What about Pharaoh? God hardens whom He will harden - “that the purpose of God according to election might stand”
11 "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"
The Arminian “I chose of my own free will to believe the gospel” camp will go to any extreme to try to explain away and nullify what God clearly says in His Book. They hate the doctrines of God’s sovereign electing grace of His people unto salvation, and they will resort to any and all means to try to prop up their fantasy of “free will decisionism”.
God says that He is the Potter and we are but the clay and it is He who makes “of the same lump” of clay one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonour. Why does God use this analogy of the Potter and the clay? How much "free will" does a lump of clay have, anyway?
“So then IT IS NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, nor of him that runneth, BUT OF GOD that sheweth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Romans 9:16-18
When we go back and read in the book of Exodus the history of Pharaoh we find that God reveals Himself to Moses and tells him to go into the land of Egypt where he will speak unto Pharaoh and command him to let the children of Israel go that they may serve the LORD in the land flowing with milk and honey.
Yet God tells Moses BEFORE he even enters the land of Egypt and speaks to Pharaoh - “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.” Exodus 3:19
Then BEFORE Moses even enters the land of Egypt and speaks to Pharaoh Scripture tells us: “And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: BUT I WILL HARDEN HIS HEART, THAT HE SHALL NOT LET THE PEOPLE GO. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn. And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.” Exodus 4:21-23.
God commands Pharaoh to do what He knows beyond a shadow of doubt that Pharaoh will NOT do. He SHOULD let the people go, but he won't. In like manner we SHOULD believe the gospel and give glory to the God who made us, but we won't - unless God has mercy on us and changes our heart, our will and our mind.
God first tells Moses that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart before he even speaks to him. Then we read two more times that God hardens Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus 7:3 and 13, and two more times that “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened” (passive voice, Somebody did it to him; he did not do it himself) in Exodus 7:14 and 22.
Only after this do we read that “Pharaoh hardened his heart” in Exodus 8:15. Five times we told that God would harden Pharaoh's heart or that Pharaoh's heart was hardened, before mention is made that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
Here is how the typical free will Arminian “explains” Exodus 4:21 “but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”
John Wesley comments on Exodus 4:21 - “I will harden his heart - After he has frequently hardened it himself, wilfully shutting his eyes against the light, I will at last permit Satan to harden it effectually.”
Can you believe that a godly man would so twist the Scriptures in such a blatant and shameless manner to try to prop up his “free will” theology? The only explanation is that God has blinded him to the obvious truths of His sovereign electing grace and mercy.
There is NOTHING in this passage that says “after he has frequently hardened his heart himself” and NOTHING about “I will at last permit Satan to harden it.”! He just made all this stuff up out of his own imagination. None of it comes from the Scriptures.
Here is another free will Arminian with his “explanation” of Exodus 4:21. Adam Clarke was another “free willer” who opposed God’s sovereign election of individuals to salvation and he comments on this verse telling us: “It is but just and right that he should withhold those graces which he had repeatedly offered, and which the sinner had despised and rejected.”
Is there ANYTHING at all recorded in Scripture about God supposedly having repeatedly offered any kind of grace to Pharaoh that he had despised and rejected BEFORE Moses talks to him? Of course not. Again, Adam Clarke just made this stuff up to explain away what the Scriptures clearly teaches.
Romans 9 tells us in no uncertain terms that “the purpose of God according to election” does NOT depend on any good or evil that men have done, and is NOT of works (either good or bad) and that it is NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, but OF GOD that has mercy on whom he wills to have mercy.
Notice that it is God’s MERCY that any of us are among the elect of God. We do not deserve it. What each and every one of us “deserves” and what would be "fair" is that we be punished for our multiplied sins and willful rejection of the true God and His words of absolute Truth.
