I know everybody has taken a shot at this. I did this in one of the RZIM modules doctrine I think. Its long but is the results of wrestling with the topic.
I know that the load bearing portion of either view hinges on the sovereignty of God. So how sovereign is sovereign? Can He bless? Can He curse? Does He know my name? Can He love me and can I love Him? Perhaps more importantly, does He need my permission to act? My reason and my Bible will not allow me to get around the sovereignty of God, he is that I AM . I cannot image that there is anything outside of His ability to command to comfort to save or cast out and that would include salvation. God is in the choosing business he chooses whom he will but even in the choosing he does not exclude .
2 And I will make you a great nation , and I will bless you, and I will make your name great. And you will be a blessing. 3 And I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you I will curse. And all families of the earth will be blessed in you. ” (Ge 12:2–3)
5 Your name shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. (Ge 17:5)
5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward the heavens and count the stars if you are able to count them.” And he said to him, “ So shall your offspring be .” 6 And he believed in Yahweh , and he reckoned it to him as righteousness . (Ge 15:5–6)
So early in the story God lays claim to a people group. His will for this special people group is that they live their lives as an example of a life lived in shalom. I ran up on the definition of shalom in a book that I am reading the credit is given to Cornelius Plantinga Jr. He explains the OT meaning of shalom:
The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight …. Shalom, in other words is the way things ought to be .
Think Psalms 1 and you have human flourishing and if we consider that God’s chosen people would be an example of the human flourishing think how the nations would respond if the Holiness of God was demonstrated in the lives of a broken people being made “whole” by His Holiness. If you think about it every time Jesus crossed a purity boundary, (the women with the issue of blood, eating with the publicans, touching the lame, the blind, the sick, the demoniac, the leaper, the woman at the well) his Holiness made the unwholly lives of those he touched Whole as God intended, able to flourish .
22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to seek Yahweh of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat ⌊the favor of⌋ Yahweh.’ 23 Thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from ⌊ the nations of every language ⌋ will take hold of the hem of a Judean man, saying, “ Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you! ” ’ ” (Zec 8:22-23)
9 But you are a chosen race , a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s possession , so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, 10 who once were not a people, but now are the people of God, the ones who were not shown mercy, but now are shown mercy. (1 Pe 2:9–10)
All of this is predicated on the Bibles declaration of the Creator God’s intention to redeem and restore his creation and to live among his people for eternity.
And I will take you ⌊as my people⌋, and I will be ⌊your God⌋, and you will know that I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out from under the ⌊forced labor⌋ of Egypt. (Ex 6:7)
4 “Hear, Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is unique. 5 And you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your might. (Dt 6:4–5)
3 And there will not be any curse any longer, and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his slaves will serve him, 4 and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will not exist any longer, and they will not have need of the light of a lamp and the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give light to them, and they will reign ⌊forever and ever⌋. (Re 22:3–6)
Now for the lynch pin the resurrected Messiah. The man before his time (chronological gap). The man who shocked the world our forerunner:
we who have taken refuge may have powerful encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us, 19 which we have like an anchor of the soul, both firm and steadfast, and entering into the inside of the curtain, 20 where Jesus, the forerunner for us , entered, because he* became a high priest ⌊forever⌋ according to the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 6:18–20)
20 And when they* had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion , being Jews, 21 and are proclaiming customs that are not permitted for us to accept or to practice, because we are Romans* !” (Ac 16:20–21)
I will finish with the 2 great verses of the Bible:
16 For in this way God loved the world, so that he gave his one and only Son, in order that everyone who believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life . 17 For God did not send his Son into the world in order that he should judge the world, but in order that the world should be saved through him. 18 The one who believes in him is not judged, but the one who does not believe has already been judged, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. (Jn 3:16–18)
To that I would add The I AM verses and for me personally I find get comfort in know the Lord of Glory new the hearts of his people and he knows my heart. All Glory be to Him.
28 So they said to him, “What shall we do that we can accomplish the works of God ?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “ This is the work of God: that you believe in the one whom that one sent.” (Jn 6:28–29)
And the last and perhaps most compelling verse to support my belief that this whole issue is not an issue when Paul who had every right to claim “Election” (It is a pillow of 1st century Judaism along with Monotheism (Creator God) and Eschatology (Resote the creation)) gave way to “faith”.
6 But the righteousness from faith speaks like this: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring [Christ] down), 7 or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring [Christ] up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “ The word is near to you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim), 9 that if you confess with your mouth “[Jesus is Lord]” and believe in your heart that [God raised him from the dead], you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes , resulting in righteousness , and with the mouth one confesses , resulting in salvation . 11 For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes [in him] will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for [the same Lord is Lord of all], who is rich to all [who call upon him.] 13 For “everyone who calls [upon the name of the Lord] will be saved.” (Ro 10:6–13)
I believe that It is safe to say that if you take these verses out of Romans, Romans would not be Romans.
So come to the table there is room for all, the elect, the enlighten and the whole world and just like the Father in the Prodigal who scans the horizon for his son to return the expectant Father of Glory expects you to return. You have always been on the guest list so take your place. It’s your choice.