(Elizabeth Kwik) #1

My question is on predestination, or the idea that there are some who God chooses and others He does not choose. I recently read some testimonies that included the statement that God offers the free gift of salvation to everyone, but I wondered if that is true? And what this means for evangelism - does this mean that for some people no matter how much you can try and evangelize and pray, if they are not one chosen by God then they will never come to Him. But since we will never know who God has chosen or predestined, we just do our best in evangelism and assume it is possible that they are chosen and that if so then hopefully they someday choose to accept Christ?

I did some research but still find this quite confusing and am unsure of the correct interpretation to references of the elect etc in the Bible such as this: John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Thank you!

Predestination is the biblical doctrine that God in His sovereignty chooses certain individuals to be saved; I understand that God saving me is out of His grace, I don’t deserve to be saved chosen forgiven, so I don’t have the right to be mad at God for not choosing certain people etc…

(SeanO) #2

@ehj.kwik The simple truth is that no one knows for certain exactly how God’s sovereignty and human free will work. The Bible is clear that we are responsible for our actions and that God is sovereign. And I think as long as we acknowledge both of those facts, we do not need to understand the exact mechanics of how the two go together to follow Jesus.

Deut 29:29 - The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

That said, I think there are a few things to consider when interpreting these Bible passages:

  • many of the passages talking about predestination can be interpreted in 2 ways - either God predestined individuals or God predestined all people who choose to come through the foreordained means. In other words, God did not predestine individuals to choose salvation but that all who come to Christ will be saved.
  • the Biblical covenants in the OT are conditional - if you obey you will be blessed, if you disobey you will be cursed. If people did not genuinely have the ability to choose, that would not make any sense at all. To be held responsible we must have the capacity to choose between good and evil.

Here are some additional threads on this topic and a video from John Lennox. Hope that is helpful :slight_smile:

John Lennox on This Topic

(Dean Schmucker) #3

Is everything that happpens Gods will? This must be so, or His sovereignty would be violated. Is it His will that sll be saved? Yes. Are all saved? No. How then is God sovereign?
My thought is that Gods primary attribute is Love. As such, men are free to choose Him or not. That He foreknew that some would not do so in no way violates their freedom to choose.

(Jimmy Sellers) #4

This is one of many recurring questions that are ask on connect. Because of that I know that it is important to be able to get some input on a subject That particular topic was not an issue in the 1st century church. Having said that, I would not want you or anyone to feel that the question is somehow out of place it is not. :grinning:
Now for my answer to your question. I would like to give you a few more things to consider as you study this subject.

  • I think first and foremost remember this is a Jewish story about God and his people and his plan for them and his creation. It is a story that has been retold around a 16th century European worldview.
  • This was not an issue in the 1st century church. No one was worried about being predestine, for that matter, no one was worried about being saved, at least not in the same way as we think about it today.
  • If you want a better understanding of this subject, you will need go back in time not forward. You need to remember there was not a Bible as we know it, there was no New Testament at all, just what we call the Old Testament. You will also need to go back to the intertestamental years to the Jewish literature and writings to understand the terms “elect”, “covenant”, “righteousness”, “faithfulness” and what it meant to the devote Jew of the that day, a zealot (think Phineas grandson of Aaron).
  • Paul was a zealot. He believed in monotheism (one God), election (one people of God) and eschatology (one future for God’s world). This was the theology of Paul, a theology that was being reconciling with what he believed to be true about the God of Israel his “elect” and his promise to rescue his creation as recorded in Torah, the Writing, the Prophets and History. All that Paul believed was being challenged by the resurrected Jesus, Messiah. This was not an either/or choice for Paul it was both, God is true, scripture is true, and Jesus is Messiah but the order was wrong or the end was now. Remember it took Paul at least 14 years to think this through maybe even 17 but it did not happen overnight. Have you ever wondered why God chose a Pharisee to preach grace? Because it’s always been Grace.
  • Think of election as God not choosing a people but choosing a people for a purpose. As a people with a purpose Israel was to live their lives in such a fashion as to cause its neighbors to be drawn to their way of life both in how they lived with each other and how they lived with their neighbors and most importantly how they worshiped their God:
    20 Thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘It will happen again that nations and the inhabitants of many cities will come. 21 And the inhabitants of one city will go to another city, saying, “Let us go immediately to entreat the favor of Yahweh, to seek Yahweh of hosts—I also will go!” 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 8:20–23)
    This verse and many other verses like it would confirm that God had from the beginning intended to extend the gift of grace to all who would believe and receive. The greatness of the Giver and the great price of the gift all expressed publicly as endless gratitude to the Giver.

Hope this helps and gives you more to think on.

(Scott ) #5

I find it interesting to consider what “the elect” are elected for. I think the idea of double predestination, which originated with Augustine and was carried on by Calvin, is what gives people so much trouble - that by God’s decree, eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others. Our perspective shifts if we think about predestination as God’s choice of a people, as Jimmy suggested. Someone has suggested that the church is not a few who are exclusive objects of divine care but those who have heard the call of the gospel to be conformed to the image of Christ, and are chosen to bear witness to God’s care for humanity. This is certainly not a traditional view of the doctrine of election, but it does raise interesting questions about what the elected have been elected for, and what place there may be for other “peoples of God.”