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 gift 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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{ 123 comments… read them below or add one }

Damon August 9, 2011 at 8:31 am

Good article. Just one edit as I was looking up the verses you reference: Jeremiah 1:4 should be Jeremiah 1:4-5. I appreciated the way you explain man’s will as free even in subjection to God’s sovereignty. I’m not sure it fully addresses the problem of how can God know the future and our will still be free, but it’s a good basic understanding. Martin Luther offers some more insight his book “Bondage of the Will.” God bless!

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Peter January 25, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Free will, the free will God has given if to say so is to freely choose to follow Him, and not to feel forced. He loves a cheerful giver and also a cheerful servant. Free will is also to the unbeliever and even so he is told to choose life. However, if one has choosen life,to follow Christ, why would they go believing they still have the free will to sin. God forbid; and it means that person did not fully surrendered to Christ. lets dont mixup God’s choice for us with what we want to do. in the garden of Eden, God told man of every tree he may freely eat. Then He command him not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good & evil. Deuteronomy 30:19 says to choose life” ( inspite of what is on the table) We dont serve a God who brought you out of sin and then give you a choose to sin again. James 4:17 to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. I am yet to see a scripture that God say you have a free will to serve Him and to serve the Devil. God alway say choose life. I hope this helped some one to understand that once you choose Christ thats it. Do not entertain the thoughts of having a free will to sin again because you will. PA

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Jack August 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Damon, thank you my friend. You are spot on the mark. I apologize. Forgive my mistake. Thank you also for visiting the site. It is such a pleasure to have you here. Thank you. This is quite a conundrum for the finite mind indeed. I don’t think one small article will solve it all, you are right. I appreciate your keen eye too my friend.

I once told my congregation that part of my sermon today would be perfect. The part where I read out of the Bible. LOL

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Gabe October 26, 2011 at 10:37 am

please answer if free will and predestination go parallel then what about John 15:16 which says that He chose us and we didn’t choose Him. And also 2 Tim 1:9 witch says He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. How can they run parallel it makes it really clear that they can’t run parallel. If you believe the Bible then you would believe John 15:16 that says WE DIDN’T CHOSE HIM. So we don’t have free will according to the Bible. I don’t know if any verses that say we have free will or we chose him. There are many verses that talk about Him choosing us, the Bible makes it very clear.

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Jack October 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Hello Gabe, and thank you for your comment. I did not say anywhere in my article that we chose Him. Let me say that I am feeling that you have no free will and that no one alive or dead has or has ever had free will? I do not mean that free will that we have means that we are not chosen or that He does not save us…we have free will to be able to obey or disobey…we can be saved and still live in sin but God will discipline every child of His. God has elected us, predestined us, but we still have choices to make but this free will is not that we are free to choose or reject our election. The free will I speak of are non-salvation issues? Does this make sense? For example:

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” I know Christians, even pastors, who battle pornography, some Christians who smoke pot, but they battle these addictions and have free will to either get help and quit or keep falling into these sins. If the are the elect of God, then God certainly called them and they are NOT free to not have come to faith in Christ. See what I mean?

John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

Gen 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are FREE to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 “in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 “But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 “I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong [your] days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”

The church at Corinth that Paul wrote too were Christians yet they freely made some bad choices: Divisions in Corinth (1:10-4:21), Immorality in Corinth (5:1- 6:20), Difficulties in Corinth (7:1- 14:40), Doctrine of Resurrection Errors (15:1- 58) and the Closing (16:1-24).

Problems in the Corinth church where they were making some bad decisions and sinning, yet were the elect and predestined to be saved, but they still freely willed to make some poor decisions. The church was:

1. Riddled with problems involving interpersonal conflicts and ethical improprieties

2. Some of his members were at each others throats claiming spiritual superiority over one another and trying to establish it through ecstatic acts during the course of worship services

3. Different members of the community would speak prophecies and make proclamations in languages that no one else (including themselves) knew, trying to surpass one another in demonstrating their abilities to speak in divinely inspired tongues.

4. One-upmanship had evidently manifested itself outside the worship service as well. Some people had grown embittered enough to take others to court (over what, we are not told).

5. In addition, the personal conduct of community members was not at all what Paul had in mine when he led them away from what he viewed as their degenerate pasts into the church of Christ.

6. Periodic community meals: some of the men in the congregation had been frequenting prostitutes and didn’t see why this should be a problem & one of them was sleeping with his stepmother.

This was the community that Paul addressed as the “saints who are in Corinth” (1:2) but they had free will to be living carnally. Does this make sense? Thank you Gabe. I should have included this in the article. God bless you sir and thank you for your comment and question.

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Gabe October 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm

thank you for your answer

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Jack October 26, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Gabe, your are most welcome and thank you for visiting the site and for your very important comment and question. In hindsight, I wish I had included more of the issue you brought up sir in the article…I am most appreciative of those who hunger for the Word of God and trying to refute error when they find it. I am so thankful for godly people like you who want to protect the veracity of the Bible. As a pastor, the only part of my sermons are when I read out of the Bible. 🙂 May God richly bless your walk with Him in this life.

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Jack October 26, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Oppss…I should say the only “perfect parts of my sermons are when I read out of the Bible!”

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Mike Tidswell February 23, 2012 at 6:34 am

In your article entitled “Predestination vs Freewill”, how is God’s will accomplished in one who rejects the “free gift of His grace” (forgivness, salvation)?

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Jack February 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Thank you Mike for visiting us and for your comment. A person who rejects God’s grace (salvation) was known beforehand by God and all things that happen to those who place their faith in Christ were also known by God.

Romans 8:28-29 says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” By this statement of fact then God also foreknew who was not predestined, who was not to be called, those who were not to be justified, and those who would not be glorified. In short, He knew those would would be justified and those who would not be. God has all knowledge of all things thru all time and is not limited by space and time.

I hope this helped Mike.

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Preston May 30, 2012 at 1:47 am

I am sincerely confused. If we are predestined what is the point of witnessing and spreading the Gospel throughout the corners of the earth through missions? Why do I pray for my wife and for God to rescue her from a carnal lifestyle if she is predestine to remain on the path she is or change by divine intervention? Why do I pray for anyone or for God’s help with anything? I desperately want to understand. Not to argue with God but I want to understand Him as to honor His will. The way I understand it at this point is that it doesn’t matter what me or anyone else does, the decision for heaven or hell has been made. I know I cant be saved by MY works alone but I still must actively and knowingly accept Christ, right? So am I accepting Christ or is He me? Is there hope for my wife or is she doomed?

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Jack Wellman May 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Preston, join the club. Trying to figure God out is impossible and that is why He is God. Let me say that God also predestined us to be witnesses of the Gospel so we must follow Jesus’ imperative command, given 5 times in the Great Commission. Predestination does not negate our obligation to share the gospel even our witnessing is preordained and predestined, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10).

Did not someone witness to you? They did to me. This was part of God’s predestinated plan for us and so we fit right into His plan. We still have free will and God does not force anyone into heaven or send anyone to hell (the send themselves there by their decisions). We are not really accepting Jesus nor is He us…we are placing our faith and trust in Him as our Lord and as our Savior to redeem us from the wrath of God and His judgment. Ephesians 1 & 2 cover much of the predestination but to tell you that it is completely understood by me is to put God in a box where I can figure out all of the contents. I surely can not.

Your wife is not doomed or saved by what we hope…she must place her faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be saved. That is her decision but God knows whether she will or won’t. So much of God’s redemptive plan is a mystery but this doesn’t make it any less untrue. Paul said that “we see through a glass darkly” right now but someday we will see more clearly. Sorry if I didn’t answer to your satisfaction. Its a difficult thing to explain. You can pray and witness to your wife and love her as Christ loves the church. Paul said in 1 Cor 7:16, “How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” The only thing we husbands of unsaved wives can do is to pray for their salvation and to love them like Jesus does us.

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Michael September 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Preston,

You have just hit one of the major obstacles in what I believe is an improper view of predestination (that God forces some to be saved and some to be damned).

Those who espouse the view dismiss this question as “we can’t understand God”. And yes, that statement is indeed true. We cannot ever fully understand the triune God who created this universe, is Omni-potent, omni-present, all-knowing, and so much more! Praise be to Him alone!

But, if we look to Scripture, do we serve a God who is illogical? A God who calls us to do things without meaning or purpose? I don’t see that in Biblical context. Could it be that we simply don’t understand yet, but will in times to come? Perhaps..yet if we have no choice whatsoever in our salvation, understanding the urgent command to preach the gospel to all nations does appear quite hollow.

I would suggest there is a better way to understand the doctrine of predestination. A way that incorporates verses like “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That WHOSOEVER BELIVES in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Or “God is not willing that ANY should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9).

Let’s not form our theology without considering the verses about God calling us though! By no means should we think this salvation is of our own doing — for that is just as contradictory to the Bible as the idea that God created immortal people in His image specifically for the purpose of damning them to the eternal fires of Hell (e.g. did not “elect them to salvation”).

But if we look to the whole of scripture, we must come to a proper understanding that God calls and we respond. Further, God has given us the freedom to choose His gift or to reject His gift (ref Mat 22 and ponder how it relates to this doctrinal question). His calling is, at least partly, precipitated through the preaching of the gospel by His Children (Rom 10:14).

Look to the whole of scripture and these vexing questions become non-issues. Only when we pick certain passages to form a half-baked theology do we struggle so. Incorporate all of the Scriptural teaching on the subject and answers are not only easier, they make more sense and do not defy logic.

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Preston May 30, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Jack,
Thank you for your timely, thoughtful and honest response. I guess point being; don’t over think it because people are incapable of understanding God. I needed reminding… Put your faith in Him and that’s it. Unfortunately, sometimes the most basic things escape us in times of trial.

On a side note, what is your opinion of John Macarthur? Is he biblically sound? Thanks again.

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Jack Wellman May 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Thank you Preston. I believe I would put John MacArthur among the most solid, theologically sound teachers/pastors there are out there. I put him in the company of R.C.Sproul, Charles Stanley, Chip Ingram, James McDonald, Irwin Lutzer, Charles Swindoll, Adrian Rogers, and Jack Graham. These are about as solid as they come to whom I can not hold a candle next to Preston. Thank you sir.

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R. Aquino August 26, 2012 at 7:49 am

Pastor how about C. Spurgeon and also John Piper are they not solid biblical teachers/pastors?

Also, correct me if I am wrong; I see the reason why we have to evangelize is to look for those who are lost. And the lost souls that God is telling us, for my view to be truthfully parallel, are those souls which He sees before the foundations of the world that will say YES/AMEN to the Gospel when it is being preached. So when we preached the Gospel and the person say YES to the Gospel then this is just, say, CONFIRMATION that he is one of those were ELECTED/PREDESTINED/CALLED, etc. I also believe that there are souls which will not be SAVED no matter how hard and how many times the Gospel has been preached to him because he is not really the lost soul seen by God before the foundation of the world that will say YES to the Gospel. Please comment. God bless!

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Jack Wellman August 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I am with you on this post my friend. You are right, no matter how hard we try, some will simply reject the faith and there is not anything that we can do to change it…but we don’t know who they are so we must try nonetheless…and it is not our responsibility to save them but it is their response to His ability but it is our responsibility to tell them. Thanks friend.

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R. Aquino August 27, 2012 at 5:45 am

Thanks and more blessings to you and your family. God bless!

Marek Polak October 10, 2012 at 4:25 am

Dear Jack, I believe it is not up to us in sense that we have to try hard to convince someone to have faith. I believe it should be the work of Holy Ghost/God/Jesus to make that particular person alive/come out of grave/darkness. Because He chooses whom He gives life to. John 5:21. I kinda believe that we think we do our own will but in fact we do His will to fulfill His plans. Can you comment on that? I liked your article and I appreciate your effort to educate people in this particular issue. Blessings in Christ

Jack Wellman October 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Good point Marek. I can not fully explain everything about God’s sovereignty because the finite can not explain the infinite. I agree that we must have some type of effort in our salvation but that is only because the Holy Spirit is working in us. Thanks.

Gabe May 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I have a question about something that often get preached and is’t kind of on this topic. Did Jesus really die for all or only the elect? It gets taught all the time that Jesus died for all and you only have to accept it. I can’t remember exactly where it say it buy somewhere in the Bible it says that Jesus died for “many” not all! It annoys me to hear this taught because the Bible say different than what I’m hearing. Please let me know what you think, and answer!

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Jack Wellman May 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Thank you Gabe for your comment. I believe that Jesus died for those who place their trust in Him and have faith in His ability to forgive us. To say that He died for all people, saved and unsaved, it to impute His righteousness on them who reject Him. I am sorry to see that He did for all because that is universalism…and as you said rightly, as is in Matt. 26:28, “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” Many and not all. Gabe you are exactly right sir. You have a very good understanding Gabe and I agree that it is annoying because we ought not to add to what is strictly taught in the Bible. Good for you. You have such good discernment & I believe that is the Holy Spirit teaching you to rightly divide the Word of God sir. Well done. My compliments. I could use you in my Sunday school class as a teacher! You nailed it spot on the mark sir.

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Gabe May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Thank you for your answer again. I would defiantly agree with everything you said. Glad to see you know His word.
I probably would not be a good class teacher as I’m only 14 years old. Thanks to my dad(and God) for helping me understand everything I do.

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Jack Wellman May 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I am a father and grandfather Gabe and I would be so honored to have a son or grandson like you my young friend. Tell your father that a pastor thanks him for having such a wise and godly son at such a young age. If you are already this biblically wise, oh what a future you have for you. PS, I believe that if you did teach a class, even at your age, I would quote 1 Tim 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” I can see you going to seminary some day, God willing and father providing! LOL God bless you young man.

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Michael September 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Jack,

But your “I believe” seems to goes directly against Scripture at this point. The Bible does not say Jesus died for those who would accept Him. It does not say He died for the elect. Even if you go back to the Greek you will not find this…and Greek is surely specific enough in their language to get such an important point across (good grief, they have five different words for “love” just to be sure the correct meaning is communicated).

I will not insult you by listing the verses, but the Bible does say Jesus died for the sins of everybody throughout. It says that! The only way to make these verses say He died only for the elect is to twist the words in ways that do not make sense — that do not even follow the rules of logic. I submit that if a verse must be so twisted, it is being twisted because man is attempting to force an improper understanding on Truth rather than allowing Truth to form the proper understanding.

Further, the claim that saying Christ died for all is “universalism” is untrue. Universalism states that everybody will be saved — everyone. That is not Biblical. But Christ could have died for all, offering his gift to all, and have some reject the gift. Those who reject Christ will not be saved, period.

