What Does the Bible Teach about Free Will and Predestination?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Are those who are saved by God still left with free will?  Are we saved against our will?  Is free will opposed to predestination?  If we are predestined to be saved, how can free will still be relevant or exist?  Since we are free, moral agents, how can we be predestined to be saved by God before the earth even existed?  Can humans reject their call to salvation even if God has predestined them to be saved?

What is Predestination?

For the believer, predestination is such an incredible thing that it is hard to grasp our finite, human minds around.  Predestination and Calvinism seem closely tied to each other.  John Calvin was of the mind that God is sovereign over all that happens.  God predetermines who He will call and brings it to pass since what God wills can not be changed by humans.  The idea is that God, before the earth was created and any humans were ever born, preordained that some would be saved and some would be condemned to an eternal judgment. For those who are “lucky” enough to be called by God, God calls them effectually; that is He completes what He ordained by His sovereign direction of that believers life.  They can not help but be saved since He effects what He wills.  Predestination is a common thread thorough the Old and New Testament.

Scriptures About Predestination

Jeremiah states that God knew us even before we were born in chapter one, verse 4-5: “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Isaiah 43:7 also presents evidence that God knew us before hand and had plans for us, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Job 23:14 declares, “He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store.”

I Corinthians 2:7 says “…we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.”

Paul understood that he was called by God as evidenced in Galatians 1:15, “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased.”

There is no book in the Bible that contains more references of predestination than in the book of Ephesians and no chapter more so than chapter one:

Verses 4-11; “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”

In Ephesians 1:5, where it says, “he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…” the Greek word for adoption to sonship is a legal term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture.

God’s Predestining Your Life

How can freewill fit into the framework of God’s sovereignty and God’s predetermination to save us?  Just look what God planned for you before the earth even existed:

  • God had planned you even before you were born or before you were in our mother‘s womb (Jer. 1:4).
  • He planned things for you in the future before the earth or time existed (I Cor. 2:7).
  • He had made plans for your life to give you His grace before you were born (Gal 1:15).
  • He chose you and called you to redemption to be saved and be made holy (Eph 1:4).
  • He chose you before your birth to bless you and save you through Christ (Eph. 1:3-4).
  • He planned your adoption prior to your birth (Eph. 1:5).
  • And according to His good pleasure, revealed the secrets things of God to you (Eph.1:9).

Predestination vs. Freewill

Predesination

… He knew it, He planned it, He purposed it, He desired it, and He predestined the very thing that you are now reading.

If you have freewill, how can God be sovereign over your life?  If God has planned your salvation and planned to save you, predetermined to call you, and chose you to before earth existed, how can you still have freewill?

I am a father and grandfather.  When my wife and I counseled before marriage, we planned to have children.  We predetermined to have a certain number of children.  We planned before their birth to start college funds.  We planned on living in a small town where we were raised.  We chose before their birth particular toys that our girls and boys would like to play with.  Knowing boys and girls preferences, we knew in advance what they would like to play with.  Knowing this we predetermined to buy toys that girls and boys would want to play with; dolls, tea sets, toy trucks, and so on. Our children had freewill to choose which toys to play with and which to reject playing with.   It was our good pleasure to do this.  We did all of this before they were even conceived.  This was all done well in advance but we knew what they would like for the most part.

Freewill and God’s sovereignty are not opposed to each other but run parallel with one other.  Imagine that you are a slave on a ship.  You are chained to the deck below.   It is determined that you row for the captain of this ship.  You have no choice but to be chained to this ship.  This is like God’s sovereignty.  But even here you have freewill.  You are free to row or not to row.  If you do not row you choose to receive beatings by the quartermaster, but if you row, you choose not to be beaten.  You might even chose to break free of the ship by escaping your chains, but God’s sovereignty is not diminished.

God’s sovereignty does not diminish man’s freewill.  God never twists anyone’s arm into heaven.  God is all knowing of the past, present, and future.  He alone knows what we will do.  One example is that there are said to be over 600 prophecies in the Bible regarding Jesus Christ.  God alone is able to know the future and the means to bring about what He desires to come to pass.  God knew that I would be saved and come to a saving faith in Christ.  The very fact that you are reading this may be an indication that He is or has called you for salvation.  You have freewill to either reject Him or to accept this saving grace. Either way, He knew it, He planned it, He purposed it, He desired it, and He predestined the very thing that you are now reading.  My prayer is that you could come today to the Savior and not reject the free give of His grace that is found only in Jesus Christ.  You are free to choose it or you are free to reject it.  The point is that the will of God will be done either way.

Here are some more articles that explore frequently asked questions with answers straight from the Bible.

What is Speaking in Tongues? Jack Wellman explores this sometime controversial topic and uses the Bible to answer common questions.

Does God Still Work Miracles Today? You will enjoy how this article explores the character of God and how mighty He is as our gracious Heavenly Father.

Do Animals or Pets Go To Heaven? Our pets are beloved to us and many people even consider them to be part of the family. This article explores some questions that you might have about what happens to your pet when they leave this planet.

Sources
The Holy Bible, New International Version
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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{ 224 comments… read them below or add one }

Asong Ngaihte August 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Yes, I do feel that God Pre-determined our lives too. Our lives were all seen and forseen by God, who is omniscient..!

I do understand that God gave us Free will, and also chosen certain people for certain reasons. He gave us the Choice, conscience: That all our lives were of our WILL and not Pre-determined.

On second thought, God being Omniscient, our maker, life/soul giver. Wouldn’t he knows our future, all these choices that were going to make or the choices that were not going to make or that even all these choices or thoughts comming to us.

I understand that he doesn’t interfere with free will. Interfere or not, He is the giver of the definition of OUR FREE WILL, i bet he knows what our Free will would be. Doesn’t that means the choices of our free will is already acknowledge by him or limited by him. Doesn’t that means its Pre-determined?

Reply

Jack Wellman August 15, 2013 at 8:09 am

If I could completely understand how free will works along side God’s predestining or predeterming, then God would not be God. Being a finite human I can never comprehend the infinite God. Thanks for your comment.

Reply

Anne August 18, 2013 at 1:39 am

Jack,

Please forgive, but your pat answer to these questions always disturbs me. How could you understanding something make God, not God? That doesn’t even make good nonsense, and it certainly isn’t scriptural.

Scripture teaches us that some things are hard to be understood, but it doesn’t say impossible. In fact, it says that it is those that are unlearned and unstable who will “wrest,” that is twist and torment over them, to their own destruction. Speaking of Paul’s epistles, Peter writes:

2Pe 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

God being infinite or boundless and you being finite or limited, does not mean you can never comprehend God, it just means you don’t have the same power as God and that you have boundaries that He does not, so please stop using that phrase also. We were given the Word of God that we would be able to understand and be comforted.

Isaiah 40:1, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.” I Thes. 4:18, “Wherefore comfort ye one another with these words.” Please use the Word of God that was given to you, to comfort His children and yourself. You have been given a great opportunity to do just that.

May you be a good steward of the talent you have been given that you may hear the words, well done, my good and faithful servant. May God bless you according to His riches in glory.

Reply

Anne August 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Knowledge of an event does not make one the cause of it. God’s omniscience does not mean he orchestrated every act of sin. It would also be a lot easier to stay away from confusion if we used God’s own language and terms to explain things. The term free will is only used in the bible concerning the extra offerings that people gave over and above what was required. I think that is on purpose. We are free to give God more than what is required but no one is exempt from God’s law nor can be unless God shed His blood to cover their sins. Once it was shed on the cross of Calvary it can’t be taken back or given back. If it covered your sins, they are gone forever, no matter what occurs in this life. if it didn’t cover your sins, there is no more shedding of blood. God is not pleading for you to make a decision. He already won the victory for you and you can not be plucked from His hand. The only choice we are ever given in the bible is to obey or not obey. Blessings in this life for obedience, and consequences in this life for disobedience, but the inheritance is still the same. Going to heaven has never been a command that we could disobey. It has never been issued as an, if this then this, option either. That idea is an invention of wicked man. The elect of God, elect before the foundation of the world, were given an inheritance, which is an eternal home in heaven. No one else was ever given that inheritance, and since God chose His people before the foundation of the world and promised them their inheritance, it can not be taken from them. Not by any creature, by any action, or by one’s own fickle choices. God said he SHALL save His people, not if they will let me or choose me I will save them. It is a done deal, and done by Him alone on the Cross. That is why He gets all the glory and man gets none.

I must go back to God’s knowing something doesn’t mean he caused it. We mortals live in time, so we see things with a beginning and an end. Therefore it makes sense to us that if God created us and our timely world with a start and finish he must have orchestrated every thought and action, event, or happenstance that occurs in our world. Remember with God there is no beginning and no end. Let me give you a picture to visualize this concept. Look at our planet Earth. Men used to think it was flat and had an edge we would fall off of. Now we know it is round. You can circle the earth and never find the beginning or end. It keeps going. God’s view is like that. Just because he can see all the Earth, throughout all time as we know it, doesn’t mean He causes every act that takes place on earth. Our inheritance was reserved for us before we came into existence and is prepared for us in another realm that we can not see now, so I assure you it is not dependent upon the actions or decisions we make here. God bought and paid for His people and they WILL be redeemed at His second coming. God’s promises are to comfort us that this life is not all there is. There is no comfort in thinking I could go to Hell because I don’t make the right decision, nor in a God who can’t save me if I don’t let Him.

Surely we can comprehend that any free will or choice we have can only be in this life and time we live in. God has not given us any option, power, control, or glory in any other realm. That includes Heaven. And praise God for His wisdom to not let our eternal destiny be in our own weak, puny, wicked hands.

He chose us before He created us, before we had done any good or evil, predestinated where we would be after our earthly carnal lives, and purposed the way in which he would save His, (through the blood of His Son,) and it is finished! He is not waiting and watching and pleading for us to do the right thing as some would tell you. Nor did he choose you based on what He knew you would do. If that were so, then his knowledge of our sin would have made him choose none of us. Until Christ’s blood was shed for us He could not look on us for there was nothing good in us. If Christ’s blood covers your sin, you have none to be held accountable for. If Christ’s blood was shed for everyone, there would be no sinners for Hell. Rightly divide the Word because it was given that we could know the truth. Light and Darkness can not exist together.

God is a God of order. If we get the lineup right, and the cause and effect issue right we won’t be stumbling around confused. I pray I have said something that comforts or edifies and does not cause more confusion. To God be all the Glory.

Reply

Benga August 17, 2013 at 8:06 am

anne i think your wrong about God, that’s not what an intelligent Holy loving God would do or would have planned to do. Evidence,just open your tv and turn on cnn or any news in this world, this world is bad and getting worst, if you were a parent in heaven would you plan or send your loved children to this place called earth, a place of sin.? ans. would be no. God didn’t plan sin no He is good. sin is from the devil. God chose us after the devil snatched us from His hands, ( 2 peter 2:5) ancient world means former or old world, we are chosen after the fall of the ancient world, therefore we all humans not including the nephilims, are the chosen ones, not what calvinist thinks of Christians are chosen and unbelievers are the left outs. ty God bless you.

Reply

Anne August 18, 2013 at 12:05 am

Benga,

I am confused as to what you thought I said. I have NEVER said God planned sin. In fact quite the contrary, if you read some of my other posts. When I said it makes sense to us about God orchestrating every event, I was explaining how I thought men could try to use that logic, but I am sorry if I did not make it clear that I do not believe God did that. While I do believe we are free to make choices in this life, like to sin or not to sin, I do not believe anyone gets to choose where they will reside in the next life, any more than you got to choose where and who you would be born to in this life.

The fact is that God chose us before we had done any act, either good or evil. See Romans 8 & 9. His choice was based on His own mercy not anything we did or will do. If God made His choice based on what He knew we would do, then I submit to you, we all would have to be in Hell, because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3.) But also with the idea His choice was based on what He knew we would do, I have to ask, what is it that we can possibly do that is so good that God would want us. And at what point, would we be good enough for God to choose us. We all may do some things that seem good in our eyes, and yet we all still sin. So if God looked into the future and saw something that made Him choose us, please tell me what it is that made us any different from any one else. Again, ALL have sinned and come short, and every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually. (Genesis 6)

Rightly dividing God’s Word is to take the whole of it and be sure that your idea of what something means doesn’t refute any other scripture. They all must harmonize with one another. And they do if deceitful men do not confuse you with false ideas and teachings. The false ideas came in so long ago that many innocent people are simply proclaiming what they have been taught, but there is no scriptural basis or harmony with these ideas. Read all of II Peter 2 and be wary of the evil that is taught.

Men will tell you if you will just believe, you will become God’s child and go to heaven. Yet scripture teaches that even the Devils believe and tremble (James 2.) Men will tell you if you confess or speak with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:9), then you will be saved from hell and live eternally in heaven. Yet because scripture teaches that the demons and unclean spirits confessed Jesus as Lord (Matthew 8, Mark 5, Luke 8,) and that at the final day to many that have called Him Lord and cast out devils in His name, He will say depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you, (Matthew 7,) then we must look at Rom. 10 in a different light. We must rightly divide!

We are also clearly taught that God chose us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1) and I read of a God who has kept me securely in His hands, not one that could let the devil snatch me away from him, (John 10.)

Men will also try to tell you just what makes God intelligent, Holy, and loving, but since God’s thoughts and ways are not man’s thoughts and ways, (Isaiah 55) then I will have to go by God’s Word to determine what He considers truly loving. Jeremiah 31 tells us Jehovah has loved us with an everlasting love and has drawn us to Him with lovingkindness. Isaiah 61 says the Lord loves judgment. Hosea 14 says He will heal their backsliding and love them freely. (This does not say they made a decision to follow God, but that HE healed them and loved them while they were backslidden. You see God will have ALL THE GLORY. Man will not be allowed to glory in making some decision for Christ or having a part in why God chose him.) Zephaniah 3 says God has joy over thee and will rest in His love. I believe when He rested on the 7th day he was resting in His love for us, and certainly when He said “It is finished” at the cross, he rested in His love, because nothing more would ever be able to separate us from God or His love. When He sat down at the right hand of the Father, he rested because the work of our redemption was complete and we would be in Heaven as His bride. Our salvation was dependent upon the finished work of Christ, not on a decision we would make or a prayer we would utter.

In going back to God’s love, look at Matthew 5 and Luke 6. God says to love your enemies for there is no reward in loving those who love you. So if God’s nature is to love those who do not love Him, does it even begin to make sense to say that God chose us because he looked into the future and knew we would love Him one day, and therefore he loved us enough to die for us. God forbid that one would insinuate that he loved us and chose us because of what He knew we would do, when scripture clearly says He loved us first. (I John 4.)

Benga, there is so much more in the scriptures about God’s love, and I feel that I always get very long winded when I begin to write. I despise that Satan and the imaginations of men have caused such views of a weak god that can only save you if you do something correctly, and a god that can’t save you from satan’s hands unless you are strong enough to resist and make a choice to do better. I purposely used little g’s there because I do not believe that weak imagination of man is THE GREAT I AM.

