Ro 9:18-19 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
For who hath resisted his will? Indeed, who has resisted God’s will, and equally important why does He yet find fault? The omnipotence of God and the power He has over the individual, is further reinforced by analogy, a couple verses later in the 9th chapter of Romans.
Ro 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Much of the Christian world believes in free will, and that God created man with free will, and is being held hostage, so to speak, by the very beings He has created. Common reasoning goes something like this, man was created with free will and God is more or less in damage control just trying to contain the evil that man is doing in the world. Granted, it is very hard to understand the mind of God, but the word of God give us a glimpse of how He thinks and operates, Jn 8:28, 2Ti 3:16, He 1:2. I have known Christians in the past who will argue that man has free will, even when shown those verses in the 9th chapter of Romans. They will point to a verse later in Romans and then promptly ignore other verses in the New Testament.
Ro 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Some Christians proudly claim that they made the choice to accept Jesus as their personal saviour. But when comparing Ro 10:9 with the following verses, one can see that the salvation of a man is hardly based on free will, and the works or initiative of individual men.
Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Eph 2::8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Time and time again you run into the words ordained, predesignated, appointed and the like, in the New Testament. Only once in the New Testament does a specific Greek word that is translated into the English word inheritance appear and that is in Eph 1:11
AV Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
The Strong’s Concordance definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “inheritance”.
G2819 kleros klay’-ros
probably from G2806 (through the idea of using bits of wood, etc., for the purpose; a die (for drawing chances);
by implication, a portion (as if so secured); by extension, an acquisition (especially a patrimony, figuratively).
KJV: heritage, inheritance, lot, part.
Personally I like the Concordant Literal New Testament translation of that verse.
CLV Eph 1:11 in Him in Whom our lot was cast also, being designated beforehand according to the purpose of the One Who is operating *all in accord with the counsel of His *will,
You’ve heard it said, that a person has a certain lot in life, and that is certainly true in biblical history. Note that God is “operating” all in accord with the counsel of His “will”. There are lumps of clay, humans, destined to be vessels of wrath and those, the children of promise, ordained to be vessels of mercy, Ro 9:20-21. You have the mystery of iniquity, 2Th 2:3-9, playing out the roles assigned to them by God. You have those early apostate members of the church who were ordained of old for this condemnation in Jude 1:4. Two interesting question are asked in Ro 9:19. Who has resisted His will? And why does he still find fault? What is not so obvious, when reading the bible narrative, is that no one has resisted God’s will, when in fact He exerts it. Look at what Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the entire world in his day, and what he had to say after God had him crawling on his hands and knees eating grass, as a beast of the field for 7 years.
Da 4:34-35 ¶ And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifting up my eyes to heaven, got back my reason, and, blessing the Most High, I gave praise and honour to him who is living for ever, whose rule is an eternal rule and whose kingdom goes on from generation to generation.
35 And all the people of the earth are as nothing: he does his pleasure in the army of heaven and among the people of the earth: and no one is able to keep back his hand, or say to him, What are you doing?
Job certainly came to the same conclusion concerning the trials God allowed into his life.
AV Jb 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Or what Joseph had to say regarding his brothers selling him into slavery.
Ge 50:17-21 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
The point being made is that all men are but bit players in their roles in life that God has assigned to them. Whether they are aware of it or not. But the answer to the second unanswered question is not so apparent. Why does God still find fault? As the potter, God takes lumps of clay, humans, and makes different vessels according to his design. Vessels of honor and vessels of wrath. And with both of these vessels, God of course finds fault, because irregardless of their roles in life, all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God, Ro 3:23. Even the vessels of honor, 1Pe 4:17. God finds fault, so as He can judge and correct the faults, in each individual vessel. Each individual, in their own ordained time, will be judged and saved, the majority of mankind at the white throne judgment. That is the point of it all. To judge the world in righteousness, Acts 17:31, through the Lord Jesus Christ. To what end? So God can be all in all. God is love and we are to be holy and without blame before Him in love, Eph 1:4. Now, does this only apply to the body of Christ? The body of Christ is important in the plan and purpose of God but in order for God to be all in all, 1Co 15:28 , all have to be made perfect/mature in love.
1Jo 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
The not so obvious conclusion that can be drawn from this verse is that in order for God to be all in all, all have to dwell in love. One of the most definitive aspects of God, is that He is love, 1Jn 4:8. God intends to make man in His own image and likeness. In the previous two articles on this site we see that the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil is part and parcel with this process?
Gn 3:22 & 24 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Man, when he was created, was immature and thus imperfect. Adam and Eve were easily led astray and enticed into disobedience in the Garden of Eden by the serpent and acquired the knowledge of good and evil. In like matter we are all created in a immature and imperfect likenesses of God. Since God is love, that is the very area that we all lack maturity in, 1Co 3:1-3. But God be praised, He will teach us how to love, 1Th 4:9. This spiritual maturity, of being able to love in the perfect or mature way, only comes about through much experience in our decision making in regards to good and evil, within our interactions with other people in our lives. Good and evil arises out of the heart of man and impacts the choices he makes in his life. So we need to grow in spiritual maturity.
