Pastor David B. Curtis


Sovereign Will

Romans 9:19-24

Delivered 02/12/2012

The emphasis in Romans 9 is on the absolute sovereignty of God. To say that God is sovereign is to say that He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases: that whatever takes place in time is but the outworking of that which He decreed from eternity.

Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; Isaiah 46:10 NASB

This means that everything that happens is according to the eternal plan of God. The Westminster Confession of Faith puts it this way in paragraph 1 of chapter 3, "God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass." I am so glad for this truth. What if God had left the future--individually and ultimately--to the will of fallen men?

Paul has been demonstrating God's absolute sovereignty to us in Romans 9. He gave us the principle of sovereign election in verse 6, "For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel". Then in verses 7-13 he illustrates the principle. God decides who will believe and undeservingly be saved and who will rebel and deservingly perish. Before they were born or had done anything good or evil, he loves Jacob and gives Esau over to wickedness and destruction (9:11-13).

This raises the question of verse 14, "Is God being unfair in choosing one person over another?" In verses 15-18 he shows that God is just and righteous to give mercy to whom he wishes and to withhold it from whom he wishes. God is sovereign in the exercise of His mercy and his love. He is free and unconstrained from influences outside himself when he decrees who will receive mercy and who will not.

So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. Romans 9:18 NASB

You might be thinking, "Boy this is not what I have been taught." It might not be, but I think it is what the Bible teaches. But you have a responsibility to be a Berean and study it out for yourself.

This raises another question; if God saves who he wills and hardens who he wills, what is the obvious question? How can he hold me responsible for his choice? And that is exactly the question that Paul anticipates:

You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" Romans 9:19 NASB

I can't resist his will, so how can I be blamed for my unbelief? He hardened Pharaoh, and Pharaoh did just what God wanted him to do. He could not resist God's will, no man can. So, why does He find fault with and punish sinners?

Listen carefully! There would be no room for this objection, or that of verse 14, if Paul had been teaching that God chooses those whom he foresees would believe, or that the ground of distinction was in the different conduct of men. It is very evident, therefore, that he was teaching no such doctrine.

How easy it would have been to answer the charge of injustice by saying, "God chooses one and rejects another according to their works or faith." The only reason that this question arises is because Paul is teaching so clearly that God chooses one and rejects another based solely on his own will, and that the destiny of men is determined by his sovereign pleasure alone.

Have you ever asked these questions, "If God is sovereign and has decreed from all eternity whatsoever takes place how can I be held responsible for what I do? Who can resist His will?" If you have ever asked those questions, it's only because you understand what the Bible is teaching about the absolute sovereignty of God. I've heard this question raised many times.

We must keep in mind that Romans 9-11 is dealing with Israel. These questions are coming from Israel.

You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" Romans 9:19 NASB

The Greek word for "fault" is memphomai, it means to blame. It has the idea of holding responsible. This question is reinforced by the consideration that no one can frustrate, or resist God's will. The Greek word for "will" is boulema. It means resolve or purpose.

When talking about the will of God we must differentiate between what is called His moral will and His sovereign will. Look at "will" in these two passages.

You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" Romans 9:19 NASB
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 1 Thessalonians 4:3 NASB

Does the term "will" mean the same in both of these passages? No. Romans 9 uses the term "will" to speak of God's sovereign decree. And 1 Thessalonians 4 uses the term "will" to speak of God's revealed will of precept.

The term "will" is ambiguous and must be determined by the context. The Ten Commandments are God's perceptive will. They command men to do this and to refrain from that. They state what ought to be done, but they neither state not cause what is done. God's decretive will, however, causes every event.

It might be helpful to clarify if the term "will" were not applied to the precepts. Call them requirements of morality, commands, precepts, or laws and reserve the term "will" for the divine decree.

God's sovereign will is secret until it happens. Our concern is to be obedient to the moral commands of God, the Scriptures. The Scripture commands all men to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, but in His sovereign will he has chosen some to believe and He has chosen to harden the rest.