You were right that I as a parent I would find it very difficult to send my son to such a sin cursed world. But God has told us what true love by a parent is. If you love your son you chasten him, you correct him, you train him up in the way he should go, you do not let your soul spare for his crying, because correction shall save his soul from hell and death. If you do not correct your child, then he is a bastard and not a son. Most of this is taught in Proverbs, but it is not what the world teaches about being a loving parent. The world says don’t over-protect him, don’t restrain him, let him make his own choices, that is more loving. Well who are you going to believe, God or the world?

If you believe it is not loving to send your child into this sin-cursed world, then you must believe God is not loving or either you don’t believe He sent His son in the person of Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sins. Then what is your faith and hope based on?

I believe what scripture teaches. God is love. God did send His son to earth to die for the sins of His people and thereby saved them from the judgment of Hell for their sins. The key word is HIS people. Every creature on earth, human or otherwise, is not HIS. All that God created, He looked at and said it was very good. Satan and sin brought in evil that was not good, and Christ has laid no claim, nor can, for that sin. What He did do is cover the sin with His own blood, of those that He loved from before the foundation of the world that had fallen in Adam. In shedding His blood He purchased His flock, called the church of God, (Acts 20.) Men tell you the free gift of salvation has to be accepted in order for the blood Jesus shed to be applied to you. There is no scriptural basis for this line of thinking, none whatsoever. If accepting or making a decision is necessary then please tell me how innocent babies, the mentally retarded, or anyone that has never heard of Jesus Christ can get to heaven? They can’t if that is true. If accepting the gift of salvation, which only comes through Jesus’ blood, is a must for eternal life, then how can any of those that lived and died before Christ had shed His precious blood, live in heaven today? No blood had been shed for them yet, and so you would have to say there was no gift for them to accept. You see, if you try to put that spin on the Word of God, it will not fit every situation, or line up with all the other scriptures, therefore it must be discarded as untruth. I have said it before, but no where in scripture is man told to accept Christ. No where in scripture is man given the chance to choose heaven or hell. No where in scripture did Jesus Christ ever offer himself to man. He offered Himself to God the Father, as a perfect, unblemished, blood sacrifice, the only Lamb that could pay the debt for our sins. God the Father was the only One in the position to accept that offering and He did. I can also assure you that every one Christ died for and paid for will be redeemed when He comes again and not one that He died for will be lost. Since we know that not everyone will be in heaven and that some will be in Hell, then He can’t possibly have died for all of mankind without exception. If He died for you, You absolutely are His, for He said He SHALL save His people from their sins. In order for the scriptures to be in harmony, that has to include the sin of rejection, because He said NOTHING could pluck us from His hands, or separate us from the love of Christ. Praise God!!!

I apologize for the lengthiness of my response, but I seem to be bombarded with the deceit of this world at every turn and once I begin to study the scriptures that I might be able to give a reason for the hope that lies within me, it stirs up my mind as I find more and more to glorify God in. I hope that you too can rejoice in the truth of God’s Word and have peace and comfort all your days. May God richly bless you and yours.

Reply

Jim July 5, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Beautifully written Anne… I once thought I made the choice too like these fellow believers. We have to reconcile scriptures like these below.
Some verses that talk of God’s sovereign choosing
Matthew 22:14, 24:22-31
Mark 13:20-27
Luke 18:7
John 1:12-13, 5:21, 6:37, 6:44, 6:64-66, 13:8, 15:16
Romans 8:28-33
Ephesians 1:5-11, 2:10
Colossians 3:12
Titus 1:1
2nd Timothy 2:10
2nd John 1:1
1st Peter 1:2, 2:9

Some verses that talk of Acts of God’s sovereignty
John 10:14-18, 10:25-30
13:18-19
15:16-20
17:4-26
Acts 1:6-8, 2:39-41, 4:27-30, 13:48-49, 17:26, 18:10, 27:23-26

Some verses that talk of the sinful condition of mankind
Romans 3:4-30, 8:7-8
1 Corinthians 12:3
2nd Corinthians 2:14, 4:4
Colosians 2:13
Ephesians 4:8

Some verses that mention salvation by divine grace alone
Romans 5:8, 5:16, 6:23, 11:6
Acts 8:20
2nd Corinthians 9:15
Hebrews 12:2

Anne July 6, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Thank-you Jim, for your comments and the scripture references. May God richly bless you. Anne

Joshua August 17, 2013 at 9:14 am

Anne,

I’m sorry, but the bible is the word of God. The whole entire thing. It needs to be read litterly within the cultural context and within the laws of literature. You cannot just pick and choose what you want to believe Or not believe.

With that said the bible clearly states that the ONLY way to the Father is through the Son. We may be all covered by Jesus’s blood from here to all eternity but if we don’t choose him, if we don’t in our hearts believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, if you don’t ask for the forgiveness that that brings, there is no salvation for you. You will still have to face punishment for your sins which is eternal death. I don’t know if you guys realize but this earth was perfect, Adam and even were made perfect. We were never ment to die, this world was made to be for us by God who is perfect. But sin entered the world through satan, sin is why there is death, sin is the cause of death.

The bible also says the we are all going to stand before God the judge. Christ if you have accepted him into your heart, will stand with you as your advocate, your defense. God will be reading off all of you sins. ALL of them you have every committed. Christ will continue to say, “my blood covers him, I’ve got those sins on my back father, he is clean.”

If you have not chosen him you are on your own. This is what the bible says. These are his promises.

You see, we try and put God in this box, this worldy box of ours that our finite minds can think of. God is outside this box. And here we are trying to figure out how can God know all things and yet how can I make any choices in life that are my own. If God knows what I’m going to do already then why bother? These are questions with answeres that don’t fit in our box, focus more on what God says. ALL of it, not just the parts I want to read that make me feel good.

Moral of the story, you have to accept Christ into your heart to be saved. No amount of good works, no amount of praising God, nothing but going through the son will save you. We all have been given this gift, free of charge, are you accepting this gift or are you rejecting it.

Reply

Anne August 18, 2013 at 12:52 am

Joshua,

I mean you no harm when I say that it is indeed you that are clearly in a worldly box of your own picking and choosing. I say this with all kindness because I hear you parroting exactly what the world’s followers are teaching. You tell me to look at the entire Bible, yet by your own words, you show that you have not done so.

You say God is going to be reading off all my sins, and that Jesus will stand in the gap for me then? I say according to Psalm 103, all my transgressions have been removed from me as far as the east is from the west. Travel east around the globe and see if you can find where east and west meet. You will always be going east and never shall you go west, and such is the same with the sins that Christ has covered with His precious blood.

I can absolutely assure you that I did not choose for Christ to die for me, (for He died way before I was born,) however, since by dying for me He covered my sins so that they can never be held against me again, what is it that you think could possibly send me to Hell? And if I am wrong and Christ did not die for me, did not Himself, choose to shed His blood for me, then please tell me what I can possibly do now to inherit the kingdom of God?

It is imperative that we rightly divide the word of truth and study to show ourselves approved unto God, (II Tim 2:15) that we might be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. I hope that you are able to read my response to Benga and that it will help you rightly divide more of God’s truth. If I have said anything amiss please forgive me. if I have written any truth, it is only by God’s grace, and give Him all the praise, honor, and glory. May God bless you all the days of your life, and may you respond with joy at the knowledge of His Word.

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Anonymous November 22, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Let me state something simply. @Anne, according to your statements, since we have all been covered with the blood of christ, does that give us the freedom to do whatever we want on this Earth just because we are covered? That can be used as a justification for those who know that they are covered to still just perform unrighteous acts and still remain guilt free. Thus, that would mean that repentance in the name of the Lord is absolutely futile. Look at Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”. Based on that statement alone, you can infer that one has to accept Jesus in his/her own heart and confess him (and believe that God has raised him from the dead) in order to be saved. What is also implied is that, righteous works must be done with faith and faith must be justified by righteous works. Check this biblical evidence from James 2:14-26:

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Now that you have more clarity, I hope that you understand now that just because we were forgiven for our sins, that that does not mean that we should not first accept Christ, have faith and establish works. That doesn’t entail that we should NOT supplement faith with works and works with faith (These are interconnected and coincide with one another). Sure, God can and will save us, and he is not limited by ANYTHING. However, he gives us the free will to be able to take the initiative to embark on his plans, make the righteous decision, repent (in the name of Jesus Christ) when we have sinned/wronged, and ultimately our trip to heaven will be fulfilled. I conclude by saying that all are predestined for God’s glory, but only through Christ can you be saved and “Stablish” your place in Heaven; Furthermore, you are given the free will to decide your path, otherwise there would be no existence of hell and we would all go to Heaven, irrespective of what we do. Some peoples paths are more difficult than others but ultimately, we must all endure challenges with great fortitude. May God bless all of you on this thread, and unscab those in the world that are still in Darkness. Amen.

Arturo February 4, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Annie,
Jesus is God’s grace for all the world. Jesus is the gift from God to all his children. The old testament had the Jewish people under the laws of God as passed down by God’s prophets to them. Jesus came to comply (fulfill) all the laws and allows us to live under the new covenant of forgiveness for all who believe Jesus is the son of God, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God knows that all his children are sinners and if left up to them to live a perfect life according to the law, we could not possibly do it. In comes Jesus to live a perfect life– fully comply with all the laws and die on the cross for all of our sins; past, present and future. With HIS blood on the cross, Jesus gave us God’s forgiveness, salvation, and all we need to do is believe. BUT belief means we must accept Jesus as our savior, and believe that his perfection is our perfection by asking forgiveness in HIS name. “All that you ask in my name shall be given onto you.” The key word is “ask” for forgiveness by agreeing that we are sinners and need God’s forgiveness. It is a gift which is freely given, but you MUST ask for it and ACCEPT it to punch your ticket into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Let me put this gift in simple terms. Back in the 1800s there lived a man by the name of Wilson. Wilson was a outlaw. Once he was robbing a stagecoach with passengers and killed a man. He was caught and sentenced to die by hanging. Believe it or not back in those days a group existed which was anti-capital punishment. This group appealed to President Andrew Jackson to spare Wilson’s life. President Jackson commuted Wilson’s sentence from death to life in prison. BUT Wilson refused the pardon and the case went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that the piece of paper from President Jackson was just that, a piece of paper that had no value unless Wilson accepted it, and since he refused it and wanted to die there was no way to make Wilson live. Wilson was hanged. And so it is the same with God’s Grace, if you don’t close the deal by asking for forgiveness in the name of Jesus and doing so with the full knowledge that you are a sinner and NEED to cover yourself with HIS perfection, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is null and void to you.

The questions that arise are many, but the most asked is “what about the ones who lived before Jesus, what about those who never heard of Jesus?” I believe our GOD is a just God and He has an answer for those who never knew Jesus. But remember we are dealing with salvation at the personal level… ask for yours and leave the legalism to GOD.

Pius Ogola January 9, 2014 at 6:35 am

Joshua, Sin entered the world through satan, true. But have you ever pondered how a perfect being, knowing no sin, as ezekiel describes the King of Tyre, how did such a being sin??? Ezekiel 28:15 says

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”
Mark “till INIQUITY was found in thee,” ever wondered where the iniquity came from?? Remember Paul in Romans 4:15 states clearly that: “Because the law worketh wrath: for where NO LAW IS, THERE IS NO TRANSGRESSION (SIN) “. Why didnt Satan rebel at least immedeatly after being created (we know that because Ezekiel 28:13,14 talks of Satan being in Eden, walking about in the midst of stones of fire), if he was perfect, and as such his heart was inclined towards good, what happened that one day pride/iniquity was found in him??

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Bob August 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm

The ultimate freedom of the will would be to choose the gospel. But in order to choose something you must be about to see that something to choose. Scripture says that the gospel is hidden to them who are perishing. So for the perishing there is no freedom to exercise the will. and concerning the choosing of this wonderful option of the Gospel the Bible says that our wills are not exercise in this act. John 1:13 who were [a]born, not of [b]blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. I guess it is the fallen man or woman who is hung up on that God can’t save them unless they are involved in the process.

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Revelation Knight October 31, 2013 at 6:12 am

It’s the fallen man who doesn’t realize that God commands you to be a part of the process.

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Dan August 21, 2013 at 1:47 am

I personally have trouble believing and am not a Christian yet. From what’s been discussed here, I am currently predestined to not believe. Is that correct?

If I don’t have free will, what have I been contemplating? If God predetermines who He will call, then I have no say or choice. So isn’t it futile for me to dwell on something I have no choice over?

Why did Jesus say; “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. I saw that in the 11th chapter of Matthew and the verse 28. Did Jesus mean that for anyone or was it only for the Jewish people back then? Is sounds like a voluntary request?

Anyhow, I struggle with belief and faith and am curious if its because I don’t have the free-will to choose. Its my understanding now that if your not called by God, you can’t believe in him. Is there something a person needs to do in order to know, or is it predetermined? Why are we here if God has already made up his mind on who gets his salvation and who goes to hell?

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Anne August 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Dan,

The fact that you are searching for these answers is evidence that you are a son of God. Only God’s family can ever seek Him because His Spirit must dwell in you first. You must be born again, that is have spiritual life, before you can know God or seek Him. I have posted several long comments in this discussion, so I won’t try to repeat them. I will give you this scripture quote.

Gal 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
Gal 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Gal 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

I hope this helps you to rightly divide some of the other scriptures. You see we must be known of God or we can’t know Him. He foreknew us, that is, was in an intimate relationship with us before the foundation of the world. That is why He loves us, chose us out of the world, and came to die and redeem us from the sins that would have sentenced us to Hell.

There are others that he did not know in an intimate way and therefore did not die for them, but left them with their own father, the devil. (Read Matthew 13, the parable of the tares and the wheat.) So many people misunderstand God’s foreknowledge, thinking it is the same as His omniscience. Having power over all things and knowing all things, does not mean he predetermined all things. The word from scriptures is predestinated and it only refers to the destination of the individuals it is talking about. In Romans 8, it is very clear that the ones He predestinated are also the same ones He foreknew, and called, and justified. In Ephesians 1 the predestinated are the ones He adopted. You see people seem to get the cart before the horse, but if you think about it, it is the only way it could have worked. God had only one Son. He chose a bride for Him, adopted her into His family and since the bride and groom become one flesh, we are now called the sons of God through the Spirit of Christ that indwells us. Just like the Jewish custom, Christ was espoused to his bride, paid the purchased price to redeem her, went home to prepare a place for her, and has promised that He SHALL return to take her home! Once we were chosen as His bride, and purchased with His own blood, our only final destination had to be with Christ. That is why we can know that Christ did not die for everyone, because if He died for you, you must be with Him for eternity. He shall save His people from their sins,(Matthew 1:21) and He will not lose one (John 10:25-30.)

