Regarding Romans 9:14-16
"We must understand, in light of the prevailing attitude of the world around us, that God's mercy, if it is to be mercy at all, must be free. Literally the text speaks of 'mercying' and 'compassioning,' again verbs of action that find their subject in God and their object in those chosen by His decision. It does not say, 'I will have mercy on those who fulfill the conditions I have laid down as the prerequisite of my plan of salvation.' Both the 'source' of compassion and mercy and the individual application find their ultimate ground only in the free choice of God, not of man."
-James R. White, The Potter's Freedom p210