Objections to Unconditional Election & Romans 9

‘So here’s my claim: in Romans 9, Paul teaches the (Calvinist) doctrine of unconditional election–the teaching that God chooses to save some and not others, not based on anything in them (whether faith or fruit, present or foreseen), but based solely on his sovereign will and purpose. Evidence for this view comes in two steps: first, Paul addresses two of the same objections still raised against Calvinistic doctrine; and second, he doesn’t answer the objections the way an Arminian would.’

‘1. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION MAKES GOD UNJUST. We see this objection in verse 14.

  • As with Lloyd-Jones’s quip about antinomianism, the mere fact that Paul predicts this objection indicates that he’s teaching unconditional election.
  • Instead of responding like an Arminian, he doubles down on God’s sovereign right to show mercy and compassion to whomever he wills (Rom. 9:15).
  • To say God’s mercy ultimately originates as a response to foreseen faith or mercy is to affirm election does depend on human will and exertion, rather than on God (contrary to v. 16).


  • Instead, he questions the critic’s right to even lodge the objection (Rom. 9:20). He then doubles down on God’s sovereign right, as the potter, to make vessels for whatever uses he sees fit (vv. 20–21)….
  • As you read Romans 9, do your thoughts on election sound more like Paul’s, or like those of his objector?’

-Justin Dillehay

Read all of it here

(GSiV: Election; Atonement; Piper; Eternal security; Salvation)