You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" Romans 9:19 NASB

How can God blame people for not believing when he has decreed that they be hardened? No one can resist His will. This is a hard question. How can God pour out His wrath on people for not believing when he has hardened them in unbelief? Paul answers the anticipated objection by quoting what God said in response to a similar complaint made by Israel in Isaiah's prophecy.

On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? Romans 9:20 NASB

Clearly Israel is in view as the "molded" in the illustration as Paul quotes from:

You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, "He did not make me"; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, "He has no understanding"? Isaiah 29:16 NASB

Israel had no right to criticize God for shaping her for a particular purpose of His own choosing. Really Israel had nothing to complain about since God had formed her for an honorable use. Obviously the same is true of individuals. Again in Isaiah we read:

"Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker -- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'? "Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' Or to a woman, 'To what are you giving birth?'" Isaiah 45:9-10 NASB

The passage is Israel's response on hearing that Cyrus had been raised up to serve Yahweh's purposes. We cannot separate the quoted text in Romans from its original context of Israel's complaint to God about decisions He had made.

Does the clay ask the potter questions? That is absurd! Man is as far from comprehending the mind of omniscient God as clay is from comprehending the mind of the potter. We must realize the limits of our thinking:

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8 NASB
"These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes. Psalms 50:21 NASB

Martin Luther said to Erasmus, "Mere human reason can never comprehend how God is good and merciful; and therefore you make to yourself a god of your own fancy, who hardens nobody, condemns nobody, pities everybody. You cannot comprehend how a just God can condemn those who are born in sin, and cannot help themselves, but must, by a necessity of their natural constitution, continue in sin, and remain children of wrath. The answer is God is incomprehensible throughout, and therefore His justice, as well as His other attributes, must be incomprehensible." It is on this very ground that Paul exclaims:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! Romans 11:33 NASB

Now, His judgments could not be past finding out, if we could always perceive them to be just." Look with me at Jeremiah 18:1-11:

The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying, "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will announce My words to you." Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel."At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. "Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. "So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, 'Thus says the LORD, "Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds."' Jeremiah 18:1-11 NASB

The analogy is obvious. The potter makes choices and the clay has no part in the choice.

On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? Romans 9:20 NASB

Paul doesn't answer the question but appeals to a reverential silence which the majesty of God demands of us. Note the contrast, "O man--God." How can man question God?

The words "answer back" come from the Greek word antapokrinomai. It is a compound word from "anti" meaning opposite, contrast, or against and "apokrinomai," to conclude for oneself, to begin to speak, to contradict or dispute. Antapokrinomai, denotes disputation and resistance, not merely an attempt to procure an answer to a difficult question.

How can man with his infantile puny pea brain, speak against the Almighty God? The emphasis falls on "you." Who are you? Or who do you think you are? If you find yourself questioning God, you have played the fool because you are saying, "Because I can't figure this out, there must be something wrong with God." Paul says, "Shut your mouth and admit that you know very little." God is omniscient and we are ignorant. How can we speak against Him?

Have you ever been in the presence of a really great mind and felt totally unworthy to question or contradict them? How can we ever question or contradict God? Paul gives us an analogy from the Hebrew Scriptures that's an absurdity:

Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? Romans 9:21 NASB

Notice that all the clay comes from the "same lump." This is not the lump of innocent and deserving individuals, but the lump of fallen man, dead in sin, under the wrath of God. Each of us deserve the wrath of God, but God has poured out His wrath on His Son for the sake of the elect. And so the elect get mercy.

The word "right" is from the Greek word exousia which means authority, or right. What gives God the absolute authority over man? I'm looking for a one word answer; what is it?--Creation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 NASB

In the great expanse of eternity which stretches behind Genesis 1:1, the universe was unborn and creation existed only in the mind of God. In His sovereign majesty, God dwelt alone.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27 NASB

Men are a direct creation of God. Over and over in the text of Genesis 1 it says, "God said.".and it was so." This is creation ex nihilo, out of nothing. There was no one to suggest plans to God, or to suggest alterations to the plans God had. There was no one to defeat God's purpose. God was alone. He could do as he pleased.

