Is God Unjust?

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 9:14-18

What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! (v. 14)

I have never ridden a tandem bike, but it looks like fun-two people going in the same direction. This requires a cooperation of wills.

As Paul continues his struggle about Jews not accepting Jesus as the Messiah, he wonders if God is at fault, perhaps hardening their hearts against Jesus. He consults a surprising Old Testament story-that of Pharaoh’s oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, probably because it’s the clearest story in the Bible about the hardening of hearts.

Paul knows his Bible. There is an interesting and significant detail in the story of the ten plagues in Exodus 7-11. Seven times the text reads that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and seven times it reads that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. There was a cooperation of wills. God does not willy-nilly harden hearts; rather, he hardens those that have hardened themselves against him.

This is what Paul sees in his fellow countrymen. On those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah, God bestows mercy; for those who refuse the claims of the gospel, he confirms them in their hardness of heart. God is not unjust; in fact, his overwhelming desire is to show mercy and compassion (v. 15). He wants you to respond in faith.


God, you are just in all your ways, and all you do is righteous. This I believe. Amen.