustrates the point of verses 6 and 7 in verses 8 through 13.    He appeals to Genesis 21:12-13.   Ishmael came from Abraham physically, but Isaac alone would receive the blessings of God’s covenant with Abraham.  A Jew is unconditionally a Jew, and as a Jew, based on no merit of his own, he has been given incredible advantages.  Isaac received blessings not given to Ishmael.

Genesis 21 makes national promises, but physical descent alone does not guarantee an individual will receive the blessings of those promises.  The nation will unconditionally, but the persons will not.  God will save those Israelites who do not reject the advantages (9:4-5) God gave.   Jews who thought they would receive the blessings of the covenants just because they were Jews were sorely deceived (cf. Mt 3:9-12; Rev 20:11-15).

Isaac and Ishmael were both sons of Abraham, but they did not both receive the advantages of the covenant.  Only Isaac received them, and he is a picture of the true child of God.  This illustrated to Israel that it wasn’t physical descent that made one a child of promise.  God didn’t have to save every descendant of Abraham.  Romans 9:9 quotes Genesis 18:10,14 for this illustration.  The point is that like Sarah and Isaac were chosen over Hagar and Ishmael, spiritual Israel is chosen over physical Israel.   Hebrews 11:11 elucidates further on what occurred:  “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.”  The believer receives the spiritual blessings of God’s covenant with Abraham.  God does make His choices and makes them based on His own terms—He’s done it in the past and He does it again.

“And not only this” at the beginning of 9:10 tells us that Paul has more explanation about the same point, except he uses a different example, that of two sons, Jacob and Esau, of the same mother and father.  Again, not all the physical descendants inherit the promises, even as Esau, who was a physical descendant, did not.   The election is unconditional and national.  How do we know it is national?  Verse 12 quotes Genesis 25:23.  Consider Genesis 25:22-23:

And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

We can see from the Old Testament passage itself that the election is national. First, it says “two nations,” but, second, if it is personal, then every person in the one “nation” and “people” was saved, which was not the case.  The very point Paul is making is that the every person in the nation was not saved and so was not true Israel.  When we take Genesis 25 and Paul’s quotation of it literally, we are dealing with “two nations” and “two manner of people.”  The election here relates to Israel’s rule over Edom, not about the spiritual salvation of Jacob or Esau.  The rest of the Old Testament will show that this election was fulfilled, but not until after the lifetime of Jacob.   In addition, verse 12 doesn’t say that Jacob would be saved and not Esau, but the “elder shall serve the younger.”

Verse 13 quotes Malachi 1:2-3, which was written a long time after the end of Jacob and Esau’s lives.  And that Malachi passage also plainly refers to the nations of Israel and Edom, not individuals.  Everything in that text says Malachi is referring to the nations.  When he says, “I have loved you,” “you” is in the plural.  God’s indignation is against “the people” (v. 4).   “Loved” and “hated” in v. 13 are aorist, the one time love and hatred of national election.   It isn’t an ongoing, continuous love and hatred. The love and hate related to the favor God chose in advance to give to Jacob and the loss of privilege that God determined for Esau.  So the point is that the blessings of God’s covenant do not come based upon physical lineage.

Important to the understanding of a New Testament text is looking at the context of the Old Testament quotations.  Those Old Testament passages will shed light on the New Testament usage.  This is a major part of deriving the correct interpretation.

Scripture does teach unconditional election—unconditional national election.  Personal election is conditional.  That is a primary point of Romans 9.  God’s national election of Israel did not guarantee personal salvation.  No individual Israelite or Jew should think that his eternity is set just because his nation was elect of God.  He himself needed to believe.

To Be Continued

  1. February 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm | #1

    Good points. This reminds me of William Klein’s book, THE NEW CHOSEN PEOPLE, where he argues that the Bible teaches the election of Israel and the Church and those who were Jews are not necessarily chosen simply by their race but by faith. It is a good read.

  2. February 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm | #2

    Great point you make in this post. I am looking forward to more on this MUCH needed topic. Many of my discussions with Calvinist come to Romans 9-11. I too try to demonstrate how it is teaching election on a national level, and not dealing with salvation on a personal level. I think Romans 11:28 really sums up your post, clearly separating the gospel from election.

    In addition to the Tulip I hope you address such things as:
    1)Discuss how much of what Calvin wrote was based on Augustine’s writings/theology
    2)Discuss many of Calvin’s statements about the importance/necessity of the “sacraments” in regards to salvation.
    3)His persecution of Baptist

    I am glad to see you starting of with refuting their misguided teaching of election.