Since I appealed to logic for the verses that say Christ died for all, I must follow my own rules and explain Mat 26:28. His blood poured out for “many”. Well, there are a whole lot of people for whom Christ died. That would be many. No illogical leaps, no difficulty. This verse does not in any way contradict the idea that Christ offered the gift of salvation to all. Further, in context we are dealing with the establishment of communion here, something to be observed only be believers. Perhaps Christ chose His words very specifically, knowing not all would be saved and reflecting on the fact that this cup would be remembered only by those who believe on Him. Again, no illogical leaps, no twisting of words, and no contradiction with other scriptures.

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Tim June 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Jack,

There is certainly scripture to support the belief in predestination when referring to salvation however, nowhere in scripture does predestination refer to damnation. Of course you cannot have one without the other when referring to predestination. Therefore, if what you are saying is true, how do you account for a loving God that predestines His creations to eternal damnation? I believe there is much more scripture to support the belief in free will. Chuck Missler wrote an excellent article on this subject. He says “From the beginning of time, thinkers have puzzled over the paradox of fate vs. free will, or predestination vs. free choice. In theological terms, this leads to the struggle between Calvinism and Arminianism. As we explore this paradox, we find that examining the fruit of each position reveals that the River of Life seems to flow between these two extremes, and that once again, truth involves a careful balance.

At the heart of the controversies between Calvinism and Arminianism is the emphasis on the sovereignty of God by the Calvinists and on the sovereignty (free will) of man – or human responsibility – by the Arminians. Calvinism emphasizes that God is in total control of everything and that nothing can happen that He does not plan and direct, including man’s salvation. Arminianism teaches that man has free will and that God will never interrupt or take that free will away, and that God has obligated Himself to respect the free moral agency and capacity of free choice with which He created us.

Both doctrinal positions are reasonable and both have extensive Scriptures to back them up. Both are, in our opinion, both partially right and partially overextended. As Philip Schaff has put it, “Calvinism emphasized divine sovereignty and free grace; Arminianism emphasized human responsibility. The one restricts the saving grace to the elect; the other extends it to all men on the condition of faith. Both are right in what they assert; both are wrong in what they deny. If one important truth is pressed to the exclusion of another truth of equal importance, it becomes an error, and loses its hold upon the conscience. The Bible gives us a theology which is more human than Calvinism and more divine that Arminianism, and more Christian than either of them.”

Certainly, the Bible does teach that God is sovereign, and that believers are predestined and elected by God to spend eternity with Him. Nowhere, however, does the Bible ever associate election with damnation. Conversely, the Scriptures teach that God elects for salvation, but that unbelievers are in hell by their own choice. Every passage of the Bible that deals with election deals with it in the context of salvation, not damnation. No one is elect for hell. The only support for such a view is human logic, not Biblical revelation (which John Calvin did teach).

The concept of total depravity is consistent with Scripture, but the doctrine of limited atonement, that Jesus did not die for the sins of the whole world, is clearly contrary to Biblical teaching. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus died for everyone’s sins and that everyone is able to be saved if they will repent and turn to Christ. Limited atonement is a non-Biblical doctrine.

Election and predestination are Biblical doctrines. God knows everything and therefore He cannot be surprised by anything. He is beyond the constraints of mass, acceleration and gravity, therefore He is outside time. He knows, and has known from “eternity past,” who will exercise their free will to accept Him and who will reject Him. The former are “the elect” and the latter are the “non-elect.” Everyone who is not saved will have only himself to blame: God will not send anyone to hell, but many people will choose to go there by exercising their free will to reject Christ.

On the other hand, no one who is saved will be able to take any of the credit. Our salvation is entirely God’s work, and is based completely on the finished work of the Cross. We were dead in trespasses and sins, destined for hell, when God in His grace drew us to Himself, convinced us of our sin and our need for a Savior, and gave us the authority to call Jesus Lord. Is this grace, this wooing, this courtship, irresistible? No, we have free will and we can (and do) resist, even to the damnation of our souls, but God does everything short of making us automata (preprogrammed puppets) to draw us into His forever family.

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Jack Wellman June 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Thank you so much Tim. You are spot on about the fact that God doesn’t send anyone to hell. They go there by their freewill choice of rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 3:18).

If what you say is correct that Jesus died even for the lost, then they did not choose to accept the gift of eternal life. Since they reject this gift, then the gift is not taken and utilized. Therefore, He did not die for those who would not accept His gift but only those who would accept it. Of course everyone is able to be saved but not everyone of course will be saved. I know you are not speaking about universalism for I see the soundness of your beliefs square up with the Bible, but what I am saying is that Jesus died for everyone who would except this gift. His death was not necessary for any who would not receive it. We are not really that far apart. This is most difficult issue about reconciling freewill with predestination but they are not at odds with each other but really they are joined…one of the means and other of the ends (if you know what I am saying). Thank you sir.

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Shane June 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Hi Jack. I just found your post today on my lunch break. Thank you for your gracious facilitation of the discussion. I have an Arminian background but am worshipping now with a Calvinist-oriented congregation. Until recently, I had not spent a lot of time investigating the two “sides”. I’m trying to understand the Calvinist side.

If God “chooses” you and grants you faith, are you saved “before you know it,” so to speak?

I come from a very “point in time” oriented view of conversion, but have, over the years, come to see conversion more as a process than a point in time event. So if, for instance, one “responds” to God’s “irresistable” grace and “decides” through His enabling, to “confess Jesus is Lord” is it possible to “pinpoint” a moment in time when conversion “happens” based on the moment one “responds”? And/or does God sovereignly “convert” you and then at some point you “smell the coffee” and make your confession…though you are actually already saved?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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Jack Wellman June 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Shane, great questions which stretch my mind for sure as well as my biblical knowledge so here goes:

You asked, “If God “chooses” you and grants you faith, are you saved “before you know it,” so to speak?” No one is saved in my humble opinion until the moment that they place their faith in Christ Jesus. God knows that we will but we still have to make the movement to place our trust in Jesus to save us and that His supreme sacrifice is all sufficient. So, you are being drawn by God before we know the end result you could save (John 6:44) but we don’t know it until we see ourselves as a miserable wicked wretch of a sinner that needs to have the wrath of God removed from us by the propitiation that is found only thru Jesus’ sacrifice.

The 2nd part about God’s irresistible call is fully a work of God and His imparting of His Son is only done by the Holy Spirit. The Father calls, the Holy Spirit reveals Who Jesus is and that He is our only possible escape from God’s wrath. Conversion does come at the moment that one responds yes, but without God making the first move by sending the Holy Spirit we could not possibly know we are in need of a Savior. God the Holy Spirit does the converting and we become a renewed, regenerated creature in Christ (Rom 12:1-2).

We “smell the coffee” only after we have placed all of our trust in Jesus alone and that faith is a saving faith. This is so hard for me to wrap my mind around, even harder to explain. The only thing we bring are empty hands and hearts full of sin. Its like “He sought me, He caught me, He bought me, He taught me, what I ought be.” All “HE” and none of its me…except my placing of the faith but even that is a gift of God. Mysterious indeed. How awesome is our God and infinitely unknowable are all His ways. Is there clear as mud? LOL

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Shane June 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Thanks Jack.

John 20:22 states that, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said “receive the Holy Spirit.” The text doesn’t indicate that they asked for Him or made any effort or decision to receive the Spirit. He just breathed Him on them.

If we are truly dead in our sin, then (as many through the centuries have pointed out before me!) there is no way for us to believe or confess or accept or think or do anything. If God makes us “alive” so that we may “respond” then we would already be alive (born again?) before we respond and that our response becomes somewhat perfunctory … especially if one considers that we do not “save ourselves” in any way and that we are already “chosen” before the creation of the world.

It seems the alternative would be that God makes someone “alive” so they can “choose” but if they do not choose Him the he would make them “dead” again. (Following me?)

Ooooweee. At the end of the day I must rest on Deut 29:29 about the secret things belonging to God. A guy named Carl Medearis recently wrote a book called Speaking of Jesus. In it he does a wonderful job articulating the “simplicity” of following Jesus and not getting “caught up” in too much religion. So…I’ll for sure keep clinging to Jesus.

I have a seminary degree and was a full time preacher for several years before joining the company I’ve been with now for 22 years. I TRULY appreciate your thoughtful responses and, again, the way you are so kindly facilitating this discussion.

God’s blessings on you.

Shane

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Jack Wellman June 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Thank you Shane. I do not believe that “we would already be alive (born again?) before we respond” according to Ephesians 2:3-10 which states, ” All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly relams in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

So God made us alive, we became new creatures by God, and we are God’s workmanship. Shane, this is such a difficult concept that is highly abstract that I can’t truly wrap my mind around sir. I do know that it is God Who is responsible for giving us eternal life, while we were still dead in our sins and enemies of God. Ephesians one and two are just amazingly wonderful and leaves me wondering amazed. In all things, we do know that God had to take the initiative.

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Preston July 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm

I know this is off topic, however, an error is occurring on your “contact us” link which will not allow to send this message otherwise. I am eager to hear your opinion on this matter though…

I am looking for an ACCURATE version of the Bible to read in addition to my KJV (sometimes I find it difficult to flow when I read). How do you feel about the ESV or NRSV? Or are, in your opinion, is there better version for accurate readability?

Thank you.

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Jack Wellman July 11, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thank you Preston for letting us know. Have you tried again? Sometimes things go wrong. Please let us know when you try again and there is still a problem sir. I appreciate you telling us about the Contact problems.

Now, I believe the KJV is good but I use the ESV in Bible study but I also use the New King James Version (NKJV). If you like accuracy, try the NKJV or the ESV. I try to use several versions and in fact I had a Bible that had 5 translations in one book…it was awesome and perfect for studying the Bible. Thank you so much sir.

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carlos July 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm

GOD IS ALL KNOWING BUT I DON’T AGREE THE TEACHING OF PREDESTINATION. JOHN 3:16 FOR GOD SO LOVE THE WORLD THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE PERISHED BUT HAVE AN ETERNAL LIFE. TAKE NOTE THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES ONLY IN JESUS CHRIST WILL BE SAVED. IN THE FIRST PLACE IF THE PREDESTINATION TEACHING IS RIGHT ,THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST HAS NO MEANING AT ALL. GOD BLESS YOU.

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Jack Wellman July 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thank you Carlos. We have free will but God has said in His Word in Ephesians 1:4-5 “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.”

And further in Ephesians 1:11-12 it says “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 order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.”

Now which verses do you not agree with? It says in these 4 verses alone we have been predestined four times. You are not disagreeing with me but with the Word of God for this is not from me but from the Holy Bible. Are these verses not true?

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R. Aquino August 27, 2012 at 5:54 am

carlos,

John 3:16 will only be true to those who will believe. and those who will believe are those who were foreknew by God and were predestined/called/elected. these are written in the book of Romans and in Ephesians. Hope you can read those and try to pray to God so the Holy Spirit will reveal to you the fullnes of these verses. God bless!

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Andrew July 14, 2012 at 3:02 am

If God already knows our choices to accept or reject Jesus why doesn’t he kill the people who reject his son in childbirth? That way they would go to heaven wouldn’t they?

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Jack Wellman July 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Andrew, my problem with this is that why would God create a human being and then decide to kill them at childbirth? God still gives us freewill and gives every person ample opportunity to place their trust in Christ. God could have done this but then there would only be so few of us since Jesus said many are called but few are chosen and there would be scant few human beings on earth today.

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Damon July 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Andrew, I address this question specifically in a sermon I preached on 4/23/2012 on God’s sovereignty. You can find the entire series here, but the one you want is number 13: http://www.findyourcenterpoint.com/sermon-media/current-sermon-series/

Essentially, this is the best of all possible worlds. God, who knows all, knows this particular unfolding of history (Creation, Fall, Sin, Redemption, Glory) is better than any suggested possibility, including yours. You have to follow any possibility to its logical conclusion. Why would your scenario be any better? Why not let people not fall in the first place? But there are problems when you follow that logic as well. Bottom line, in this reality (redemption of a fallen humanity through Jesus) God BEST displays every aspect of who he is: sovereign, loving, just, merciful, righteous, etc.

Now, in our human nature, we may resist that, and think we know better, or we may not like the way God did things… but can you not see how that very attitude is rebellion itself? “I know better than you, God.” That kind of makes US God, doesn’t it?

I hope the sermon answers your questions. Feel free to listen any of them. It’s an awesome series (I mean the Truth Project, by Focus on the Family, which I follow. I’m not trying to be proud about my preaching. LOL).

God bless,
Damon

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Calvin July 17, 2012 at 6:04 am

I’m just a little bit confused about predestination. I understand that not all people will be saved, and we must still proclaim and spread His Word, because we don’t know who’ll be saved right? But let’s say on a given scenario I’m on America, and I have a desire to go to China, but God’s will for me is really to the Africa. Regardless of His will, I still choose to go to China. My question is, is going to China already “His Will”, because He already knows what I’m already going to pick? If that’s so, then can we assume that all the mistakes and faults that we made can be considered as God’s Will, since He already knows and has planned our future/lives? I really hope to hear from you Ptr Jack 😀

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Jack Wellman July 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Calvin, welcome to the club. It is an enigma to figure out exactly how free will and predestination fit together. I believe God knows that we will even make mistakes but uses these mistakes to His purpose and glory. I had a mistake once and went down to share the gospel with a person at an address but I had the wrong address. The thing is, this person was new to town and needed a church home and didn’t really know about the gospel in the fullness…so, my mistake led someone to the message of the gospel and he takes our lemons and makes lemonade out of it. Isn’t our God an awesome God? So yes, He knows that if you make a mistake, He will use your mistake for His purpose and His glory for that is one of our purposes to share the gospel…to glorify God. Does this help Calvin? Thank you sir.

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Calvin July 19, 2012 at 2:55 am

Thank you Pastor Jack! You’ve been a great help btw, I’m just a teen, sir! 🙂

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Jack Wellman July 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thank you Calvin. I wish we had more godly teens like you that are seeking to grow and thirst in the knowledge of GOd.

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SALLY July 22, 2012 at 12:19 am

I have read all the comments and found that there was still no clarity on predestination vs free free will. Alot of bible scriptures but simply put: If got already know are destination then why send his only begotten son to die for everyone who has and is already predestined??? Those that are going to heaven didnt need Jesus to die for them…God already decided that they would have eternal life and those that would not would not even before his son had to suffer such a terrible death. What was the point???? Such as: John 3:36, “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.” vs He planned things for you in the future before the earth or time existed (I Cor. 2:7).

I am totally confused….please help!

