Predestination – Did God Choose Us or Does He Let Us Choose Him


Predestination has been a hot topic around my office for the last few days.  And frankly, it is a topic that most Christians like to avoid.  However, I believe that it is critical to discuss this topic, because we as Christians must have a foundation on which we stand.

Has God chosen just a select few to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven or do we all have the chance to get there by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior?  I am going to tell you my beliefs on this topic, but I urge you with everything I believe, not to take my word for it, but rather compare what I say to God’s Word and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the Truth about this topic (as you should do with anything said or done by man).

The predestination argument comes from (at least in this case) the wording used in the Bible from Ephesians 1:3-13.  Now some people believe the wording from Paul to be that of Predestination in the context that God has selected just a certain amount of people to be believers or to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  For example, before time began, God chose who would come to the knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ. Therefore, predetermining who would go to Heaven.  Here is the problem I have with that belief.  If that is true, why in the world would God send His One and Only Son to die on the Cross?  That would completely mean that the death of Jesus is in vain.  Why?  If God already knew or predetermined, by choosing just a select few, then He would not need to send His Son to die a brutal death on the Cross.  For if He already had chosen us, there would be no need for the atonement of the blood of Jesus.  There would be no reason for us to be commanded to spread the gospel.  There would be no reason for us to be here at all.

We are on this earth for two reasons, to Glorify God and to spread the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so that ALL may have the chance to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  John 3:16 is one of the most well known verses in all the Bible, but sometimes we read by it so fast, we completely miss the context and what it truly means.  God so love the WORLD, that He gave His One and Only Son (Jesus Christ), that WHO SO EVER believes, shall have eternal life.  Notice that it does not say, God so loved a select few or predetermined amount, that He gave His One and Only Son, that the predetermined amount of Gods choosing shall have eternal life.  Nope, it does not say that at all.

Let me put it like this, God loves each and every one of us.  He created each of us for a specific purpose.  Why in the world would He create something, knowing that He was going to have to send it to hell?  He wouldn’t.  It is Gods desire, that all would come to the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ.  He longs to have a loving relationship with each and everyone of us.  He did however, give us the ability to choose Him through free will.   Since the beginning of time when God created Adam and Eve and they sinned against God by eating from the tree He had forbidden them, man has been born into sin.  Through that sin, we are separated from God.  But even then, God had a plan.  He already knew that Jesus Christ was going to be the atonement for our sins. .

So what is Ephesians 1:3-13 telling us then?  I must tell you that I have prayed about this and asked God to reveal to me His Truth about this topic (as I would encourage you to do too).  So let’s break this down.

Ephesians 1:3-13 NIV

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he[c] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

11In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Verse 4-7:  4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he[c] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. V4) We need to understand what this is saying.  He chose us before the creation of the world means, He knew He was going to create us before time began.  The second part of that is, to be holy and blameless in his sight, meaning He wanted the relationship with His creation through His Son Jesus Christ, just like He had with Adam and Eve V5) In love, He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ. Meaning He knew that we were going to fall into sin, so He already had a plan in place to atone for us, that plan was and is Jesus Christ.  The second part of that, in accordance with his pleasure and will.  This means, that He gets pleasure and His will is fulfilled when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Verse 11-12:  11In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.  This is telling us before time began, God had a plan and a purpose for our lives.  If we choose to accept Christ, then that purpose is revealed so that God would be glorified because we have chosen Him and will no longer be separated from Him because of atonement through Jesus Christ. Also by fulfilling the purpose by which He planned for us before time, we bring Him Glory simply because we are walking in His Will for our lives.

Now, I know that some of you still will not agree with what I have said, and that is fine.  I will just say this, while I don’t believe in predestination,  I do believe that God gives each of us the choice to either choose Him or reject Him.  I believe that we have all been given free will.  It is in this belief that this is truly how we bring Glory to Him.  I believe that we as Christians are called and commanded to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. I believe that God’s desire is that all mankind would come to the knowledge and acceptance of His Son Jesus Christ.  You see, if predestination is true, how than would God truly be glorified by us already haven been chosen?  It is our free will, which He gives us, that brings Him glory.  By choosing Him, through faith after hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ, is when God is glorified.  If we have been chosen, there would be no need for faith and no need for Jesus Christ.  Therefore, making the entire Christian belief false.  It is by faith we are first saved.  It is through God’s Grace that we have the opportunity to accept Christ, and it is by His Mercy, we don’t have to pay the price for our sins.