Yes, I said “willful” rejection. Man has a “will” but since the fall of Adam, all of us are born dead in sins and trespasses and our wills follow our nature and are in rebellion against God. “For this they WILLINGLY are ignorant” - 2 Peter 3:5. "But his citizens hated him, and sent a messenger after him, saying, We WILL NOT have this man to reign over us." Luke 19:14.
If you woke up today still breathing air on this earth and are not in HELL suffering the righteous wrath of a sin hating God, it is solely because of His MERCY.
Other Scriptures bring out the fact that God hardens the hearts and spirits of certain people. In Deuteronomy 2:30 we read: "But Sihon king of Hesbon would not let us pass by him: FOR THE LORD THY GOD HARDENED HIS SPIRIT, AND MADE HIS HEART OBSTINATE, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day."
And in Joshua 11:20 we read: "For IT WAS OF THE LORD TO HARDEN THEIR HEARTS, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses."
Some free will Arminians ask "Well, if they are the non-elect, then why does God have to "HARDEN" their hearts?"
This is a good question and on the surface can give one pause for thought. But the answer is found in the Scriptures themselves. When God hardens the hearts of men like Pharaoh or Sihon or a multitude of them at once, it is not that God has to put evil thoughts and sin into innocent hearts and minds. All God has to do is to remove His restraints and actively turn them over to their own lusts.
First, let's confirm the fact that God DOES restrain evil and sin of men when it serves his purpose. We see this in many Scriptures.
In Genesis 20:6 when Abraham told a half lie that Sarah was his sister and king Abimelech then took Sarah, God comes to Abimelech in a dream and tells him he is a dead man "for the woman which thou hast taken is a man's wife." Then Abimelech tells God that Abraham told him she was his sister and Sarah herself said Abraham was her brother - "In the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this."
Then "God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; FOR I ALSO WITHHELD THEE FROM SINNING AGAINST ME: THEREFORE SUFFERED I THEE NOT TO TOUCH HER."
In Genesis 31:7 Jacob tells his wives about the treatment he had received at the hands of Laban - "And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; BUT GOD SUFFERED HIM NOT TO HURT ME."
In Genesis 35:5 after the fiasco when the sons of Jacob defended the honor of their sister Dinah and came upon the city of Shechem and "slew all the males, And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out" and furthermore "took all their sheep, oxen and asses and all their wealth, their little ones and their wives captive", Jacob said "Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house." (Genesis 34:25-30)
But what did God do? It tells us in Genesis 35:5 that as "they journeyed, THE TERROR OF GOD WAS UPON THE CITIES that were round about them, AND THEY DID NOT PURSUE AFTER THE SONS OF JACOB."
God restrained them from avenging themselves upon Jacob and his family.
In Exodus God command the Israelites to hold festivals to him in Jerusalem three times during the year. And he tells them: "For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders; NEITHER SHALL ANY MAN DESIRE THY LAND, WHEN THOU SHALT GO UP TO APPEAR BEFORE THE LORD THY GOD THRICE IN THE YEAR." (Exodus 34:24)
God restrained the evil of men's hearts. But later on, God sent these same nations against Israel to chastise and judge them after they turned to idols.
And in 1 Samuel 25:26 and 34 we again see God keeping back king David from shedding the blood of Nabal and all the adult males that were with him. Abigail comes to David and pleads her case saying: "seeing the LORD HATH WITHHOLDEN THEE FROM COMING TO SHED BLOOD, AND FROM AVENGING THYSELF WITH THINE OWN HAND",
and David acknowledges this truth by saying: "For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, WHICH HATH KEPT ME BACK FROM HURTING THEE, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, SURELY THERE HAD NOT BEEN LEFT UNTO NABAL BY THE MORNING LIGHT ANY THAT PASSETH AGAINST THE WALL."
So we can clearly see that God DOES restrain the sin and evil thoughts of men when it serves his purpose. If God did not restrain the evil of men's hearts, this world would be a whole lot worse off than it already is.
It would soon revert back to the way it was in the days of Noah when "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth."
