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Predestination & Free Will is Debatable – But Election is Clear

16 July on Doctrine of Election, Free Will vs Predestination   Tags: , , , ,

election-free-will-predestination

There are many points to make when talking about predestination. When one thinks of predestination, what comes to mind is that God is so sovereign and that He randomly picks various people in history (and today) that will go to heaven or that will go to hell. Well, we know that God is sovereign (Ps 115:3, Ps 135:6, Isa 46:10, Dan 4:35). We also know that He’s omniscient (Ps 147:5, Job 28:24, Isa 46:9, Ps 139:4). So to think that God (the Alpha & Omega) (Rev 1:8,17, Rev 21:6-7) doesn’t already know the outcome is crazy. But to suggest that He made the outcome the way it is is a different story.

We know there are a couple verses in the Bible that clearly shows that we have free will and have to make choices (Heb 10:26, 1 Cor 9:17). We also know that before the foundations of the world that God knew us (Jer 1:4, Gal 1:15, 1 Cor 2:7, Eph 1:5). It seems like there’s a tug-a-war between free will and predestination. But the reality is, free will was given to us  (Gen 2:15-17, Josh 24:15, Deut 30:19, Prov 8:10). We make choices in our lives, not God. But guess what, since God is outside of time and His view is of all time (Ps 90:2,4, 2 Pet 3:8, Ps 102:24-27) from beginning to end, He already knows the choices you are going to make. And since He knows what choices we are going to make and created the universe the way He did, then you could say that He created the you that will make the choices you make. So now we are living with choices that have been predestined by God. The spiral starts spinning…

The Difference Between Foreknowledge and Predestination

The problem with this topic is that we as humans can’t see things the way that God sees them. God is omnipotent and omniscient. He knows what will happen before it will happen. But foreknowledge does not imply predestination. Our problem is that we cannot fathom time the way God knows it. We see time as a constant stream from point A to point B. This is why we cannot fathom that there is no beginning to God and no end to God. God is infinity. God simply is.

It’s not that we are predestined to receive salvation or to reject it. Because after all Christ did for all our sins (John 3:16). The fact of the matter is we still make the choices we make in our lives, even though God already knows the outcome and created the us with these choices. That is the issue with predestination. It assumes that God created the people He wants saved and the ones He doesn’t. And Biblically, Scripture supports predestination. Full circle back to top..

The Difference Between Predestination and Election

So now we are left with the free will to love or reject God. But we know from scripture that it’s in our nature to reject God  (Gal 5:16-17), and without the Holy Spirit we hate God (Romans 8:7-8, Eph 2:15-16). So if it’s in or nature to reject and hate God, what is the key to our salvation? The holy spirit. Which leads us back to it being up to God on who’s saved and who’s not. Because after all, its by grace that we are saved, not of our ways or deeds (Eph 2:8-9). Are you seeing the difference between predestination and election?

As you can see you can go back in forth with free will and predestination. But there’s no debate to election. No matter how much free will we have, without the work of the Holy Spirit, we can’t  save ourselves  (2 Tim 2:26, Eph 1:9, Jjohn 6:44). If you are saved and come to Christ, it is because the Spirit of God has saved you, not by choice, or free will. Many people don’t like this because frankly there are loved ones and a lot of people going to hell and if we believe in election, there’s nothing we can do about it. But like Got Questions says on this topic ;

The important thing to remember is that no one deserves to be saved. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23), and are all worthy of eternal punishment (Romans 6:23). As a result, God would be perfectly just in allowing all of us to spend eternity in hell. However, God chooses to save some of us. He is not being unfair to those who are not chosen, because they are receiving what they deserve. God’s choosing to be gracious to some is not unfair to the others. No one deserves anything from God; therefore, no one can object if he does not receive anything from God.

If you are saved, be happy that God has chosen you out of HIS free will (Eph 1:3-4) and if you are obedient to His word, your loved ones and other people of all nations will be saved and baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19-20).