  3. February 8, 2011 at 10:53 pm | #3

    Terry,

    Thanks for the comments. I’m probably not going to do a historical treatment with these posts in this series. My goal is expose the passages and let them do the work. I think the history is interesting though.

    Seeking,

    Thanks. I’ll look for the Klein book too.

  4. February 9, 2011 at 12:07 am | #4

    Hi Kent,

    I appreciate you are playing to the gallery with all the rhetoric like you are “only going to use the Bible” etc. It may come as a surprise that Calvinists do also. However, we come to different conclusions from you from the same exegesis. This debate has raged for centuries, among greater minds than us on both sides, so it would be wise to adopt a more humble approach. For the record, I do not think Paul’s key argument in Romans 9 is predestination, although he undoubtedly does deal with it.

    You can argue this both ways about the singular and plural. For instance, Romans 9:15-16 uses the singular throughout to emphasise that it is the election of individuals not nations. Besides the example of Pharaoh in verse 17 is clearly in respect of individuals not nations.

    I will comment more when I see your fuller argument.

    • February 16, 2011 at 1:24 am | #5

      I don’t see election in 9:15-17 with Pharoah. God raised Him up so that He might display God’s glory. The singulars are used because you have two heads of nations, Moses, and then Pharoah. God showed His glory by sparing the nation, using Moses to do so. God showed His glory by delivering the nation, using Pharaoh to do so.

      Later I think you mention v. 6. I don’t get a point of individuals being elect there. God elected the nation, but not all of the nation will be saved. That explains how so many in the elect nation were lost. The individuals of the nation were not elect unto eternal salvation. Election meant all the privileges granted.

      • michael
        July 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm | #6

        Hi Paul and all…… as to the point on pharoh and moses being individual’s……. one must understad then when discussing Pharaoh in romans 9 this is not salvation either but this refers to hardening phaoroah’s heart not to the decline of salvation but God simply used an unbeliever to accomplish his will in not letting God’s people Go!,,,,,,,,,, Anyhow only the calvinist that hold to not only the predestination of the elect to salvation but also that God also created all others for eternal hell can use Roman’s 9 to support calvinism.. all others who believe God predestined the elect to salvation but merely let the others go on their merry way cannot use this passage of scripture to support calvinism since if it were about salvation it would have to teach that God created people for Hell!!!

  5. February 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm | #7

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for coming by. I’ll look forward to the rest of the chapter and some of those places to which you referred here. I had to chuckle a little on your comments about my rhetoric, even as I have enjoyed your swashbuckling style in many of the places I have written you. I didn’t think of myself, however, as preaching to my choir, but set the direction of what I was doing, that is, looking at Scripture. I don’t think confidence is the enemy of humility, as long as the confidence is placed in God’s Word and in Christ Himself. We would all do well to examine the texts, which is all I did here except for that brief foray at the beginning.

    Thanks again, Paul.

  6. February 10, 2011 at 3:30 am | #8

    Hi Kent,

    Swashbuckling is fine when we come to positions that cannot be found in Church History such as the CT argument or merging worldliness and Christianity. However, when it comes to a theological dispute that the greatest of minds have taken the diametrically opposite position from you for hundreds of years I would suggest tact and humility is required. As you are cognisant of Church History, I doubt the fact that the vast majority of Baptist giants from the mythical “Trail of Blood” NT churches were Calvinistic has passed you by. It certainly would not fill me with confidence launching your crusade against the doctrine of unconditional election with those facts.

    You may be right. I doubt you are, but am willing to listen to your arguments. However, simply maintaining that you are the only one standing on Scripture as the only enlightened one from a IFB Church in California is not particularly humble. I could take your first paragraph and simply change the nouns and substitute “Calvinist” with “Arminian” or Brandenburgian.” It doesn’t add to the debate in any way. It may impress a few simple souls from some IFB Institute or Church, but it is not really going to knock back anyone who has read Calvin, Edwards, Shedd etc or even the debates between Wesley and Whitefield.

    • February 16, 2011 at 1:29 am | #9

      P.S.,

      How much Baptist history have you read? Have you read Thomas Armitage’s History of the Baptists? Have you read Cramp? or Jones? or John T. Christian? I don’t think you understand Baptist History. Maybe you do, but it doesn’t seem like it. You can get Armitage free on line. These are very credible histories. There is a separate history of Christianity from the state church and Roman Catholicism. You ought to look into it beyond the little pamphlet, The Trail of Blood. But start with the idea that there is perpetuity of the church, just like there is perpetuity of the text of Scripture.