Challenge:  I urge you to honestly pray for God to reveal His Truth about salvation.  I would also say this, anytime you hear a message or sermon, don’t just take it for face value, compare everything you hear or read to the Word of God through prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the Truth of what God would have you to know.  Being mislead by anyone, whether it is intentional or unintentional, is wrong.  But we have a responsibility of our own.  We must seek God and His Truths, and I promise you He will reveal them to you.

What do you think or believe and why?

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About Brad Clarke

The Christian journey takes us through many different areas in life. I am simply tracking my growth, my failures, and most of all, my faith. My Walk with Jesus, is exactly that, a blog about my walk with the Lord. I pray that it will encourage, inspire, and help any and all that read it.
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21 Responses to Predestination – Did God Choose Us or Does He Let Us Choose Him

  1. James Oberg says:

    Thank you Brad for another well wright en post .

  2. Great post, Brad. I have posted my longer response on your LinkedIn thread. Thanks for sharing these insights with us.

  3. son says:

    When it comes to salvation, many people have heard the term “predestination” used in Christian circles, yet there seems to be a lot of confusion as to what the term means. Defining predestination is much easier said than done, since there are so many different views in regards to it. Here, however, in the context of salvation, we will define predestination as the doctrine that God has chosen, before the foundation of the world, who will go to heaven and who will go to hell.
    There are four views on predestination, two of which are only popular ideas held by those who have little to no Biblical knowledge on the subject, and two of which are held by serious Biblical scholars. In order to deal with the serious views on predestination, let us first discuss and dismantle the two former views:

    1. No Predestination

    Although Scripture clearly teaches that people are predestined, there are those in Christian circles who say that there is no predestination whatsoever. Because Scripture is so clear on the issue, though, these people are very rare and tend to be Biblically illiterate.
    There is no question that predestination is taught in the Bible; both the Old and New Testaments are very clear that some people are predestined. In Psalm 89:3 God says, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant,” and Psalm 105:6 says “O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!” In Isaiah 41:8, speaking to His chosen people God says: “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend.” When one continues to read the Old Testament it is clear that God has predestined a certain chosen people.
    The New Testament is even more clear on this matter: in Ephesians 1:4-5, Paul says, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” and in Romans 8:30 that that“those he [God] predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” And just as with the Old Testament, except even more so, when one continues to read the New Testament, they see very clearly that God has predestined a certain chosen people.
    So the question, then, isn’t whether or not the Bible teaches predestination, but to what extent it teaches it and what it teaches about it: what does it mean to be predestined? Who is predestined? As R.C. Sproul says, “If we are to be Biblical, then, the issue is not whether we should have a doctrine of predestination or not, but what kind we should embrace.” (Sproul, Chosen by God, p. 11)
    Now that we recognize this is the real question, there are three main views. As said before, the first of these is not a view held be scholars, but a view held by some in Christian circles who are somewhat Biblically illiterate.

    2. Universal Predestination

    Universal predestination says that God has predestined all people to be saved. So the adherent of Universal Predestination would say “yes, the Bible does teach that God has predestined some people; however, it’s not that He has only predestined some people. God loves all people the same, so He predestines everyone to be saved. Then it’s up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to take advantage of that predestination and follow Jesus.”
    There is a reason, however, that no serious theologian holds to Universal Predestination. As Matt Chandler says, “the problem with that is, the Bible.” When trying to figure out whether or not something is Biblical, there are two main questions theologians ask:

    What texts are in favor of this teaching?
    What texts are in opposition to this teaching?
    In answer to the first question, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that supports Universal Predestination. Adherents of this view can site verses that talk about God’s universal love for mankind, but they will never be able to provide Scripture that speaks directly about God’s predestination in a universal sense. There is simply no verse in the entire Bible which can even debatably teach that God predestines everyone to be saved.
    In answer to the second question, Scripture clearly teaches directly against Universal Predestination. Romans 8:30 says “those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
    In order to understand how this verse teaches against Universal Predestination, we must first define two theological terms: justification and glorification. In perhaps the most widely used and respected modern systematic theology textbook, renowned theologian Wayne Grudem defines justification as “An instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 1246) and glorification as “The final step in the application of redemption. It will happen when Christ returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died, and reunites them with their souls, and changes the bodies of all believers who remain alive, thereby giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like his own.” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 1243)
    So in order for someone to experience justification and glorification, they must be a saved person, since justification refers to the legal declaration of one to be righteous in the sight of God and glorification refers to the final step in the application of redemption to believers.
    Having this fact and these definitions in mind, let us return to Romans 8:30. Since this text teaches that all those who are predestined will be called, justified, and glorified, how can all be predestined? According to this passage, those who are predestined are also justified and glorified, and yet we know from the rest of Scripture (Revelation 21 and Matthew 25, for example) that not all will experience justification and glorification. If it is true that not all are justified and glorified, and that all who are predestined are justified and glorified, then surely not all can be predestined.
    In addition to this very clear verse that disproves Universal Predestination, one can continue to study other verses that speak of predestination, and will find that Scripture is always referring to a particular group of people, especially in Romans 9, when God is said to have chosen Jacob over Esau.
    Now that we have tackled these first two views of predestination, we’re left with the two views that actual Bible scholars are divided over and that are discussed in serious Biblical scholarship: Arminianism and Calvinism.

    3. Arminianism

    Arminianism affirms that God does predestine people to be saved, and that there is only a certain particular group that He has predestined. He does not predestine all people to be saved, but only some people. However, the Arminian would say that the reason God predestines those whom He predestines is because He foresees that they will choose Him. God “looks through the corridors of time” to see who will choose to follow Him, and predestines that person. So in Arminianism God’s predestination is conditional in that one must choose God in order for God to choose him or her. God’s predestination is based on His foreknowledge of who will exercise their free-will choice to follow Him.
    Although Arminianism is certainly more scholarly than Universal Predestination or the view that God doesn’t predestine anyone at all, there are serious Biblical problems with it. However, rather, than discuss those problems here, let us first discuss the other scholarly and serious view of predestination, Calvinism, and then compare and contrast the two views.

    4. Calvinism

    While Arminianism says that God’s predestination of individuals is conditional and based on His foreknowledge of who will choose Him, its opposing view, Calvinism, says that God’s predestination is unconditional in that God chooses whom He chooses not based on anything they do, but based on His will and what pleases Him. He does not look into the future to see who will accept Him and predestine people based on that foreknowledge of what will happen; on the contrary, His predestination has nothing to do with anything done by those He predestines. He chooses those whom He chooses not because they are good, but because He is good. He has chosen from eternity past whom He will save, and nothing can thwart that choice and plan of God. So while Arminianism says that God chose us because we chose Him, Calvinism says that we chose Him because He first chose us.
    Which view is supported by Scripture? The Calvinistic position by far has more Biblical support than the Arminian position does. Although we cannot discuss every piece of Biblical evidence here, we will go through two passages that support the Calvinist view of predestination in opposition to the Arminian view. The first of these passages is Acts 13:48, which reads, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” Notice that the number of those who believed is contingent upon the number of those who were appointed to believe. This verse is completely incompatible with Arminianism then, since Arminian theology says that the number of those appointed to believe (predestined) is based on the number of those who believe. However, this verse clearly says quite the opposite: while Arminianism teaches that people are predestined or appointed to believe on the basis of their faith, Acts 13:48 says that people have faith because they are predestined or appointed to believe.
    The next passage we will look at is in a sense the “big guns” of the defenders of Calvinist theology: Romans 9. Starting at verse 8, the text reads, “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: ‘About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.’ And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’” (Rom. 9:8-13)
    Notice that when Paul talks about when God chose Jacob over Esau, he speaks of Him choosing him before either Jacob or Esau were born or had done anything good or bad. Was God’s predestination of Jacob based on His foreknowledge of Jacob’s obedience and faith? No! Absolutely not! The Scripture clearly teaches that before either of the twins were born or had done anything good or bad, God chose Jacob over Esau. God does not choose whom He chooses because they choose Him; on the contrary, they choose Him because He first chose them. As Paul beautifully says later in verse 16, “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”