Why are we here? Because it pleased God to make it so. “Come unto me” is a voluntary request, and it has nothing to do with your home in heaven, and everything to do with your life on earth. It was not a request to everyone, because remember, John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Think this through. God is clear that you can’t come to Him unless He draws you. Drawing is like water at a well, the water never asks to be lifted up and has no control over being brought up. Psalm 40:2 “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” After He draws you, He says He will raise you up at the last day. God can not lie, so it will happen just that way. I think anyone can see how restful it would be to be brought out of the miry clay of sin and unbelief and set upon the solid foundation of Jesus Christ who is our rock…

Deu_32:31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
1Sa_2:2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
2Sa_22:32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
Psa_18:31 For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
Psa_95:1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Dan, it is futile for you to dwell on the confusion and strife this world has to offer you. But you do have the freedom to choose to ignore all but the Word of God, the Word of Life, the Truth that shall set you free. Free from confusion, free from thinking you don’t believe when it is obvious you do, free from the bondage of this world, free from sin. But also, free to glorify God, free to be kind and loving to your fellow man, free to be joyful in the Lord, free to sing praises unto His name, free to live with honor and integrity before Him.

Thank-you Dan for stirring up my mind once again to the joy of my salvation. Thank-you for the tears streaming down my face at remembering God’s goodness and mercy.
As iron sharpeneth iron, you have helped me to continue to think on those things that are lovely and true, (Phil 4:8.) We do not sit back and do nothing because He saved us, we do everything to please Him because He saved us.

Mat_4:4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

May you find comfort and joy and peace, by and through the Word of God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God Bless you Dan.

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Jack Wellman August 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Dan, I cannot look into your heart to know if you are saved or not and you cannot say that God has predetermined you do perish but we all have free will. Predestination is not like the strict or hyper-Calvinist belief which strips anyone and everyone of free will. The Bible teaches these things but the do not mean that a person cannot be saved or sent to hell against their own will:

God had planned you even before you were born or before you were in our mother‘s womb (Jer. 1:4).

He planned things for you in the future before the earth or time existed (I Cor. 2:7).

He had made plans for your life to give you His grace before you were born (Gal 1:15).

He chose you and called you to redemption to be saved and be made holy (Eph 1:4).

He chose you before your birth to bless you and save you through Christ (Eph. 1:3-4).

He planned your adoption prior to your birth (Eph. 1:5).

And according to His good pleasure, revealed the secrets things of God to you (Eph.1:9).

Not one of these Bible verses indicate that you are preordained to go to hell. No human mind can wrap around the mind of God like the finite can not grasp the infinite. Anyone that claims to fully know the mind of God would be a god himself. My focus on this article is not a predestining of people to hell but to salvation. The very fact you came to read this shows God’s sovereignty. There is not one radical atom in all the universe but all things are under His sovereign will.

For Dan who does not believe in predestination, then what are we to say about Eph 1:4-11

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”?

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Revelation Knight October 31, 2013 at 6:18 am

This is false. The fact that he is seeking means nothing. He could just as easily be a false brother, false prophet, or one of the 3 seeds that falls in bad soil.

Me thinks you are just so far into your false theology that you can’t back out of it so you imagine things up.

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Revelation Knight October 31, 2013 at 6:14 am

Free will is a misnomer, you are commanded to obey God by repenting of your sins and believing in Jesus Christ. So yes the choice is still yours you are not exempt from that responsibility no more than anyone else.

God want none to be saved but all to come to repentance.

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Arturo February 4, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Dan,
The fact you are reading this and the reading the scriptures is proof of free will. What caused you to look for answers? God did through some family member, friend, or something you heard or read. God’s call to you never stops and when you search you will find. Keep searching…God knows what is in your heart.

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Brian August 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Dan,
My prayer is that you not struggle with your Faith in God and his son Jesus. Hebrew 11:1 Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Let me start by stating that when I say Calvinism it is not meant in a negative connotation it just refers to a Theology made popular by a man named John Calvin.
I believe the bible does not teach predestination. Predestination as taught by John calvin anyway. This theology teaches that God has preordained his elect to salvation and by default, the rest to damnation. His elect are ones he chose for no reason but because he chose to. The sound doctrine (the bible) does not teach this. It does mention predestination and the elect but in its full context you will come to understand his elect are those who accept Jesus and those who accept Jesus are predestined to salvation. God is still sovereign because he determined the path in which we reach Salvation.(Please understand that is a very condensed way of putting it). Like predestination, the bible mentions murder, corruption, wars, hate but those aren’t the things the bible teaches. It’s overall teaching is God, Jesus, Love and Salvation. Love and Grace are gifts from God. Calvinism or Reformed (as some call it) will say there is nothing we can do for Salvation. I would say to read the book of James to refute that. Calvinism will say we are totally incapable of acknowledging God. As a matter of fact the whole Theology rest squarely on believing the grand assumption that Adam was created morally impeccable and his Sin or (fall) made it totally impossible for us to turn toward God. Created in his image does not mean without ability or the ability to sin. if it does then Adam would not have sinned in the first place. The image of God refers to the immaterial part of man. It sets man apart from the animal world, fits him for the dominion God intended him to have over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and enables him to commune with his Maker. It is a likeness mentally, morally, and socially. The fact that God called His creation “good” does not mean it was all morally perfect. Barnabas was “a good man” (Acts 11:24), but he certainly was not a morally perfect man. “Good” can simply mean that it was complete and suitable for the divine purpose. For the most part, the Calvinist theology is assumed unquestionably. Adam’s fall from moral perfection was established by Augustine’s polemics against Pelagianism and passed on, without alteration, through the barren centuries of the Middle Ages. Calvin received it in toto from his medieval legacy, as has each successive generation of theologians since.

A doctrine that forms such a colossal foundation-stone for the system should have unequivocal proof in the Bible. If a theology is based on an unproven philosophic assumption how can the rest of the system be trustworthy? The Calvinist cannot expect us to believe him unless the consistent tenor of Scripture tells us: (1) God made man morally perfect; (2) Adam’s sin immediately corrupted him and rendered him unable to respond to God; (3) God transmitted this inability to all his descendants.
The Total Inability passed to us makes it impossible for us to comply with the command to believe in Christ. The most obvious fault with this theology is that it makes the gospel an unreasonable demand. How can God, who is perfectly just, “command all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), knowing the command is impossible to obey?
While we are called to vigilance, we ought not to go through the life of faith in a fearful state. We have been delivered from that (Rom. 8:15). God is faithful. The Hebrew Christians to whom these warnings were written were in danger of giving up the faith utterly and retreating back into Judaism. We must be on guard, as the Scriptures warn us repeatedly, but we have ample reason to be hopeful if we are following Christ.
I’m not really here to refute the teachings of John Calvin, just wanted to assure you(Dan) that God calls ALL of us to believe. If you study the bible with a childs heart you will understand. God is the final Judge on Salvation but All are welcome to the kingdom. I’ll end with how the bible ends Revelation 22:12-14 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
—— moving on to 17—–
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

Don’t let anyone ever tell that “whosoever” and “all” and “the world” don’t mean just that. Prayers for you Dan, and all who want to come to Jesus for an Eternal Salvation with God, Our Father.

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Revelation Knight October 31, 2013 at 6:25 am

I have a saying, “The only thing worse than an Armenian is a Calvinist.”

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Dan August 21, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Thank you Anne, Jack, and Brian for responding to my questions and concerns, I know your lengthy postings required some time and effort to write. I’m still a novice and to be honest, I know little about Galvanism, but it is good to learn more about what predestination means. I’ve read the new testament, but never felt like my eternal fate was predetermined. I just presumed that salvation was open to everyone. Perhaps God has foreknowledge, but I don’t.

I also wondered why some people would be predestined while others are rejected. If some are better than others, why did God call Saul to be his apostle when he was persecuting Christians, or why did God keep Peter around after he denied that he even knew Jesus? If God foreknew them before they were born, why would he preordain them to be elected ones when they both screwed-up pretty bad?

I plan to proceed with the assumption that since Jesus ate with sinners, I reckon God isn’t too fussy. From what you all wrote, it sounds like salvation is predetermined for those who are called and accept Jesus, and that’s an open invitation to whomsoever will. I don’t feel I was preordained for anything, but its good to know the door isn’t closed for those seeking the truth. I appreciate your explanations, your help, and your encouragement.

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Benga August 23, 2013 at 1:46 am

i’ll give you the simpliest answer you’ll need calvinism is wrong , God wants all to be saved, listen to Jesus not calvin thats my advice to you, “for God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life.

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Revelation Knight October 31, 2013 at 6:22 am

Although you are quite correct, many do not know what calvanism is nor do they recognize those who subscribe to that false doctrine as you and I can.

Other verses that disprove calvanism are “choose this day whom you will serve” and “God wants none to perish but all to come to repentance”

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Mauro September 16, 2013 at 1:14 am

Brian I really like your point of view on the issue, and I really agree that our lord and saviour’s will is to ultimately save as much humans as possible.

1 TIMOTHY 2:3-4 (NIV)
“3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

1 JOHN 2:2 (NIV)
2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

The controversy of whether it’s predestination or free will what god’s has set up for us has no importance, as the bible throw us hints of both, so both are in fact true. The thing is that, the secret plan of God takes a number of steps to be fully accomplished:

———————————————–
The first of all is the church, who’s members were elected/predestinated/saved in advance to be tied to and which is distinguishable from the jewish nation and for the rest of the world which do not believe/behave in our lord:

REVELATIONS 5:9-10 (NIV)
9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

EPHESIANS 1:3-6 (NIV)
3 Praise 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. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
—————————————————–

Though distinguishable from the church, the jewish nation also is predestinated to be carried out by God, saving some by grace from ancient times and also those sealed during the events of the apocalypse:

ROMANS 11:4-5 (NIV)
4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.

REVELATIONS 14:3 (NIV)
3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
——————————————–

As we can see, only both the church and the jews that were found justified were to populate the Millennial Kingdom

REVELATIONS 20 (NIV)
4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
—————————————————-
However, it is mentioned that ALL FLESH is to be judged rightfully, even those who had to rely on their free will to make their ways through life or people who didn’t have a chance to know about the son of God, so even though, there’s provision for everybody:

REVELATIONS 20:12-13 (NIV)
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.

ROMANS 2:14-16 (NIV)
14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
———————————————–

The ultimate reality is that God has certain preferences for he had selected in advance some to conform a first offering of priests and kings that are to reing with him but WILL UNDOUBTLY SAVE for eternity people from all backgrounds that indirectly (not being conscious et al) did as He likes, choosing the right things from the pot.

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Revelation Knight October 31, 2013 at 6:28 am

No Jew who rejects Jesus will enter into heaven.

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Michael September 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Jack,

I am disturbed that so many, like you, present only cherry-picked verses to support their “belief” instead of looking to the whole council of God to form a proper understanding of these deep truths.

You have very conveniently left out the many verses speaking of God offering His gift of salvation to “all”, “everyone”, “the whole world”. You have entirely ignored the many passages related to free will. You have bypassed the multitude of passages talking about how God judges people for the choices they make. You have not even touched on the foreknowledge of God and how certain passages tie this into the doctrinal question of predestination.

Calvin was wrong in his view of predestination. We know this because his theology simply cannot be reconciled to the whole of Biblical Truth. Wesley was also wrong, because again he contradicts points of Biblical Truth. YET THERE IS a proper theology — a proper belief. It is a middle ground, one that coincides with ALL of scripture. One that does not require defending a man-made belief against Scriptural truth.

I do not have time or room in this response to unpack all of this, or explore the hundreds of verses required to fully understand this doctrine. But I beseech you to go back and read the whole of scripture — in context — before you come to a “belief”. Wrestle with the seeming contradictions. Sometimes you will need to go back a chapter or even two for the context. What you will discover is the unity of the message becomes incredibly clear as you set aside pre-conceived notions and quit trying to justify a belief with scripture…instead trying to FORM a belief with scripture. IT IS AMAZING! You will discover that the doctrine of predestination does have a clear Biblical answer that IS NOT IN CONFLICT at all between free will and God’s sovereign plan. Then you too will say Calvin was wrong…and Wesley was wrong. But the Bible is right.

One concept I do want to call out specifically is an improper logical argument always used for this debate. That somehow God cannot be sovereign if man has free will. That is nonsensical. Permitting a person to make a choice does not in any way compromise the authority of the one who permits that choice! We see this in action every day. A dad gives his son a choice as part of the process allowing that boy to become a man. The dad hopes his son will chose wisely, but has decided to let the boy choose either way. Is the dad no longer in control? Of course the dad is! He simply exercised his authority by allowing the boy to make a choice. And so God can exercise His authority in the same way, by letting us choose. This does not diminish God’s authority, it simply is a different way of exercising that authority.

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Jack Wellman September 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Michael…I am sorry that so many like you choose to attack and not just cherry pick but place as targets any and all that do not agree with you. I have seen you taking pot-shots at me and at Preston with accusations about not believing the “whole counsel of God.” I am finished with you my friend. I can see you only want to argue and that you can not be wrong and everyone here who is contrary to your view is wrong. I suggest Bible Forums which is a website that allows Christians to debate and wrangle over issues that are non-essential to salvation. This issue is hard to wrap our minds around and is not essential to one being saved or not.

You can not plumb the depths of the knowledge of God and so don’t overestimate yourself. Neither can I. I hope you do well on your next hunting mission. Goodbye.

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Mauro September 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Hey Michael,
No one’s leaving apart free will, I cannot say free will is not present in the bible, in fact here are some evidence the thing is very real:

DEUTERONOMY 30:11-19
1 KINGS 11:6,9
2 CHRONICLES 12:14
LUKE 7:30 ***
ISAIAH 30:1 ***
———————————
God’s plan is to establish a Millenial Kingdom after the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, only inhabited by the “elected ones” (christians and jews). After these 1000 years, All he rest of Mankind (non believers/common people) is gonna be judged, accordingly to the choices they made using their “own free will”:

REVELATIONS 20:12-13
ROMANS 2:14-16
MATTHEW 7:21
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There’s provision for everyone, and his authority was never put into jeopardy. God took some measures to ensure that those who will receive titles of kings and priests are according to his hugest standards, a this will make up the “first offering”; then a second offering conformed of good people (all the rest) will simply be citizens of New Jerusalem ;D

Blessings!!

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Revelation Knight October 31, 2013 at 6:35 am

I read in his article that “Freewill and God’s sovereignty are not opposed to each other but run parallel with one other.”

Did you miss that? Yeah he didn’t put every verse about free will in there but I thought it was not so bias as to be calvanistic.

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John October 5, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I read you article, but i still have some questions.

As i understand it God is perfect, infinite he is all powerful and all knowing.

So by that logic anything we do God knows we are going to do it or he would not be all powerful. Lets say that God gives me two choices, would he not already know which choice i am going to make? If he does then it is not really a choice, it is me doing what God knows i am going to do. If he doesn’t know what choice i am going to make then God has limitations which the Bible says he does not.