And this is going to happen again. Jesus told us that as it was in the days of Noah, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24) and the apostle Paul tells us "that in the last days perilous times shall come" and that "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3)
God hardens hearts by turning them over to their own lusts.
We see this in Romans 1:24, 26 and 28 - "Wherefore GOD ALSO GAVE THEM UP TO UNCLEANNESS THROUGH THE LUSTS OF THEIR OWN HEARTS, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves." And "GOD GAVE THEM UP UNTO VILE AFFECTIONS" And "GOD GAVE THEM OVER TO A REPROBATE MIND, to do those things which are not convenient"
What about God's own people? Does He at times harden their hearts as well? Yes, He does. We read in Isaiah 63:17 "O LORD, why hast THOU MADE US TO ERR FROM THY WAYS, AND HARDENED OUR HEART FROM THY FEAR? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance."
These are not the non-elect, but God's own people who wonder why God made them to err and hardened their heart from His fear. God had let go of His restraint and allowed them to follow their own corruptions both in thought and actions.
God does this for several reasons, when He deems it necessary. He thus teaches us that apart from His sustaining grace and mercy, if left to our own devices, we soon utterly corrupt ourselves and bring ruin upon our own heads.
In this way He teaches us humility and shows us our need to rely on Him alone as the strength of our lives. No flesh shall glory in His sight. "My glory will I not give to another." (Isaiah 42:8)
As David says in Psalm 30:7 "LORD, by thy favor thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled."
All these sins are there in the human heart and all God has to do to harden it even further is to simply remove His restraint and turn people over to their own lusts to do what they will by nature. Yet God is not the Author of man's sin.
Being spiritually DEAD is our fallen human nature and our sinful state until “Thy people shall be WILLING in the day of thy power” - “For it is God which worketh in you BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.
If you are willing to come to Christ, it is because God chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph.1:4), He gave you to Christ (John 6:37; 17:2); He ordained you to eternal life (Acts 13:48); He made you willing (Phil. 2:13) and He gave you repentance (Acts 11:18) and the faith to believe the gospel (Romans 12:3)
”That NO FLESH should glory in His presence. But OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus, who OF GOD is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:29-31
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Notes from the Internet
Several times I have run into the adamant "free willers" who try to convince us that Romans 9-11 is talking about being chosen for "service" and not about salvation. These guys are really desperate. Here is one such "free willer" who posted this nonsense, and my response to him.
Those who pervert God's words in order to promote their vaunted "free will" -
Jeff T. says: “And election in any passage of scripture including those you referenced, is referring to an office of employment in the service of God and of vessels chosen to serve in them. Election is always about "my servant"... the office of employment as servants."
Jeff T. Sir, you are truly blind to these plain truths of Scripture.
The topic of Romans 9-11 is clearly about whether people are "the children of God" or not. See Romans 9:8 - "They which are the children of the flesh, these are NOT the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."
And it has to do with "the remnant that shall be saved" - not "fit for service". See Romans 9:27
And it has to do with "wrath" and "destruction" versus "mercy" and "glory" - NOT with some kind of imaginary "service" or "non-service" you want to squeeze into these verses as you pervert the plain meaning of God's words.
It is clear (except to the most blind and obstinate) that Romans 9 is talking about the Potter and the clay, and God makes "of the same lump" one vessel unto honour and another to dishonor.
He makes the vessels of WRATH (not - non-service) fitted to destruction, and He makes the vessels of MERCY, WHICH HE HAD AFORE PREPARED UNTO GLORY, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.
And this whole process of God's election unto salvation and glory is "NOT of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy." Romans 9:16
In your totally carnal desire to hang on to your pride in your vaunted and imaginary "free will", you are willing to twist, pervert, and turn upside down the very words of the living God in order to do it.
May God have mercy on your soul and give you repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, because right now you are perverting the very words of the living God and He does not take this type of thing lightly.