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Jack Wellman July 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Sally, if I could fully understand God’s redemptive plan as free will and predestination, then God would not be God. His ways are past our finding out. It is enough for me to know that Jesus died for those who place their trust in Him. In 1 Cor 2:7 Paul states, “No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” It is a mystery but we only see thru a glass darkly today but someday we will know in full measure. Why did Jesus have to die even though God knew who would be saved? Paul answers this in Romans 5:9-10 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Jesus death took the wrath of God off of us since we are sinners. We could not have eternal life without this satisfaction from God. God planned this from the beginning to redeem us (predestined)…but we still have to freely place our trust (free will). These two, free will and predestination are not opposed but work in unison. Beyond that, who can truly describe God’s mind? It is enough that we know that we can have eternal life even though we don’t exactly know all of the “why’s.” I know my car runs and gets me there but I can’t explain all of the intricacies in how it does it. I just know it does.

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R. Aquino August 26, 2012 at 8:24 am

Dear Sally,
Before I am also so confused about the “PREDESTINATION TOPIC”. I heard a Pastor from Fundamental Baptist Church, preaching the Doctrine of Election. And i was a bit amazed how he explained this topic. “Predestination/Election/Chosen” refers to the point where God before the foundation of the world sees the person who will say “AMEN/YES” to the Gospel if it is being preached. From my little understanding and studying about this topic I learned that these lost souls that God is mentioning are those souls whom He sees will acknowledge the Work of the Lord Jesus on the cross when it is being preached. We are preaching to all the people because we dont know aho arethese lost souls whom God sees will accept the Lord Jesus Christ; once a person accepts Christ then it is a CONFIRMATION that this person is one of those who are PREDESTINED/CALLED/ELECTED. Again this person who accepted Christ was one of those souls whom God saw before the foundation of the world that will accept Christ when the Gospel is preached.
God bless you.

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Dyke gauze July 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Why is it that those choosen and those that are not chosen are decieved by the unholy angels and thereby inviting Gods wrath?

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Jack Wellman July 28, 2012 at 11:27 am

Hello Dyke. Where does it say that the chosen or the elect are decieved by the unholy angels? Can you tell me where the Scriptures say this? I know there are many Scriptures where the unsaved are deceived but Christians, not so. God has NOT appointed wrath for those who are His own and placed their trust in Christ.

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Alex August 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Hi Jack, I find very interesting topic to talk about the free will.
Most of us misunderstand the meaning of the free will, it is very help-full to me, if you can explain in a easy way which will be easy to understand.
Thanks in advance
Alex.

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Jack Wellman August 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Alex, thank you my friend and to tell you about free will in an easy to understand why is about impossible because that is why God can not be completely known. His ways are said to be past finding out but the things that we can know (i.e. John 3:16, Acts 4:12) are easily understood but the mind of God…who can know it? As I said in my conclusion, 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. 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 however you still have freewill to either reject Him or to accept this saving grace. Not sure if I answered to your satisfaction Alex. Its tough.

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Alex August 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Thank you Jack, It makes sense what your saying so far so good, but i like to know more specific based in each person’s individual life for example, predestination for each of us all ready is
decided from God, how we are gone end, reach or pure sick or healthy or we have the power our self to choose etc.
God bless you Jack and thank you for answering my questions .

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Jack Wellman August 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I am not sure what you are asking Alex as you said, “how we are gone end, reach or pure sick or healthy or we have the power our self to choose” so please forgive me, I do not understand what you are asking here.

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Alex August 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Ok do you think whatever is meant to happen will happen or if so is that the power of God how make that happen or we can change the destiny our self.

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Jack Wellman August 12, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Again, God is sovereign over all that happens but in His sovereignty, we still have the freedom to choose but God is His foreknowledge, knows in advance what choices we will make. God does not force us to make decisions but knows in advance what decisions we will make, however we still are free to make choices but He knows what choices we will make. Hard stuff. That’s why He is God…our minds can not wrap itself around Him.

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Alex August 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Thank you so much Jack, now I understand very clear.

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Gabe August 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Now you’re confusing me even more. You said we have the freedom to choose God but in John 15:16 it says he chose us… Which one is it?

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Jack Wellman August 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Sorry Gabe. It is not my intent to confuse you or anyone. Do we have the freedom to choose or does He choose us….the answer is YES! It is both. He chose us yet we are free to reject this call from God. He determined to save us…but are we determined to accept this call? I can not explain it any better than I did to Alex. The reason it is hard to grasp is because this is God we are talking about. Who can know the mind of God? Who can grasp all that He does in His will? Not me. I just know that I am His and that’s all that matters to me. For me, that is enough for me to know.

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Gabe August 15, 2012 at 12:45 am

But it also says in John 15:16 verse that we didn’t choose him, but you just wrote “we have the freedom to choose”. Is what you are saying against the Bible?

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Gabe August 27, 2012 at 9:09 am

But it also says in John 15:16 verse that we didn’t choose him, but you just wrote “we have the freedom to choose”
Which one is it?

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Jack Wellman August 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Sorry Gabe. I did not mean to confuse you. Let me say that the doctrine of predestination and free will are hard to reconcile because the reflect the mind of God and who can explain an omnipotent God? Not me! You mentioned John 15:16 where it says that Jesus choose the disciples and not the other way around but so did Judas. He still had the freewill to choose to follow Jesus yet was not to be saved. He rejected this call and as Jesus said in Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” so many are called, yet few are chosen. Rather than try to explain this enigma, let us embrace that He choose us at all….and I thank God that He did. Which one is it? Free will or predestination? Both! The Bible teaches both so we must see that God allows us to freely choose, but He also calls us…but some do not respond. I can not explain what is the unexplainable. That is why He is God and I am not.

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Patrick August 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Mr. Wellman
I understand that this post is to an article posted almost a year ago, and I apologize and wish I had found your site sooner. Firstly, I came from an Arminian type church for 8 years, and recently (2years ago) left because of this doctrine.
I say this humbly, acknowledging that I know nothing of myself, and am constantly begging God to open up my eyes to biblical truths, and scripture.
On that note, the bible states that man is totaly depraved. That He is dead in his trespasses and sins. That he is born an enemy of God, that he loves sin, and hates God. The bible says ” that the natural man (unregenerated) receiveth not the things of God, nor can he, for they are foolishness unto him.”Scripture clearly states that man is blind and deaf to any spiritual call, and that his heart is stony, desperately wicked, and deceitful (Jer.17:9). The idea that I was taught, but Ive come to disagree with wholeheartedly, is that a man could choose God. Even the idea that God draws him (which is biblical) still would not allow that man to respond to the call, for he is spiritually dead and can not. The bible clearly states in Jn. 6, where Jesus states ” all that the Father hath given me, wil come unto me. “The bible says ” salvation is of the Lord, ” and Romans 9, and 11, speaking of Jacob and Esau, God plainly lays out the doctrine of election. And i beleieve Paul foresaw the problem we would have of reconciling this teaching to our finite minds, for he sates, ” is there unrighteousness with God. God forbid”. I believe the most dangerous doctrine in the last 2oo years has been the idea that a man would, or could choose Christ. Spurgeon, Edwards, Whitefield all taught the doctrine of predestination and election, and more importantly Paul, Peter, Stephen, John, and Our Lord and savior all preached that ” God chose a certain people (surely, not of any merit, or redeeming quality) to save , for His glory. I believe up till now, we are in close agreement, but now is where most people split with scripture. The bible also teaches that some are condemned to hell. That all the world is Guilty we all would agree. so if God decides to save some, (or even one) why does man say that that is unrighteous or unfair. Who is the clay to say to the potter, “Why did thou make me thus?” We all deserve hell, and Gods wrath, so the saving of any is pure mercy.
The idea that is now taught in churches has taken God off the throne and placed Him a step or two lower, and lifted man a step or two above his state, which is totally depraved. That teaching is so subtle, and no one will admit they do that, but the idea that God is accepted, or received only by mans choice is against the soveirgnty of God. and I believe the churches are now seeing the reprecussions of that teaching of the last 150 years. there is no power, no revival, no Holiness in the church. God is now a benevolent, grandfather who is there to heAR AND ANSWER MY PRAYERS, AND GIVE ME A BETTER LIFE ON EARTH, AND WHEN i DIE TAKE ME TO MY MANSION in heaven. I believe it all stems from man not realizing his true state, and realizing that he would never and could not choose Christ, unless God born him again first. ALL OF GOD. man has nothing to do with it. he doesnt get saved against his will, but as scripture teACHES, gOD GIVES HIM A NEW WIL. A WILL TO CHOSE gOD.
tHANK YOU AND gOD BLESS. THANK YOU FOR THE SITE, AND PRAISE gOD I STUMBLED UPON IT, AND WILL CONTINUE TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEW POSTS, AND LEARNING FROM YOU AND OTHERS.

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Jack Wellman August 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Amen Patrick. What a powerful comment. You nailed it friend. As for me, I know nothing of myself friend and truly only what has been given to me by His Holy Word. As a pastor, I am saddened by this fact that men are taking credit where it is not due, when our salvation is FULLY a work of God for which no man could boast and yes sir, Paul foresaw the mind of men that they would have a hard time grasping this freewill-predestination paradox. Yet, it is all the more an awesome display of God.

Here’s why we agree and our reasons are fully biblical:

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it” (John 5:21). In fact our salvation is fully a work of God as John 6:37 says that “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” Our lives and our salvation are fully part of God’s will. Ephesians chapter 1 and 2 are powerful Scriptures that reveal God’s effectual calling of those who would be saved as it says, “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” (Eph 1:4-5). How amazing that God predetermined to save us before the earth even existed! Man may think that he is leading his life, but God actually directs his steps (Prov 16:9, 19:21).

Let me put it the way I tell my church frequently in my own “golden chain”….

He sought me, He caught me, He bought me, He taught me, what I ought be. Is any of this me? NO! Its’ all about HE! The real biblical “golden chain” is in, as you likely know, Rom 8:28-30 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Tragically, when we say we are involved, we rob the glory from God where it truly deserves to be for He said I will not share my glory with another, yet by making us part of our salvation, we rob Him of His glory. Let us repent of this and rejoice in this amazing calling…fully a work of God and may HE be fully glorified in it. Even Jesus said to Peter, “You have not chosen men but I have chosen YOU!”.

You made my day Patrick. I wish I had you in my church. God bless. Please come back soon friend.

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Darlene August 23, 2012 at 1:13 am

Hello Jack. Thank you for keeping this discussion fresh. I tend to agree with Patrick (8/14/12). God is 100% sovereign. Had He not drawn me to Himself, there’s no way that my corrupt “free will” would have ever led me to Him. Anyone who claims otherwise is simply dillusional. We humans want to be exalted and mold God in our image. That alone shows how twisted and egotistical we are. To say that we are depraved is an understatement. God alone is responsible for drawing us to Himself. Jesus said that no man comes to Him unless God draws him (John 6:44). If I had the ability to go to God on my own, why would He need to draw me? If we are not Born Again by the grace of God, we are doomed. Is it “fair” for God to arrange for my salvation without asking my opinion? Absolutely. Is it “fair” that He has chosen not to save the entire world? Yes, it is. We all deserve to go to hell. He created us…we didn’t create Him. We are clueless regarding the wisdom of God. Do I feel that I COULD walk away from the undeserved free gift that He has given me? No, I do not. The idea of running back into the arms of Satan makes me cringe. I am a sinner who is counted as righteous in God’s eyes due to my faith in His Son. That’s the awesome power of Almighty God. He did not drag me to Jesus kicking and screaming. He CHANGED my heart so that I would desire Him. I am so grateful that words cannot express. We are commissioned to spread the gospel because WE do not know the sheep from the goats. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and faith in Jesus is what saves us. We are saved by no other name. Sin separates us from God. We must be cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb in order to have a relationship with God. He would not shed His holy blood for us all, only to face the possibilty of being rejected. That’s unimaginable. Jesus suffered torture, humiliation and death on the cross only for those given Him by His Father before the foundations of the earth. I choose to obey God. I take no credit for that decision. again, I am a lowly sinner. All the glory goes to God, my Master. He is on the throne.

In closing, I recommend this site:
http://www.heavenshelpers.org/?id=140&page=Predestination%2C+Election+and+Free+Will+in+God

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Jack Wellman August 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Darlene, this link you provided along with your comments show me that you truly understand that predestination (some say election is the same thing) and free will are double yellow lines that run along the same highway of life that we are traveling. They are not opposed but are parallel with each other. I believe what you have said in your comments is true. We did not choose Him but He chose us. To me, when we make our own selves to be the agents or cause of our salvation, we rob glory from God and God has said “I will not share my glory with another.” And why should He!? He alone is worthy. As I like to say, “He sought me, He caught me, He bought me, and He taught me, what I ought be.” None of this is of “me” but its all about HE! Glory to God alone.

I checked out the article first before commenting here and Darlene, this comment below says it all from the link you provided:

“With everything you do in life you have a choice to do good or bad, although that choice was already predestined for you by God, you still have the choice to do the right thing. God has instilled the ability to reason and choose in your life. He does this so that you have the feeling of independence and accomplishment.”

Amen & amen.

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Ken September 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Darlene,
Thank you for taking such a complex subject of predestination and free will and making it personal while giving Him all the glory.
Jack,
Thank you for your tireless efforts to explain some of these more difficult questions. This subject came up after church this past Sunday. I was speaking with my team usher (I attend Prestonwood Baptist Church, pastor Jack Graham) and he said go to the internet. I knew exactly where to go! Thanks again!

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Jack Wellman September 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Hello Ken. You surely belong to a Bible-believing church and a faithful-to-the-Word pastor. I have listened to Jack Graham on Power Point for some time now. I am glad you have a better grasp on what is a very complex doctrine. I know of R.C. Sproul (Ligonier Ministries) who is presently teaching a series on Predestination (free mp3 downloads at oneplace.com…the same place where Power Point is available). Dr. Sproul is an outstanding teacher, theologian, author & pastor who is giving an in-depth series on predestination (see Eph 1 & 2) and I am loving it. Please do come back again Ken.

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Pius ogola September 12, 2012 at 5:52 am

Shalom pastor Jack,

Going through the whole of this article, and especially the comments section (which funnily enough now seems the main focus of this post), one thing i can draw is that the line between predestination vs freewill just seems more and more blurred. in as much as Our calvinist brothers and sisters in the above comments are stating, about salvation being a work of God (which i dont dispute), there seems to be a portion for man, TO BELIEVE, inorder to be saved.
I have heard Pastor Llyod Pulley of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge NJ, he was preaching on Romans 8:28, he was noting that even as Jesus talks throughout the gospel of John, the aspect of faith comes out, that there seems to be a “precondition” of faith/ belief for one to be saved, for faith is the basis of religion, without faith there wouldnt be religion; even the false eastern religions, they are all based on a model of faith/belief, albeit false faith. For instance, in John 1:12 – Yet to all who received him, to those who BELIEVED IN HIS NAME, he gave the right to become children of God…….here it talks of RECEIVING HIM, which on the converse means there are those who will NOT receive him nor believe in him, that there demonstrates FREE WILL.

