The context is ultimate salvation (heaven vs hell). Why are so many Jews rejecting Jesus and thus eternally damming themselves? Doesn’t this make God look inadequate to save? Paul answers with ultimate level ontology. God elects some to be saved and some to be damned. God loved Jacob but hated Esau. God showed mercy to Moses, which is heaven for him, but hardness to Pharaoh, which is hell for him.
The next part Paul steps into a side issue of man’s responsibility. Paul teaches that man is responsible precisely because man is not free—relative to God—but under His sovereign authority.
“Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?””
[NLT Roman 9:19]
If Pharaoh did “God’s Will,”
(i.e. not obeying Him when God caused Pharaoh’s heart to be hard),
then why does God hold Pharaoh ethically accountable?
See my article for a full review here: Scripture & Logic : Why is Pharaoh Punished?
If God takes me from a neutral clay lump(that is not already bad) and makes me into a wicked pot, and I obviously go along with it, then why does God find fault with me, even if He commanded me to do good?
God punishes the Pharaoh after saying He first hardened the Pharaoh’s heart. To this Paul’s opponent says, “if Pharaoh went along with God’s causality(ontology)—that is, to be hard hearted and resist God’s command(ethic)—then why is Pharaoh punished?” This objection is bottom of the barrel stupid and displays a mind that is spiritually broken and mentally ‘out of order’. Again, this is similar to saying trees and dogs are the same, therefore, why don’t’ trees walk? It is a categorical fallacy. All Christian ethics are God’s commandments. Pharaoh was a lawbreaker by disobeying God’s command to let His people go. He is guilty, not because He did or did not resist God’s causality, but because He disobeyed God’s command.
The reverse can be said of God’s chosen children. God holds them “ethically” accountable to receive Jesus’ redemption, not because they went along with God’s causality (being born again), but because they obeyed God by believing His message.
Faith Salvation, Faith Healing & Faith Wisdom
For a comparison we will consider Salvation and then Healing.
Jesus teaches “faith salvation,” along with the rest of Scripture. God was sovereign when He made the promise, and so will sovereignly keep it. If you have faith you will have eternal life. No exception. One might think they have faith when in fact they do not. Yet, if you do, the consequent is necessary and without exemption.
John 3:36 (LEB) “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life.”
(Acts 16:30-31 LEB) “And he brought them outside and[a] said, “Sirs, what must I do so that I can be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household!””
(Romans 10:11-13 LEB) “For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who is rich to all who call upon him. For “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.””
The same is true for “faith healing.” God was sovereign when He made the promise, and so will sovereignly keep it. If you have faith you will be healed. No exception. One might think they have faith when in fact they do not. Yet, if you do, the consequent is necessary and without exemption.
Psalm 103:2–5 (LEB) Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits:
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
James 5:15–16 (LEB) And the prayer of faith
will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up,
and if he has committed sins he will be forgiven.
Matthew 21:22 (LEB) “And whatever you ask in prayer, if you[a] believe, you will receive.”
James, which focuses on “faith,” in his Letter also teaches, “faith wisdom,” but that is for another essay. The point is that being unwise is not a “option.” It is a command to get wisdom and to get it by faith. If you doubt, then you do not get it. You cannot say, ““it’s God’s Will” for me to be in this lack of wisdom,” because God has already commanded you to get wisdom by faith. Your faith will cause you to be saved or fail. If you doubt and do not get wisdom, not only did you not do God’s will, but you are in disobedience. It is not a suggestion but a command.
The same is for “ faith Salvation,” and “faith healing.” These are not suggestions, but commands. And the command is that you are successful by your own faith to get it.
James 1:5–7 (LEB)
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask for it from God, who gives to all without reservation and not reproaching, and it will be given to him. But let him ask for it in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed about. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
“His Will,” in this context will be about ontology, whereas in other context it can mean ethics.
Why does God still “find fault,” if we do not resist “His Will?” (Romans 9 about salvation)
Why does God hold me responsible to His command—to believe His promise for salvation, if He causes (His Will) is for me to not believe?
Christian Ethics is God’s commandments. Since it is a command to be forgiven through Christ, then to rebel against this makes you ethically responsible. What God causes you to do, has nothing to do whether you are responsible.
Why does God condemn my lack of faith for healing, if He causes (His Will) me not to have faith for it?
Why does God hold me responsible to His command—to believe His promise for healing, if He causes (His Will) is for me to not believe?
Why does God condemn my lack of faith for wisdom, if He causes (His Will) me not to have faith for it?
Appealing to “God’s Will,” does not take away that fact you will be held accountable by God, for not doing what He commanded you to do. But the fact remains if you keep appealing to God’s Will, for failure to acquire things by Faith, (i.e. its God’s will for me not to have faith for, salvation, healing, wisdom, because He is making not have the faith for it), it means, as Vincent Cheung points out that you are in fact saying are a child of reprobation and damnation.
The Bible uses God’s sovereignty to explain why some people cannot believe the gospel, and therefore cannot receive the promise of God (John 6:44, 65, 10:26, Romans 9:18). They are doomed, and will not be saved. The Bible never uses God’s sovereignty to assert that some people could believe the promise and still cannot receive because of the will of God. Therefore, the more someone claims that he does not receive the promise of God because of the will of God, the more he insists that he is reprobate, made for damnation, and reserved for everlasting torture in the fires of hell. His doctrine is not the voice of Christ, but the screech of Satan.
Christian Ethics is God’s commandments. Therefore, since it is a command to be healed through Christ, then to rebel against this makes you ethically responsible. What God causes you to do, has nothing to do whether you are responsible.