    • Brad Clarke says:

      Very in depth, insightful comment. Thank you for you comment. I will say this, while you make the best argument I have heard on this subject, I still believe that it is a matter of conviction. And I am still not convicted that predestination is meant the way some would preach it. I believe in free will. I believe that above all else, God wants to be glorified. And while I am not closed minded to the idea of predestination, I do believe that there is no better way for God to get glory, then for His creation to choose Him. As a Christian, the core fundamental value that we must all embrace, regardless of the predestination argument, is that we must share with all the hope we have in Jesus Christ. While some will argue predestination, I believe God wants nothing less than to have a relationship with all He has created. John 3:16 states that “God so loved the ‘World’ that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, that ‘Who so ever‘ believes, shall have eternal life. That to me, states that God loves ALL of His creation, and it also says to me that we have the free will to choose to believe or not to believe. I will say this again, that God wants nothing more than to be Glorified, and what better way for Him to be glorified than His creation choosing Him? For if we are truly predestined, how would that Glorify our Father? There, to me, would be no reason for us to be here any longer. There would be not reason to share the gospel to the ends of the earth. There would be no reason to have to believe or not to believe. Therefore, wiping out the main verse we use when witnessing to non-believers. So while you argument is great, I still believe what I believe until I am convict other wise by the Holy Spirit. This is a great debate among Christians and one that will continue on. But here is the last thing I would like to share, while there many biblical scholars, I believe the only true way to understand and convey what the Bible is truly teaching us, is by guidance through the Holy Spirit. Since the Word of God is His, how are we to determine what is actually there to be taught without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We as humans, can read the Bible and study it all we want, but without the Holy Spirits guidance, we are doing nothing more than a study of a good book. Our calling is much higher than that. Just as we rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our day to day walks, we must do the same each and every time we read the Word of God. So while I have nothing against scholars of the Bible, I must go with what the Holy Spirit is convicting me to believe is truth. It might not be popular and it might not be what many would say is right, but I will hold fast to my beliefs of God and the Holy Spirit is telling me is truth.

  4. John Mark says:

    Well Brad, I respect you because you are following your convictions. I feel that is very important. God does not want us to act against our own conscience. Although, I do believe that God chooses us for salvation. I came to this through much prayer and study. I too was oppose to the very idea that God would not allow us to simply make a choice. That seems by our logic to be the most fair way to have done it. Although, now i understand that if he would have simply left salvation in our hands then no one would be saved at all. I would like to comment concerning your last post. It seems that you are concerned that God would not get glory or maybe the full amount of glory if we do not freely choose him. I would like to quickly share with you on this. You see God actually gets more glory in the act of salvation because of election that he would with free will. The reason is with the understanding that we can come to God on our own initative, this makes us co partners with God in our salvation. It goes like this, God sent his son, made it possible for salvation of everyone, and then we accept his son on our own. So God saves us but we also save ourselves in a way. Not sure how the percents would go but lets say God gets 99% of the credit and man gets 1%. This understanding gives man way too much credit for salvation… In election God saves us all the way 100%. God gets glory for his mercy on us. But he also gets glory for his justice on everyone else. Good luck on your studying and prayer. I wish you the best. Grace to you.

  5. Steve says:

    Brad, I see that you have a passion for Christ and His Word and though I think you are wrong on this topic, I do appreciate the fact that you are a Berean who is diligently searching the scriptures. I was under Arminian Theology for 20 years and simply denied Calvinism because it was evil. Or at least that is what I was told. So I never really took the time to study it, only to get ammunition to refute it. Once I really began to search the scriptures and had a desire to know the truth about this topic I came to the conclusion that the Calvinistic/Reformed side was a more biblical approach to this topic. I found that in Scripture and Church History. The consistent and dominant position of the Church has always been that God is the one who chooses.

    Some throw out these scriptures to try to refute it. But they usually do so out of context.

    2 Peter 3:9 –  “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

    The below video shows that this verse does not say that God desires everyone in the world to come to repentance but only the Elect.