  7. Joshua
    February 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm | #10

    Great minds have held to pedobaptism, amillenialism, universal churchism, unitarianism and a host of other errors soundly refuted by Scripture. Robertson and Warfield were great minds also, yet dramatically mistaken. Will Kent stand before the Author of Scripture or before the great minds of the past in the last day?

    Arrogance is never called for. The above article displays none of it.

    Please deliver evidence for the following assertion:

    “However, simply maintaining that you are the only one standing on Scripture as the only enlightened one from a IFB Church in California is not particularly humble.”

  8. Buddy Woolbright
    February 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm | #11

    Kent, I look forward to remainder of your study. Just a sidenote questio re: history. It is well know that Calvin and other reformers were just a viscious against Anabaptist, Waldenses, etc., as the Roman church. Do any records indicate the Jacobus Armenius (sp?) was a persecutor of true Christians also. Thx,
    bw, 2 Timoteo 1:9

  9. February 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm | #13

    Kent,

    Romans 8, 9, 10, and 11 are critical to understanding election.

    Romans 8:26-30 is the launching pad. It does not say anything near what Calvinists say it says.
    http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Pages/Dispensationalism/Ordo.htm
    http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Pages/Dispensationalism/ForeKnowledge.htm
    http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Pages/Dispensationalism/Understanding.htm

    Predestination in Romans 8 is to glorification, which is the redemption of the body, not the soul. Once a person has been saved, he is predestined to glorification.

    Election is primarily corporate.

    Election is never used salvationally in the sense of someone being chosen to be saved.

    Election is according to God’s vocational purpose (again not salvational); i.e., patriarchs, prophets, priests, and kings. Even Judas and Pharaoh were elected for vocational purposes.

    I look forward to your next articles.

    Have you seen my studies on Romans? 81 links through Romans 11:11 so far.
    http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Pages/PDF_Index/Romans.htm

  10. February 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm | #15

    Paul Ferguson wrote:

    “As you are cognisant of Church History, I doubt the fact that the vast majority of Baptist giants from the mythical “Trail of Blood” NT churches were Calvinistic has passed you by.”

    I wonder how the Trail of Blood could be mythical, yet have Calvinistic Baptist giants in it.

  11. February 14, 2011 at 4:18 am | #16

    Thomas – No one denies that the were Baptist giants of the faith. The disputed fact is that they were part of some mythical trail of IFB churches to John the Baptist. That takes a whole lot of imagination and selective historical analysis to establish. My point about Spurgeon, Gill, Carey, Fuller et al is that you cannot on the one hand glory in how God used them and then argue that their Calvinism meant that they had no understanding of the basics of Scripture. That is the implications of Kent’s throwaway remarks in the first paragraph.

    Joshua – sad to say your comments only prove my thesis. Church History did not begin when you pastor dug the foundations of his IFB building in 1981. It is not a case of simply great minds – many atheists had that. My point which is continuously overlooked by IFB advocates is that these non-Immersionist, universal church Calvinists represented the leading theological minds of centuries in the true Church of Christ. If providence stamped such a seal of approval on their lives and teachings, then it is a bit much for a writer in 2011 to rev up his keyboard and sweep them all away as biblically illiterates. That is one of the reasons why we criticise the Critical Text argument for seeking to overthrow the dominance of the TR position in Church History.

    Indeed, it is amazing you cannot see the inconsistency of your historical theology. When you were all maintaining that there were “true NT IFB churches” going back to Apostolic Times that providence ignored these rarified groups with the only true understanding of Scripture. Instead, God chose to use the biblically illiterate Calvinist, PaedoBaptists to translate the KJV, Three Great Awakenings, Great Missionary and Sunday School Movements etc etc. Now what lessons can we draw from that analysis…….

    Lance – I am not sure why you imagine election being corporate in Romans 9 actually saves your argument. It only takes the problem one step back. Such an interpretation fails to explain how nations represent “of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth” in Romans 9:16. It also patently fails to explain how the corporate view is congruent with the individual election taught in Romans 9:6. It seems to me that you and Kent are not coming to the Bible and letting it speak but are forcing it to fit your own presuppositions. I trust Kent at least sees the irony of this bearing in mind his first paragraph.

