30 May, 2019

Romans 11:32—“… that he might have mercy upon all”

For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. (Rom. 11:32)

This text has sometimes been appealed to as saying that God is merciful to all men, including the reprobate.


John Calvin (1509-1564)


[Source: Calvin’s Calvinism (RFPA, 2009), p. 78]

The next Scripture which he tacks on to his argument is that of Paul, who declares (he says) that God “included all under sin, that He might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32). As if Paul in this passage were disputing about the number of them! Whereas he is abstractedly lauding the grace of God toward all of us who attain unto salvation. Most certainly nothing was less in the mind of the apostle than an extension of the mercy of God to all men. His sole object was to prostrate all glorying of the flesh, that we may clearly understand that no man will ever be saved but he whom God saved by grace alone.


[Institutes, 3.24.16]

For if they should tenaciously insist on the statement that he wills to have mercy on all [cf. Rom. 11:32], I give by way of exception what is written elsewhere: “Our God is in heaven, where he does whatever he pleases” [Ps. 115:3]. So, then, this word is to be explained as to agree with the other: “I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will pity those whom I pity” [Ex. 33:19]. He who chooses those upon whom he is bound to show mercy does not bestow it upon all. But since it clearly appears that he is there concerned with classes of men, not men as individuals, away with further discussion!



More to come! (DV)

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