Romans 9:19

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”

Romans 9:19 in Other Translations

KJV
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
ESV
19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"
NLT
19 Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”
MSG
19 Are you going to object, "So how can God blame us for anything since he's in charge of everything? If the big decisions are already made, what say do we have in it?"
CSB
19 You will say to me, therefore, "Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?"

Romans 9:19 Meaning and Commentary

Romans 9:19

Thou wilt say then unto me
That is, thou wilt object to me; for this is another objection of the adversary, against the doctrine the apostle was advancing: and it is an objection of a mere natural man, of one given up to a reprobate mind, of an insolent hardened sinner; it discovers the enmity of the carnal mind to God; if is one of the high things that exalts itself against the knowledge of him; it is with a witness a stretching out of the hand against God, and strengthening a man's self against the Almighty; it is a running upon him, even upon the thick bosses of his bucklers; it carries in it the marks of ill nature, surliness, and rudeness, to the last degree:

why doth he yet find fault?
The objector does not think fit to name the name of "God", or "the Lord", but calls him "he"; and a considerable emphasis lies upon the word "yet": what as if he should say, is he not content with the injustice he has already exercised, in passing by some, when he chose others; in leaving them to themselves, and hardening their hearts against him, and to go on in their own ways, which must unavoidably end in destruction; but after all this, is angry with them, finds fault with them, blames, accuses, and condemns them, for that which they cannot help; nay, for that which he himself wills? this is downright cruelty and tyranny. The objector seems to have a particular regard to the case of Pharaoh, the apostle had instanced in, when after God had declared that he had raised him up for this very purpose, to make known his power, and show forth his glory in all the world, still finds fault with him and says, "as yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?" ( Exodus 9:17 ) ; and yet he himself had hardened his heart, and continued to harden his heart, that he might not let them go as yet; and when he had let them go, hardened his heart again to pursue after them, when he drowned him and his host in the Red sea; all which in this objection, is represented as unparalleled cruelty and unmercifulness; though it is not restrained to this particular case, but is designed to be applied to all other hardened persons; and to expose the unreasonableness of the divine proceedings, in hardening men at his pleasure; and then blaming them for acting as hardened ones, when he himself has made them so, and wills they should act in this manner:

for who hath resisted his will?
This is said in support of the former, and means not God's will of command, which is always resisted more or less, by wicked men and devils; but his will of purpose, his counsels and decrees, which stand firm and sure, and can never be resisted, so as to be frustrated and made void. This the objector takes up, and improves against God; that since he hardens whom he will, and there is no resisting his will, the fault then can never lie in them who are hardened, and who act as such, but in God; and therefore it must be unreasonable in him to be angry with, blame, accuse, and condemn persons for being and doing that, which he himself wills them to be and do. Let the disputers of this world, the reasoners of the present age, come and see their own faces, and read the whole strength of their objections, in this wicked man's; and from whence we may be assured, that since the objections are the same, the doctrine must be the same that is objected to: and this we gain however by it, that the doctrines of particular and personal election and reprobation, were the doctrines of the apostle; since against no other, with any face, or under any pretence, could such an objection be formed: next follows the apostle's answer.

Romans 9:19 In-Context

17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”
20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ”
21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

Cross References 3

  • 1. Romans 11:19; 1 Corinthians 15:35; James 2:18
  • 2. Romans 3:7
  • 3. 2 Samuel 16:10; 2 Chronicles 20:6; Daniel 4:35