Looking Back

I remember when I 1st heard of Calvinism, Predestination, Election, etc. It was really hard for me to accept. When I was hearing it, I was really disappointed and discouraged. I started to think to myself, if God is saving people and He already has condemned people to hell, what’s the use for me to shared the gospel? It was also damaging to my pride or made me feel like I had less of  a purpose if it isn’t me that doing the saving. But if it were me doing the saving, who gets the glory then? What I was getting twisted was the fact that I still have a choice to spread the gospel and to be obedient, and that if I am saved, I will be obedient (Matt 7:21, Acts 10:35, Luke 6:46, 1 Cor 7:19, Col 3:23) and God will use me. Which in a way leads us back into free will predestination spiral.. The spiral never stops.

The most important points to take from this is;

    • We have free will to choose what actions we make
    • God already knows what actions we are going to make
    • You can have both free will and predestination
    • Predestination should not be confused with election, even if they go hand and hand. They are still different by definition.
    • Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot save ourselves.
    • We can’t save ourselves. God saves us. (that what SALVATION is)

The point of this article was to show that even though there’s a debate and contrast  between predestination and free will, they can still concur. But  to also point out that whichever side you pick, election is still clear.

Other Great Takeaway Verses;

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. – Proverbs 16:9

For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. – 1 Cor 9:17

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!Romans 11:33

If you disagree. I really, really want to hear why (if your reasons are scripture-based). There’s always room to learn more and I’m always open to the Word proving me wrong. Just leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!
  • Philip

    Great post James. I think you hit it. No matter what you search, you’ll find that we have free will and at the same time God already knows and created everything thing. But like you said, that doesn’t matter. We all need The Holy Spirit to draw us to Christ.

    • Hi Phil, I appreciate the comment. I do believe you would have to deny that God has a plan and His Omniscience to go against predestination and election. I only wrote this post because there is a debate. But it’s so obvious, it’s a really silly debate.

  • HAD TO LEAVE SHAI LINNE & WILLIE WILL’S LYRICS ON THIS ONE

    (Willie Will)

    Peep it son, no need to run from the truth
    We need to come to understand Ephesians 1
    We see in love the Father predestined
    We seem to have a problem with the doctrine of election
    We keep stressin’ and leave guessin’ leadin’ to depression
    Because it’s God’s love we question
    Well sit back and take a deep breath in
    And exhale, let’s set sail, the word of God is refreshin’
    Let’s be real with it, the Bible obviously talks
    about predestination so we gotta deal with it
    I’ll be a fake attorney by His grace and mercy
    And present my case so let’s take a journey for the sake of learning
    First turn to Romans 8:28-30
    Zoomin’ in on verse 29, read the first line
    “Those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to
    the image of His Son”- Exhibit #1
    People try to use an argument lacking common sense
    Concerning the foreknowledge of God thinking the logic fits
    Dudes are saying He looked out into the future ages
    With illumination seeing all that would choose salvation
    And those men were chosen by God because they chose Him
    But that’s not what the passage has spoken
    It says those He foreknew He predestined
    If he foreknew everybody, is everybody predestined?
    Is everyone His object of affection?
    If so, then what’s the point of the doctrine of election?
    It’s spiritual but let me make it plain so u see the miracle
    And praise His Name instead of taking His grace in vain
    It isn’t complicated, we all evaded the God that made us
    And traded in His truth for a lie
    Worshiping what God created more than God who is glorified
    Corroborated our death, our lives are an abomination
    But if the Father’s aim is to bestow mercy
    Then it’s not to say that He was obligated but that God is gracious
    As God’s enemies we deserve to be crushed
    We’re dirty enough to be eternally cursed and turned into dust
    And if he did it He would be perfectly just to murder me but
    He decided to show mercy to us
    I didn’t choose God, God chose me
    Gave me a new heart and it wasn’t because I was holy
    But if I chose G-O-D then God owes me, the only reason
    I first walked thru them church doors is
    Psalm 65 verse 4, why do I know God?
    Matthew 11:27 says it best and
    Those that have been predestined keep pressin’
    It’s a deep message, I only see blessin’ in election
    ’ma see the blessin’, yo it’s not even a question
    How God in His perfection wrote the doctrine of election

    (shai linne)

