Good mornin to you my friend.
Have you ever wrestled with how to scripturally-understand two seemingly contradictory views of who decides someone’s salvation?
I have. Over the years I’ve driven myself to the brink of madness in trying to resolve this paradox.
So I now present to you what I’ve learned about this issue.
First of all, it must be understood that everything a Christian believes must be solidly grounded in scripture, (because only God’s word is authoritative). Whatever you or I (or any other religious figure) says about anything has no authority whatsoever.
So with that in mind, let’s go to scripture and consider a sampling what God has said about the issue of predestination & freewill shall we?
[To keep this presentation balanced, here are four verses to support each perspective]
3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
24 “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;”
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!”
So what did you understand those verses to say about predestination & freewill?
I personally saw both perspectives, therefore I support both perspectives. (Not to the exclusion of the other).
Therefore I don’t deem one side as more valid than the other.
However God has taught me some additional things in my journey to understand this issue, and now I’m going to pass that information on to you:
- Don’t get tangled up in concocted systematic theologies that have the appearance of wisdom, but ultimately wrest scripture to defend their proprietary agendas.
(Three that come to my mind right off the bat are: calvinism, dispensationalism, and arminianism).
- Don’t ignore or wrest the plain meaning of scripture when it seems to challenge our hermeneutical bias.
Join me in accepting the fact that we don’t understand everything, and rest in the peace that God does.
- Don’t get distracted from the main message.
It’s secondary issues (like this one) that so easily distract us from the main message of God’s free grace.
(Justification/righteousness by the obedience of one. Justification/righteousness by grace through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ).
Here are some closing thoughts for you to think about…
What ultimately matters (where we’re concerned), is what do we do with the light given to us?
Consider that we decide to either harden our hearts, or to embrace the light given to us. (We see this demonstrated throughout the whole of scripture).
What we do with the light given to us is very relevant to our being reconciled unto God. (See 2 Corinthians chapter 5).
However justification is not rooted in our decision, but in the finished work of Christ. (See Romans chapters 3-5, & Hebrews chapter 4).
Therefore (ironically) I’ll conclude this post with the same tension in scripture that this post started with.
Jesus said in 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.”
And He also said in John 12.32:
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
So what should ultimately matter to us isn’t about trying to quantify who chooses who, but rather, what have we done with the light that God has given to each one of us?
Are we truly walking in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ?
That’s the main question for each one of us to deeply consider.
All glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and no glory to us whatsoever.