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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 9 - Verse 19

Verse 19. Thou wilt say then unto me. The apostle here refers to an objection that might be made to his argument. If the position which he had been endeavouring to establish were true; if God had a purpose in all his dealings with men: if all the revolutions among men happened according to his decree, so that he was not disappointed, or his plan frustrated; and if his own glory was secured in all this, why could he blame men?

Why doth he yet find fault? Why does he blame men, since their conduct is in accordance with his purpose, and since he bestows mercy according to his sovereign will? This objection has been made by sinners in all ages. It is the standing objection against the doctrines of grace. The objection is founded,

(1.) on the difficulty of reconciling the purposes of God with the free agency of man.

(2.) It assumes, what cannot be proved, that a plan or purpose of God must destroy the freedom of man.

(3.) It is said that if the plan of God is accomplished, then that which is best to be done is done, and, of course, man cannot be blamed. These objections are met by the apostle in the following argument.

Who hath resisted his will? That is, who has successfully opposed his will, or frustrated his plan? The word translated resist is commonly used to denote the resistance offered by soldiers or armed men. Thus, Eph 5:13, "Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand (resist, or successfully oppose) in the evil day." See Lu 21:15, "I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist." See also Ac 6:10; 13:8, "But Elymas— withstood them," etc. The same Greek word, Ro 13:2; Ga 2:11. This does not mean that no one has offered resistance or opposition to God, but that no one had done it successfully. God had accomplished his purposes in spite of their opposition. This was an established point in the sacred writings, and one of the admitted doctrines of the Jews. To establish it had even been a part of the apostle's design; and the difficulty now was to see how, this being admitted, men could be held chargeable with crime. That it was the doctrine of the Scriptures, see 2 Ch 20:6, "In thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? Da 4:35, "He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" See also the case of Joseph and his brethren, Ge 1:20, "As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good."

{r} "who hath resisted his will" 2 Ch 20:6; Da 4:35

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