C H U R C H R E F O R M S E R I E S
By Biblicism Institute
Many have the wrong idea about predestination and free will.
They think that God only chooses to spiritually save a few, while the rest are destined to hell. In other words, man does not have free will, and only God predestines who gets to follow Him.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
1) Jesus died for the whole world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
He then sent His Helper, the Holy Spirit, to help everyone become like Him and produce the fruit of the Spirit.
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23
2) Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Accepting the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus to reach the Father is not to be construed as an exercise of mental assent or a robotically regurgitated prayer of salvation.
What it actually means is, the way of Jesus, the truth of Jesus, and the life of Jesus (i.e., everything Christ is and represents, or the fruit of the Spirit) need to be lived out by all, Christians or not, in order to reach the Father.
“We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:10
“In Him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” John 1:4
Those who, out of their free will, reject said spiritual enlightenment in their everyday lives will not see the Father.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15
Those commands, which can be summed up as “love one another”, are known by all, Christians or not. Hence, it’s not a matter of predestination, but of willingness to obey and produce the fruit of the Spirit.
3) True Christians are set apart to inspire and help those who are not living out the fruit of the Spirit.
“You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13
Therefore, God predestines them by calling them to be his workmanship on the earth.
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:29,30
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
To foreknow means to know in advance or to know the future, and God knows the future. And because He knows it, He prepares accordingly (i.e., He predestines). In other words, He knows in advance which of us will decide to live for Him, and thereupon predestines or prearranges or preassigns His work for each one, which then becomes our task to accomplish.
It does not mean that He blatantly ignores those He does not predestine to be conformed to the image of His son. What it entails is, He foreknows those who will reject the practices of His son, and therefore does not predestine them to be conformed to Him.
Even with those who, for the moment, reject the way, the truth, and the life of Christ, there is no telling what God has in store for them – for His love, through Christ our Lord, is unfathomable.
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
If God did not care about them who are in darkness, He would not have a) asked His Son for the sacrifice on the cross, b) sent the Holy Spirit, and c) prearranged for true Christians to be His workmanship on the earth, in order to impart to all how much easier it is to live out the fruit of the Spirit by accepting Christ and his gift of the Holy Spirit.
“This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3,4
4) Man chooses to do whatever he wants, that’s free will. Yet, that does not mean everything man plans will succeed. God is the final arbiter of what He wants to take place on earth.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Many will say, ha-ha!
Now, wait a minute!
Just because God does not allow all of man’s schemes to flourish does not mean that he doesn’t have free will. It only means that God is also free to either stir in him new ideas or throw a monkey wrench into his plans. Man’s still free to keep his course, while God’s also free to keep throwing that pesty wrench as well as insisting on a better course of action.
By the same token, God in His great mercy is also free to stimulate and help those who are living a life void of Christian enlightenment, by whispering in their hearts and inducing them to live out the fruit of the Spirit of His son.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
Still, man is free to either reject or yield to His mercy.
We all have free will. Period. The only time we don’t is when we use said free will to freely reject and exchange our volition for God’s will in our lives.
“Not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42
Then we become slaves to God and His ultimate plan, because we come to realize that His will is better than ours.
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:18
Ironically, when we keep our free will we are nothing but slaves to sin, but the instant we give it up we become truly free.
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for my sake, you will find it.” Matthew 10:39
Then God, who foreknew that moment when we do give up our lives for His sake, predestined us to be His heirs.
“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:7.