Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response 10 – Romans 9:16

As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.

This is the third portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.

Original Comment

God gave to the man Jesus the spirit without limit. God doesn’t give faith to everyone because He doesn’t want to according to Romans 9:16 John 1:12-13.

My friend is trying to teach me that God doesn’t give faith to everyone because He doesn’t want to, and he refers to Romans 9:16 to support this claim.

So let’s read the passage and try to understand his point.

Romans 9:16 – So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Ok. I may be a bit daft, but I am not sure where faith is referred to in this verse, unless faith is the “it” at the start of the verse.

So what is “it”?

Let’s consider the immediate context.

Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
Romans 9:15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
Romans 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

So the “it” in Romans 9:16 reaches back to the question posed in verse 14 – that is “Is there injustice on God’s part?” Faith doesn’t seem to be referred to here. As a matter of fact, this chapter does not address faith until verse 30, (14 verses later!) where it appears that the gentiles received a righteousness by faith. Verse 32 speaks of the Jews not attaining righteousness by faith, but by seeking to attain it by works. This is the only two references to faith in the chapter, and it doesn’t appear to address God’s willingness or reluctance to provide faith to anyone.

Oh, and the subject of faith (or belief) was last referred to in Romans 6:8, speaking of the resurrection, but not of God restricting faith or belief from anyone.

I am not sure why he referred to this verse to teach me that God doesn’t give faith to everyone because He doesn’t want to. Let’s see if the next set of verses in John 1 help us understand his thoughts.

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



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