In John 3:36 as noted above, it says “Whoever BELIEVES in the Son has eternal life, but whoever REJECTS the Son will not see life, for Gods wrath remains on him” another aspect of belief ; John 5:24 – “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and BELIEVES him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned” ; John 6:40 – “For my Fathers will is that everyone who looks to the Son and BELIEVES in him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day” ; John 6:47 – “I tell you the truth, he who BELIEVES has everlasting life”

Many more verses indicate belief as a precondition to eternal life, obviously i cant name all but here are more: John 7:38, 8:12 , 8: 31, 10:42, 11:25-26. Even the name “Believers”, i would assume it comes from “one who believes in the way”, and in John 17:20, Jesus our lord “prays for the believers”, i believe all these verses underscore a major point. Pastor Llyod would go on to ask a question “could it be that God cannot save one who is UNWILLING? Indeed He is mighty to save but what if you are unwilling?” you’ve put it well Pastor Jack, God cannot arm twist one into heaven.

Let me make another comment to now see about predestination, for this might become too long to read.

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Pius ogola September 12, 2012 at 7:36 am

Now onto the issue of predestination, you’ve mentioned loads of verses above and noted that the 1st chapter of Ephesians has plenty that addresses predestination. I just read an article on the net the other day, and in it the writer was dealing with this very topic (he was refuting the doctrine of double predestination, which i believe is a Calvinist doctrine, i stand correction.)

The writer noted about various evil men who according to scriptures were raised by God for various specific purposes, a case in point is pharaoh Romans 9:17 , king Cyrus the persian Isaiah 44:28, 45:1, 13, king Nebuchadnezzar e.t.c, he was saying that because God is a foreknowing God, He knew before time that these men would be evil, so He put them at various points in history to fulfill his predestined actions(as apostle Paul puts it, “that Gods purpose in election might stand” – Romans 9:11), but that these evil men be in hell, they cannot blame God, for God is not the author of evil, he simply foreknew the evil intentions these men would oneday have and hence used them to fulfill His predestined purposes.

Pondering on all these pastor Jack, could it be that for these two doctrines to run parallel and in one accord, for the Bible appears to teach both of them (and believing the Bible to be the infallible word of God, we thus acclaim that it cant contradict itself, however much these 2 doctrines appear to be contrary to the other) ; could it be that predestination has all its bearings only on SALVATION and not other things (and here other things implies choosing what to believe or not, how to conduct your faith or not, how to relate with other people both believers and unbelievers e.t.c) ,for where predestination is mentioned, all are in regard to salvation (even the case of Judas, through being predestined to betray our Lord Jesus, is the way through which Jesus ended on the cross and we received our salvation) ?????

And could it be that the doctrine of Freewill has to do with both BEFORE salvation (i.e those who believe or reject Gods word as in my previous comment) , and AFTER coming unto salvation, for it appears that even after salvation men would still go astray due to freewill/choice between evil and good; case in point, the apostle Peter in Galatians 2:11 (that though Peter at this point was predestined unto salvation, CHOSEN by our Lord Jesus as in John 15:16- a verse brother Gabe seems to love so much lol, and had indeed received salvation, he still had the freewill to act hypocrisly when the certain men came from James) ; Demas, a son in faith to apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:10 (we see this very same Demas mentioned in Colossians 4:14 as sending greetings, thus we honestly assume he was in the way), Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Timothy 1:17 where apostle Paul notes that they had wandered away from “the faith”, also mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:19-20 as Hymenaeus and Alexander “who have shipwrecked their faith ” and apostle Paul hands them over to satan; and Diotrephes in 3 John verse 9; all these point to a level of freewill EVEN AFTER A PREDESTINED SALVATION, thus at this particular point the 2 doctrines are both rowing the same boat.

Please comment and be blessed Pastor Jack, i like your honesty in saying ” The only PERFECT parts of my sermon are when i read from the Bible.” Am also just 21, so i would politely mind the “sir” tag lol. Shalom

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Christopher September 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

Jack,
let me start by saying your devotion to this topic is inspiring and appreciated. i am in desperate need of sound advice and belive my prayers have led me here. My girlfriend and I have a heartfelt Love for one another and I believe were brought together for this very topic. Our Love has grown deeply for one another but has had one very high hurdle. She believes in total predestination(God has chosen/pre-determined who will go to heaven and who will go to hell) I was raised in the Church of Chirst believing in Free Will but have come to understand the parallel(through this article and study). She won’t attend Church with me because of her devout belief in Pre-destination. We both want to attend the gospel together and have come to tears thinking this will divide and seperate us. I have two kids with strong ties and growth in our youth group that keeps me from attending else where. She has strong beliefs in predestination only. How can we come together on this topic while maintaing true faith and attending gospel in the same church? Also, if you could comment on one other subject that divides us. She believes the KJV is the only true (or only inspired) version of the bible. I grew up on the KJV but study mostly now with the NIV. I’m not trying to prove her wrong but i want to show her that KJ is a version(translation) and not THE version only. We desperatly want to stay together and become one with God but need some insight how to overcome this hurdle. Thanks in advance for your careful consideration, time and inspired thoughts.

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Jack Wellman September 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Thank you so much Christopher for your heartfelt comment. I see your problem is not an easy one to solve. Truly only God can change the human heart and will (Prov 21:1) and so I will pray with you for God to make an effectual change. I believe that we should look at several translations when studying the Bible. I use the KJV but also like the NIV and the ESV. I enjoy Study Bible’s too because they can reflect more light on the subject.

I am concerned for your wife because the church is not a man-made institution. Jesus founded HIS church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. In New Testament times believers were cast out of the church and “delivered unto Satan” to bring them back. There is not ONE single lone ranger Christian in the entire New Testament. She is using her belief (predestination…like Calvinism to the max) as an excuse for not attending. Paul called this licentiousness. A license to do whatever they wish since they know they are under grace. This is a sin of presumption. What would she say to the imperative command given in Hebrews (10:25) to “not forsake the assembling of yourselves”? How can she obey Romans 12 and 1 Cor 13 if she goes it alone? She is outside of the protection, care, and feeding of the Great Shepherd, Jesus, Who is the Head of the Church. Maybe you could print this off or have her read this article called “What Does the Bible Say About Church Membership?” at:http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-does-the-bible-say-about-church-membership-and-attendance/

Other than try to show her these verses or Heb 10:25, it is up to us to just pray for her, love her unconditionally, ask that her children will follow their parents example and if that’s no church, they may well grow up thinking “who needs church?” I fear that many on that day will hear Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7:22-25. MANY on that day will say Lord Lord (indicating, as always when mentioning a name twice an intimate relationship) but Jesus will say, “Depart from you…for I never knew you.” Not that He didn’t know her…but that He NEVER knew her. That is a fearful thing. Many think they are going to heaven but no one that is not attached to the vine abides in Christ and those branches that don’t are cast into the fire (Matt 10). Praying for you. Please keep in touch Christopher on how this goes. Right now, you are the long God-thread to your entire family.

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Anne October 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Christopher,

I too, believe like your girl-friend and applaud her devotion to her beliefs. You can’t go wrong with someone who loves God that much, but without understanding and unity you will face many challenges. I won’t try to convince you we are right, (even though I believe we are!), I just wanted to say that I have just responded to Hannah about the KJV and thought maybe it would help you also. I also have left comments on this site concerning predestination, that may help you understand it better and didn’t know if you were reading the new comments. Blessings to you both in your search for God’s truth and living together in peace.

Anne

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james October 4, 2012 at 11:19 pm

if its predestined then you have no choose or free will then why have judgment if i have no choose or freewill

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Anne October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

Jack,

I appreciate a study on this subject, however I am always amazed at how people will say they believe the Word of God, and then turn around and deny it when it doesn’t fit their particular belief system. I was pleased with your knowledge at the beginning, but as the comments went on, you began like others, to deny the very things you had just quoted and said were true.

First of all, let me say that nowhere in the scriptures are we taught to “accept” Jesus Christ. Every reference is as to whether or not, Jesus/God, accepts us. The only thing we are ever told we can accept is the gospel, which is simply the record of what Jesus has already done for us. Yes we have choice to believe or not believe Jesus, but as I asked one person, does believing or not, make something true or not, or change what is true? My son did not believe he would get hurt when he jumped from the rope swing to the tire swing, but his short stature and weak muscles made it an impossible task, and now he is wearing a cast. Believing in something does not determine truth, but it does affect how one behaves in their life choices. I did not believe that a man like my husband existed, but God’s provision for my life had been prepared all along. Praise be to God!

Let me add here that I have to agree with one previous post, that in the scriptures predestination always refers to a people and not things or events. I wish people could see the simplicity in understanding God’s Word and not twist it to make it so hard. Take the word predestination itself. Pre- means before, and destination is where you end up. You have already quoted from scripture that God predestinated a people before the foundation of the world. He determined beforehand where they would end. That is a true comfort to God’s people, that He really is the one in control and had provided for His own.

The word freewill is never used in the bible, so I also believe we wouldn’t get so confused if we simply used God’s terms to explain things. The bible is very clear that men made many decisions that were pleasing to God, and many that angered God. Their decisions, determined their course in this life, But in Romans, God states that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. A study of this passage reveals that this is not talking about our own repentance as some have suggested, but that God Himself will not repent from His gift of salvation, nor His calling of His people. He determined who His people were, as Romans 8 also states, before they had done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election, might stand. God knew we would make poor carnal choices, so he purposed in himself to love us and save us, before we angered Him, dishonored Him, disobeyed Him, that our bad choices would not influence His provision for us. What a loving and benevolent Father! Could we do as much for our children? No we do not, for we have a breaking point. But God who cannot lie, said in the book of John that He would not lose one of his own, therefore, I know my decisions will not determine or affect the inheritance He has laid up for me. However, my choices will greatly affect the life I live here on Earth.
Much more could be said, but I must attend to my duties now. Thanks for listening.

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R. Aquino October 6, 2012 at 5:21 am

Dear Anne,

In John 1:12, the first few words stated were, But as many as received Him; isn’t it that the word receiving also means “accepting”? and Him pertains to our Lord Jesus Christ. So therefore there must be acceptance of the Lord Jesus Chist so that a person can be given the right to become a child of God. In the book of 1 John, it is also recorded there that “He who has the Son has life. . .”; Isn’t it that has indicates possession…can you have that possession if u don’t receive it or accept it…?? Just to share with you that accpeting the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior is so Biblical or Scriptural..
About the word predestination – its not simply mean that God pointed out a person will be saved but this explains that before the foundation of the world God sees that person – like you or me will accept the Lord Jesus Christ (or will agree and believe in hs/her heart the authenticity of the Word/Bible-believing by heart is trusting) as personal Lord and Savior and by this he/she will be saved….
Sins will never establish anyhting to us anymore after restoration as what Romans 8:31-37 had said. Because the moment you accepted Him truly in ur heart then you are now secured of ur salvation. The very words of God that he will neverleave us nor forsake became TRUE to us in this new state of us…

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Anne October 9, 2012 at 11:29 am

R. Aquino,

Thanks for your discussion. If God sees beforehand who will “accept” Him and who won’t, then our salvation is still determined by us and our works. That is not scriptural, does not give God all the glory, and is purely man’s invention as a way to control our own destiny.
And as for possession. I hear all the time how you have to “accept” in order to have. I have the flu right now and I guarantee you I did not willingly accept it, nevertheless it is mine to bear. What is so wrong about being given the gift of salvation without your “willing acceptance” that men have to say God is bad if He doesn’t let you choose it for yourself. How about turn that around and ask yourself, what kind of God, or loving Father, who has the power to save, doesn’t, just because you don’t ask for it, want it, or make a decision to accept it, but let’s you burn in an eternal hell? Not my God, I can assure you.
Another way to describe this is the involuntary actions of the human body. If scientists have proven and convinced us all that we breathe, digest our food, have a heart that beats to pump blood to all our organs, without any conscious thought or decision on our part, why is it so hard to believe that God’s indwelling Spirit can born you again by the Spirit, without you doing anything to ask for it? God created you to live as a natural being without you asking him to, so why do men think they should or could, have any part in asking for their spiritual birth. And by the way, birth and life precedes anyone asking for anything. Not one dead, alien, sinner has ever asked God the first thing. A person who has felt that indwelling spirit, and been given a life in Christ Jesus, humbly and willingly lays down their life at His feet, and trys to walk in the newness of the life they have been given. Any “decision” or “acceptance” man does is simply to acknowledge what Christ has already done for them. It does not make them a child of God. God’s word says that He chose a people before the foundation of the world, laid down his life for them, his sheep, that he SHALL save his people from their sins. Not, I will if they will accept me, but I SHALL. Shall means it is a done deal with the God who cannot lie.

The truths in the bible are telling what things shall and will take place in the heart and life of the child of God. They will believe, they will confess their sins before him, they will acknowledge Jesus Christ as God in the flesh, not in order to become children of God, but because they ARE children of God. Without a spiritual birth, man is not able to see, hear, or understand the things of God, so he certainly isnt going to ask for them. Only a born again person will begin to seek God. The choices he makes will determine how close a fellowship and walk with God he has in this life, but there is no death for the second birth. If God’s Holy Spirit has born you again and given you the gift of eternal life, you shall be free from all condemnation and live with God in heaven for eternity. However, disobedience to God’s Word, can make for a miserable life here on Earth. Scripture says that the gospel was given to bring life and immortality to light. Understanding the gospel doesn’t make you a child of God, but it sure gives you guidance in how to behave as His child, knowledge of what Christ has done for His people, and illuminates the life to come, comforting us through the trials we are to bear here in time. I do accept the Gospel as the truth of God and will not add to it nor take away from it as I have been instructed by scripture. God sent His only begotten Son, to die to take away my sins, and Jesus Christ rose from the grave, thereby saving me for all eternity. I had nothing to do with it, and will not dare dishonor my God by saying He only died for me because he knew I would make the right decision. He did not die by chance, but that the purpose of God might be fulfilled, and he didn’t die to offer me a chance. He died to pay for and secure my inheritance and it shall never be taken away. He said in John that he would not lose one of His own and I believe Him.

It is my prayer that men will begin to read and study God’s Word as it is written, taking it for what it is, Truth, and stop letting man’s interpretations, additions, and deductions, confuse and decieve them. Thus may we all dwell together in unity.

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Anne October 10, 2012 at 11:28 am

Dear Jack,

I knew I couldn’t address everything in one setting, but just now as I was reading back over some of these postings, I was reminded of another point.