After God created something, the thing had no authority to complain, "Why have you made me this way?" A wren has no right to complain that it is not an elephant. God had decided to create a world and a world by definition includes differences. The different things have no right to hold God responsible for the qualities they have or the qualities they lack. God is responsible to no one. He distributed wings, horns, legs and minds just as it suited Him. No one has any claim on God. Out of His own free choice, he created angels, stars, planets, the earth, mountains, deserts, rivers, lakes, insects, and elephants and everything in between. He gave elephants four legs, thick ones, and wrens two legs, thin ones. Why? Because He wanted to!

Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. Psalms 135:6 NASB

To understand the Bible, you must realize that God is the sovereign Creator. There is no law superior to Him that commands, "Thou shalt not make elephants with four legs, or thou shalt not hate Esau, or harden Pharaoh's heart." The ultimate answer to all objections is the relative positions of Creator and creature. All objections presuppose that man is, in some way or other, independent of God and has obtained from somewhere, or achieved by his own efforts, some right over against Him. Many folks suppose that once a being is created, he/she can claim that God is obliged to treat him as he wants to be treated, rather than as God decides to treat him. Man has rights they say, that God must respect. On the contrary man has no rights in opposition to God. What ever rights a man has are those God decides to give him. God, as Creator, can give, withhold, or retake any rights as He pleases. Whatever rights he gives to man are a gift and not a debt. No one has any claims over the Creator.

Remember in the book of Job when Job began to question God? Job wanted a legal hearing to prove God's injustices against him. God didn't explain his ways to Job, He exhibited them, showing that the sovereign Creator and sustainer of the universe does not owe puny man an explanation. Since God is God, who dare challenge His prerogative?

Paul concludes with three verses to apply his analogy:

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. Romans 9:22-24 NASB

The grand object of God, both in the election and the reprobation of man, is that which is paramount to all else in the creation of the universe; namely, His own glory.

What if God, exercising His sovereign right of choice, makes some vessels of mercy while others are made vessels of wrath? Does God have a right to display his wrath? Does He have a right to display His Justice? Yes! Wrath and Justice are as much a part of His character as are mercy and grace.

"Willing to demonstrate His wrath"-this speaks of will of purpose, sovereign will. God wants to show His wrath because He wants to reveal Himself, and He is a God of wrath.

"For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:24 NASB

Therefore, the entrance of sin into the world was necessary, so that God could manifest His wrath and His judgment and His holy anger because these are part of His character.

Listen carefully, for ages, theologians have argued and debated over the origin of evil. Let me tell you plainly, it was God's will that sin should enter the world, He decreed it. Now if that shocks you, it is far more shocking to insist that sin has invaded the world against God's will. For if sin has invaded the world against God's will, He wouldn't be omnipotent, would he? Some folks say that God just permitted sin to enter the world. Permission is not a word to use with God. Nothing in the universe can be independent of the omnipotent Creator, for in Him we live and move and have our being. Therefore, the idea of permission makes no sense when applied to God.

In his book "Reason to Believe. R.C. Sproul was examining all the best and most credible arguments for the origin of evil. After he examined some of the different theodicies, he concludes by saying this:

These theodicies are but a few of the more popular of the multitude of theories that have been offered as possible solutions to the enigma of sin. I am not satisfied with any of them. It is not my intent to be the devil's advocate or to lend assistance to those who reject Christianity because of these objections. I am not trying to give the skeptic more ammunition than he may already have. I am trying to make it clear that the problem is a severe one and one for which I have no adequate solution. I do not know how evil could originate with a good God. I am baffled by it, and it remains a troublesome mystery to me. (Reason to Believe, pg 126)

Sproul is unable to address why there is a world full of evil. He has no explanation for it because he believes God is PASSIVE over evil, simply permitting it. How terrifying! As we look out into a world where evil is rampant, it would be terrifying to think that all this stuff is being ALLOWED to happen. What most Christians believe about God and evil is just plain old deism (the belief that God created the world and then left it to itself to operate). God is no idle spectator, looking on from a distant world at the happenings on our earth, but is Himself, shaping everything to the ultimate promotion of His own glory.