If we take this further God knows if we are going to heaven or Hell as soon as we are born. This is the Calvinist part. The troubling question about that is why would God choose some people to go to hell. If in fact we don’t have free will, then why are their so many less Christians (% per population) now then their were. Wouldn’t God want every one to go to heaven and receive his love.

This contradiction is something i just cant get my head around. The idea that God is all powerful, yet we have free will is a paradox. Just like the paradox “Can God create a stone so heavy he can’t lift it.”

If some one could answer this with out saying, “We can’t comprehend the will of God” or some other type of cop out answer i would really appreciate it. If you don’t know the answer its ok to say “I don’t know”.

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Jack Wellman October 5, 2013 at 7:46 pm

John, I don’t know how to answer this because you are putting my responses in a box although for me to say “I don’t know” may be the best fit. God does not choose someone to go to hell…they make that choice by rejecting belief in Christ, even though God new in advance of this, He didn’t make that decision for them. The Bible is clear that whosoever believes may come but that whosoever is known by God but He doesn’t twist their arm to do it so God does not choose to send people to hell…they send themselves there by willful rejection of Christ and failure to repent and trust in Him (See below link for an article that asks “Does God Predestine People to Hell?”)

God desires no one go to hell (2 Peter 3:9 I believe) and Ezekiel 18:32 I think says that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. That is all I can say. You and me both can not get our mind around this John because the finite can never understand the infinite but that doesn’t mean it is not correct. Outside of this, I must fall back on “I don’t know” on all these other issues but I do know that God knows and is perfectly just and fair and the clay can not question the character or validity of the Potter Who always knows what is best.

Sorry John but I am sure I have disappointed you but thank you sir for coming to address this most difficult issue.

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/does-god-predestine-people-to-hell-a-bible-study/

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John October 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Thank you for taking the time to respond, I apologize if you felt I was trying to put you in a box. I added the comment about the cop out answer, so I would get a thoughtful response back instead of a wrote one. Reading what you and others have said perhaps the wrote response is in fact the correct one, it is something I have to consider. Thanks again for taking a shot at it.

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Jack Wellman October 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm

John, your comment gave me much pleasure for it is sometimes like the explainable (me) explaining the unexplainable (God). I am just thankful that we can comprehend enough to be saved (John 3:16-17) and those things that humans wrestle with are those things that are not necessary to be saved (and thank you God for that!). I know that I am never, ever going to be fully capable of explaining what I myself can not even fully grasp but that is why our God is so awesome and incredible and beyond human comprehension. Please do come back again sir…we do “try” to cover a multitude of other issues that Christians puzzle over.

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Revelation Knight October 31, 2013 at 6:40 am

Just because God offers you a choice and then immediately knows what you will choose does not mean you never had a choice, it just means He knew what you would choose.

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Anne December 21, 2013 at 3:22 pm

John,

I have written a lot at times and don’t want to repeat in what has become a very long question and answer post. However, I do want to try to answer your question. You see God never chose anyone to go to Hell. He simply left some where they were destined by their own nature and wickedness in the fall of man. In fact that is where we all deserve to go. The grace of God is that He chose any of us to be saved from an eternal hell. But that also shows his amazing wisdom. If our salvation depended on what we would do, choose, how we behaved, the works we did, being perfect and sinless, then we would have failed. God knew this. He also knew that day by day we choose good and evil, so if it was based on our choice, His salvation would have to change with each choice we made bad or good. That is not secure and again we are all so fickle and sinful, that ultimately we would all be in hell. In God’s wisdom, mercy and grace, He chose a people OUT OF the fallen human race and committed to loving them no matter what they did, sent His son to die to pay their sin debt, and secured their place in Heaven with him for all eternity. He had to choose us before we were born, before we had done any good or evil, ( Romans 8) so that man would never be able to boast about what he had done to commend himself to God, and God would get all the glory for saving sinners. God chose to adopt some of the human race into his own perfect family and our inheritance is that one day we will be like Him. He did not have to adopt any of us, and He did no harm to those He left where they were. He simply left them to their own devices, proving that man is incapable of saving himself. God created man out of clay and He has the right and power to raise up some vessels to honor and some to dishonor. Who are we to complain or even comment on what he does with his creation. Clay pots are used for many things from flower vases, to cooking utensils, to chamber pots. Would anyone dare suggest we cook and eat from the chamber pot? Then don’t expect God to have shed His precious blood for those who will remain as wicked as their father, the devil. And also remember if God wants you in heaven you will be. God doesn’t lack for anything he wants, so it is foolish to try to believe that he wants you to go to heaven but just can’t make it happen because you won’t let Him. As God’s word says, O foolish man, who hath bewitched you? We mortals have no power but what is given to us. If you have the power to see God, He gave it to you because He made you His son, and you can rest assured you will be with Him in heaven.

God bless you all and may you have a very merry Christmas season with your loved ones.

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Revelation Knight November 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm

The Bible teaches free will and Gods sovereignty therefore they are both true. Just because you can’t understand something doesn’t make it false.

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John November 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Me not understanding it has nothing to with the fact it is a contradiction. That is what makes it false. Perhaps you are too blinded by what you want to be true to see what is true. I would also remind you that this issue was important enough to split the Christian church, that you would dismiss it so easily is very shows you have not put much thought into the subject. You are correct that the bible teaches free will, but as I said before an all knowing God makes free will impossible.

The illusion of choice is not the same as free will. It still means God has planed everything and still knows everything that is going to happen. Free will would mean you could do something that God did not plan. If you were able to surprise God then he is not all knowing. It is really that simple, why you have trouble with it is because it makes you uncomfortable. You want to believe the why you do even if it involves contradictions.

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Arturo February 4, 2015 at 10:44 pm

John,
I quote you: “You are correct that the bible teaches free will, but as I said before an all knowing God makes free will impossible.”

God gave you life, and you can choose to live it with HIM in your life or without HIM. This is a choice that could separates you from God, but does not separate God from you. If you develop a relationship with God early in life He promises to be “Your shield, your protector, your great reward.” We are all doomed to sin, but some are rescued out of damnation early or late in life. We live according to our choices and our choices bring consequences. The word of God says that “all things work out for good for those who are in HIM.” Does that mean you live the life He chose for you? No, but it does mean that you chose to have Him in your life to help you work things out or you chose to go your own way. I believe God has enough of His “predestined children” to preach salvation and those are the ones he knew even before they were born:i.e; the 12 disciples, and His prophets of the old testament and the prophets of today, and those to come. The rest of us fall in the “free choice” category. I believe God wants us all to be saved as His word says… death-bed conversions are real… you have a choice up to the last breath, but some people will reject salvation up to the last breath and those get what they choose, and NOT what God chose for them.

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Robert January 30, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Thank you!! That helps me understand predetermination a little bit better, and it’s the major disagreement I have had with Calvinism. I still believe that free will is the overarching theme in the Bible. I’ve always seen it as incompatible with God’s word. John 3:16 says whosoever believes shall be saved. I take that to mean that we all have the opportunity to be saved, but it’s up to us to accept it. That doesn’t take away from God’s sovereignty. I believe He has a plan and purpose for all of us, not just a select few. But at the same time if we refuse His offer of salvation we will be condemned. The Bible makes that clear. The Bible indicates that God wants all to be saved, and that hell was not meant for people.

What loving God would allow human beings to live life here on earth with the intention of sending them to hell without the opportunity to be saved? I just can’t reconcile that with the God I know. I think the verses that you mentioned indicate God’s intended purpose more than making a clear case for predetermination. Is it possible that God called those people knowing how they would respond to Him? He is omnipotent after all. Is it also possible if those He called walked away He could raise someone else up to do that job? I think that’s equally possible. A third of the angels chose to follow Satan, and leave heaven. If God could allow that to happen could it be that He would allow us to make a similar fateful choice? I believe the answer is possibly.

Judas. Was he saved in the beginning? Did he fall away? Was he always destined to betray Jesus? A wolf in sheep’s clothing? The Bible doesn’t say. I would think Jesus knew, but we have no way of knowing if he lost his salvation or was never saved to begin with.

I have heard predetermination used as a justification to condemn entire groups of people of particular origin. That those people are unworthy of salvation, and because of their linage they couldn’t possibly be part of the elect. Knowing people of that particular origin I’m certain that is not possible. Some of those people are the most Godly people I know. I’m not saying that’s your position I’m simply pointing out that we can get ourselves into real trouble when we start putting God in a box and saying this person or that person can’t be saved.

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Pius Ogola August 12, 2014 at 7:25 am

Robert,

The “whosoever” that so many people usually emphasize upon does not even exist in the Original Koine Greek NT. It is an english participial phrase for “the believing ones” or “everyone believing.” If you clearly look at the grammar, the issue to do with choice [always justified by the phrase whosoever] doesnt even come up. Defend “choice” or libertarian freewill from some other verse, NOT from John 3:16, coz it doesnt support choice/libertarian freewill.

About Judas, of him Christ says in John 6:70: – “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?”

In John 17:12 christ calls Judas THE SON OF PERDITION, the same title Paul heaps on the man of lawlessness/Antichrist in 2Thessalonians 2:3. Son of Perdition means Judas came from Hell/Eternal Damnation and goes back there. In entirerty, this verse ends somewhat with a clear open-shut case, that IT WAS TO FULFILL SCRIPTURE THAT ONLY ONE DISCIPLE WAS LOST……..read on : “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” . May God Bless You.

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wendy September 7, 2014 at 11:59 am

The son of perdition is the devil who entered Judas.

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Doug March 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Only God has free will. For humans there is simply no such thing as free will.
If you believe you have free will then do something for me. Go for one week without sinning. That should be simple for someone with freewill, right. You are free to make whatever moral decision you want, right.
If you are born in outer Mongolia in the 3rd century do you have free will to accept the Jewish messiah as your god when you have never heard of him and never will? NO!
Do you have free will when your are born in the 21st century and are brainwashed from day one that anyone who believes in a higher power is a fool and should be ignored? NO!
Thank goodness God has free will. He gets what he wants and he wills that all be saved. Now that REALLY is good news.

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Dan March 22, 2014 at 12:51 am

The fact that a person can choose to sin, means they have free-will. Otherwise, its God’s will that we sin. I chose to post this response, thus, I have free choice. If people don’t have free will, then we are equal to plants, and are nothing more than robots. jmo

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Pius Ogola August 12, 2014 at 8:42 am

Spot on Doug. If one can freely choose outside his nature [libertarian freewill so to speak], then let him/her make the good choice of not sinning for one week. Real killer point.

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Deborah March 25, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Dan,
I haven’t read all the other comments, just skipped down to yours, and it really is that simple, isn’t it? We could spend hours debating these things, but you spelled it out simply — thank you — I couldn’t agree more. :) If God determined the outcome of everything, then He would be responsible for sin. That can never be, and is, in fact, a blasphemous idea (in my mind).

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Doug March 26, 2014 at 8:42 am

Deborah and Dan,
It really is simple. If I’m wrong and you’re right then there is only one simple way for you to prove it. Simply use your powerful free will and do not not sin. One week, go one week without sinning. Anyone out there can prove me wrong by taking my challenge.
There is a reason why only one human being has ever been sinless. He was the son of God. We are not the son of God and thus we are sinful. We have no choice. God made us this way. God made us this way to show us his power and mercy. If there was ACTUALLY such a thing as human “free will,” why would we need God to save us from sin?
Romans 11:32 “For GOD has BOUND everyone (all) over to disobedience (sin) so that SO THAT he may have MERCY on them ALL (everyone).” Emphasis mine.
I’m sorry but there is no such thing as human free will. I sin because he made me to be in need of my creator’s love and mercy.
God has given us a measure of “will” just as he has given us a measure of physical strength. My strength does not compare with God’s strength and my will does not compare with God’s will.

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Deborah March 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Doug,
You say that you sin because He made you in need of His mercy. That is the same as saying you sin because He made you sin. I am simply saying that God can’t be held responsible for sin.
I think the “all” in the passage above is referring to both Jews and Gentiles being alike under sin. Perhaps it is best understood in light of its historical context. Jews thought of themselves are righteous and deserving of God’s blessing. I think Paul was simply trying to point out that Jews can’t escape from the guilt of sin just by their ethnicity/chosen status. He might not have been attempting to prove what you seem to be attempting to prove — that God makes people sin in order to have mercy on them. I think he’s just saying that there is no such thing as being found righteous in God’s sight simply because you are Jewish. The Jews and the Gentiles are alike under the judgement of God because of their sins and are in need of the mercy that only come by faith in the Son of God — in Christ crucified. And anyway, if we take the verse above in such a literal fashion, we must believe that nobody is going to hell, since he says he will have mercy on ALL. The second “all” here also refers, in context, to “both Jews and Gentiles.” That is how I understand it right now. Sometimes we shove verses into boxes they were not intended for.
Also, the Bible says that nobody can be “tempted” by God. They are led into sin by their own desires. This verse clearly suggests that God has nothing to do with the individual’s choice to sin. Let’s leave God out of our sinful human predicament! We got into this mess ourselves. I do not understand how people can be born with a sinful human nature, and how, at the same time, God cannot be responsible for it. There are a lot of things I don’t understand. But I do know that evil is not God’s will — why would He ordain it? If I am wrong about this, God will make it clear to me. Right now, I believe that He provided a plan of salvation in the event of sin, but far be it from us to trace the origin of evil back to His determining decree. Frankly, that makes me sick. God is too holy, too good, too loving, and too just to be the author of sin.

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Dan April 3, 2014 at 2:52 am

Doug,

If there is no human free will, then what’s my motivation not to sin? Without free will, I am responsible for nothing. I can’t make decisions unless I’m free to choose. Your suggestion that God will save everyone, pretty much gives me a license to freely sin because salvation is automatic.

Free will can prevent sin as easily as it can cause sin. Belief is a choice, disbelief is also a choice. Without free will, we cannot make choices, we cannot be disobedient, we cannot repent, and we cannot sin. jmo

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Doug April 1, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Deborah,
Sorry it took me so long to get back.

All I’m asking you to do is use a little common sense. Not one human being has ever walked this earth without sinning, A LOT! I’m not saying God forces us to sin but isn’t it obvious that he has created us with a sinful nature? We sin almost as naturally as we breath. Isn’t it a little silly to act as though this is something unplanned by the all-knowing and all powerful Creator. If we believe God created us to love how can we deny he created us to sin?

I disagree with you saying that God can’t be held responsible for sin. I think the verse very clearly says that God takes responsibility for sin. He created us this way for a purpose. To show his mercy to all. I’m sorry, but I think you should put your preconceived notions away and just read the verse.

So you can’t believe the verse because that would mean nobody is going to hell. Really? We all read scripture through a filter. Try putting yours away for a minute and listen to what a couple verses say.

1 Tim. 4:10 says God is the savior of all.

Christ said if he be lifted up he would draw (“drag” in the Greek) all people unto himself. Why can’t we simply believe that verse for what it says and let our traditions be shaken if that is the result?

If we constantly let our traditions dictate how we interpret scripture we will never have new insights into the will and purpose of God.