    Also I would encourage you to listen to the below sermon. Chosen by God. If you don’t want to listen to the whole sermon at least listen at minute 16:00 where he speaks about the “foreknowledge of God”. What does it mean? Does it mean that God looked ahead to see who would choose and based on his foreknowledge he chose?

    http://www.covenantpalmbay.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=1000034625

    You also mentioned that you believe in Free Will? But what is Free Will? You don’t believe that it is the ability for man to choose doing anything that is pleasing to God do you? Calvinists also believe in Free Will. But our will is only free in the context of our sinful nature. Our nature will only choose that which it desires and the bible is clear that the sinful nature hates God. There is none who seek God NO NOT ONE. I am sure you being a bible student know all the verses that tell us that sinful man is at enmity with God, cannot submit to God, hates God, unable to understand, unwilling to come etc… Why is that? If man has free will can’t he just say no to his sinful nature and say yes to God? Or does it take a supernatural work of God to convert the sinner and make him willing to come?

    What is Free Will?

    Let me know what your thoughts are on the videos. I would love to hear them.

    God bless

    Steve

  6. Ben says:

    God choose us and we do not choose God. We can not come to God or believe in God unless he draws us to himself. Believe means absolutely assurance of what we can not see or understand. That is very hard for people to accept if God does not draw them to himself. God knows everything. He knew us before the universe was made. We still have to spread the gospel to the world because we do not know who are the elect. God said whoever believes will be saved. God knows who are the whoever and we do not. God say that to us because we do not know who the elect are. God knows everything. I mean everything. Think about this. He knows how many hair you have in your head right now. Do you know that? I hope you understand what I just said. This truly comes from my heart and the holy spirit. This is very hard to understand or accept. Predestination is what it is and it means what it means. I say again he knows EVERYTHING in detail and even the things that are NOT. God even knows the ETERNITY thats not here yet and going to last forever. It all comes down to that we are the one that do NOT KNOW.

  7. Trevor says:

    Seeing both sides of the argument… Just asking someone who is more knowlegeable of the Scriptures…if we are already chosen by God to be his, what was the purpose of Christ coming to this earth to die for our sins? He clearly came to this earth to “show” God’s love for us, but if some are already choosen by God to be saved, before even Christ came to this earth, again what purpose was there for Christ to come to this earth and die?

    • successbmine says:

      I believe this is merely the foreknowledge of God. He knew us before we were conceived and knew that we would accept Jesus as our Savior and when that would happen. The “predestination” is what is in store for anyone who accepts Him because it is what the Father has determined from before the world was created for His children to have a part in. I don’t believe God is ‘selective’ in choosing only certain people and leaving others out of the equation. He wouldn’t be the loving Father He is if that were the case. He loves everyone and wants us all to be saved but also knows that all will not be saved. The latter are “predestined” to an eternity apart from God because they have chosen not to accept Jesus. We, on the other hand, are “predestined” to go to heaven and have a part in everything God has prepared for us here on earth because we met His criteria. I’m not sure if my explanation is really clear to you but I hope it is.

    • Ben says:

      Jesus came to earth to save the elect. This is part of his plan. Remember nobody can come to God unless god draws that person to himself so that person can truly believe in his heart. God knows everything and we do not. However, the truly elect do know they have been selected. There is alot more to this that most people can not understand.

    • Ben says:

      Jesus came to earth because it is still the plan and format. The outcome of predetermination still will play out as plan.

  8. successbmine says:

    Of course nobody can come to God unless He draws them. And without the Holy Spirit we cannot even live a Christian life. But I believe He gives everyone the opportunity to come to Him. I cannot believe a loving God would put anyone on this earth with the plan that that person would not be selected to go to heaven but instead was created specifically to go to hell. That would make God cruel beyond thinking. We are all given a choice – everyone, not just some. If we choose Jesus, then we become part of God’s family and have an inheritance in Him. If we refuse His efforts to draw us, we will remain outside of His family and, unless we come to Him before we die, we will go to hell. Once a person comes to Jesus, they are “predestined to adoption as children” and “predestined to receive an inheritance in Christ” (Ephesians 1:5, 11). We are not pre-selected to be saved, predestined for salvation, but God has chosen to prepare certain things for those who are saved. Yes, He knows ahead of time, from the foundation of the world, who will come to Him when the Holy Spirit draws them, and He knows who will refuse His proffered gift of life. John 3:15, 16 does not say “whosoever God has predetermined to be saved will be saved.” It says “whosoever believeth”. When the Greek word for “predestined” is used, “the question is not ‘who’ are its objects, but ‘what’ they are predestined to. Predestination precedes history, and those who, in history, God “foreknows” are the subjects of what He has before all history prepared and counselled for them.” This is from “A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament”, not my own opinions. You need to understand the original language usage.

