Weighing the Word: Romans 9:17 and Hardening
Lloyd-Jones says of God’s hardening sinners: “There is nothing, I imagine, in the whole range of the scriptural teaching which causes such offence to the natural man and to many uninstructed Christians...”
God is infinitely committed to sovereign election as one means of the display of His glory. He is equally committed to sovereign hardening.
All men are born sinners and stand guilty before God. If God were only “just” we would all be in hell! But God is able to make a way to Himself that does not contradict His justice.
Hardening is an action by God that renders a person insensitive to God and His Word. It is theology, not philosophy, and this is proven by Paul always quoting Scripture (OT) to prove the point.
Pharaoh is the proof of God’s hardening work and Paul brings him into his discussion in order to argue from the greater to the lesser.
God does not say to Pharaoh, “For this purpose I created you...” but “For this purpose I raised you up,” that is, installed you in the office of Pharaoh.
This was God’s action (hardening), prophesied in advance to Pharaoh, yet in total agreement with Pharaoh’s own choice. God pro-actively hardened Pharaoh in order to display His Name and His glory. He did this in a manner which removes all guilt from God and maintains all responsibility for Pharaoh. God cannot be tempted nor does He tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13).
The right question to ask in response to this is not, “Am I hardened?” but, “How can I be saved?”
[Edit: 12/5 Added link to audio version of sermon and link to series explanation. Thanks to Running Well (Darrin Brooker) for the suggestion to link to audio. Audio version should be available some time today or tomorrow. I will fix link to go directly to that sermon then. I finally beat the amazing Dorin!]
[Edit: 12/6 Link to audio version of sermon updated.]