James Arminius correctly captured the contribution of Romans 9:14-25 to the overall argument of “whole epistle.” He viewed the scope of Romans 9 is the same as that of the whole epistle, viz.,
[…] the Gospel, not the law, is the power of God unto salvation, not to him that worketh, but to him that believeth, since, in the Gospel the righteousness of God is manifested in the obtainment of salvation by faith in Christ. (Arminius 1853: 528 emphasis original)
Concurring with Arminius, Romans 9 defends the proposition against the objections of the Jews that could be deduce as:
“If righteousness and salvation consist in faith in Christ, whom Paul preaches, it follows that the Jews, for the most part, are rejected from the covenant. The reason of this conclusion is this. “Because most of the Jews do not believe in Christ.”(ibid 529)
Paul showed that the word of convent has not fail, even if most of the Jews, “who, with the greatest zeal, seek the righteousness of the Law” since “not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel”(verse 6b ESV) and that word of convent applies to and fulfilled in “the children of the promise”, both Jews and Gentiles who pursue righteousness that is by faith in finish work of Christ Jesus.
Paul in Romans 9:14-25 aims to defend the righteous of God in fulfillment of his convent promise to those whom He has eternally elected as “the children of the promise” not because of the righteousness of the Law, namely merits, but God’s own free grace poured through faith in Christ Jesus and also to show that “God always works by the method of election.”(Morris 1988: 358).
Paul argument can be formulated as follows:
- God is just in all His acts.
- God’s act of electing some and pass others prima facie seems injustice.
- God is merciful to whom He pleases and hardens whom He pleases according to His will.
- Thus, God is not unjust.
Arminius, J. (1853). The Works of Arminius, Volume 3 (J. Nichols & W. R. Bagnall, Trans.) Auburn; Buffalo: Derby, and Miller; Derby, Orton and Mulligan.
Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans. The Pillar New Testament Commentary Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
NB: Though I hold to a reformed tradition, I am continually edified by Arminius powerful thinking. I am open for correcting, comments, and critics as we try to glorify God through our thinking.