I’ve seen people try to explain away Romans 9, by claiming it was about Israel only, and not individual believers. I don’t agree with them. I’ve seen them try to wriggle out of several other passages in the Bible that to me look like rock solid support for God’s sovereign election. I would be curious though how they get around Acts 9. Let’s take a look at Acts 9.
Acts 9:1-22 NASB “Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, (2) and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (3) As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; (4) and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (5) And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, (6) but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” (7) The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. (8) Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. (9) And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. (10) Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” (11) And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, (12) and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” (13) But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; (14) and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” (15) But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; (16) for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (17) So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (18) And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; (19) and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, (20) and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” (21) All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” (22) But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”
Now, I think you can see that it is just silly to try to say that Jesus was waiting for Saul to ask Him into his heart. I think it is equally silly to say that Saul wanted to be saved, before the encounter. It also appears obvious that Saul did not have a choice in the situation. We know that he was hunting believers and persecuting the Church. Verse 1 starts out with, “Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,” Safe to say, he wasn’t a nice man. He certainly didn’t like Christians. After his encounter with Jesus we read in verse 15 God has a conversation with Ananias, where He explains that Saul is chosen by God. “But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; (16) for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”” Interesting to see God choose someone who was violently against Him. Then changes his mind and thinking, and turns him into someone usable for His purposes. God used Paul to give us much of the New Testament. So much of our theology is from Paul’s Epistles. So, my freewill friends, how do you explain this one away? I better not hear any of you saying Saul could have refused and God would have just went on to try another man.