So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
Calvinists insist that man does not decide whether their eternal destiny will be Heaven or Hell, but that God alone makes that decision, and predetermines their fate for them. However, with that in mind, notice what Paul tells us: These are “excluded from the life of God,” and also note the basis, whether it is in God’s sovereignty, or man’s choice: “excluded because of the hardness of their heart.” Paul believes that their destiny was by their choice, and by the hardness of their heart, rather than by the hardness of God’s heart to unconditionally reprobate them. So that is Calvinism in essence. It is a theology of the hardness of God’s heart to unconditionally destine people for Hell, for His own personal glory, in order to glorify Himself in the demonstration of His various attributes. Notice how Calvinism gets things so far backwards.
John Calvin writes: “First he points out the eternity of election, and then how we should think of it. Christ says that the elect always belonged to God. God therefore distinguishes them from the reprobate, not by faith, nor by any merit, but by pure grace; for while they are far away from him, he regards them in secret as his own.” (John: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.393, emphasis mine)
John Calvin writes: “...God has chosen to salvation those whom He pleased, and has rejected the others, without our knowing why, except that its reason is hidden in His eternal counsel.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.53, emphasis mine)
John Calvin writes: “Those therefore whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children.” (Institutes, Book 3, Chapter 23, Section 1, emphasis mine)
Calvin adds: “If what I teach is true, that those who perish are destined to death by the eternal good pleasure of God though the reason does not appear, then they are not found but made worthy of destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.121, emphasis mine)
The Calvinistic, Westminster Confession of Faith, states: “III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.” Additionally, it states: “VII. The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unreachable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, III. Of God’s Eternal Decree, emphasis mine)
So according to Calvinism, God decrees a non-elect class, and is pleased to exclude them from life. But is that what Paul is telling us?