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Jack Wellman April 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Doug, are you really saying that God is responsible for sin because this then makes Him responsible for them that go to hell but doesn’t James 1:13-15 say “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” What verse are you talking about that says God is responsible for us sinning? Please advise me on this sir.

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Jack Wellman April 1, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Doug…please forgive me, I meant to say “Deborah” so I apologize and that comment was directed to her sir, not you. I am so sorry. Missed the right reply button. My fault…but Deborah, would you please explain what you mean to us, both Doug and I? Thank you.

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Deborah August 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Jack,
I am so confused. I don’t know what you are referring to. Which comment do you not understand, and when did I say God is responsible for sin? Wasn’t it Doug who said that God is responsible for sin? I believe I said I do NOT believe God is responsible for sin. Am I missing something?
Doug, I’m afraid I don’t understand your last comment. Did I state that I was a very hard-core Calvinist for the first 38 years of my life? My “preconceived” notions are Calvinist. The views I expressed above are the result of my setting aside THOSE preconceived ideas and trying to get to the truth.

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Deborah August 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Jack,
Okay, I figured out what you were referring to. It’s been so long, and I am very tired right now. Sorry, but it was so long ago, I’m not sure what I was thinking at the time. Looks like I offered a confusing and unstable argument.
Bottom line is that God did not ordain people to sin, and I think Doug is misinterpreting the passage to mean something it isn’t intended to mean. ‘

Doug, it’s rare that a Calvinist actually comes out and says that yes, God is responsible for sin. You are honest and brave to admit it. But I could not disagree with you more. I suppose we could say that God is, in an indirect way, responsible for sin because He allowed mankind to be created knowing in advance that they would sin. I guess I would agree with that. But that’s a whole different thing than saying what you said, that “God created us to sin.” Do you really mean to say that from before the creation of the world, God ordained for all men to sin?

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Deborah August 1, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Jack,
Ahhhh, never mind the last part about knowing what you are referring to, I still don’t know what you are talking about!! So sorry . . .
I was actually referring to Doug’s comment about the idea of “all” people being saved . . . I think he is taking the “all” so literally as to mean each and every person individually, when it is probably meant to convey that BOTH Jews and Gentiles are alike under sin and in need of God’s mercy — in the ethnic sense. I could be entirely mistaken, however, and the Calvinists could be right that the verse refers to each and every person. I just don’t know, but I think it’s rather dangerous for Doug or anybody to build an argument for God having ordained sin from all eternity based on that passage, since the Scriptures are saturated with the idea that God is repulsed by sin and holds men responsible for it. How could God hold us responsible for sin if He ordained for us to do it?
I agree with C.S. Lewis on almost everything, so from here on out y’all can refer to C.S. Lewis if you want to know what I think — and do not blame Lewis for anything I said, either. Thanks.

Moses March 11, 2015 at 3:16 am

Doug,
Human free will is not about choosing sin and righteousness. It’s about believing and accepting God’s will otherwise everybody sins whether elected or not.

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David Bennett April 28, 2014 at 5:29 am
Evangelic Angel August 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm

I don’t have much to add to the conversation, but I will say that I have never seen one side of this argument persuade someone from another point of view to their own. It all ends up boiling down to how you interpret scripture. I would hate to think that anyone thinks they’ve got it all figured out (such people are historically very dangerous, though I think there was one of those dangerous people who did. I’m betting if you’re reading this that you’ve heard of Him).

I believe from life experience that there are definitely people who are chosen and that there are also people who voluntarily choose to believe. And, from my interpretation, I believe there’s enough scripture to back up what I think, but I have no inclination to look them all up because, well really, look at what all the scripture references above have accomplished in this forum. Not much, from what I can tell.

While in this body, I cannot believe that everything that occurs is God’s will. I simply cannot believe that is the case and, from the things I’ve learned happen on this planet, I can’t say that I would want to follow a Creator whose will is for some of these things to happen. It’s not just death, but the manner in which some of these deaths happen.

I also do not doubt that I sincerely could be completely wrong and that when it’s all said and done – other than the simple things – we’re all going to be off-base in our understanding of things. That the answers could be something beyond what our brains are simply capable of comprehending. So, I do not doubt there are elements from everyone’s arguments that could be part of the truth.

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Jack Wellman August 1, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Hello Evangelic Angel. Thank you for your comment. This is so hard to understand because our finite minds cannot ever fully grasp the infinite (God). You said that ” can’t say that I would want to follow a Creator whose will is for some of these things to happen” but what “things” do you mean my friend. Whoever will be saved can make that choice. To not choose to “follow a Creator” will surely end in judgment but that is your choice. No choice is still a choice to reject God and His Son, the only way to be saved (Acts 4:12) from His wrath (John 3:36; Rev 20:11-15). You said “the answers could be something beyond what our brains are simply capable of comprehending” which is very, very true my friend. That is spot on the mark of truth. I do hope you will more than follow this Creator God and our Savior Who died for you by repenting and trusting in Him (if you have not already done so and I am hoping you already have).

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Pius Ogola August 12, 2014 at 9:25 am

“but I will say that I have never seen one side of this argument persuade someone from another point of view to their own. It all ends up boiling down to how you interpret scripture……”

Funnily enough, my first comment on this post and i was vehemently arguing that the two existed – and by two i mean one is LIBERTARIAN FREEWILL, well after reading through most of the comments [they were only sixty something at the time, lost count really], going to youtube and watching some Revelation TV Debates [A British Christian TV] and articles on the net pitting both sides, you can count me as one who has certainly had a huge paradigm shift, to a more reformed position [i know the misnomer, classical arminianism can at times be categorized under reformation].

Previewing On the Bondage of the Will and Luther’s other letters to Erasmus brought me to the firm scriptural conclusion that the will of man is truly under bondage to the nature and as such, Libertarian freewill cannot be exegetically defended from Holy Writ, as such rendered arcane.

A close reading even of the 2nd account of creation brought me to much more reality than normal stories and church tradition……. that Adam and Eve, though with a mature adult body [say 25yrs old], were as naive as a young kid, to the extent they didnt know a difference between good and evil, until they ate the fruit OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL…..

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Bob August 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Free will I don’t understand especially when it comes to the gospel. According to John 1:13 Who owe their birth neither to [c]bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!] Amp. If there was a concern about man free will wouldn’t it be most important here?

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Jack Wellman August 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Thank you Bob. Certainly, we don’t have control over who is born again or not for we are born from above (literal Greek in John 3:3) but we are still held responsible for making that choice, freely. My own mind is incapable of wrapping around this tension between free will and predestination. I am just glad that He does the choosing for if it were solely up to human endeavors, who would choose God? My finite mind cannot ever comprehend the infinite mind of God and that is why He is God. In this life, I don’t know if we will ever fully grasp how these two fit together in God’s purpose but I just know that they do and that is enough for me. Thank you for your comment sir.

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Evangelic Angel August 4, 2014 at 9:05 am

Thanks, Mr. Wellman.

I am a Christian because, well to be blunt, I’ve decided for what are most likely purely selfish reasons that I’d rather believe in a benevolent and merciful God than not, and as so, without a Savior in Jesus there ain’t no other way I’m making it through the pearly gates. So, Glory to God and all that. I like to think that I’ve been enlightened on many truths, but I am very…reluctant to share because I also think I could be, and likely am, wrong about so much.

One thing I’m sure of is that it’s a dangerous policy to limit God based on what I believe of Him. However, I am sure that mercy, life, love, health, forgiveness and other virtues that escape me at the moment are good and pure. To believe otherwise, I think, would be blasphemous.

I do think that it’s unfortunate there’s a schism between the philosophical issues of free will and predestination, and what appears to be so much anger while arguing one’s POV, but I don’t believe that whatever one’s position is on the issue, based on what I’ve read, affects their salvation.

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Jack Wellman August 4, 2014 at 9:13 am

Amen to this my friend. I so agree. On those things that we disagree on we should not be disagreeable but loving in seeing that we might have differences. These things will all be known in time but on this earth, today we only see thru a glass darkly and as you said, the main thing is that God is merciful and better to us than we deserve. Who among us should not fall on our faces in gratitude that He saved such wretches like us and that His great love was displayed so powerfully on the cross for those who truly deserved His wrath. Thank you and your words are spot on.

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Anne August 18, 2014 at 11:18 am

Pius,

I have friends from church who visit Kenya and Tanzania. Not sure how close to you they are. They have church services there and listen to the radio and internet ministries. Thought you might be interested. Here is a link:

http://tanzaniaprimitivebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/

Not all who go by the name Primitive Baptists are true to the scriptures as some are Calvinists in disguise. (Thus the reason for my own misunderstandings.) Anyway just a warning if you look up Primitive Baptists and run across those who believe in the absolute predestination of all things, don’t accuse us all of being Calvinists because we aren’t! The link I gave you is to some of the pastors I have heard and met with personally and am much encouraged in the teachings and rejoicing in the truth of God’s Word.

May God richly bless you always,

Anne

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Anthony September 15, 2014 at 10:20 pm

God is omnipresent and we are told that He saw the end from the beginning and that He was there at the beginning and He will be there at the end. So if He saw the end from the beginning, how does that fit with free will because what I understand about free will is one has a choice to make but if God saw the end from the beginning then He has already seen the outcome and doesn’t that remove free will. Because lets say that you are at point A going to a given point and according to what we are told He saw the end from the beginning so God saw that you would end at point C even though you are still at point A how does blend with free will?

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Jack Wellman September 16, 2014 at 7:24 am

Hello Anthony and thank you sir for your question. Just because God sees the end from the beginning doesn’t mean that we don’t have responsibility for repenting and trusting in Christ or rejecting Christ. It is such a hard thing to see how both freewill and predestination work together. Yes, God knows the outcome but this is based upon what we will freely chose to do. I knew my children would love to play with toys and when we knew we would have a boy we knew boys love trucks and trains so we had some ready for when he was old enough to play with them. Sure enough, he did love the trucks and trains and we know for certain that he would play with them but he was free to choose to play with them or not. We didn’t make him play with them, we just knew that he would. He had freewill but we knew from the beginning what he would do. Poor human example I know but this is a mystery so hard to explain. Today, we only see thru a glass darkly. Someday, we can see Him face to face and seek a better understanding of this subject. Thank you Anthony.

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Jed January 8, 2015 at 11:55 am

I got a question, ill make it as concise as possible.

1.) Is salvation a product of God’s Soverign Choice, or Man’s Free Will to Choose God?

Simply put it: Are you saved because? God Chose you, or You choose God?

2.) What if for some reason One is not Chosen by God to be saved, however that person wants to be saved for the reason that he wants to escape hell. How can that person gain the favor of God for him to be saved,if Not will he be eternally doomed even if he wants to escape hell so badly?

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Jack Wellman January 8, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Jed, can anyone completely understand free will and predestination? Let me ask you what you think. What do you say to question #1 and then to questions(s) #2. What is your idea on these things? Does free will override God’s predestination? Have you read Ephesians chapter 1? Romans chapter 7? What do you think of these verses? Can they validate free will or predestination or both?

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Anne January 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Jed,

You asked…

Question 1.) Is salvation a product of God’s Sovereign Choice, or Man’s Free Will to Choose God?

Simply put it: Are you saved because? God Chose you, or You choose God?

Answer to Question 1:

A dead man can choose nothing. You are saved only if God chose to give you eternal life.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins Ephesians 2:1

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses Colossians 2:13

If God quickened you, that is gave you life, and forgave ALL your trespasses, what can be held against you to condemn you to hell now? Nothing.

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:34-39

Question 2.) What if for some reason One is not Chosen by God to be saved, however that person wants to be saved for the reason that he wants to escape hell. How can that person gain the favor of God for him to be saved, if Not will he be eternally doomed even if he wants to escape hell so badly?

Answer to Question 2:

A person who is not chosen by God will not want God at all for he cannot know Him.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:1-3

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. John 17:22-26

You see, if you know God; to even seek Him, then that is the evidence that you already have eternal life and are saved. Only God can give eternal life and He secured it for each of His sheep on the cross, way before you were alive to choose anything. God did His choosing before the world we live in ever existed.

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 1:4

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:19

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. Hebrews 4:3

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: Matthew25:34

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) Romans 9:11

I return to the idea that if you know to seek and desire God so badly, then you have nothing to fear because you are already saved. A person who is not chosen by God will never be given eyes to see Him, but will continue doing the deeds of their father the devil. There is no fear in love, and God is love. We can do nothing to earn God’s favor, for salvation is already accomplished. However, we can be given blessings in this life for our obedience to God, or suffer his chastisement for disobedience. Whether you obey or disobey your parents, you are still their child, and it is the same with God. Our eternal inheritance can not be taken away by any means, but the blessings of fellowship with Christ and His people in this life are what we will miss out on. Please do not live in fear for yourself or those around you. God secured His people.

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep John 10:11

As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:15

But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:26-30

But do not think we have nothing to do now either. To be a true disciple of Christ we must be attentive to His instruction to learn of Him and be willing to lay down our lives for Him. Not to become His child, but because we ARE His child.

I may present these truths poorly so I ask you to check out these links to some very sound and able ministers who are far better equipped to instruct in God’s Word.

http://www.brentwoodhillspbc.org/

http://lowranceministries.org/podcast/

http://versebyverseteaching.com/

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/jeremy-sarber/bible-over-coffee

God bless you Jed in your search for truth.
Anne

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Jack Wellman January 9, 2015 at 9:20 am

Anne…this is such a good answer my friend. Perhaps I should just delete the article and post your response to Jed. I am so impressed by your depth of biblical wisdom and understanding. I agree with you that I pray Jed does find a satisfying answer for his questions. As for me, I cannot still fully reconcile free will with predestination but I still know they are true. The Romans and Jews together had free will to crucify Jesus and they are responsible for their choice but God predestined this to happen. That is why He is God and we are not…we finite cannot comprehend the infinite.

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Anne January 10, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Thank-you Jack for your kind comments. There is nothing in me to be impressed with for I am only able to articulate what God has revealed from the scriptures given to His people. If I have a clearer understanding than some, it is due to the wisdom and insights from being blessed to listen to the preaching of my many fathers in the ministry over the years. Their diligent study and patient explanations have been food for my hungry soul and I have dined scrumptiously at the Master’s table. My cup truly runneth over and I am blessed beyond measure.

I hope you won’t mind if I respond to one of your comments. You said, “The Romans and Jews together had free will to crucify Jesus and they are responsible for their choice but God predestined this to happen.” I think maybe you are using the wrong word here and that is where it makes this confusing. Actually it makes it impossible to reconcile. Something that is already determined beforehand by someone else cannot possibly be another’s freewill choosing. Even God Himself did not imply that it could, and it is only the wicked imagination of man or Satan to promote such an idea in order to confuse God’s people from enjoying the peace that passes all understanding. God told us the truth shall set us free and it does.