In one of your answers, you stated that because God foreknew the people who were predestined he also foreknew those who weren’t. I mean no disrepect but this answer shows your lack of study in understanding what these words mean, and also what the Bible itself says.

First of all the fact that you even make a statement like God knew who was and who wasn’t, almost sounds like you are denying who God is. Isn’t God the one who did the predestinating? So of course he knows who is predestinated. And he predestined those he foreknew. The word foreknow, is the same word used in describing that Adam knew Eve. It is a very intimate knowledge of that person, a person whom you love and are willing to sacrifice, lay down your life for. A person you cleave to and never forsake. Predestination in the bible always refers to whom, and tells what Christ will do for them. Not what they will do or choose for themselves.

The quote in Romans 8 is, “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.” (And yes, I only use the 1611 King James Bible as the inspired and preserved Word of God.) For you to say that God also foreknew those who wouldn’t, by God’s own Word, would mean they were also predestined, called, justified, and glorified. This would mean all are free from sin, and there will be noone in hell. Someone else has already pointed out that predestination always refers to salvation and not damnation. There is no possible way that one who is conformed to the image of His Son, will be eternally damned. So there must be a people whom he did not foreknow.

He doesn’t leave us in the dark on this issue. He tells us in Matthew 7:21 that “Not everyone who sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Verse 23, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” In Matthew 25:31-46, Christ also makes a clear seperation. He gathers all nations before him and then seperates them one from another as a sheperd divides sheep from goats. Remember how many times God has refererred to his people as sheep. In John 10:25-30, “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 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.”

Jesus Christ knows His sheep. Obviously he can tell the difference between sheep and goats for he seperated them from each other, but it says nothing about knowing the goats in that intimate way. The bible is very clear again, in saying he never knew them. Also He only gave eternal life to His sheep. When He says no man is able to pluck them out of His hand, I believe that includes ourselves. There is nothing we can do or not do that will keep us from the eternal life given us in Christ Jesus. (See Romans 8:35-39.) If we will look at who Jesus is talking to, we won’t get so confused about, what, he is telling them. John 11:26, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” He just said another whosoever, like in John 3:16, and men take it to mean an invitation to all who will. No, he is stating a truth, that all who believe will not perish, shall never die. But we just read why some won’t believe. John 10:26 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Verse 14-15, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Jesus died for His sheep, those that He knew, those that the Father had given Him. Never did he offer salvation to all mankind, but He offered Himself to God, for His sheep.

John 8:42-47, “If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do you not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” Scriptures never tell us we can do something to become children of God, but we are told in Matthew 7:20, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

If the religious world would simply tell the truth as God does, we would not have all this confusion. They tell you, you have to do something to become a child of God, in order that you will keep coming to their churches and pouring your money into their pockets. They work you to death to keep you in bondage to man, which God never intended. He is very clear that He secured the eternal salvation of His people on the cross. When he said, “It is finished,” then it was finished, the work was completed. What is left for us to do? Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

I will close with a prayer from one of my favorite and most comforting scriptures, I Peter 5:10-11, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

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Hannah October 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

My church is Christian Reformed, and in my chatecism I have a teacher who’s a very adamant Calvinist. He always talks about how God predestined people then he turns to us and says,
“Does this make God mean?”
Naturally, we always say no, because otherwise we’d be arguing it out forever. It does seem kind of mean though. I do believe that God is mysterious and our tiny brains can’t even begin to comprehend his vastness. I also believe that God chose everyone, sort of, extended his grace to all. But everyone did not accept the gift; which is different from predestination.

I also don’t appreciate it when people think the only accurate version of the Bible is the KJV. That version of the bible was translated hundreds of years ago when that language used was very modern to them and easy to understand. Language has changed now so why shouldn’t the way the Bible conveys things to us be slightly different also? If anything with our advance in technology, you’d think Biblical scholars would be able to translate the Bible more accurately. (Especially for our society.)

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Jack Wellman October 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Hello Hannah. I love what you wrote here…that we and our tiny brains can not fathom the mysterious God who we can not put in a box. It is because the finite (we) are trying to comprehend Him (the Infinite).

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Mike February 11, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I have heard it described as our minds being a tea cup and God being the ocean. Just because we can’t hold the ocean does not mean that it doesn’t exist.

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Jack Wellman February 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm

That is very well put Mike. It is impossible to wrap our minds around God for He is infinite and we are finite and that’s why He is God and we are not!

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Anne October 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Hannah,

God is not mean, but he has to be just, he can’t be anything else. Justice would have left us all in hell where we were condemned by the fall of Adam, however God sending His Son to die for His elect people, saved them by His grace. He was not mean to leave anyone where they were. He was merciful to save any of us.

The “problem” with our society is that the idea of freedom has come to mean that everyone is “free” to be right in their own eyes and “believe” whatever they want. In other words there is no real right or wrong, no truth or lie, and therefore no justice or condemnation. If you truly believe in the One and only true God, you must know by His very nature these ideas are impossible. First of all, God has promised to preserve His Word for His people. If the KJV was that preserved Word for generations, why is it that you, today’s so called advanced scholars, or technology, can even think to improve on God Himself? Secondly, the KJV Holy Bible is, according to today’s standards, written on a fifth grade reading level, so when people claim it is too hard for them to understand, they are simply confirming their low level of comprehending the English language, or either they just haven’t even tried to read and understand it, which I suspect the latter is generally the case.

Maybe instead of criticizing those who have studied out the facts for themselves, you would do well to engage in some fact finding for yourself. Such as the fact King James had many men diligently compare the original Greek and Hebrew scriptures and agree they were translated accurately. They were men who loved God and His Word, who prayed to not be decieved and to not decieve with their translation, they were experts in the Greek and Hebrew languages, yet were not so arrogant to think they knew every dialect or phrasing, so they consulted with others, and included any differences of phrasing in the margins, so that all would understand. Hannah, what in your lifetime do you find any two or three people agreeing competely on? Not much I am sure. So for over three dozen men to agree, you have to be willing to admit, God had to be in the matter, answering their prayers for accuracy. If we believe the Bible is God’s Inspired Word, that it is the living Word, with power to comfort God’s people, and is His instruction on how to live our lives, mustn’t it be singular and not given to each, his own interpretation? If it is okay for men to write their own Bible, then we can just as easily obey the Koran, for a man and woman wrote it and claim they were inspired also. If you will inspect some of those “translations” you are putting your confidence in, you will find subtle deceptions in them, such as denying the virgin birth, calling Mary just a woman. D-con is rat food with a tiny amount of poison thrown in. Does your “bible translation” contain enough truth to decieve you into swallowing it, but you are “dying” for lack of truly knowing God as He is?

In the days of King James, men everywhere were putting out their own versions just as they are today. King James felt a responsibility to give God’s people, God’s Word, that they might truly know Him and not have such confusion. Satan is the author of confusion, but God has told us to dwell together in unity. Find me a group of honest men who love God and are devoted to His glory and honor, who are experts in Greek and Hebrew, and who all agree that they have a “better” translation, and I will consider looking at it. Please remember that a translation just puts the words into language that you are able to understand. Since we already have God’s Word translated into the English language, why shouldn’t men be more concerned with translating into languages that have never had the written Word of God? I maintain that all these new “versions,” are simply satan’s way of dividing God’s people, so why give him anymore leeway?

Technology may have improved the speed with which we can gather and relay information, travel, and cook our food, but it will never give you a better understanding of God, than prayer, assembling yourself with believers, and diligent study of His Word. I pray that you will dine on scrumptious and delicious fare that feed’s your soul, the rest of your life.

Anne

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Pius ogola November 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Dear Anne

To take such an extreme stance as this here >>
” I maintain
that all these new “versions,” are
simply satan’s way of dividing God’s
people, so why give him anymore leeway? ” , then i would perhaps go to a similar extreme and ask you to quote a scripture that tells us to use the KJV version (however much reliable and the earliest it is) or as Hannah says, read the original Greek and Hebrew texts?

There are the fundamentals of christian faith that if a “so called BIBLE version” denies, then we ought to discard it without a second thought ; things like the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, the Virgin Birth of our Lord Jesus (and by the way i use NIV 1984), the Deity of Christ etc , then thats satan’s ploy, but you arent far from calling other versions satanic are you?

Versions like the Adam and Steve are definately evil and satanic. And just a small query, the early church reformers, Luther and Calvin and Arminius, they all died before 1611 (i stand corrected for my dates), do you view scriptures quoted by these reformation leaders as satanic ploys also, since they wrote their works / books before the KJV 1911 was compiled? please reply and Shallom.

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Pius ogola November 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Sorry, the 2nd last statement should read KJV 1611 and not 1911 please.

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Anne November 5, 2012 at 11:51 am

Pius ogola,

Thank-you for your comments and questions. You seem sincere in your desire to understand and I will respond as quickly as possible. Thank-you for your patience while I attend to other duties, but I will get back to you.

Anne

Anne November 13, 2012 at 3:39 am

Pius ogola,

I apologize for the lengthiness in getting back to you. We are having computer problems, and I don’t have access to what I have already written as an answer, so I will try again.

Really, I didn’t call any translation Satanic, but I do believe Satan will use men’s greed to divide God’s people. Please bear with me as I explain my view.

It is my understanding that the King James translators referred to those earlier translations you mentioned also. The objective was not to write something new, but to verify and confirm the accuracy of what was being given to God’s people, due to the fact that just like today, men were writing their own biibles and calling it God’s Word. There was much confusion and division among the people and that was why King James organized the massive undertaking to assure the people of God’s truth’s. I believe the way in which it was handled, with much prayer and integrity, as evidenced by history and the translator’s own statements about what their goal was, (written in the same language as the bible by the way, so probably many people won’t even try to get through the reading of their letters,) was a miraculous event that only God could have provided. If God feels the need to improve on what He has already done, or thinks our Holy Bible needs “updating”to modern language, I am confident He can provide another miracle.

I would like to point out a few scriptures. II Tim. 3:16-17, 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.” This says that all scripture is profitable. Now I have a question for you. Does that mean that only the original language of the writers is profitable? They themselves were of different languages. In fact there were times when the apostles spoke before diversified crowds and each listener heard or received the message in his own native language or tongue. How is that possible and who did the translating tor their ears? Only the Holy Spirit, God Himself, could have done that. It is my personal belief that God alone is responsible for translating His inspired words into the English language for English speaking people. I believe He did that through the King James translators, but unlike the writers of other, so called holy books, who claim to be instructed of God, they did not put instructions in there that we were to only use their bible. We were told however, in II Tim. 2:2, “And the things thou hast heard of me, among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” II Tim. 2:14-16 “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

I believe it is the duty of each of us to diligantly search out God’s Word and rightly divide it. Later on in that same chapter, II Tim. 2:23-26 says, ” But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themseves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Here is God’s Word saying that this striving over words and foolish questions is the snare of the devil, so maybe there is some truth in my previous post, but let me expound further.

Psalm 12:6-7, “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.” This tells me that it is not up to man to preseve God’s Word, but the Lord Himself inspired men to pen it down, purified it seven times, and shall preserve it forever. Also, my center column tells me that when it says “thou shalt keep them”, them means every one of them.

Rev. 22:18-19, “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 down in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” This is not the only scripture in which we are admonished not to add to or take away from the scriptures. (I have always been taught that if God says it once we should sit up and take notice, but when He repeats Himself it is especially important to take heed.) What I want us to focus on is the fact that it is not just the Holy Bible, the Word of God, or the living Word Jesus Christ, that is under consideration here. Look how many times I have already quoted, and I haven’t got them all, but it says “the words.” This means each individual word, and all of them, are important to God, and profitable for us. Remember that it was said that if all the words of Jesus, or all the miracles he performed, were written down, the world could not hold the books, so I have to believe that what He did inspire men to pen down and preserved for all generations, are the very words He wanted us to know.

God is still on His throne, and quite capable of performing another miracle, and of giving us a more modern or applicable version, should He so desire. I will admit to you that although I have diligently sought out the history of the KJV, I have delved very little into these so-called modern translations. When I discovered that the KJV did not consult with the Roman Catholics for their translations, and that some of these “new versions” were, and that not only words, but their intended meaning was being left out also, I stopped even looking at anything but the KJV. That has been true for twenty years now. I honestly do not even know what else is available, nor do I plan to find out. I have no problem comprehending “Olde English,” but since it was mentioned, I will add, that I do refer to my Strong’s Concordance and the Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries to enhance my understanding of the meaning of the scriptures. I can’t tell you how many times, just looking that much further, has enlightened me and given me comfort, and peace, and indescribable joy at the Lord’s mercy and grace. I guess since I have had that experience, it just really annoys me to hear people say they can’t understand the KJV. Show me one scripture that is not comprehendable to English speaking people and I will reconsider my stance. Thee and thou may not be as comfortable to the modern tongue, but we all know what it means. And just like any word that we don’t know the meaning of, we are all capable of looking it up in a dictionary, so there really is no validity to the “I can’t understand it” argument. Shakespeare is still heralded as a classic writer worthy of study for every child in school. I have yet to hear anyone use the same argument as a reason to rewrite his works, yet men are bold enough to think they can rewrite Jesus’s words to make them more clear? I just can’t put a lot of confidence in that line of thinking.

One more thing I will take note of, is this. The 1611 King James version is not copyrighted, while most, if not all, of the “new translations” are. Some of the criteria for getting a copyright on a literary work is that you must be the author of the original work and it can not be intended for performance of any kind. I’ll address the second criteria first. Many churches use scripture in Christmas programs and other such theatrical productions. If they are using, and then quoting these copyrighted bibles in their performances, they are breaking the law, so I don’t understand why they would even consider promoting the use of these bibles. But even more disturbing to me, is the fact that anyone supports the idea that a man, woman, or any group of scholars, could be the original author of the Bible. If that is their claim, and it is if they obain a copyright, then they are liars, so why would I trust their work. Secondly if so many different bibles are given copyrights it has to be proven that they all are different or new, original, works. If our corrupt government can recognize they are not the same words of Christ, why do people who claim to be followers of Christ, keep telling me they are?

To conclude my view, I believe greed has caused men to write these “versions”, and copyright them solely in an effort to make money off of God’s Word. And yes, I believe satan himself has snared many Christians into a view of Christ that is so watered down as to make them unfruitful in the Kingdom of God. They have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. I refer again to II Tim. 3:1-7, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affecion, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn way. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” I encourage you to read the entire chapter in the 1611 King James Holy Bible and take it to heart. Men may be deceived and may deceive, but Jesus Christ has not left His children in the dark. He has given us the Holy Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit to guide us in all understanding, if we will just abide in His Holy Word.