Although R.C. Sproul Sr. can't answer the question of the origin of evil his son can. R.C. Sproul Jr. In his book, Almighty Over All, in chapter three, entitled: Who Dunit? Sproul opens the chapter with introducing the problem like a mystery story. His conclusion is that of the supralapsarian position, specifically that God was the one who caused the sin of man in the Garden by changing the inclination of Adam and Eve towards that which is evil. Sproul writes: "Every Bible-believing Christian must conclude at least that God in some sense desired that man would fall into sin God wills all things that come to pass. It is in His power to stop whatever might come to pass. It is within His omniscience to imagine every possible turn of events and to choose that chain of events which most pleases Him But wait a minute Isn't it impossible for God to do evil? He can't sin. I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that He created sin." R.C. Sproul, Jr., Almighty Over All, Baker, p. 53-54

Sproul Jr. is a supralapsarian, as am I. But his father is infralapsarian, and does not believe that God created evil. The primary difference in the lapsarian viewpoints is the order of the decrees; the order implies different origins of sin.

Edwin H. Palmer writes, "To emphasize the sovereignty of God even more, it is necessary to point out that everything is foreordained by God It is even biblical to say that God has foreordained sin. If sin was outside the plan of God, then not a single important affair of life would be ruled by God. For what action of man is perfectly good? Thus, once again, we confess with full force the absolute sovereignty of God. He predestines, elects, and foreordains." (Edwin H. Palmer, "The Five Points of Calvinism", p.82-83)

A.W. Pink writes, "Clearly it was the divine will that sin should enter this world, or it would not have done so. God had the power to prevent it. Nothing ever comes to pass except what He decreed God's decree that sin should enter this world was a secret hid in Himself." (A.W. Pink, "Gleanings from the Scriptures", Moody, p. 207)

It should be obvious that sinful human nature is much more apt to deny or to circumscribe God's authority in favor of human independence than it is to exaggerate the power of God. God brings to pass in time what he has decreed in eternity. There is evil in our world because God decreed it, and then created it for His own glory.

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." Revelation 4:11 NASB

All things, including sin, were created by God.

The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. Isaiah 45:7 NASB

The word translated here as: "calamity", is better translated: "evil". Now, when you say that God causes evil, most Christians go into paroxysms. Yet, the whole Bible is filled with this idea. Evil is something that most Christians would associate with Satan, not God.

One commentator remarks on the word "evil" in this text by saying, "The Hebrew 'ra'' is translated: 'sorrow, wretchedness, adversity, afflictions, calamities,' but is never translated: 'sin.' God created evil only in the sense that he made sorrow, wretchedness and so forth, to be the sure fruits of sin."

How could he have made such a statement? He must have examined every instance of "ra" in the Hebrew text and have determined that in no case is it translated sin. If he, in fact, did study ever use of "ra'" in the Hebrew text, he would have had to have noticed that "ra'" in Genesis 6:5 and in a number of other places is translated: "wickedness." In fact, "ra'" is translated: "wickedness" some 50 times in the First Testament. Let's look at several places in Scripture where "ra'" is translated as: "evil".

Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9 NASB

The word "evil" in this verse is "ra". Is this a knowledge of sorrow and calamity? No, it is primarily a knowledge of disobedience in sin.

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 NASB

God didn't see adversity or calamity in their hearts, he saw sinful thoughts. "Ra'" as used here clearly means: "sin". The same is true of:

The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. Genesis 8:21 NASB

Toward the end of Genesis "ra'" refers to an alleged thief, many sins from which the angel had redeemed Jacob, and three times the brothers sin against Joseph. You can study the whole First Testament for yourself, and you will see that "ra'" often means: "sin as distinct from its punishment".

If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it? Amos 3:6 NASB

God is in absolute control of everything that happens, both good and evil. God is sovereign. Nothing happens outside God's will.

also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, Ephesians 1:11 NASB

God works all things, not some things, after the counsel of His will. Now I know that people don't like it when you say that God decreed sin, and I hesitate to say it, but it is clearly what the Bible teaches. Is murder a sin? Was crucifying Jesus Christ a sin?

Yes, it was. Was Jesus' murder decreed by God? Yes!

