The Gospel of Romans 9


As he studied Romans 9, theologian and pastor John Piper “began to see God so majestic and so free and so absolutely sovereign that his analysis merged into worship and the Lord said, in effect, ‘I will not simply be analyzed, I will be adored. I will not simply be pondered, I will be proclaimed. My sovereignty is not simply to be scrutinized, it is to be heralded. It is not grist for the mill of controversy, it is gospel for sinners who know their only hope is the sovereign triumph of God’s grace over their rebellious will.’”*

  • Marvel at God as you read today’s passage.


14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. According to this passage, who receives God’s mercy and compassion?
  2. What place do our efforts or will have in gaining God’s favor? On whom, then does it depend?
  3. What do you learn about the character of God in these verses?
  4. In what way have you ever struggled with the perceived injustice of God? How does his sovereignty steady your soul?

* Piper, John. “The Absolute Sovereignty of God: What is Romans 9 About?” (November 3, 2002), available at


The argument of this passage must be taken in context of the whole of Chapter 9. The perceived injustice of God relates to Paul’s anguish over the Jews rejecting Jesus. Did this mean that God’s word to them—that he was their God and they were his people—had failed? And if God’s word had failed, then were the promises of life and freedom in Christ still true? Can we trust God and his word? Are his promises for us true today? The answer is emphatically yes, says Paul, because they are grounded in God’s sovereign mercy and election. And as Piper concluded, this is the gospel of Romans 9.

  • Fall to your knees in worship at God’s sovereignty, his undeserved mercy, and riches in your life.