Blessings in Christ to you young sir, may the God of all peace, grant you wisdom and discernment to rightly divide His Word of Truth.

Anne

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Jarred March 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Dear Anne,
I have utterly full faith and knowledge that God is all powerful over everything in the heavens and on the earth, whether I may understand it all or not. But in regard to your beliefs about the bible versions, I say that is a very unfaithful belief. God is more than powerful enough to preserve His word throughout the ages. The only versions of the bible written that are not true are ones that clearly state unbiblical things, twisting the word of God, a.k.a. blasphemy. These are typically known as other religions, like Mormon. But a bible worded better for someones understanding that words it differently and does not blaspheme, there is nothing wrong with that. Again, God has the power to preserve His word.

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Anne April 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Jarred, There is absolutely no doubt that God is absolutely able to preserve His Word and has. I believe for English speaking people He did just that with the King James Holy Bible. No one yet has shown me a more recent bible that has not either deleted, added to, or twisted the meanings to fit their own agenda. Any man that copyrights a bible as being the original author, is a liar already, so what confidence should I have in the wording of that man’s scripture translation? Another issue that has become apparent to my personal situation, is this. We are told to be like-minded and of one accord, to dwell together in unity. I am finding it very difficult to be “on the same page” with even a believer, when we are not even reading the same book. How can that work? Given the fact that we are even having this discussion, proves my point that while some men may have had good intentions in supposedly creating a more “understandable to modern times bible,” the truth is, Satan has used the inconsistency of not having One Holy Inspired Living Word, to divide God’s people. It is the reason given to all muslims as to why they should not read or trust the bible. The Koran and the Torah, and other so called sacred documents have not changed. They are not the holy scriptures anyway, so satan has no need to mess with them. They are already untruth and confusion, of which God is not the author. If your bible is copyrighted, then a man has claimed to be the original author, a government office has agreed that it is not the same as the Holy Scriptures, inspired and authored by God, thereby allowing it to be copyrighted and distributed. Our government is so far removed from God, that their approval of it’s distribution, ought to prove to any thinking person that it can’t be from God. Look at all the denominations (which means division by the way) of Christianity, and see that Satan is alive and strong at dividing God’s people so that they are unable to dwell together in unity unto the Lord. I, by no means, think he is going to conquer anything, but I intend to rebuke any attempt he may use to stray me from the truth of God’s Word. I think that is being faithful instead of making excuses as to why I “can’t” understand the Word of God.” Isn’t saying “I can’t understand the wording”, saying that God didn’t do a good enough job preserving it? Who are we or any man to say such. That is blasphemy to me, and again, I will not be a party to it.

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Hannah October 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Anne,

All do respect, but I take it as an insult that you would say,
“If you will inspect some of those “translations” you are putting your confidence in, you will find subtle deceptions in them, such as denying the virgin birth, calling Mary just a woman.”
I’ve read the NKJV, the NIV, and a little bit of the KJV. None of these versions are deceptive. And as for the KJV being on a grade five level, I highly doubt that. If it’s the only true version you must also rebel at reading Bible stories to your kids, you must read to them straight out of the KJV Bible, right? Nevermind that they don’t understand it.

And just as people didn’t say “thee” and “thou” in Biblical times, (at least not in English) neither do people say thee and thou now. Changing “thee” to “you” isn’t Satan’s work, it’s helping God’s word be read more easily, which is what God wants. Frankly, I’m surprised you haven’t personally taken up Greek and Hebrew so you can read the original Biblical manuscripts.

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Anne November 13, 2012 at 4:51 am

Hannah,

I owe you a couple of apologies. First for not responding, because truthfully I was somewhat offended by your latest remarks. I was also afraid if I did respond it would lead to more strife, and thought it best to leave it alone. Secondly, please forgive me if I have offended you in anyway for that was not my intention, and I am truly sorry.

I would like to thank you for stirring my mind and forcing me to look at myself in the mirror concerning my own views. I really had no business coming off so strong when I hadn’t done the research to know what I was talking about. While I had studied it out before, and was satisfied with the King James version, it had been twenty years ago, and much of the why had been forgotten. Since the subject had come up in a new personal relationship of mine I was making it very personal with you, because again, due to my own lack of knowledge, I didn’t have a whole lot to back up my belief.

Hannah, my mind has not changed on the different translations, but I hope you will take my thoughts as they are intended. They are my own personal beliefs, but as I have now researched it more and answered another persons questions, I feel to have enough knowledge to back up my decision. I know I am the only one I need to convince because I am the only one to live with the consequences of my choices. I hope you will read my answer to Pius ogola, and gain more insight to where I am coming from.

You were actually right on target, for I do depend on the Hebrew and Greek dictionaries in the Strong’s Concordance to help me better understand the scriptures. I also homeschool my children and so yes, they are memorizing the 1611 King James Holy Bible. I don’t just have them memorize some empty words though. We talk about them as God instructed, when we rise up and when we lay down, and as we go about our day we talk about the meanings and how they are to be applied to our lives. Honestly Hannah, not because they are mine, or because I am their teacher, but by God’s amazing grace, my young children have more of a grasp of the scriptures and how to apply them to their lives than some of the adults I know. Definitely far more than I did at their age. I believe that only God can reveal Himself to their young hearts, but it is my responsibility to train them in the way they should go, so that when they run out of steam with their own way, they will have a foundation, a default setting if you will, to stand firm on and not fall. That is another reason why I can’t waver back and forth with different versions. How confusing would that be to them?

I’ll end with this. I believe that even the individual words of God are precious. I believe the King James Holy Scriptures are His preserved words to English speaking people. I don’t know if you have children, but surely there is someone special in your life that you love dearly, and would sacrifice for. The next time you want to really express how much they mean to you, look your child, your spouse, your mom or dad, or whomever it is, right in the eye, and tell them, “I love thee.” Unless they are completely unfeeling, uncaring, or oblivious, they can’t possibly miss that you are not just saying the same old rote message, like our sometimes duty felt need to say I love you at hello or good-bye. I am almost certain your inflection and tone will be different also, making it even more effective to the hearer, that you are expressing something more than the usual. That is what God does for us, through His Word. He expresses so much more than this world has to offer. I am perfectly content to not conform to this modern world of sin, greed, and corruption. I have to live in it yes, but I do not have to look, or sound, or even express my feelings like it. I am more than satisfied with where He has blessed me to be, but oh, how I look for His second coming.

May God richly bless thee dear Hannah. To Him be all the glory honor and praise.

Anne

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Hannah November 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Everyone has their own views on the Bible and no, I don’t have children, I’m only 16 😉 ,just as your children are, I’m homeschooled. I hope also that I did not offend you. There is nothing better I like to do than study scriptures. And my studies have led me to believe that this verse is very true (taken from the King James Version)

“For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe.” 1 Timothy 4:10

Which, I do believe means that Jesus personally died so that all men could/can be saved (obviously not all are) and that God personally makes sure everyone hears the gospel, but not everyone who hears the gospel accepts it,
John 3:36, Jesus says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for Gods wrath remains on him.”

but God obviously knows who will be saved!

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Pius ogola November 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Dear Anne

Onto this excerpt from your comment >>
First of all, let me say that nowhere in
the scriptures are we taught to
“accept” Jesus Christ. Every reference
is as to whether or not, Jesus/God,
accepts us. The only thing we are ever
told we can accept is the gospel,
which is simply the record of what
Jesus has already done for us.” , Revelation 3:20 says “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.If anyone hears my voice and OPENS the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me ,” surely isn’t “opening” your door an indication of acceptance?

Acts 13:46 says “Since you REJECT it (the word of God) and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.” doesnt this mean these gentiles accepted the word of God, and thus Christ (it goes down in verse 48 to say that “and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.”)

John 3:36, Jesus says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for Gods wrath remains on him.” Isnt the opposite of rejecting accepting? (which in this case here i believe the word “believe” equates to accepting, for how do you accept what you have not believed in? And we are not talking about flu or human conditions, but rather faith, for the apostle Paul says in Romans 10:10 that its with your heart that you believe and are justified and its with your mouth that you confess and are saved, and if i may ask how will you confess in what you dont accept and believe in? )

Somewhere in scripture it also says that today if you hear my voice, dont harden your hearts………… also in Acts 28:28, Paul states ” Therefore I want you to know that Gods salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will LISTEN!”

Finally regarding the gospel, iits not just a record of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, its also in its broader sense THE POWER OF GOD FOR THE SALVATION OF EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES, FIRST FOR THE JEW, THEN THE GENTILE (Romans 1:16).

Sorry for the long post, please respond if u can!

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Anne November 13, 2012 at 5:16 am

Pius ogola,

I haven’t overlooked this one. Please be patient and I will respond. Thanks, Anne

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Anne April 20, 2013 at 4:49 am

Dear Pius ogola,

I am deeply apologetic for taking so long to respond. Thank-you for your patience and I hope forgiveness. Spiritual growth is many times, little by little, and I have been searching diligently for answers, as I hope all who are in this discussion are. The Lord is so gracious and merciful and reveals things in His own timing. Today, while looking for answers, I am amazed and blessed by His truth and hope to share these things with you, to God’s praise, honor, and glory.

First of all, I got started today when another post was sent to me. As I read back through I found that Jarred had replied to me about the King James Bible back in March, and I had not seen it. I hope you will get a chance to read my reply, because it is important to your questions also. We are evidently not reading the same Bible, so therefore, I do not find the word reject in the scriptures you quoted. That definitely explains some of the misunderstandings.

The second thing that I have found goes back to your idea of the definition of accepting, rejecting, and believing. While accepting and rejecting do appear as opposites, they are not used in scriptures as a condition of your eternal salvation, but instead as to what you do with the hearing of the gospel message and how you apply it to your everyday life on earth.

Accept and it’s derivatives, mean that you ‘delight, desire, take fully in, and welcome’. As I think I mentioned before, there is only one thing in the scripture, that we are ever told is worthy of our acceptation; (in I Tim. ch 1&4,) and that is the faithful sayings of the scriptures. Every other use of the word accept, accepting, accepted, etc., refers to whether or not God accepted someone or something or whether he made something acceptable. In II Cor. 11:4 we are told that if one comes and brings any other gospel than that of Jesus Christ, we are not to accept it, but we might well bear with him because he doesn’t have the knowledge yet.

Reject means you ‘spurn, cast aside, did not approve, spit out.’ If the faithful sayings of scripture are what we are told are worthy to delight in, and the opposite of that is reject, therefore we cast them aside because we don’t approve of them, the only consequence to our rejection is that we do not have the delight they would bring us. We are never told that our rejection of these faithful sayings will mean eternal damnation.

I now come to the idea that believing equates with accepting. If believing and accepting are synonymous, than again, believing simply brings you delight; however belief is more than welcoming in and delighting. Believing is to ‘have faith in, entrust one’s spiritual well-being to, give credit to, and rely on.’ That is why our belief is to be in Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Savior.

The scripture you referred to concerning hardness of heart, is in Hebrews 3. Harden means to ‘render stubborn or be destitute of spiritual perception.’ Here it refers to the children of Israel tempting, proving, and seeing God’s works, yet still stubbornly grieving the Holy Spirit, for He says in verse 11, “So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest.” Then we are told in verse 12 & 13, “Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

First of all these are brethren, not unbelievers. Second he said it is possible for them to again have an evil heart of unbelief and depart from the living God, while it is To day. In rightly dividing the Word of God, I understand that accepting, rejecting, believing, and hardening your heart, only has to do with your walk in this life, what it looks like and what it feels like. There is truly a rest and delight in trusting God for our salvation and knowing that when we were unable to save our selves, were sinners who did not know God, in fact before we were ever born, He knew us, made us acceptable to Himself through the blood of Jesus Christ, and delighted in us. I ask you, whether we believe, accept, or reject God, isn’t He still God? Of course. And whether or not we accept, reject, or believe His Word, does that change the truth of His Word? Absolutely not. So why is it that we have such a hard time understanding that the redemptive work of salvation that was finished on the Cross of Calvary by Jesus Christ alone, is ours through Christ and is not dependent upon the acceptance, rejection, or belief of puny mortal man and his wicked imaginations?

In John 12:46, Jesus speaking says, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” ( Believeth is present tense, that is while you are believing you will not be in darkness.) Paul referring to the power of God in II Tim. 1:9-10 ” Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”. Belief in Christ, acceptance of His Word, simply means we are not in darkness, but have light concerning His Truth about life and immortality. And remember from the quote above, it is through the deceitfulness of sin that we harden our hearts and again may have an evil heart of unbelief. Light and darkness do not change truth, they simply hide or expose it. The saving that is most often spoken of in the Holy scriptures is the light that exposes or illuminates truth to the child of God. The Gospel, the hearing of the Word; whether you delight in it, or cast it aside, simply shows whether you are living in light or darkness. Romans 10 that you spoke of, from the beginning of the chapter, makes it very clear that the salvation under consideration is that it is his desire for them to be saved from their ignorance of God’s righteousness while they go about trying to establish their own righteousness. Do you not understand that if it was God’s desire for all to be in heaven, they would? God’s purposes will not be thwarted. He is the Victor. Rom 10:10 says “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” You can’t believe or confess unto something that does not already exist. The passage does not say man believes in order to make himself righteous, or confesses in order to obtain salvation. Christ did that for us on the cross. The context shows that it is only when man is no longer ignorant of God’s righteousness that he will submit himself unto God. This knowledge also allows man to confess with his mouth that Jesus is the Lord and not be ashamed to call on Him. Confession is made unto the salvation I already had in Christ Jesus, I just did not know about it until I was given the light to see it.

Our eternal salvation, given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began, does not change for God is unchangeable. It can not be taken away for John 10:27-30, “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 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 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.” Scripture interprets scripture. Who will come to Christ? All that the Father gave the Son. How will they come? The Father will draw them or else they cannot come. When they come, what will Christ do? He will never cast them out, they will follow Him and he will give them eternal life. Who can pluck them out of his hand? No man, which means not even yourself by your ‘freewill.’

Praise be unto God that He is able, has all power, DID foreknow us, predestinate us, called us, justified us, glorified us, (Rom. 8,) saved us to the uttermost! Please remember that predestinate simply means the destiny of the child of God was determined before the foundation of the world. What a comfort it is to know that none of my sins can take away the inheritance reserved for me in heaven. My ‘freewill’ as men like to call it, simply means I can choose whether to walk in darkness through the deceitfulness of sin, or to walk in the light of Jesus Christ through obedience and be able enter into His rest while in my carnal flesh.