"For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!" Luke 22:22 NASB

Who determined it? God, of course. Just in case you question that, I can prove it, look at:

this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. Acts 2:23 NASB
"For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. Acts 4:27-28 NASB

People have a problem when you say that it was God's will for someone to be murdered. But what was the worst crime of murder ever committed? Who was the only innocent person ever murdered? Jesus Christ! You might say, "Well that's a special case that had to do with our redemption." Really? Well, what will you do with the case of Absalom? Absalom polluted his father's bed by an incestuous union, committing a detestable crime.

So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel. 2 Samuel 16:22 NASB

God declares this to be caused by Him. Look at what God said to David:

"Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.'Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.'" 2 Samuel 12:11-12 NASB

When men sin, God had decreed that they should perform the acts they did, but in the carrying out of these deeds, they were guilty because their own purposes in the doing of them was evil only. Men are responsible for their sins.

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 50:20 NASB

The jealous brothers had considered murdering Joseph, but they changed their minds and sold him into slavery. Their intentions were evil, but God had controlled their wills. They could not have killed Joseph, because God had decreed to send Joseph to Egypt for the purpose of later saving that family from starvation. The brothers decided to sell Joseph, God controlled their decision. They were not free to will his death, nor to let him go either.

Augustine said, "That men sin proceeds from themselves; that in sinning they perform this or that action, is from the power of God."

The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:1 NASB
The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 NASB

God is holy and sin is contrary to His holy nature, yet the existence and operations of it are according to His will. His eternal counsels determine sin's course. It's really clear that this is what the Bible teaches, but I'm not real comfortable with it in my humanness.

Why did God decree sin?

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? Romans 9:22 NASB

He focuses on the great patience of God, who keeps back his wrath from those who deserve judgment. Paul's argument emphasizes that the only thing that is not fair or just is that God has acted in mercy.

To demonstrate his wrath and; "Make his power known." How does God make His power known? By the judgment of sin. Sin provides a means for God to be glorified. "Vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" - the verb translated "prepared" in this verse is probably a passive rather than a middle, though the form of the passive and middle tenses is identical in Greek. The passive is much more common in the New Testament. Paul probably meant that God prepares some people for destruction.

Reprobation includes two acts. 1. Passing by those who are not elected, leaving them in their natural state of alienation from God. 2. The act of condemning, on account of their sin, those who have been passed by.

And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, Romans 9:23 NASB

"How are people prepared for glory?" Earlier, Paul discussed the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:21ff.) and his role in undoing the work of Adam (Rom 5:12ff.). The mercy that was extended to Israel has now been extended to nations that she considered to be "vessels of destruction." It is believing people from these Gentile people groups who, along with believing Jews, have been rescued from exile and brought into the kingdom of God (Col 1:13-14).

Why did God save you? God saved you to display his mercy and grace. God prepared beforehand our glory.

even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. Romans 9:24 NASB

The "vessels of mercy" are "us" Paul and the first century believers. It is the "us" whom He also called. The word "called" takes us back to 8:30. Believers are the called of all nations. God's covenant promise finds its fulfillment not in Abraham's physical seed but in the called, the elect of all nations.

God extended his mercy in order to bring about a single covenant community made up of believing Jews and believing Gentiles.

Had sin never entered the world, how could the justice of God be displayed in punishing it? How could the wisdom of God have been manifested in so wondrously over-ruling it? How could the grace of God have been exhibited in pardoning it? How could the power of God have been exercised in subduing it?

You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" Romans 9:19 NASB

How can we be responsible for sin when we can't resist God's will? Man is responsible because God calls him to account; man is responsible because God can punish him for his disobedience. God, on the contrary, cannot be responsible for the simple reason that there is no power superior to Him, no greater being can hold Him accountable, and no one can punish him. There is no one to whom God is responsible; there are no laws which he could disobey.

The sinner is responsible for his own sin and he will be held accountable for his sin by the sovereign Creator of the universe. People often think, "If we cannot respond then how are we responsible?" Well, our inability to respond is something we have acquired by virtue of our sin and, therefore, we are responsible.

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