    • Ben says:

      The opportuniry has already been played out. You can NOT compare your understanding or reason with God. You still need to pursue, belief, and obey God.

      • successbmine says:

        I’m sorry, Ben, but I don’t see where I am comparing my understanding with God. That would be impossible as my understanding is miniscule in comparison. But the Holy Spirit does speak to us and unveil Biblical truths to us as we wait on God and study His word. It’s all about relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to live in us and have His way in our lives. My Bible tells me that “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 All means all-inclusive. If He had meant some, He would have said so. But if God does not want anyone to perish, He would not allow some people to be born for the purpose of making them perish. That would contradict His nature because He cannot lie and He is also a just God so would not do anything that was unjust. And I am quite aware that we still have to seek God for the rest of our lives. I don’t believe I have indicated anything to the contrary. We have to do what He tells us. And without faith it is impossible to please God. “…but to you, God’s kindness, IF you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.” Romans 11:22 If, after we are saved, we turn away from the Lord and what He has called us to, we risk losing our salvation. So where is the use of a predestination that excludes certain people if those predestined ones can lose their salvation? As I pointed out above, predestination is not about “who”, but “what” we are predestined to.

      • Ben says:

        I agree with everything you are saying. All I am saying is that God already knows everything and we do not. That is not hard to understand. Its call predestination

  9. PenguinTodd says:

    In my study of scripture I believe that we have fallen for an error of understanding God’s word. We have been lead to believe a distortion of understanding predestination.

    The trick is to view the text of predestination in light of “personal salvation,” which leads us to choose between Arminianism (based on God seeing our faith) and Calvinism (God choosing us arbitrarily) least we accept Universalism. This is what is known as a “Hobson choice.” That is, that if you refute Calvinism then you must accept Arminianism as the answer which can be shown to have flaws; therefore, Calvinism must be the correct understanding.

    The problem is what if neither is sufficiently correct? In that case then, you’ve been asked to choose between two flawed options (Hobson choice); thus you are directed away from the truth.

    We have to understand Calvin’s entire objective first. He had one fundamental question: Why do some people believe and why do some people not believe? He found his answer via certain passages of scripture that it must rest entirely on God’s will, on His sovereignty. Notice here that all other aspects of God as revealed in the scripture are squashed. In Calvinism, God has only one attribute: sovereignty.

    Thus, God chose some for salvation and some for damnation. The logic goes that we all had fallen via sin, in sin we are all incapacitated, now we must rely on God to pluck us into salvation, and so it is God who does the saving and not us. Consequently, some are saved and some are not. Finally, he concludes that Jesus was sacrificed just for God’s elect (chosen ones) and because God is doing the saving there can be no question about the fulfillment of your salvation. As for others he simply dismisses them with the reference of who are you to question God, for rightfully He doesn’t have to save any because we have all sinned. He only saves some for His good pleasure.

    Notice here that the questioning of this theological understanding is diverted to being a questioning of God and not Calvin or his theology. Sure it is correct that we are not to question God or his judgment. But, it is also true that we should question and test MAN’S professed understanding of God. But, here Calvin uses God’s word to prevent you from questioning Calvinism. Understand that my objection does not rise such to refute that God has the sovereignty to decide but rather the objection arises to the discourse of is the God of Calvinism the biblical God? To that objection we are commanded to question and test.

    Notice too that the Calvinism response is that God does this choosing of some and not others strictly for His good pleasure. Well, if it is for His good pleasure and He is doing the choosing then why not save all? For it is written (biblical) that His will is that NONE shall perish, that ALL should be saved (1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9). Which of course we run into the Calvin trick which the response is, well all isn’t all here just all within the group of those he chooses. So, it is about the “none that He choose” and not the “none of all, all.” Further, God has too wills: a will of His “desire” and a will of what He actually makes happen or decides.