This light is also mentioned in Acts 13. Paul first preached to the Jews that by Jesus Christ all that believed were justified, whereas they could not be justified by the law of Moses. He said to beware of being despisers and not believing, (Acts 13:39-41.) The Gentiles begged to be preached to and the Jews had said to continue in the grace of God, yet when the multitudes showed up the next sabbath day, and included Gentiles, the Jews were filled with envy and began contradicting and blaspheming, (Acts 42-45.) Acts 13:46-48. “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Paul, the preacher, was set to be a light that he should be for salvation? Now again, light simply illuminates what is already there. The Jews put the Word of God away from them, became the despisers they were warned against, judged themselves unworthy of eternal life, (take note, it did not say they would not or could not receive eternal life, just that they didn’t think they were worthy of it,) so the light was set upon the Gentiles who were so glad to be included that they did listen and did not harden their hearts. But again scripture interprets scripture and does not leave us in darkness. While John 3:16 truly says that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life, Acts 13:48 very clearly tells us who it is that will believe. As many as were ordained (or appointed) to eternal life. Who ordained them? The Father, when he gave them to the Son. When did he choose them and predestinate them? Before the foundation of the world, (Eph. 1:4.)

That brings us to what I hope will be our closing. This idea that man has a choice in his eternal destiny. Naturally speaking, not one of us ever had any choice whatsoever as to who our parents are and we certainly did not ask to be born. Why it is even necessary to explain that our spiritual birth is no different, in that we have absolutely nothing to do with it, escapes me. However darkness is blinding, so Jesus once again delivers us by the light of the gospel. John 8:38, 43-44, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do…” Rom. 8:14,16,17, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;…” John 10:14-15,” I am the good shepherd,and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Who did Christ lay down his life for? All mankind? No, His sheep. John 10:26-28, “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;…” John 17:1-4 “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. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Who will get eternal life, His sheep. How many? As many as the Father gave the Son. If life eternal is knowing the only true God, then it is very clear that if you are not His sheep, and you are not His son, then you are not a joint-heir with Christ, will not be given the gift of knowing Him, you will not be led by His spirit, therefore you are none of his. The comfort to us, is if we were none of His we would not be seeking Him. Just like our natural birth in that we cry out to prove we are alive, when we have been given a spiritual birth, we cry out to God proclaiming we are alive in Christ. Before we were spiritually alive, we could not ask for Him to be our Father because we did not know Him. We were dead in our trespasses and sins and therefore did not have life. Seeking God, crying out to Him, is the evidence that we are His. After we know Him, when we choose to obey Him we are given light and allowed to enter into His rest until He comes back to get us. Our freedom is in Christ, but since to be without Christ is to be in bondage to sin, how can anyone say he has a “free will” to choose to be in Christ. It doesn’t even make good nonsense, and it certainly is not taught in the scriptures.

Before I go, let me also address Rev 3:20. Taken out of context and without knowing what we have already read about in the scriptures, you can make it mean whatever you want. First of all, in Chapter 3, he is speaking to the body of believers in the churches, not all mankind, and that verse in particular is to the church of the Laodiceans, who were neither hot or cold, had said they had need of nothing, and could not see they were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and naked. Look back to verse 19,”As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.” So who is this invitation in verse 20 to? As many as I love. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Who can hear his voice? Remember in John we read, my sheep hear my voice. So here is a text that has a condition. If I love you, and if you are my sheep and can hear my voice, then when I knock, if you open the door, I will sup with you. I will rebuke you, chasten you, and ask you to be zealous and repent from your lukewarm heart. Opening the door will not make you His sheep, He only knocks on your door because He knows you are His sheep. What a great and merciful God we have to want to sup with sinners! Glory, Hallelujah, that one day we will be fully perfect, completely cleansed, and in His presence forever! Praise be unto God!

I hope this helps you, and I pray for His marvelous light to drive away all darkness from you, that you may delight in Christ, and enter into His rest. God be with you.

In hope that I am humbly in His service,
Anne

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Alex December 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

….You completely missed it. Your example of the slave ship was right in all terms except for exactly what you stated earlier with the verses you chose to display. God knows ahead of time whether you will row or not, furthermore, he created you knowing what you would choose. Free will ( the idea that God has no power over your personal choices) can not run paralleled with the ultimate sovereignty of God (the idea that God chose what you would do from the very beginning).

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cyril December 17, 2012 at 5:15 am

Hi Pastors Jack, it’s pleasure for me meeting you, I’m in a Muslim country and haven’t seen any one good to clarify some of my doubts, I’d had some doubts, I hope you will clarify me; we’re predestined by God, therefore whatever we do (good/ bad), God knew it will be so. Due to Adam and Eve, sin came to the world that we’d inherited, Gen: 16-17, the LORD God commanded the Adam, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Does this mean the Lord God already knew sin/dead will be on earth and used the serpent to deceived Adam and Eve as everything is predestined? Pastor I believe in predestination but not 100 percent or if there’s 100 percent predestination then there’s no free will, it therefore mean free will is already designed.

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Jack Wellman December 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

What a pleasure to meet you Cyril. If you read Ephesians chapter 1 you can see that God has predestined us but we still have free will or freedom to choose God or to reject Him. Yes, God already knew that Adam and Eve would sin in the Garden and as you read in Revelation, it states that Jesus was predestined or predetermined to shed His blood for sinners BEFORE the foundation of the world the Lamb of God was slain (speaking of it coming for certain).

In the eternal purpose of God Christ was “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). In the decree of God Christ was appointed to redeem the elect by His blood. The Bible teaches blood redemption by Jesus Christ, God’s Lamb. Even so, people have the freewill to chose to put their trust in Christ or not to.

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cyril December 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Jack thanks for getting back to ASAP,I accept we are predestined, yes Jesus predicted his dead and His betrayal Judas Iscariot as it was predestined, he did so to fulfill the gospel. I will like to ask if Judas actually sinned and will see the kingdom of God?

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Jack Wellman December 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Hello again Cyril. Truly, Judas was not saved. Not only did Judas sin but we ALL sin but the difference is that we confess our sins, ask for forgiveness and repent. There is none of this that happened to Judas. Here are sure signs Judas was never saved:

John 12:6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Hundreds of people walked away from Jesus when they realized He demanded their full devotion, but only Judas sought to sell Him out for money.

Judas received 30 pieces of silver = the cost of a slave. It was used to buy a small field.

Judas was entered into by Satan
John 13:21-28
21 When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” 22 Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. 23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. 25 Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him.

Judas was called The Son of Perdition
John 17:12 12 “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition (or “The Son of Hell), that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Marek Polak December 18, 2012 at 3:33 am

Dear Cyril,

You have to realize that God is almighty which also means He is all-knowing. Therefore He knew exactly what would happen and that is actually why He prepared everything in eternity past (you can easily find the verses that support this idea on the internet Bible). Has He decreed it all? If you believe that God is all powerful you have to admit that there is no thing that He would miss. I personally believe that there are certainly things God decreed and these things must come to pass, and there are things He allows (remember He is the God and the King of HIS universe). As for the ”free will” thing – I personally do not believe we have free will rahter will enslaved by sin (find verses) and it can only be freed by Jesus Christ. If I had free will I’d never need Jesus because I could free myself from the snares of the devil. Predestination? Yes, Read Romans 8:29-30 and other letters. Thank God for saving some rather than none. Are you among them? Do you believe in Lord Jesus Christ? If you do so and you at least try to do what He wants you to do and you regret your sins and repent than you can consider yourself to be the chosen one/elect by almighty God – remember, this is how I view God. I am just a human who makes mistakes but remember also that all of us are and make mistakes. I suggest you to study and look for the truth and ask God to open up your eyes!! God bless you!

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cyril January 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Hi Phil,
I strongly believe Judas never went to heaven,Oh yes he actually repented,threw back the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed.At this level he confessed his sins and could had gone to heaven, the fact that he hanged himself, he never confessed for this act .Matt 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Matt 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
Matt 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.Jesus Christ also made it clear after Simon asked Him who will follow him to heaven, Jesus said one of you is a devil(Judas)
John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
John 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
John 6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot [the son] of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
To me ,It was no doubt that the other eleven went to heaven except Judas

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cyril December 18, 2012 at 12:25 am

Thanks very much Jack, may the Almighty God bless you and give you the knowledge to clarify our doubts.

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Phil January 24, 2013 at 12:28 am

Jack,

Judas did “confess” or repent according to Matthew 27:4 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” He told the truth and claimed that Jesus was an innocent Lamb of God. It appears that Jesus chose Judas to have Satan enter him (John 13:26-27) and even called Judas a friend (Matthew 26:50). He did the will of the Father to fulfill the scriptures. Before the betrayal Judas’s only sin was stealing from the money box when we have people like Peter who deny Jesus 3 times and Jesus even called Peter “Satan”, yet he was redeemed. Of course I know that a sin is a sin and it isn’t about the degrees of sin, they’re all sin and the punishment for all sin is death but Jesus said “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50). Didn’t Judas just to the will of the father? After Judas confessed Judas threw the money on the temple floor (Matthew 27:5)…why was Judas even in the temple? The hebrew word was “naos”(Holy Place) where only priest could enter. Perhaps he was there asking for forgiveness?

With that all said, I am not sure where Judas went…heaven or hell and only God can judge him. I did want to raise eyebrows and point out some valid points against a blanket claim that he didn’t go to heaven. It seems likely to me that he indeed did go to heaven although only God knows for sure.

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cyril January 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Hi Phil,
I strongly believe Judas never went to heaven,Oh yes he actually repented,threw back the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed.At this level he confessed his sins and could had gone to heaven, the fact that he hanged himself, he never confessed for this act .Matt 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Matt 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
Matt 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.Jesus Christ also made it clear after Simon asked Him who will follow him to heaven, Jesus said one of you is a devil(Judas)
John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
John 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
John 6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot [the son] of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
To me ,It was no doubt that the other eleven went to heaven except Judas

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Phil January 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm

cyril,

I am still confused about the first point you made. So, with that logic- that Judas didn’t repent for hanging himself so he must be going to hell- so if we have a bad attitude or don’t show love to a neighbor, or tell a lie and our house catches fire, or we get in a car accident and die are you then saying that we are going to hell because we didn’t repent for the specific sin? I have always believed that once you are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ that he is your redeemer always and forever and even through your mistakes He is going to testify on your behalf to our Father.

Your 2nd point was really good and I am going to have to process that and read about it in my Bible. I may still have questions about that too. Do you think that when Jesus said one of them was a devil it meant that the devil was living within Judas (since scripture said Satan entered him and I am assuming he was “possessed”)? John 6:70 still says that 12 were chosen and one is the devil, by this I am wondering if Jesus wasn’t referring to the 12 disciples AND to the devil separately. I am still not sure about where Judas went.

Thanks for offering your opinion. I find this all really interesting!

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cyril January 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Phil
Well we know we’re all sinners and that’s why God gave us this wonderful gift of the Ransom sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ so we can be save from sin and death. He is ready to forgive us any time we ask for forgiveness
Matt 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. There is no doubt that all men from Adam on have had to repent in order to have a right relationship with God, Jesus said;
Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Ezek 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Matt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
We need to confess every time we sin since we don’t know when we’re expiring.So, I still stand on the fact that Judas can’t go to heaven

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Jack Wellman January 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Cyril, I agree and thank you for such clarity on this subject. The actual language of Judas was NOT that he repented but that he felt guilty or felt remorse. The Scriptures are clear as stated,

“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3–5)

In a way that defies comprehension, Judas persistently resisted and rejected God’s truth, God’s grace, and even God’s own Son. Also in a way that defies understanding, he managed to completely conceal his wicked rebellion from everyone but Jesus. His hypocrisy was so complete and deceptive that even when Jesus predicted that one of the disciples would betray Him, Judas was not suspected.

John MacArthur said that no man could be more evil than Judas Iscariot. Only eleven other men in all of history have had the intimate, personal relationship he had with the incarnate Son of God, No man has ever been more exposed to God’s perfect truth, both in precept and example. No man has been more exposed firsthand to God’s love, compassion, power, kindness, forgiveness, and grace. No man has had more evidence of Jesus’ divinity or more firsthand knowledge of the way of salvation. Yet in all of those three indescribably blessed years with Jesus, Judas did not take so much as the first step of faith.

In a way that defies comprehension, Judas persistently resisted and rejected God’s truth, God’s grace, and even God’s own Son. Also in a way that defies understanding, he managed to completely conceal his wicked rebellion from everyone but Jesus. His hypocrisy was so complete and deceptive that even when Jesus predicted that one of the disciples would betray Him, Judas was not suspected.

Proof that Judas’s sorrow was ungodly and selfish is seen in the fact that he made no effort to defend or rescue Jesus. He had no desire to vindicate or save Jesus but only to salve his own conscience, which he attempted to do by returning the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.

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Mike February 11, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Just wanted to add a couple of things about the need to repent before we die.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:30 NIV). Notice that these things are all in the past tense. That means that it is finished. If God called you, then it is a done deal.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 38, 39 NIV). We screw it up big time every day, and yet there is NOTHING that can seperate us from the love of God. When God makes that decision, it’s over, and we are forever His.

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Dude February 27, 2013 at 9:54 am

“Imagine that you are a slave on a ship”

That analogy explains a lot. Thanks!

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Jarred March 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm

This is a fantastic blog/post/article that I am very appreciative for. When I look at the discussions, also, I am reminded in a few ways that we should be sure to look first to God and His word for our answers and responses, and not to man and religious differences and beliefs. It’s not about a religion, it’s about a relationship with Him, and we need to make sure our relationship with Him is sound in study and prayer and fellowship. This is a great way of bringing fellowship to the table, and using all of the parts of the body of Christ to work together and attain a better understanding of Him. But remember, as Jack has said, our minds are finite and cannot understand the infinite! So if there is something that is just ripping you apart because you just cannot understand how God is doing it, remember that He is all-knowing and we are not! So when trying to learn some points of knowledge that cannot be understood but by God alone, we can kind of drive ourselves to look to sources and people who teach principles of the world and religion, rather than biblical truth. Remain sound in your faith, even when things get confusing. He is true, even in our wandering. DO NOT DOUBT IN THE DARK WHAT YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE IN THE LIGHT! This topic, free will and predestination, is a very deep biblical study. If it is hard to understand and causes a break in your relationship with Christ, I urge you, pray about it certainly and seek wise council to learn the biblical truth of it as you must be as you are reading this, but don’t let it interupt your faith. Stay strong in your faith in the Lord always, because even though we cannot understand everything, we can have faith that God can and does. He isn’t out to get anyone who has the desire to learn about Him. He doesn’t sit up there saying, “Hey, check this out, I’m going to make this one want to learn about me, but I’m not going to save him!”. No, the interest He puts in your heart to learn more about Him is to help you grow in your study, prayer, and faith even when things are confusing. Anyways, God bless all of you here with the desire to learn. If anybody wants to have discussion over this, please reply to me with questions or comments so I may look to the bible for answers for myself and anyone else. Peace.