    • Joshua
      February 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm | #17

      Paul Ferguson :
      Joshua – sad to say your comments only prove my thesis. Church History did not begin when you pastor dug the foundations of his IFB building in 1981. It is not a case of simply great minds – many atheists had that. My point which is continuously overlooked by IFB advocates is that these non-Immersionist, universal church Calvinists represented the leading theological minds of centuries in the true Church of Christ. If providence stamped such a seal of approval on their lives and teachings, then it is a bit much for a writer in 2011 to rev up his keyboard and sweep them all away as biblically illiterates. That is one of the reasons why we criticise the Critical Text argument for seeking to overthrow the dominance of the TR position in Church History.
      Indeed, it is amazing you cannot see the inconsistency of your historical theology. When you were all maintaining that there were “true NT IFB churches” going back to Apostolic Times that providence ignored these rarified groups with the only true understanding of Scripture. Instead, God chose to use the biblically illiterate Calvinist, PaedoBaptists to translate the KJV, Three Great Awakenings, Great Missionary and Sunday School Movements etc etc. Now what lessons can we draw from that analysis…….

      Mr Ferguson,

      I have studied church history. I do also believe that God used many of these great, Calvinist theologians, and I appreciate what has come before. No one here has disparaged them, or the intellect of Calvinists. Obviously this area is one in which many people have mis-interpreted Scripture. That doesn’t make them dunces, or ignorami, or fools, but they are mistaken and their error needs to be corrected. Kent is doing that. There is no mockery in what he is writing.

      Secondly, Baptists have a long history of putting the Bible first, and then men and historical events a very, very distant second. I’m not here to disparage those men or the good things they did for God, but that is not the decider of doctrinal purity or a validation of every belief they held. Sola Scriptura.

  12. Bobby
    February 14, 2011 at 9:02 am | #18

    Thomas,

    I have to say that your reply to PF was beautiful. It brought a smile to my face on this cold, overcast day here in Maine.

  13. d4v34x
    February 16, 2011 at 7:35 am | #19

    Yes, obtusity (knowing or not) does have its aesthetic qualities.

  14. BroJimmy
    February 22, 2011 at 8:02 am | #20

    You say at one point that you believe in unconditional election and then make the statement that “They are those whom He elects on the condition of personal faith in Him.” You can’t have it both ways. Rom. 8:28-30 makes it clear that the foreknowledge of God is both personal and determinative. It is not mere prescience. It knows the future and therefore determines what the future will be. (It does not absolve mankind from making decisions – man must still believe to be saved.) It a necessary tool for a sovereign God to work His plan for the ages and the basis for election. You are interpreting Rom. 9 in light of a misconception – that election is based upon belief – and that is where you run into problems – to say nothing of the fact that is is eisegesis and not exegesis.

    And unless you are an universalist you do believe in a limited atonement. Only the elect will be in heaven. The question then concerns intention. Did God intend from all eternity that all should be saved? The doctrine of unconditional election says NO!

  15. Andrew Mayfield
    February 22, 2011 at 8:37 am | #21

    Interesting to me as a new believer…this desire for man to simply attempt to steal Gods glory in claiming his own redemption when so much of what the bible teaches flows out of threee words(but of God)in John 1:10-13…10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own,[c] and His own[d] did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    How can you possibly earnestly study John 1. John 6. John 10, John 17, Eph and or 1 Peter and not simply, humbly, give all the glory to God our Creator…don’t we truely believe that we will stand before Him who was crucified and the judgement He renders is His word? Humble yourselves brothers….John 12:48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

    The most crucial role we offer in the church is to bear the light of the Lord whom has saved us, through unity, peace, love grounded in the word of His truth…back yourselves up to what you do understand, and trust the Lord with that that we don’t and can’t…simply said – Who are you oh man…your thoughts are not my thoughts…

    May we all be humbled to death of self, so that the glorous light of our Lord might shine completely through us without spot in these times of darkness…

  16. February 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm | #22

    Bro Jimmy, I’m presently dealing with Romans 9. We’ll have to wait and see if I also get into Romans 8. God’s election of Israel was unconditional, but it’s obvious in Rom 9 that personal salvation was conditioned upon faith. You are right that the understanding of “foreknowledge” is a crux of this overall discussion, but we don’t have the word in Romans 9. This is a tell-tale point, that is, we should limit what we believe to what Scripture does say. God is sovereign over His own sovereignty.

    Andrew, who is “stealing God’s glory?” Hebrews 11:6 says that God is pleased by faith and then Rom 10:17 says that faith comes by the hearing of the Word of God. I’ve exposed Romans 9 in its context—that gives God’s glory. What is your problem so far?