Heb 5:12-14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Note in verse 13, it mentions the word of righteousness. The word of righteousness, in a nut shell, is that we are to love one another, and to be holy and without blame before God in love, Eph 1:4. In the simplest of terms, good is love and evil is the absence of love in the heart of man. That which comes out of the heart of man, is what defiles a man, the lusts of the flesh, that Paul mentions in Galatians, are what defile a man, Mt 15:18-19, Ga 5:19-21. God’s goal for us in our life, is to gain maturity from interacting with the good and evil in life, some of which is due to the choices we make in life. Some from the choices of others and how those choices impact us. As we grow in maturity, we fall more in line with God’s will, and walk more in love. This maturity that comes from God, is also called the circumcision of the heart, Ro 2:28-29. Now, a apt analogy is raising children. Which many of us have done or are in the process of doing. These children live in a world that is comprised of people that are in the constant motion of making choices that are either good or evil or somewhere in between. A very complicated world, complicated by the fact that many of the people in this world do not aspire to live according to God’s law of love, Mt 22:37-40. As you raise your child towards maturity you seek to instill in them respect towards other people and respect for the law. As the child grows older, the challenges they face, within themselves and with other people in the world grow in complexity. Hurt, pain and suffering in the world is caused by other people and by the child themselves, due to the choices they make. Hurting and being hurt in a inescapable dance set in motion by God.
Ro 8:20-23 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
There is a observation made by some, that this earth and the life we live on this earth, was intentionally created flawed by God’s design. A necessary evil, that needs to be endured in order for the godly character to be developed and instilled in man. The perfection/maturity which God has in mind for all men. In order to do so, a learning environment was needed to be designed by God to that end, a school of hard knocks so to speak. Then God Himself teaches His creation to walk in love, the body of Christ first.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 KJVS
 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
Take a look at the fruit of the Spirit in Ga 5:22-23. This fruit is cultivated and grown, not instilled in us at the point of our creation. The peaceable fruit of righteousness only comes about by God’s chastening us.
Heb 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Jesus learned obedience by the things that he suffered, Heb 5:8, and unfortunately obedience can not be realized in any other way. It has to be tested, tried, and put to the proof. Part of loving a child and having them grow into maturity, a maturity that you know will insure peace and harmony in their life, is the willingness to discipline them for their own good and for the good of society. The thousand year reign of Jesus Christ is going to be a age of peace, righteousness and order. Where the law and the word of God is going to flow out of Jerusalem to the nations of the world, Isa 2:2-4. A perfected or matured body of Christ has been ordained to assist the Lord Jesus Christ in that reign. Ultimately, the end result being, that God is going to perfect/mature all men through Jesus Christ our Lord. Which apostle Paul was acutely aware of in his ministry.
Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Not all men are going to be made perfect at once. A scripture verse that shines some insight into this, mentions the “second death”.
Re 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
In Re 2:11, it further states that there is hurt/pain involved in the second death. One way or another, a man is going to die to the lusts of the flesh and that involves hurt, pain and suffering, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
1Pe 4:1 ¶ Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
It is quite difficult for the human mind to encompass the enormity of what God is accomplishing in Jesus Christ. A large portion of mankind are oblivious, by design, to what God is doing and are going to pass through the white throne judgment and be judged and corrected at that time, 2Co 5:10, Re 20:11-13. The vessels of honor, the body of Christ, are judged and corrected while they live, in order to have instilled in them, the necessary godly character and fruit to rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, Col 1:12, Re 20:6. They can be judged while they live because God views those in Christ, as dead in Christ, and as such, legally liable for judgment, Col 2:12 , Heb 9:27, 1Pe 4:17. The vessels of wrath, those under the law, were ordained to stumbled at the word, 1Pe 2:8 , and were fitted for ruin or loss, which is what destruction means in Ro 9:22. Judas, a prime example of a person walking a preordained path, was ordained to betray Jesus, Jn 6:70-71, Acts 1:16 and Acts 2:23. Some have a preordained role in life and most others not overtly so, but like all, will be judged and corrected by God. All of creation was created within this complex mechanism designed by God to educate and mature all beings in His creation. These verses from the book of Romans express what God is doing most eloquently.
Ro 11:29-33 For God does not repent of His free gifts nor of His call;
30 but just as you were formerly disobedient to Him, but now have received mercy at a time when they are disobedient,
31 so now they also have been disobedient at a time when you are receiving mercy; so that to them too there may now be mercy.
32 For God has locked up all in the prison of unbelief, that upon all alike He may have mercy.
33 ¶ Oh, how inexhaustible are God’s resources and God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge! How impossible it is to search into His decrees or trace His footsteps! Weymouth
So at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, if in fact any man has free will? A careful reading of the Word of God will show that man does not have free will.