I try to use the Bible’s own terminology to keep things rightly divided and it helps things to make more sense to me. It appears that people use the word predestined to mean that a thing, event, or action, was planned before hand, but that is not what it means. Certainly pre means before, but destined means a final destination, the place where you end your journey. Crucifying Jesus was a means to the end God intended but it was only a step in the process that was meant to secure our eternal destiny, it was not the destination itself. To say it was “predestined” confuses what predestined means. I think a better term is that God purposed the crucifixion in His providence for His people. Purpose, providence, and predestination are not the same things. I think people use them interchangeably which is what causes confusion. I will try to separate them but please forgive my inadequacies in explaining this concept clearly.

When I looked up purpose it became evident why we have such a hard time with this concept when we use purpose and predestined interchangeably. While it is true that purpose is an action and a deliberate one at that, it can be for good or bad intentions. For some reason, we forget that God does not have bad intentions. Purpose can simply be a resolve or willingness to let something happen, whether you are the instigator or not and even if you could have stopped it. Allowing something to continue is not the same as causing it.

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Matt. 12:35

On earth Jesus Christ was God come in the flesh as a man. Would anyone say that Jesus/God is not good? Would any dare to call him evil? Really the confusion comes down to the false teaching out there that God loves everyone and all mankind has been given the opportunity to become a child of God by their own choosing. If you subscribe to this belief then there is really no place left for God to make any distinction between who is going to heaven or hell. In fact if God loves everyone, then no one could go to hell. Remember, He will not lose one. These thoughts cannot be made to align with one another, thus the reason we are instructed to rightly divide the scriptures.

“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:35-40

Just in this one scripture, I see some distinctions God has made. First he declares that all that come to him, he will not cast out. So we can rightly say that if you come to Jesus you are assured that he will keep you. But God has made a distinction of who it is that will come to Him. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” I can infer from this that since everyone the Father gave the Son shall come to Jesus, I don’t need to worry about trying to bring somebody to Jesus myself. Christ has that covered. Later in that same chapter he further distinguishes who will come.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.” John 6:44-48

Wow, what a wellspring of knowledge! First, no man comes unless the Father draws him. So man cannot come by himself, not by his will, desire, desperation, or choosing and certainly not because the preacher or a missionary told him to. Secondly notice that little word “of.” It does not say they will be taught about God which could be by man, it says “of God” and the further admission that “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me,” coupled with “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” as well as,

“And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” 1 John 2:25-27

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26

All of these scriptures assure me that God is the one who does the teaching of, and the drawing of man, in order for man to be able to come to Christ. Which leaves man’s will out of the picture and allows God to have all the glory for the salvation of man.

Forgive me for I have digressed from our topic, but we have now been brought back to our subject of the salvation of man which leads us back to predestination.

I feel I need to start with the different aspects of salvation. What I mean is that there can be a saving from something as well as a saving to or for something. Predestination only refers to what comes after or at the end, again it is simply our final destination. The distinction God makes in Ephesians 1 and Romans 8 (the only two places predestinate and predestinated are used) is first of all that He is referring to people and not things, and secondly there were some qualifiers on who was being predestinated.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:” Ephesians 1:4-11

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30

The final destination of heaven was only to those whom Christ had chosen from before the foundation of the world, and adopted into His family, making Jesus the firstborn among many brethren. He further declared that all of those He chose and adopted, He Himself would call, justify, glorify, redeem, forgive their sins, make known unto them the mystery of His will, conform them to the image of His Son, give them an inheritance, and He made them accepted. (Notice they did not accept Him but He made them accepted. Big difference.) And all of this was done according to the good pleasure of His will, not man’s.

If God who cannot lie has promised these things to all those he chose then the only logical conclusion for anyone going to hell is that they were not chosen. If the only destiny for those He predestinated is to be His child, justified, glorified, redeemed, and forgiven, then we cannot try to spin it that those who go to Hell, He also predestined them to go there. The forgiven man, justified by Christ and glorified, can not be condemned to Hell. When we do not put things in a proper perspective we misconstrue what is true. Scriptures teach that all mankind fell in Adam, that all mankind have sinned and fell short of God’s glory, thereby condemning themselves to Hell. Scriptures teach that out of the fallen race, God chose a people to make His own and glorified them Himself, cleaned them up by the blood of Jesus to be condemned no more.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. “ Romans 8:1

We were all condemned and it is only by God’s grace, mercy and choosing, that any will receive His inheritance.

Predestination only refers to a certain group of people; God’s children that He chose and adopted, and scripture reveals what destination awaits them- because of what He has done for them, and what He will do for them. This tells me that these scriptures are not for everyone. They cannot be for the people that will reside in Hell, because God cannot lie, and if He said you are forgiven and no longer condemned then He will not condemn you to Hell. See what a mess we create when we say the gifts of God are given to everyone, if they will just accept them? These gifts are not carnal things that can be taken or not, like a shirt that just isn’t my style. These are spiritual gifts that can’t be seen, but will be manifested at the Lord’s coming. The gift of eternal life is just that, eternal, so once you have been given it, there is no end for that life. Not even kicking and screaming for God to take it back will do it, so what is it that a child of God can miss out on? The freedom that truth brings. The liberty, peace, and joy of our salvation will not be fully comprehended in these our bodies if we don’t seek out His truth and learn of Him and follow Him. But nothing we do will keep us from our inheritance. So rejoice in the knowledge that God is preparing a mansion for you and has already sealed the guaranty that you will get there.

As for Christ’s crucifixion and other evil acts of men, yes, God has power over all flesh, but just because He allowed men to do the evil things they purposed in their own minds and hearts to do and didn’t stop them, doesn’t mean he made them do it. What scriptures teach us is that since God chose a people to love and adopt as His own, He also providentially made a way to care for them and supply all of their needs. We needed a savior, a perfect sacrifice without spot or blemish and He gave His only begotten Son to be the perfect Lamb that we needed. Men have evil intent and plot things for their own wicked means. The omniscient God can see how to use their evil intentions for a greater good for His own people down the road, and therefore leaves them alone to do their evil deeds. They condemn themselves, but God looks out for His own.

God is like a father who sees the trouble a group of kids is getting into and pulls his child out of the mix before the police come to take them away. That father has saved his own son from condemnation, imprisonment, fines, etc, but will certainly admonish and chastise his son for being involved in the crime. The child remains his son with all the rights of inheritance that the other kids never had a right to or a hope for. I have yet to see such a father blamed for the other kids criminal activity or accused of being unjust for not saving them all and including them in his last will and testament, yet that is exactly what we do to God with these questions and allegations.
Jack, I hope something I have said has been edifying, but I fear I have jumped around too much to make sense. Before I started writing, I did an in-depth study on purpose, providence, and predestination, intending to show their meanings and how they cannot be used as synonymous. You see men and God can purpose to do a thing, that is plot, plan, devise, contrive, resolve to do something, and since much of man’s purpose is of an evil intent, we tend to put God in the same box with us and imagine that He could or would devise an evil act. Men and God can both even act providentially by planning in advance to care for something or someone or supply a need, which is considered good. We do have a will to act, because we were created in His image, and can choose whether to act good or bad. Why is it so hard to understand that all of these truths cannot be applied to predestination? If He chose us before the foundation of this world, and determined our final destination after this world ends, and if all those he predestinated cannot be condemned, then why do we struggle with whether or not any of our actions can condemn us or whether we have a decision to make in order to get to heaven. Our only decision is whether to obey and follow our Father or to act unGodly in our carnal flesh and receive His chastisement in this world. Our inheritance remains the same. I would also add that an act such as the crucifixion cannot be “predestinated” because such an act is not a person who can be given a final destiny. It is crucial to rightly divide and I believe we can only do this by truly understanding the wording and terminology we use and apply it to the appropriate subjects.

I hope in my rambling thoughts, I have not continued the confusion and beg you to refer to the links I gave Jed. May God richly bless us all with wisdom and discernment. Thank-you again for your kindness towards me.

Anne

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Jack Wellman January 11, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Anne…you are so right…the Romans and the Jews was not the best of language. I know that it was determined, before the foundation of the earth that Jesus would die for sinners knowing we would fall. What a gracious God we serve…and I do agree, what do we have (including biblical knowledge) that we did not receive. No rambling but the passionate words of someone who is devoted to our Lord and is always growing.

Dan January 12, 2015 at 12:33 am

Very interesting take on things Anne. But if everything was set in stone (predestination), it pretty much eliminates free-will. Why are we here and what’s the point if God chose His own before hand?

Why did Jesus send the apostles out to preach His gospel? If the Lord already made the choice, the disciples aren’t really fishers of men. And why did Jesus choose Judas, was He predestinated to betray him?

I appreciate your thoughts, but its a depressing thought that God has only selected a few and condemned the rest. It nullifies free-will, and suggest that a good hearted person is condemned no matter what. It also seems unfair that a bad hearted person receives salvation simply because they were preselected.

While I agree that God selects His own, predestination would seem to make it impossible for a person to become one of God’s chosen. So as Tina Turner once said; “What’s love got to do with it?”. Those whom God predestined receive the reward no matter what, they need not repent, keep a commandment, etc. And those not chosen can keep His commandments and repent, but its all in vain. No hope of salvation, only predetermined condemnation.

And why is there a judgement day if the destination of every soul is decided? It just makes life in the flesh seem like an exercise in futility. Without free-will, salvation is not a calling. Predestination would seem to confirm post judgement in advance. Its all very confusing to me.

Moses March 11, 2015 at 7:39 am

Anne,
I still don’t understand what you are trying to tell the masses.
Non of these verses below contradict the predestination.

ROMANS 10:9
“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation”

1 COR 12:13
“Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”

1 JOHN 4:15
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.

There is no searching of God’s understanding when it comes to free will and predestination or any other thing.
A mans choice falls perfectly within God’s plan, whether He chooses death or life but they still have to make the choice. One of the choice is believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. Seeking the Lord is a journey that has to end with a decision or choice. ” seek and you shall find” seek is the journey, find is the end of the Journey.

John 1:12
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

Moses March 11, 2015 at 8:15 am

Anne,
John 12:48
“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day”

Clearly shows that people have the free will to accept or reject. In our own understanding, it may be contradicting predestination but like i said before, there’s no searching of God’s understanding.

Preaching has to be done in whatever way otherwise you are also wasting your time here. ” go ye and spread the gospel..”

If a man chooses God, He falls perfectly in God’s plan. If a man chooses to reject God, he still falls perfectly in God’s plan.

Your thoughts are misleading- that we should just seat and wait to see if we are elected- no preaching/ evangelizing (which you are doing now), no counseling, no healing, no prophesying- just let God come and call them who were predestined.
Gods calling of the elect comes differently, through preaching, healing, counseling and even Jesus Himself visits people. If not, Jesus would not have selected the 12 disciples making them fishers of men.

We don’t know God’s election but right now we have to do what we have to do. If you view predestination the way you are viewing, then God is not a God of justice.
For people to punished, they have to reject God. People can not just be predestined to hell.

Dan January 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Yes Jack, I do understand most of that, but the verses seem to contradict logic. If salvation is only relevant to those predestined before the beginning, then “whomsoever will” can’t be true.

As Anne wrote; “Predestination only refers to a certain group of people… This tells me that these scriptures are not for everyone…. They cannot be for the people that will reside in Hell… See what a mess we create when we say the gifts of God are given to everyone… The final destination of heaven was only to those whom Christ had chosen from before the foundation of the world…The gift of eternal life is just that, eternal, so once you have been given it, there is no end for that life. Not even kicking and screaming for God to take it back will do it, so what is it that a child of God can miss out on?”

Did not God choose King Saul? David wouldn’t even harm Saul because he was God’s anointed. Jesus also chose Judas, thus both have eternal life no matter what they did. My concern is that if only those whom God predestined before the foundation of the world are chosen by God, then the choice of all others is of no consequence. A person is already saved or lost, and the “whomsoever will” is only applicable to those who God had predetermined to save. Even if they resist (kicking and screaming), they remain saved. While others who aren’t on the foreknown list will be condemned. This just seems unfair? Its makes me want to get a copy of that list just to find out whether I’m wasting my time or not?

I reckon it all factors into the foreknowledge of God too, e.g; If God knew what Abraham would do, why test him with the sacrifice of Issac? I suspect some are predestined by God, but I choose to believe condemnation is not automatically assigned to everyone else. Predestination and free-will can both be in play, while God does the choosing, its also clear that we have an open invitation to choose Him. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). jmo

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Jack Wellman January 12, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Thank you Dan. God can use evil (e.g. King Saul) for good. Instead of asking “why” perhaps we ought to be asking “what” in the sense that what is God wanting us to do? Surely He seeks for us to glorify Him and our being saved, being fully a work of God, glorifies Him because not anything we could do would ever save ourselves (Eph 2:8-9). Contradictions? In our human minds it appears so but God never contradicts Himself….it is only our finite minds that cannot understand the things of God. How do they both work together? I don’t fully know but neither can we comprehend His always existing (eternality) and the Trinity (3 in one) but that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe what He says just because I don’t understand it. A person is saved or lost based upon their repentance and believing or rejecting the Son of God (John 3:17-18; 36) and all are responsible for their decisions but how these two are juxtaposed against each other? I cannot say. I just believe God. It’s not amazing that many are lost but that any might be saved at all for not one of us deserves forgiveness and eternal life? Even Einstein couldn’t understand electricity but he knew it existed. Sorry, not much help. I trust God in the things that I don’t understand…that’s the bottom line for me my brother.

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Anne January 13, 2015 at 1:00 am

Dan and Jack,

I so much appreciate the discussion. I hope that nothing I have said contributes to any ones confusion. Jack, I liked what you said about God changing men’s hearts because that is exactly what He does.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

“And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” Deutoronomy 30:6

“And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7

Dan, we have to give close study to the scriptures to apply them correctly. To English speaking people one word can have many different meanings while other cultures tend to have separate words for the different applications. God choosing Judas to be the one to betray Jesus is not the same as choosing him to be a child of God. Every time the word chosen is used in the Bible it is not speaking of chosen for heaven. The same with anoint. That word can simply mean to rub with oil. Samuel was sent to anoint, or rub with oil, Saul because this was their custom in naming a King. Just because The Lord sent Saul to rub him with oil and name him the king doesn’t mean he made him holy and set apart for heaven. The Lord promised the people a king because they asked for one. He was simply keeping His word. David’s wisdom in not killing the man God had anointed for that time and place does not say anything about the predestination of God’s people.

Jack was also right in stating that the scriptures should be comforting God’s people and not reason for concern or debate. But note also that even though all scripture is given by God, that doesn’t mean it is for everyone.