  17. Andrew Mayfield
    February 23, 2011 at 7:14 am | #23

    Thank you brother, maybe you would be willing to elaborate on a simple set of questions:
    1. Who is the first cause of our salvation, regeneration? (John 1:10-13, John 3)
    2. What condition were we in before His mighty work in us? (EZ 23,Eph 2:1-3)
    3. At what point, since the fall of man, and his spiritual death, does our free will become re-directed and conformed to Christ and the glory of God verses self? (Rom 8:28-30, Eph 2:1)

    As a new believer, I simply appreciate the opportunity to better understand what is truely a strong source of division in the body of Christ on certain matters that scripture seems to be clear on…that we were dead…and He brought us to life (John 6:37, 44)…like Lazarus…he did not awaken, until the Lord called Him….like those whom the Lord so directly confronted…we should always guard against our head getting in the way of our heart that He gives us to believe in Him which is to believe in all that His word teaches us about Him and us and our condition….

    thanks for the fellowship and honesty.

  18. Andrew Mayfield
    February 23, 2011 at 7:20 am | #24

    3. At what point, since the fall of man, and his (should be OUR) spiritual death, does our free will become re-directed and conformed to Christ and the glory of God verses self? (Rom 8:28-30, Eph 2:1)

  19. February 23, 2011 at 10:23 am | #25

    Andrew,

    I have no problem answering your questions, loaded as they may be; however, I don’t want to take this thread off topic. This is very much the norm in the blog world. Let’s keep it to the passage at hand. Some of the words you are using, like “free will” and “re-directed” are terms that send us away from what the Bible says since they aren’t in the Bible or even in the verses to which you allude. Just keep reading this series—many of the questions will be answered.

    • Pastor Art
      February 24, 2011 at 10:18 am | #26

      Brother Kent,

      I agree with Brother Lance’s post, but it is definitely NOT limited to Calvinists. Practically every “Fundamentalist” does the exact same thing if you mention their heroes, their schools, etc. The same thing happens by the “Easy-prayer” people if you mention repentance or (gasp) Lordship.

      I don’t want to take this off-topic, but I don’t think that denigrating Calvinists really gets us anywhere. Their theology is incorrect because it does not line up with the whole counsel of God.

      Great posts, by the way.

    • T. Pennock
      February 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm | #27

      Bro. Kent,

      When you say free will isn’t in the Bible, perhaps you have something else in mind. For Scripture certainly uses the term (Ex. 25:2; Lev. 22:17-25; Judg. 5:2,9; 8:25; Ezra 7:12,13; Ps. 119:108; Isa. 1:18-20). And I’ve only cited a few of the places in which it’s found.

      Have a good one!

      tjp

      • February 27, 2011 at 10:50 pm | #28

        T,

        I have something else in mind, the terminology “free will.” That’s all. It is technical terminology used often by pejoratives as a pejorative.

  20. February 23, 2011 at 11:06 am | #29

    Kent,

    It is my experience that most Calvinists do not read what you say with an open mind. In most cases, they do not even read what you say. It is also important to understand that their presuppositions DRIVE their interpretations. Therefore, they can never have true exegesis of a text. They are compelled into eisegesis.

  21. David the Nicene Hobbit
    March 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm | #30

    Excellently written article, sir. As an Eastern Rite Catholic, I certainly agree with you: God elects a “people” NOT a “person” to salvation. The Church has been chosen, that means we have been chosen IN Christ…but there is another choice involved if we, as individuals, are to have full advantage of what is there for us…WE have to choose too.

  22. Mary
    March 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm | #31

    Thanks for this article, Kent. It made all the difference in my study of Romans 9 yesterday, and I’ve recommended it to several friends already. Looking forward to your next in the series. Soon, hopefully? :O) Your distinctions between personal election and national election were most helpful.

    Btw, to the commentor who had a problem with verse 16, this passage is a quotation of Ex. 33 and has nothing to do with salvation of a “totally depraved” sinner in the N.T. The subject here is “the mercy of God”…yes, God’s mercy is related to salvation (Titus 3:5), but that mercy is also extended in other contexts. My pastor was recently teaching on this, and suggested the following contexts for evaluation in this area: Matthew 9:27; 15:22; 17:15, and 20:30. Was everyone Jesus mercifully healed given the gift of salvation? No.

    Thanks again, Kent, keep ‘em coming!

  23. March 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm | #32

    Thanks Mary.

    I’ll be hopefully continuing this series soon.

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