    God in His perfection wrote the doctrine of election
    Cause He’s sovereign, there’s no question and that got some people stressin’
    But no option but election can account for our protection
    Godly direction or perfected bodily resurrection, yo!
    Don’t let the thinking of modern men fool ya
    God does what He wants- that’s what it means to be Sovereign Ruler
    It’s deep but not complicated- with complete confidence I’ll state it:
    Peep it- it’s how God has always operated
    He’s the greatest, fam- His amazing plan made His hand
    Save the man Abraham from a pagan land
    Who can argue with the people that God chooses?
    Israel and not Egypt, Peter and not Judas
    Humanly speaking, it should have been Saul and not David
    The inheritance should have been Esau’s and not Jacob’s
    The truth it speaks brightly so you can see rightly
    A huge, mighty God who chooses the least likely
    Still some contest it as a phony doctrine
    But if we’re really dead in sin, predestination is the only option
    With reservations they fume inside
    There’s hesitation because it’s devastating to human pride
    This truth is the sober kind that you’re prone to find
    In passages like Romans 9- it’s so divine it’ll blow your mind
    We are the clay and we’ve been formed by the Potter
    None can come to the Son unless they’re drawn by the Father

    “But God draws everybody” That’s what some cats say
    It can’t be that way because all who are drawn are raised on the last day
    Because of original sin and all of our despicable deadness within
    Election must be unconditional then
    Some people say that we were drowning in the ocean
    Barely floating until God threw us the rope then
    Our free will helped us as we groped
    Our faith is the hand that grabbed the rope and God put us back in the boat
    Nope! Without apology I deny that analogy
    Reality- we were dead at the bottom of the sea
    I was a swollen corpse with hope no more
    Until Jehovah the LORD dove from the shore to the ocean floor
    Yeah, I was a corpse and I smelled like it
    I’ll keep it simple, why did God choose me? Because He felt like it!
    He brought me out, not an act of my volition
    Breathed life into my lungs and didn’t ask for my permission

    Throughout the Bible there’s major examples of this
    Pages of passages like the raising of Lazarus
    Rather than debating the Master’s gift
    We should be happily praising His magnanimous saving of savages
    It’s time we see God’s sovereignty and His primacy
    His holy dynasty running things by divine decree
    Why does He choose some and not others to see Jesus?
    Our God is in the heavens- He does whatever He pleases!

  • Lawrence Seow

    Whichever position you take as a Christian, we will still meet up in Heaven. So please no need to get all worked up, dogmatic or even arrogant about this theology or some say doctrine. Getting it right (or wrong for that matter) theologically won’t change the actual situation as to our status. What is, is…whether you believe in one or the other. Now I don’t say this lightly…I am a seminarian and have studied and debated, yes debated this issue. The best minds in Christendom have debated this for centuries and if we think we are finally going to resolve this issue, well, think again 🙂

  • David R

    Hey, so I’m going to re-read after I get out from work, to make sure I understood, but I wanted to ask.

    From what I understood, predestination would imply God made people (thought of them before the beginning of time) with the purpose of going to hell, and some heaven?
    As supporting verses I’ve seen (and lean towards believing) Proverbs 16:4 and Romans 9:21-22. Proverbs “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil” and Romans talks about how the Lord is the potter, and the potter has the right to make what he wants for good and pretty or for his wrath. Would those not support the “God made some people that will end up going to hell” argument/idea?
    What’s your take on this?
    Have you seen those used in this manner before?

    I ask with genuine curiosity and I look forward to hearing from ya! 😀

    • Andy

      Old blog but new to me. It’s not necessary that God made people FOR hell so much as it’s necessary that God made people knowing they would freely choose hell. Technically, hell was made for angels.
      NOTE: Humans tend to limit God in options when he always has more options than we can logically fathom (example: humans always thought either many people were gods or one person was God but truth was a third option -3 people are one God). HOWEVER, what most sovereignty people will say is that people who suffer in hell for eternity because they freely chose to deny God’s offer of grace actually show us a facet of God’s judgement and holiness that we’d never see otherwise. (think of watching someone get kicked in the groin gives you a new perspective on how grateful you are that you weren’t kicked in the groin) (e.g. lazarus watching rich man in torment). Even here on earth we show respect for people that can “lay the smack down” when they need too, how much more when it’s God doing it on a cosmic level. And can you think of a better way to comprehend God’s mercy than seeing examples of people that didn’t receive it?