Predestination or Freewill
A Biblical Point of View
Many people have a stance on this issue. No doubt there are differences between individuals and churches. My thought is that the denominations should strive to find unity in the Bible. It is ,after all, God’s word that is the final authority. We should always ask, “What does the Bible say.” If it has direct words or one can use reason to understand its precepts then we can be sure that God and his word are infallible and can be used for doctrine. 2 Tim 3:16 “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Eph 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” We are in the days where we are in a fight with Satan. How can we fight if all Christians are huddled each one to their own corner, not being able to come to unity, and many times not wanting to? We are brothers and sisters to Christ himself, if we obey him and humble ourselves to his instruction The Word. Christ is the Word in flesh. Let us make the attempt to sort out differences in between us using the Bible and his unifying Spirit that leads us to all Truth.
One such topic that seems to split the church is the topic of freewill and predestination. I see from what I have read in the Bible there is no need for a split or debate. My view, which is derived strictly from the Bible, and not based on church doctrine, is that—even if the two sides seem juxtaposed—those both exist and are not mutually exclusive.
Freewill is obvious to mankind. If Adam and Eve did not have freewill when they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then God being a holy and just God could not condemn them or even curse them because Adam and Eve would be solely under the control of God. If He let them be under the control of Satan, then God who decided that they were under the control of Satan could not hold them responsible but must hold Satan responsible. And for further example of freewill just simply look at your life. Aren’t you the one who makes your decisions? Many times I asked the Lord to decide for me what direction to take. Even then I feel that the Lord wants me to choose for myself. I can glorify God if I take this highway or this road home; what matters is do I glorify God either way. We are creatures made with reason and through our freewill we show our love toward God. It would be hard to fall in love with a robot because it wouldn’t choose to love you, but simply would always do what you command. We have trials and tribulation to prove our love for God. Enough said.
Predestination is a little trickier subject. Let us turn to the Word. Rom 8:29 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” There we find the word predestination and it tells us that God had made the decision beforehand of the destiny of Christians. Some believe that this means that in general the decision that a group of people would be saved and that they were predestined for glory. Let us dig deeper. 2 Thes 2:13 “But we ought to always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” God chose us in the beginning having foreknowledge and power of who would be saved. 2 Pet 1:10 “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,…” To elect is to choose and this means that God chooses his disciples. One could argue this means that in general God chose nebulously some group some how to be saved without choosing the individuals. This doesn’t make sense to me, but let’s see what the Bible says and what precedents are there in the Bible. In Rom 9:10-24 we see that individuals as well as peoples—like Israel—are chosen. “Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before their twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you ,O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—even us, whom he also called not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” Some of us are the objects of his mercy and some are prepared for destruction. Jesus in prayer gives us his understanding of this in regard to Judas and the disciples. John 17:12 “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” One way to understand this is found in John 6:65, Jesus said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
So there is predestination in the individual and there is freewill—freedom to choose. How do you reconcile both? I think the difficulty stems from the fact we are not God and our little eyes don’t have the vantage point of almighty God. God enables us by his Holy Spirit, but our decision to receive his forgiveness, believe in Jesus and his saving death and resurrection on the cross, and live a life worthy of repentance is by freewill. With the view of freewill we see the need to be righteous and repentant. With the view of predestination we see the need for thanksgiving to the Lord for forgiveness and salvation. Praise God for his salvation. Pray for those not saved and that he would use you for bringing others to salvation. Live Love.