Arminian Comments on Romans 9 – Richard Baxter

Taken from Richard Baxter’s Paraphrase on the New Testament

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vv. 17-18: And that He giveth not his free mercies equally to all, is proved in His words to Pharaoh. As if He had said, I well foreknew all your sin and stubbornness, but I will serve the honor of My name by it all; for I have raised you, and made you king with this intent, to manifest My power in triumphing over all your rebellion, and to proclaim the fame of My works against you, through all the Earth. Therefore He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens.

v. 22: Shall man accuse God, because He resolves to show His punishing justice and power on those self-hardening, willful sinners, who made themselves vessels of wrath, and fitted to destruction, when He has in long patience and forbearance endured them, while they abused mercy?

v. 33: So that the cause why Israel is cast off, is not because God sent not His Son and Gospel to them, nor invited them to believe, nor gave them evidence of the truth of Christ, which was sufficient to convince a well-disposed mind; much less, because He hindered them from believing, or because He showed mercy to the Gentiles; but because by error THEY HARDENED THEMSELVES against Christ, as not answering their carnal erroneous expectations. For though God would glorify the riches of His grace by Jesus Christ, yet IT WAS NOT HIS WILL to reveal Him in such visible majesty and glory, as should of itself necessitate and FORCE MEN TO BELIEVE IN HIM: for then faith would have been no work of trial, nor fit for a reward, but such as the wicked and sensual might perform. But God would so reveal His Son, as that faith might have sufficient encouragement and help, and yet such difficulties as might make it proper to honest souls, and fit for a reward; so that those that will be biased by prejudice and worldly interest, will stumble and fall on the Rock which they should be built on; but to THEM THAT SINCERELY TRUST AND OBEY HIM, He might be the author of eternal salvation, and be the power and wisdom of God.


It is evident, that St. Paul is but proving and justifying God’s free mercy in calling the Gentiles, while He permitted the obstinate part of the Jews to cut off themselves by unbelief, and willfully rejecting Christ.

As to THE HARDENING OF PHARAOH AND OTHERS, it being agreed by all sober Christians, that God causes not sin, we need to debate it no further, whether the sense be, that He denies them softening converting grace when they have forfeited it by willful resistance, and so permits them to be hardened; or, whether it be, that He does those good and righteous acts which He knows they will be willfully hardened by, as occasions and objects: or both these.

Here is not the least hint, that God damns any, or decrees so to do, merely because He will do it, without any reason taken from their own deserts: or, that He makes some men sinners, or damns them, merely as the potter differentiates His vessels of clay: but only, that WHEN ALL HAVE DESERVED to be forsaken and condemned, and He gives common grace for their recovery to all, why He freely gives more, which shall be infallibly effectual, to some, rather than to others, when those some were no better than the rest.

WHOEVER TRULY REPENTS AND BELIEVES, may be sure of his justification; and it’s sinful to doubt of it on pretense that God may condemn whom He will, when He has told whom He will not condemn: and whoever is unregenerate and ungodly, may be sure he is unjustified, and unforgiven, and in a damnable state; for God hath assured us of this in His Word.

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