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 40:1

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” II Timothy 3:16-17

Maybe this will help us. We label the scriptures, the Old and New Testament because they are a testament of God’s promises and inheritance to His people. Think about the application of a last will and testament. Suppose you were given a book by a friend, neighbor, stranger, or bought it at a bookstore, but it doesn’t really matter where you got it. In that book you found a copy of a last will and testament. The will told of the wonderful mansion prepared for the children of the deceased, of the untold riches He owned, of the angels who served Him with worship and praise, of the glorious perfected bodies the children would have, and the city that would have no sickness or sorrow, death or even crying. Since you are not a relative of this person, and the person is already dead anyway, which makes the will in full force and unchangeable, what will you do with it? You might try to get it back to someone who it belongs to or you might not, but either way you will have no expectation or hope of being a partaker in the inheritance. You will continue on with your life, doing what you have always done. You reading the will and testament of another will not change it nor is it possible for you to add your name to it. I can’t imagine you would even give it a second thought, but yet it is true that liars and wicked men, have tried to “prove” they are related to wealthy people in order to get a will revoked or changed. Fortunately this Testator sealed all the names of His family in a book so that this could not happen.

Now let’s suppose a different scenario. As you read this last will and testament, you begin to see some family resemblances, something begins to stir within you that gives you a faint hope that you might somehow be in this family. It could even be that the person that gave you this copy of the will, saw some resemblance in you themselves and therefore wanted you to know about this wonderful inheritance. You begin to read more, talk to some people, search out some answers. You find out there is a sealed book with all the names of the family members written in it and so you begin to try to prove and/or find out if you are included in this inheritance. In your search, you find out that the sealed book can only be opened by Jesus Christ and that you must wait for His return to read it. As you continue reading the last will and testament over and over, you discover there are words to comfort you, give you hope, and you even discover assurances of how you can know you are an adopted child of this King. This knowledge changes the way you behave; you try to clean yourself up, act more like you think a prince should act. You even have times of rejoicing when you think of the inheritance you have to look forward to.

I hope it is clear to us all that a last will and testament is only written to a certain group of people and to go out and tell the whole world they can be included if they just ask to be, is false. Even if the will said all would receive the same inheritance, you still would look to see who it was written to, and not take that to mean the whole world without exception would get a piece of this inheritance. You would take it to mean all of this man’s family.

If we view the Bible with the knowledge that the promises of God are to His people, then we have no trouble understanding that if any of His people come to Him He will not cast them out. That when he knocks on His family member’s door, if they answer, He will come in and dine with them. Many of these promises are about the fellowship His children can have with Him in this life. They are not an invitation to the wicked of this world to be turned into His child.
“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Matthew 7:18-19

“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Matthew 12: 33-35

I would also like to refer you back to John Chapter 3. Jack you said “Which is true?” and “How can we reconcile them?” as if they contradict each other so it is not possible for us to comprehend how they are both true. Once again, it is the world’s false teaching that causes confusion. If we think that John 3:16 means that whosoever will believe, will decide to believe, can choose to do so, and that will mean they can then be a partaker of eternal life, then we will have trouble reconciling the other scriptures you mentioned that say, you didn’t choose God but God chose you, and God draws you or you can’t come. But look at what it really says. “Whosoever believeth in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” It does not say whosoever will believe but whosoever already believes, and it says they have everlasting life not they will have after they choose to believe. This is not an invitational text, nor is it an “if you do this you can have this” text, but is a declaration of what rights and privileges are already in place for those that believe. We have already discussed who it is that will believe and that you can’t see God, know God, or believe on Him unless He gives you eyes to see Him. So this too is confirmation that the promise of eternal life is only to those who believe in Christ, which is supported by the other texts you mentioned.

I would like to also address McGee’s statement that no human can reconcile predestination and free will. There have been a multitude of believers throughout the ages, before and after him, that have had no trouble reconciling both. The reason today’s general Christian population doesn’t know about us, is because we are not out in the world trying to convince people they need to do something in order to get a ticket into heaven. The only reason anyone begins to question the concept of freewill as it pertains to choosing Christ and choosing to become a child of God is because it is not taught in scriptures and therefore cannot be reconciled with scripture. You should be questioning it. We are told to study the scriptures, to prove the spirits, to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. You can’t work out something that was never in. And it is only your own salvation you are told to work out, not anyone else’s.

Dan, I would like to address some of your questions. There is a prevailing idea out in the world that we are each our own little god, we have our own will, our own power, and the right to use it how we see fit. This idea has been so promoted that parents do not even feel they can set boundaries for their children and require them to behave appropriately. It has gone so far as to put parents in jail for disciplining their children and to allow criminals to “get away with murder”, literally. As the bible teaches, evil men will wax worse and worse. If you are a parent I hope you haven’t succumbed to this line of thinking, but the questions you raised remind me of this idea. We act on the idea that God has no rights to put limits, conditions, or boundaries, on His people and is unfair if he doesn’t offer his riches to everyone. Do you see the chaos and crime that has resulted in this world when people act as their own gods, doing whatever is right in their own eyes? God warned us of this, but we didn’t believe Him.

Please hear me. A person cannot have a good heart unless God gives it to them, so the idea that a good-hearted person could be condemned is frankly, ludicrous. If you are a person or see a person with a good heart than that is your evidence that you or they are on that list you wish you could see. The truth is that we can’t see other people’s hearts and a wolf in sheep’s clothing can be very convincing. The comfort of the scriptures is that we don’t have to worry about who is a sheep and who is not. The Shepherd knows them that are His.

As for a bad-hearted person unfairly getting into heaven based on God’s predestination? Again, an equally ludicrous statement. God has very clearly stated what he would do for those he predestinated. He would call them out of this world, justify them and glorify them, and give them a heart of flesh in place of their hard and stony heart. You won’t find a bad-hearted person in heaven. If you can’t trust me, at least trust the scriptures.

And as for only a few getting into heaven? Why do we think if we get to choose, heaven will be heavily populated, but if God does the choosing, he will only pick a few? This is another idea of Satan to confuse truth and belittle God. You don’t find the idea in scripture that only a few will be in heaven. In the generation when Jesus was here on earth it states that a multitude believed at just one time that He spoke in the temple. Think how many times He spoke and how many believed, then think about all the generations that came before Christ walked on the earth and all the generations after. Think about how Christ said He had a people in every nation, kindred, and tongue. Think about how he promised Jacob that his seed which was given the promise, would be an innumerable number, like the stars in the sky and the sands of the seashore. Why do we get so worked up over an idea that is foreign to scripture? And then have the audacity to call God unfair?

Dan, if I sound harsh, it is not meant towards you. Many men have fallen victim to this teaching and go on to spread it unawares so I can’t blame those who are simply parroting what is being taught. But again I believe, we question these things when we begin to see the fallacy in them, so it is encouraging at the same time.

Dan, you said, “predestination would seem to make it impossible for a person to become one of God’s chosen.” Well let’s think about it. If God did His choosing before the foundation of the world, and the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, meaning He will not change His mind or go back on His promise of eternal life, that He promised before the world began, then you are exactly right in saying it is impossible for a person to become one of God’s chosen. Just look at the grammar of your sentence. Chosen is past tense, become is future tense. You can’t do something in the future to affect something in the past. This being true, it makes me wonder why any of these questions have ever come up. The idea that you can choose in the present or future to be something in the past isn’t even possible so how is it that anyone has been led to believe this lie?

You asked, “What’s love got to do with it?” Everything. Heaven is not a reward; for that gives the idea it is earned or based on good works. Heaven and eternal life are an inheritance, which is legally by relationship. Think again about who can receive an inheritance. You must be related by blood, chosen by adoption, or named in writing. God doesn’t do anything halfheartedly and left nothing to chance. He washed us in the blood of His only Son, chose us as His adopted children, and wrote our names in the Lamb’s book of life. I personally have never heard of a single case where a man has died and the world has judged him unfair because he didn’t divide up his riches with everyone he ever knew or heard of. Why do we expect God to at least offer everyone his riches, and who in their right mind would turn down such an offer? More ridiculous ideas that Satan has planted as tares among the wheat. God has a right to do as he pleases with his own and who are we to question Him?

I would also like to address this idea of futility. Let’s be honest here, if what you are doing is trying to work your way into heaven, find a way to become God’s child, you might as well say like Nicodemus, can a man born, enter the second time into his mother’s womb? No, he cannot, and no you cannot do something now to affect God’s choice in the past. So why do we follow Christ, why do we repent of our sinful ways? The if-then texts of the Bible are not in order to become children of God, but are to His children on how to receive blessings in this life. They are not easy and so all of His children will not choose to walk with Him here in this life. No more so than our natural children choose to follow our instructions all the time either. What do we do? We chastise them, correct them, try to redirect them, sometimes we simply let them suffer the natural consequences of their own choices. I may be using a poor example here because in this sin-cursed world there are parents, who have disowned their children, but I think it should be clear that Christ is not that parent. He is the parent of the prodigal son who will rejoice more over a repentant son’s return than over the one who never left. He doesn’t disown His children and further comforted us with the fact that it was impossible for Him to lose one of His own. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. So God’s love is everything to us. It is the assurance that we are His. Being able to see Him, to learn of Him, feeling His presence in our lives, rejoicing with Him; are all assurances that our names are written in His book. Is it futile for you to do those things that please your earthly father or mother? Is it futile to do those things that please your wife or child or friend? Why do we do anything but what we want to and what pleases us?

I think you can answer those questions for yourself because truly they are personal to each individual. I think it is the different levels of trying to please God that make us question our own salvation and that of others. We are not perfect, we will not do the right thing all the time. The beauty of God’s love is that He loves us anyway. He already shed His blood for us. Do you think He will let our mistake now, nullify that sacrifice? Nothing can separate us from His love!

These things are true for God’s people whom He died for. If you try to apply the same idea to everyone on earth you cannot reconcile it. To say He died for everyone, He won’t lose one of His, but some that He died for will go to Hell, now that is a contradiction and that is an impossibility. I ask you to go back and look at the scriptures. John 3:16 does not say whosoever will, talking about something you will do in the future and giving you the reward of eternal life if you do it. It is simply stating the fact that all those that already believe do not have to worry about perishing because they already have eternal life. It is a comfort and assurance text.
Here is another whosoever text that also gets misapplied.
“And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.” Luke12:10

If you take this text alone you can try to make it look like there is something you can do to be kept out of Heaven; and so the logic that follows that idea is that by not doing it you can make sure you will go to heaven; which opens the door for there being other works you can do to get into heaven. This sounds like those Pharisees again adding to the laws of God and putting conditions on our behavior to scare us into doing everything they say.

If we remember the text that says that to those he quickened (gave life to), all their trespasses were forgiven, and then if blaspheming the Holy Ghost is the unforgivable sin, then it should be logical to assume that those he quickened will not blaspheme the Holy Ghost. I think that according to scripture, it is also logical to think that those he quickened can’t commit such an act. And so I will give you the following scripture in hopes that it will bring you much comfort from many of the questions and ideas you shared.

1 John Chapter Three
“1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

May God bless us all with wisdom, truth, and discernment and give us much comfort until His return.
Anne

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Jack Wellman January 13, 2015 at 7:03 am

This is so great Anne. I believe what you said is spot on that not all Scripture is for us. Maybe I could put it this way….all Scripture is written for us but not all Scripture is written to us. The say it this way; some verses are prescriptive (e.g. John 3:16) but some are descriptive (Lev 1:1-12) so it’s important to know the difference. Yes, God alone can change the heart (Prov 21:1) and I believe that even the prodigal son came to himself but it was not of himself, if this makes sense, but he still had to walk back to his father. The things we don’t understand completely or can’t wrap our minds around remind me of this verse in Duet 29:29 (both prescriptive and descriptive of God for us) “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” It is none of my business trying to uncover what God has covered from our eyes.

Thanks Anne.

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Dan January 13, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Thanks Anne and Jack for addressing my questions and concerns, it certainly helps to get a fresh perspective. It makes sense that whomever God did predestine, becomes a work of God (sort-a-speak). The apostle Paul is a good example of that, he was bad but God spun him around.

I’m still not clear about where free-will comes into it? I guess if God chooses you as one of His own, free-will kinda goes out the window? But what of those who aren’t predestined? Can they get into God’s good grace? If “whomsoever believeth” (John 3:16) is past tense, can a
non-predestinated person believe? Or is believe given by God and not a personal choice? Are there non-believing good hearted people?

I essentially can’t grasp the concept of no choice. If God predetermined everything, then what’s the point of this experiment in the flesh? If a lost soul can’t choose redemption because his fate was predetermined before he was born, then why did Christ entice people to come to him?

If those on the predestined list only qualify, then life for all others is pointless. And why wouldn’t God skip all this and just save who He predetermined to save and kill the rest? That’s the exercise in futility I was talking about, the outcome being set in stone would seem to eliminate any hope for those who have no choice.

I better stop, I’m confusing myself again. :)

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Jack Wellman January 13, 2015 at 2:59 pm

hey, Dan…welcome to the club. I get headaches from trying to figure these things out…thankfully, the things easiest to figure out are the most important things, eh? e.g. John 3:16, Act 4:12, Rom 10:9-13…right? Thanks Dan for your interest in the deep (and I mean DEEP) things of God! LOL :-)

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Moses March 11, 2015 at 9:15 am

CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!!
Proponents of predestination quote so many verses and lengthy arguments to support their position but ignore verses that support free will, then comes the other group with lengthy arguments and verses that only support free will, then at some point the two groups merge and become one thing but still holding on to their position and finally some people are crossing over.

My question is, does free will contradict predestination? If it does, then the scriptures are not true and Jesus did not happen.

Anne, why is God a God of justice?
Can you also explain the parable of the sower?

Thanks.

Anne January 13, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Thanks, Dan and Jack, for your responses.

Dan, I just have one question that maybe could help you put this to rest. Where in the scriptures do you find this freewill you are asking about?

I contend that this is an idea of Satan supplanted to cause confusion for God’s people and has no scriptural basis whatsoever. Whenever I look up freewill, it is only mentioned in connection with men being able to give freely above all that is required. One example is the Old Testament tithe was ten percent but the freewill offering was anything you freely gave above that. It is easy for me to wrap my mind around God giving me the freedom to choose to do more good than He asked, but not giving me the freedom to do the things that would condemn me to hell. isn’t that what makes Him a Savior, that He is able to save me from even myself? Don’t we as parents keep our children in a fence to keep them from death by motor vehicle? In a stroller or carseat? Why do we label God as unfair and unreasonable if He does what any good and loving parent would do for their child?

I will have to say again that it is this false teaching that has so permeated the Christian world that we can’t even allow God to be reasonable and logical to care for His own, love His own, and only be responsible for His own.

I will tell you that Matthew Chapter 13, the parable of the tares and the wheat is what ultimately led to my comfort, security, and assurance of these truths. When He explained the parable it became very clear to me, that not everyone on earth was put here by Christ. Now there is a question we could stumble around and never find the answer to, but again, we don’t need to know the details of the devil and his children. The scriptures give us enough information to know what to look out for in avoiding the snares of the devil, but no more than is necessary. What we need most is the comfort and assurance that Christ has secured His people and we do not have to worry about our eternal destiny.

Dan, you asked, “why did Christ entice people to come to Him?” I am a parent and God is my Father and so I always think of things in parenting terms so forgive me if it seems overused, but again, why do we as parents, entice our children to stand up and walk across the room to us? Why do we entice them to eat their vegetables and avoid too many sweets? The list could go on and on, but the answer is, for our own good. Father truly does know best!