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jane March 10, 2013 at 4:07 am

Dear Jack,

I was so confused reading your reply to the one asking “Did Jesus really die for all or only the elect?

while it is written:
2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Indeed He died for all humanity, just have faith in Him and follow His Will. Through the Holy Spirit that He promise and tru submission to Christ Jesus as it is written James 4:7. Each one will be save.

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Jack Wellman March 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Thank you Jane for your critique. So Jesus died for Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot? They could have been saved if they had trusted in Christ and so if He died for them all it would be seen as universalism in a way. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not limited in its power to save, but in the extent to which it reaches and will save certain individuals.

John 6:37-40, “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.”

ALL will come to Jesus that the Father gives. Christ has died that any man or woman may be saved if –and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? John 10. In verse 11 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd layeth down His life for the sheep.” Not for ALL sheep. Again in verse 15 Jesus declares, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” And in contrast to this willing sacrifice for His sheep, there is the fact presented in verse 26 that some are not Jesus’ sheep. Jesus says, “But ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep.” The distinction which Jesus makes is very clear. He speaks of two groups of people: His sheep, and those which are not His sheep. For the former group, Jesus lays down His life; He dies for His sheep. For the latter group, Jesus does not die; they are not His sheep. Therefore, too, they do not believe on Him. Again here it is very clear that the payment which Jesus made for sin upon the cross is a payment for a specific group of people — not a payment for the sins of everyone.

In Genesis we read that God “put enmity” between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. Now who were meant by the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent? On first thought we might suppose that the seed of the woman meant the entire human race descended from Eve. But in Gal. 3:16 Paul uses this term “seed,” and applies it to Christ as an individual. “He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” On further investigation we also find that the seed of the serpent means not literal descendants of the Devil, but those non-elect members of the human race, who partake of his sinful nature. Jesus said of His enemies, “Ye are of your father, the Devil; and the lusts of your father it is your will to do,” John 8:44. Paul denounced Elymas the sorcerer as a son of the Devil and an enemy of all righteousness. Judas is even called a devil, John 6:70. So the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent are each a part of the human race. In other parts of the Scriptures we find that Christ and His people are “one,” that He dwells in them and is united with them as the vine and the branches are united. And since at the very beginning God “put enmity” between these two groups, it is plain that He never loved all alike, nor intended to redeem all alike. Universal redemption and God’s sentence on the serpent can never go together.

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Benga April 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Hi, my understanding of the scriptures is this first like in all physics there must be a given, God says He is just, love, holy which means extremely good and he cannot lie. So everything He does should be according to His nature, i just cannot understand how a loving just Holy God who cannot lie can allow people to be damned even before they r born? and others saved, honestly this confused me for some years already, i have two daughters no way i am allowing one to go to college while the other one to work as a maid. So i tried to reconcile election, predestination and foreknowledge and i come up with something like this.
Eph. 1:4 God chose us to be like Christ before the foundation of the world (us- means all human beings), i mean the original intention of God is for all people to be like Christ. but then man sinned out of their own freewill.
Eph.1:5 i have notice something significant here its the period (.) the verse should have started, “IN love” He predestined us to adoption as sons, my point here is this. because we sinned. ” in love for us , He made a way to let back to His original plan , that is to die on the cross n save us.” but the requirement is we must believe of course out of our own freewill since we sin out of our freewill too. thats fair enough right? but He did die to save all.
God knew us yes before we are born so he sets everything up for us to have a chance to be save but still it is our choice to make if we would believe and obey or not.
and God did not instigate all the happening that took place that led to Adam n Eve’s sin in the garden, i just cant accept the fact that everything that has happen under the sun n still happening now is just a “Show” or predestinated. it doesn’t sound n feel right, to the God that says He is love, just, holy and cannot lie.
Rom.828 for those whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to Christ. “those people whom God foreknew here what paul is saying is God knows who will be saved God will help them along the way to become more like Christ”. but what i belive here is this, God laid the way for all man to be save but they should accept it on their own God will help you along the way, but the foreknowledge of the people He is talking about is after man sinned, coz prior to the original sin He meant none of us to be damned, now He wants to bring us all back but We have to believe n obey out of our own. so the timeline of this verse is not for precreation but after man’s fall.
all the conclusion i made justifies that God is loving, just , Holy and honest. i think those people believeing that some r damned before they born is making God look bad. God is good God.

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Joshua May 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm

I have to agree with Benga, I’m sorry Paster, but we have free will to choose our own life and make our own way. God has a plan for our lives and he has a walk he wants us to walk faithfully whether that’s a walk of suffering and pain or its a walk of pure joy or all of the above. He calls us to choose him. We can choose to not choose him.

I’m not sure if you agree with John Calvin but he is wrong. God did not predestine anyone to go to hell. He wants ALL of us in heaven with him. If you read the new testament in context with the culture, and reading it in the correct literary context you will see that salvation is and was always Gods plan for EVERYONE. Not only those whom he “predestined”.

God does NOT punish those who accept his salvation. We all have the choice to choose him or not choose him. If we choose him we will never face punishment, we will have life, if we don’t, we face death. Again, I reiterate, Gods salvation is for everyone and has always been for everyone.

I think that your mixing up Gods plan for our lives with predestination. They cannot run paralle with each other. It is not possible. God knows our actions and he knows us because 1000 years to God is a day and a day is 1000 years.

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Jack Wellman May 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Thank you Joshua and Benga for your comments. Please tell me where you see where I wrote that God predestines some to hell? We are free moral agents and can choose to believe in Christ as it says, “Whomever will believe in me.” People choose to not trust in Christ just as those choose to believe in Him, but either way, God knew who would and who would not believe in Christ. I an not a Calvinist at all in the sense that God sends people to hell by His will but people choose their own fate. God doesn’t send people to hell…people do by their rejection of Christ.

I know this is hard to reconcile but what about Ephesians 1:4-6 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for (M)adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” and (11-13) “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”

Which of these teaches God predestines someone to hell, and where do I state this in this article? And which of these verses do you know believe?

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Joshua May 22, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Maybe I got a little confused, but you started off quoting what Calvin Believed and then went right into scriptures backing it up. Never denying Calvins thoughts that God predestines people to hell.

So, with that said, you saying you deny calvins thoughts on that then everything else makes more sense. But, what I think God is saying is he knew those who choose him were going to choose him. But saying that we were predestined In the context your saying it means that we didn’t have a choice to accept him and that’s just not true. He wanted us to choose him before we were born, he predestined us like your examples to choose him. Like, for your children, you predestined your child to play with the toys you picked for him but your child has a choice not to play with the toys even thought you predestined for him to.
I’m sorry, but if its not a personal choice to accept God, what glory does it really give him? What glory would it give you if you forced your child to accept you? None, or a superficial glory. If its not a choice than whats the purpose?

That is why we are to go to all the nations, so we can spread the good news and so God to be glorified can do his work in the hearts of those who hear that news. So that they can then choose to glorify God and give him praise.

I’m not saying you don’t understand that, in fact I know you do understand. So, maybe its just the way I read what you wrote and the way I read it just was throwing me off to your point.

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Jack Wellman May 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Thank you Joshua. I agree that we are told to go into all the world, even if its next door. I know that you are exactly right in that its all for God’s glory. Thank you so much my friend. I believe we have dozens of articles that try to encourage and inspire people to be active participants of the Great Commission, which for the vast majority of Christians is, sadly, the great omission. I do agree with Calvin up to a point but not a strict Calvinist for sure otherwise why evangelize?

Thank you my friend.

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Anne May 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Benga and Joshua,

Whatever you may “feel”; whatever you may think; whatever you may imagine; which of you did God counsel when he made His “plan”? We can not define God’s purposes by our “feelings”, nor can we put human or any other limitations on our God. God’s Word is very clear; if you want answers you don’t have to invent them from your own thoughts. If you believe in a god like Buddha, who is said to be in a statue, then you can say he can only do what man chooses to let him do. In that case whether you choose to do something or not do something, you can give Buddha the credit or the blame for your own choices, as you see fit. It makes no difference anyhow as a statue is not able to provide, protect, number the hairs on your head, feed you, clothe you, etc., etc. However, if you truly believe in the Great Jehovah God, the Master of the Universe, the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, the Almighty, the Great I AM, are you really going to maintain that He who is Omniscient, All Knowing, and All Powerful, He who holds the world in His Hands, and has the keys and power over life and death, hell and the grave, this Magnificent God, truly intended to save all mankind, but is now limited by satan, sin, the fall of Adam, or man’s own freewill to choose or not to choose? What kind of weak, puny, incapable, and unwilling god are you worshipping? My God, said, He SHALL save His people from their sins. Not, if they will let me, if they will accept me, if they will choose me. He said I chose them, BEFORE, they had been born, BEFORE, they had done any good or evil, (ROMANS 9:11) that the purpose of God might stand, according to God’s election, His own choosing, so that man could not glory in his own works, but it is of Him that calleth.

Why don’t people just simply look up the word predestination in the dictionary or concordance? It is not a difficult theological doctrine to waste countless hours on in deep concentrated study. It simply means your final destination was determined before hand. (It doesn’t have anything at all to do with all the choices you will make in living out your sojourn on earth. In fact they are not even under consideration, so it is very easy to see that man’s freedom to choose how he lives in the here and now, can most certainly run parallel to God’s victorious plan for your eternal salvation and your home in heaven.) Scriptures teach that God is the one who determined the destination of His people, and it can never be changed. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11-29) This is not talking about man’s repentance, but is saying that God himself will not repent, or change His mind, concerning the calling of His people, or the gift of salvation, the inheritance that He promised to them, reserved for them, preserved for them, since before the foundation of the world. Can we not see what an amazing God we have? What He knew, is that we would sin, we would anger, grieve, and displease Him, in every way possible. So therefore He agreed with Himself, swore by Himself because their was none greater; then He who could not lie, PROMISED, that nothing, NOTHING (read Romans 8:35-39) could separate us from Him who loved us. Isn’t that the good news!!! We who are sinners, deserving of Hell will not have to suffer forever, for Jesus Christ suffered in our room instead. Glory Hallelujah!!!!

If even one that He died for, suffered and bled for, and promised them a home in heaven, can for any reason, including their own “decision” to not follow him in obedience in their earthly life, finally end up in Hell, then He DID NOT save His people, He broke his oath and His promise and is therefore a liar. If He purposed or planned for all mankind to go to heaven and even one did not, then His purposes mean nothing and he is yet again, a liar. A god who is a liar or a statue, is no god at all, and no better than any one of us. If any make it to heaven that He did not choose, call, bleed and die for, then He is not a Savior. If man has the power to place himself in heaven through his own choice then Jesus died in vain.

Lest any man then say, well, we can do whatever we want and we will still go to heaven. Actually yes, you are free to try living out your own passions, pleasures, and pursuits. That is the “free will” of man. But remember, Our God is not a god made of wood, gold, or brass. He has been touched with our infirmities, tempted as we were, lived in the flesh as a man, and yet did not sin. We will reap what we sow, and He is ever watchful over us. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. We obey Him, we desire to please Him, and we love Him, because He first loved us and gave Himself for us. To Him be the Glory!

God told us to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us. Can you have hope or confidence in a liar? No one should. The truth shall set you free. To him whom you serve, it is to him you are in bondage. Choose you this day who you will serve. The god of false teachers and men’s vain imaginations, or the True and Living God of the Universe? With God as our helper, we shall serve the Lord.

May God richly bless you both, give you wisdom, understanding and discernment, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Anne

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chris b. June 18, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I think that god knows ahead of time what everyones choice will be but that doesn’t stop him from trying to save everybody. It’s evident throughout all the bible that god is not stoic or nonchalant about his creation but rather is very much actively involved in reaching all of humanity. He has been and always will be desperately pleading and intercedeing on everyones behalf. He just simply knows the outcomeahead of time. This does not imply that there isn’t work for him to do.

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Benga June 20, 2013 at 10:20 am

chris b. i agree w/ what u said, but does it means also knowing the outcome of our choices and God still at work and intervenes also means outcome and decisions can also be changes, if one should decide from being sinful and neglectful of God to become a true believer and follower, so nothing is certain or absolute before the foundation of the world. right?

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McKenna June 25, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Jack,
I read your article and the majority of the comments looking for the answer to a big question in my mind but never found it.
If God is in complete control and has placed all of us where we are “for a reason”, then He has basically preprogrammed everything that happens on earth. With that in mind, how does that give us any free will to choose him, and how does that give God any glory? Furthermore, if God has planned and pre-orchestrated everything we do, not only does that mean that He predestined some of us to salvation and some of us to eternal damnation, but all of the wrong things people do and the rejection He has supposedly preprogrammed for our lives to include was His plan. This makes no sense to me. I would love to be proven wrong about this…

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Jack Wellman June 25, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Thanks McKenna. I have heard some of the most brilliant theologians discuss this matter, like R.C. Sproul for example and the tension of understanding how predestination works and there is freewill, is about has hard to explain as any thing in the Bible. That is because God is God and I can not, in any way, comprehend what God has planned forever (Eph 1, 2) but still appears that we can choose eternal life or judgment since whosover may believe (John 11:26, 3:16).

The Bible does not contain the doctrine of double predestination (some doomed to hell, some to heaven), although in a few isolated passages it seems to come close to it. The Bible teaches that all salvation is based on the eternal Election of God in Jesus Christ, and that this eternal Election springs wholly and entirely from God’s sovereign freedom. But wherever this happens, there is no mention of a decree of rejection. The Bible teaches that alongside of the elect there are those who are not elect, who are “reprobate,” and indeed that the former are the minority and the latter the majority; but in these passages the point at issue is not eternal election but “separation” or “selection” in judgment. Thus the Bible teaches that there will be a double outcome of world history, salvation and ruin, Heaven and hell. We do know that salvation is explicitly taught as derived from the eternal election but a person still much choose.

God never made Peter sin in denying Christ 3 times and no one pointed a gun to his back to sin. However God did allow the devil to test Peter and it broke him for a season. In Judas’s case, it was God who allowed Satan to enter Judas, but God never forced Judas to betray him. I had the freewill to go to college. God did not make me. He KNEW I would though and this was predestined to happen…and since God knows the future, HE knew it would happen.

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McKenna June 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Thank you for the clarification, Jack. I picked up a book by R. C. Sproul on this issue and understand everything a lot more now. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. 🙂

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Jack Wellman June 27, 2013 at 9:44 pm

THank you McKenna. I love R C Sproul and Ligonier Ministries. I never really grasped how predestination and free will went together until I read some of his materials and listened to some of his sermons.

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