    So, there in that explanation of God’s will you have the Calvin God: A God in the world we see via “action” who is opposed to the God’s stated will found in the bible. (I’ll let that sink in a bit for some to understand.)

    In the beginning of my post here I said we are deceived and that the deception was in understanding predestination as given to us as a statement about “personal salvation.” The reason for this is because that was Calvin’s objective: Personal Salvation. Thus, Calvin concluded that he was saved because God willed him saved, predestined him for salvation. Salvation discussion is done, he [Calvin] is saved and now no one can question it or him! Oh, how humbling.

    But, the scripture does not state “your name” in the predestination discourse. Rather it talks about an “us” in Christ. So it isn’t about God seeing YOU specifically per Calvinism or YOU specifically as in YOUR faith per Arminianism. Paul was talking about being believers and about coming to Christ.

    Is it a discourse that God set before us as a promise that Bob is saved and Mary is to be lost? Or, to say I foreknew Mary’s faith so she is saved but Bob has none so he is damned? I say NO to it being about personal salvation! God forbid!

    Understand that what God has established here is BEFORE Mary and Bob existed before either of them sinned or confessed a belief or a disavowing of God. Rather it is God proclaiming at the foundation, here is what I set before MAN AND ALL OF CREATION: MY PLAN, AND THAT IT SHALL BE FOR MY “PEOPLE” AND THEY SHALL BE SAVED/DELIVERED.

    What I am getting at is this, God established for us at the beginning that there is a TYPE OF “people” that He will chose for salvation and HE [God] will deliver those people in/through His plan which is establish to be Christ, the anointed one.

    What or who is God’s type of people? Well, we find it in one word: Repent! I’ll let you go through scripture as to all the references related to repenting and it’s meaning, and others related to a contrite heart, etc… Here is one: Isaiah 66:2.

    Calvin is right in that God does the choosing and the saving particularly unto our sanctification (image of Christ). Further, He has said whom He will choose (type of people). But, Calvin is wrong about predestination being a promise of a personal salvation. Rather it is a promise or COVENANT to a type of people or persons and not to the respect of that individual person per Calvinism, see Romans 2:11 and there are others.

    Arminianism is right that we have a choice because God has said so, see Deuteronomy 30 (verse 19 specifically). God has established before us His plan for salvation and He draws us to His truth so that none are without excuse, see Romans 1 (verse 20 specifically). And, yes unless God does this none can be saved because unless God reveals the light, that is His truth, we would never discover it or pursue it by our own initiative because we love our sin.

    But, you can’t say that the word of God and the Gospel is insufficient for us to hear and believe in the worth of; for to say that would be to make sin a victor over God, His truth, and His word.

    So, why are some saved while others are not? The answer is that we are unwilling to believe in what has be been clearly revealed to us as truth, a greater truth than the lies we serve, see John 5: 36-40. Unwilling not incapacitated.

    God’s words are not idle chatter!

    He calls us (all, not just predestined ones) to repent of our ways and clearly scripture suggests that we should listen and it is implicit that we can. But, we refuse. Calvinism makes it a failure of God to not love enough because we are left in a state unable to hear Him or see His truth. That sin annihilated God’s truth as being perceptive to us. Arminianism puts it all on us as if God isn’t for us and has abandoned us.

    The truth is God has done what He promised to do, all He asks of us is to believe that He has. But alas this is too much for many. Now that is truly something about which to be mournful!

    Blessings, PenguinTodd.

  10. Vik says:

    This is a great post. This has been my conviction for a long time now, but you put this belief out on the table, and I appreciate it. I personally think that the whole idea of determined salvation just comes from the wording of those verses that talk about predestination. We are so used to thinking in categories and pieces (Greek way) that we very often miss the whole meaning (Hebrew way). Too often the Bible is studied as pieces of information that we must put together to figure out the whole truth. I believe the Bible tells us the whole truth and we should work out the details.

    • Ben says:

      There is only ONE Truth. God clearly states that you are choosen before the world was created period. You can NOT Add or take away from that statement.

  11. Ben says:

    Let me compare this with our physical death. You have no idea the time and day you are going to die BUT God knows. Heeven knows how you will die. Bingo. Thats why he is God snd we are Not. Do Not lean unto your understand but lean on. His;understanding.

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