( As a side note, a man who was enticing someone else’s children to come to him would be considered a kidnapper and not a Father. Just a fleeting thought.)

I guess what I am trying to get across is that we have a loving Father who can only give good gifts to His children. He instructs us through His Word in how to behave ourselves, tells what He has prepared for our inheritance, what blessings we will receive if we follow His commandments and what consequences there will be for disobeying Him. You might also think of a Father with many children. All that are His, will receive the inheritance, but not all will follow in His footsteps and be just like Him. I believe that is where we have any will to choose anything. We have a will to choose the path we will take in this life. Children are not in the habit of getting to choose their inheritance on Earth, so why do we think we should be allowed to in God’s Kingdom?

In thinking about why we are here on this earth, and why didn’t God just take us directly to heaven and put the rest in Hell to begin with? These are only my thoughts on the subject mind you, but it seems logical and reasonable to me. When God placed Adam and Eve in the midst of the garden they had no knowledge of good and evil and had complete fellowship with God. They walked with Him, talked with Him, enjoyed all the good that He had provided, were not ashamed, were at complete peace, it was a perfect relationship they could share. But once they exercised their own will to disobey God and had knowledge of good and evil so that they were ashamed and hid from God, that perfect fellowship was broken. Furthermore even their mortal bodies began to die. In His providence, God immediately removed them from the tree of life, to ensure that they would not eat of it and become immortal in their corrupt sin condition. God was protecting them until Jesus would come and be the perfect sacrifice that could allow them to have a changed glorious body for eternity. Now that they no longer had that peaceful and wonderful fellowship with God, He had to make other ways to commune with them. Also they now knew that they could disobey God, (just like our children discover they can ignore our commands,) and were enticed by their own lusts and fleshly desires. If I had to answer why we are here, I would have to think, that just like any children, we have to be raised up to learn our lessons and most of the time we fight against out parents and choose to learn the hard way. But God is the ultimate, loving, and longsuffering parent. Furthermore, unlike natural earthly parents, He has the power to save us from every sin that doeth so easily beset us. To me that is good news!

As for the people on Earth that are not His chosen, are not those He predestinated, this is where Matthew 13 comes in to help me reconcile the scriptures. I would think, God’s own inspired Word would explain it better than I can. I think He explains clearly why He lets us remain here until the end of time.

“24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:24-30;34-43

I don’t know how to make it any plainer that all people on earth are not the children of the King and so the scriptures are not an invitation to all of mankind. Jack, I am not sure exactly what you meant by prescriptive, but I like that word because it conveys the idea of a prescription that we all know is for someone specific and only for that specific person. I think this is a great description of how the scriptures are for God’s people only. If we understand this, then it is easy to reconcile how all (who they are written for) is all and still doesn’t mean any others can be included. The parable above also lets me rest in peace that even though I can’t distinguish the difference between tares and wheat, God can. And God in His wisdom and mercy is letting me grow up to prove by my fruit Whose I am. And He won’t allow anyone to uproot me until the time of the harvest when I am fully grown up!

Thank-you Jack and Dan for the humbleness and kindness you exhibit in this discussion as we all share our thoughts and ideas. it is refreshing, encouraging, and causes me to search the scriptures daily, to see if these things be so. Thank-you for once again stirring my mind to think on Christ and what He has done for me, and not be so focused on this world.

May God richly bless you always and in all things.
Anne

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Jack Wellman January 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Thanks Anne…yes prescriptive is like a prescription written by a doctor for us…like John 3:16 is for us but Lev 1:1-2 is descriptive…describing the requirements for Israel how they should be bringing animal sacrifices. This is descriptive to Israel but not prescriptive for us, although this is written “to” us but it isn’t written “for” in the direct sense. It does foreshadow of course Christ’s coming sufficient sacrifice, once and for all for all time. Thanks friend for all you do…and to Dan too. I do know that God never, ever forces His will on anyone. That I do know for sure.

Dan January 13, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Your probably right, I don’t think “free will” is in the scriptures Anne, but where’s there’s a choice, I believe freewill is implied. For instance, your example of A&E making a choice to be disobedient. God clearly allowed them to decide whether or not to eat of the forbidden tree. When we make decisions, aren’t we exercising freewill, or at least free choice?

And yes, Jesus inspired people to come to him just as a parent would with their own child, but the difference is that a parent hasn’t predetermined to condemn one child while rewarding the other. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

I think the tares are those who outright reject God. That’s why they are tares and not wheat. Otherwise, God intentionally made some people bad and others good, and I don’t think a righteous God would do that. The bible says that God is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). So why would He create souls for the sole purpose of killing them?

I guess I just prefer to think that everyone can make an individual choice for Christ. While God did predestine some for a specific purpose, and it is He who does the choosing, I hope that I have the same opportunity that one of His Elect has.

Does God create people who automatically love Him, or does love emanate from within ones own heart? I prefer the latter, because it would otherwise be a cold existence. Thanks again to both of you for enlightening me on many points that hadn’t previously considered. I guess I’m really just trying to figure out whether I’m one of those who are in or if I’m out. A sort of; “What’s my destiny Mama” (Forest Gump) :)

Moses March 11, 2015 at 9:35 am

JOHN 12:47
“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48″He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

LUKE 10:16
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

JOHN 3:14
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

NUMBERS 21:9
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” 9And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

ISAIAH 45:22
Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.

My advice to you all is- Let God be God. Even as you read verses that support predestination, don’t forget that it’s because of free will that our lord Jesus came. It’s not only about seeking God. People are seeking God in the wrong places, or the wrong God, some don’t even put an effort on seeking God (but will make it).

Think about it.

Pst Clyde Paul March 26, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Thank you for your most interesting article. I believe that as you rightly stated, Predestination cannot be comprehended by our finite minds. I do however want to add a note for your consideration. I believe that FREEWILL doesnot exist rather Freedom of Choice. Allow me to explain – Freewill is merely determined or suggested by your nature of which you have no control. Example – There is an expensive car for sale – you know that you cannot afford it but your nature will cause you to gravitate toward the purchase. Here is where Freedom of Choice comes in – You can either purchase the car and be burdened with debt or walk away. Hence the freewill is will not affect the result but freedom of choice will. Bless you

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Jack Wellman March 26, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Great analogy pastor. Well said. It does take some supreme effort in even trying to stretch the human mind to its full capacity to even get a sliver of the infinite mind of God. Thank you so much sir.

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Jack Wellman August 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Thank you Deborah. I think Doug may be long gone (even though I hope he is not). Evangelic Angel said something that is very true. He wrote “the answers could be something beyond what our brains are simply capable of comprehending” which is very, very true and is spot on the mark of truth. As I wrote to him or her, whoever will be saved can make that choice but to not choose to “follow a Creator” will surely end in judgment but that is your choice. We are still responsible for our own sins and choices and that is why I chose to trust in Jesus. No choice is still a choice to reject God and His Son, the only way to be saved (Acts 4:12) from His wrath (John 3:36; Rev 20:11-15).

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Deborah August 2, 2014 at 9:25 am

Thank you, Jack. I agree. :)
I don’t think my many Calvinist friend will ever understand my leaving Calvinism, but it’s okay.

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Anne August 9, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Deborah, and anyone else interested; I just read a book by Elder Harold Hunt, “The Lost History of Calvinism,” and it explained so much! For years I have discussed the doctrines of the scripture and had people tell me I sounded like a Calvinist, but yet I knew I was not. I however could not explain the difference or why I was not. Now I clearly understand the difference, but even more important to me personally is that I found out I did indeed grow up in the Calvinist world, but by God’s mercy and grace, I was brought to the truth. Truth has most certainly set me free! Also this idea several have spoken about, saying we can not comprehend or wrap our minds around the seeming contradiction of both predestination and free will, yet thinking both are taught in the scriptures, so they must be true. Well, truth is most definitely true, and when you find it, there is no problem wrapping around it and embracing it. If we can just get our own ideas as well as the traditions and customs of men out of our heads and stop letting others help us misunderstand, then God’s Word will enlighten us with all we need, to have joy, peace, comfort, and rest in Christ, His finished work, and His redemptive power.

If you get a chance to read Elder Hunt’s book I feel certain it will help you understand the confusing ideas, not just from John, Calvin and his followers, but from back much further to Augustine and even those alive in Jesus’s day, have propagated to such a degree as too cause the confusion and strife we wee and feel today. May the Lord richly bless you and may you find the comfort of the scriptures to guide you as a shining light set upon a hill. Matthew 5.

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Deborah August 10, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Anne,

I find comfort in Christ alone.

I was raised in Calvinism, I have read and delighted in John Piper’s longest and deepest books (The Pleasures of God, Desiring God, etc.), part of Calvin’s Institutes, much of R.C. Sproul’s literature/CD’s, several of Tim Keller’s books, all the Reformed creeds and confessions and catechisms, and much more. Suffice it to say I “get” Calvinism.

To summarize, I don’t find comfort in John Calvin or any other human being’s ideas.

I find comfort in a Savior crying on His knees on the steps of the Temple to His people that He would have gathered them together like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but THEY were NOT WILLING. It doesn’t say, “but GOD was not willing.” It says, “but you were not willing.”
Is Jesus the exact representation of the Father, or not? The Bible clearly says so. If Jesus pleaded and cried over His lost Jewish people for their unwillingness to repent, I may safely take it that that is how God in all the Trinity also feels about it. And if He feels that way about it, He didn’t predestine their unwillingness to follow before the creation of the world.

So yes, I take comfort in the Scriptures because they reveal a God who has done everything possible to gather up every soul who would believe so that we may live together eternally in the love relationship that God has shared within His being from all eternity. He has spoken through His final Word — the Son — and He has done everything possible to save every soul on this earth. He has spoken and He has done it. We have only to accept the free gift. Yet, some reject this gift because they’d rather choose sin than God. And God grieves over this. That is what the Scriptures reveal. Nothing a mere man like John Calvin, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Augustine, Jonathan Edwards, or anybody else could convince me otherwise.

This is my last post.

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Anne August 11, 2014 at 12:38 am

Deborah,

From your reply, I feel I was very unclear. I did not suggest you read the book to understand Calvinism or Augustine either. The book helped me to understand better where their ideas came from but the joy was in the scriptural truths that refuted Calvinism. I am very sorry for misrepresenting and please don’t let the title fool you. It is not a support of Calvin or Augustine but to me it was a delight in understanding why I am not a Calvinist. Elder Hunt is not a Calvinist either, which is why he thought it was important for people to have a clear understanding of the deceptions behind many of todays false teachings.

But however you have gotten to where you are today, it would appear that you have exchanged one false doctrine for another. If God has truly done EVERYTHING possible to save every soul on this earth, then all would be saved. God cannot fail. Since we know everyone is not going to heaven, then it is not possible that Christ died for everyone. If He died for you, you SHALL be with Him. God said He would not lose one. So if anyone goes to Hell, they can not be one that Christ died for. We must rightly divide for no scripture refutes another. They will harmonize with each other if we put them in proper context and meaning.

Deborah, please keep searching diligently, that you be not deceived and can finally rejoice in the truth that shall set you free. My prayers are with you. May God richly bless you.

Anne

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Pius Ogola August 12, 2014 at 9:31 am

Is this the same Anne who argued in this very post on the side of calvinism and the authority of KJV 1611 back in 2012 or 2013????? Or its another Anne?

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Anne August 12, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Pius Ogola,

I am the very same Anne I was then, just hopefully a little wiser. It appears that you too have spent much time in diligently study of God’s Word. I read your other recent posts and I thank-you very much for the defining of “whosoever.” I have tried to explain that one before, but you gave me a more intelligent way to show the truth. I hope you are doing well and the Lord continues to bless you.

Anne

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Pius Ogola August 18, 2014 at 9:01 am

Oh I see, good to know. AM fine, yes, done more and more reading, watched many debates on youtube, from Revelation TV [Its a UK Christian TV]. I used to argue more on the side of the so called Freewill [libertarian] before i slowly by slowly realized that it was a heretical church tradition. I’ve actually realized most of the beliefs i’ve held have always been unscriptural, like altar calls, disregard for sola scriptura etc. Here in Africa, Nairobi, pentecostalism and charismaticism have been taken to another alarming level, making heresies easily enter the church. Anyway, thats that! Glad tidings to you.

Pius.

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Jack Wellman January 12, 2015 at 9:17 am

If you don’t believe in predestination Dan, you’d have to rip out Ephesians chapter 1 and Romans chapter 9. The “whosoever” will believe in John 3:16 is free will isn’t it? By the way, the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, with Through the Bible, has been one of the greatest teacher and Bible scholars of all time said that no human can reconcile free will and predestination so you can’t expect us to give anyone a good understanding of what is from the mind of God. Those who repent are granted repentance by God (2 Tim 2:25). They crucified Jesus by a free will choice but Jesus was appointed unto this destiny for our sake. They are still responsible for their actions, just like Judas was and at the same time he was prophesied as the man of perdition.

It is impossible for us to fully understand the dynamics of a holy God molding and shaping the will of man. Scripture is clear that God knows the future (Matthew 6:8; Psalm 139:1-4) and has total sovereign control over all things (Colossians 1:16-17; Daniel 4:35). The Bible also says that we must choose God or be eternally separated from Him. We are held responsible for our actions (Romans 3:19; 6:23; 9:19-21). How these facts work together is impossible for a finite mind to comprehend (Romans 11:33-36).

People can take one of two extremes in regard to this question. Some emphasize the sovereignty of God to the point that human beings are little more than robots simply doing what they have been sovereignly programmed to do. Others emphasize free will to the point of God not having complete control and/or knowledge of all things. Neither of these positions is biblical. The truth is that God does not violate our wills by choosing us and redeeming us. Rather, He changes our hearts so that our wills choose Him. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19), and “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16).

What are we to do then? First, we are to trust in the Lord, knowing that He is in control (Proverbs 3:5-6). God’s sovereignty is supposed to be a comfort to us, not an issue to be concerned about or debate over. Second, we are to live our lives making wise decisions in accordance with God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:5). There will be no excuses before God for why we chose to disobey Him. We will have no one to blame but ourselves for our sin. Last but not least, we are to worship the Lord, praising Him that He is so wonderful, infinite, powerful, full of grace and mercy—and sovereign.

The whosoever will that will come to Christ (John 3:16) is true just as is “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:44). Jesus said “you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you” (John 15:16) but so is “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36a). Which is true? Both are. How can we reconcile them? God alone knows this. The finite mind cannot ever fully know the infinite mind. True?

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Jack Wellman March 11, 2015 at 9:18 am

Thank you Moses. Do we have free will? Yes. Does God predestine those who will be saved? Yes. Are they opposed to one another? I don’t think so. Both are true and just because I don’t understand both doesn’t mean that they’re not true. I trust God and believe God and know that my tiny little finite brain cannot comprehend the infinite mind of God and that is as it should be because He is God.

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