(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 3)
QUESTION 1: Does God CHOOSE/ELECT who will be saved (come to Jesus for salvation) and form part of the body of Christ (The Church)?
Yes. The fact that God chooses, selects or elects those who will be saved (come to Jesus for salvation) and go to heaven is so evident in the scriptures, that it is a truth that cannot be denied.
The Bible even goes so far as to tell us that God chose those who would be saved and form part of his Kingdom (the elect), even before the foundation of the world. This means that such persons were handpicked by God even before they were conceived or born and even before he commenced the creation of the earth. As the omniscient, all-knowing one, he knew all that would be born, the lives that they would live, the circumstances they would face and he decided who would make up his jewels (as referred to in Malachi 3:17), when earth was a mere concept in his mind.
That God chose or elected those that would be saved from his wrath to come through Jessus Christ his Son, even before they were born and not based on their good works but solely through his grace and mercy which he decided to bestow upon them (whereby he revealed and impressed his truth upon their hearts) and based on HIS divine will and purpose, the Bible states:
- “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, ELECT ACCORDING TO THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD THE FATHER, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which ACCORDING TO HIS ABUNDANT MERCY HATH BEGOTTEN US AGAIN UNTO A LIVELY HOPE by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…ye are a CHOSEN generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 1:1-3; 2:9)
- “For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for FLESH AND BLOOD HATH NOT REVEALED IT UNTO THEE, BUT MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN. (Matthew 16:13-17)
- “…unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your ELECTION of God.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
- “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s ELECT, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness.” (Titus 1:1)
- “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.” (Acts 13:48)
- “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: Having PREDESTINATED us UNTO THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY JESUS CHRIST TO HIMSELF, ACCORDING TO THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL, To the praise of the glory of HIS GRACE, wherein HE hath made us accepted in the beloved…In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of HIS GRACE; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PLEASURE WHICH HE HATH PURPOSED IN HIMSELF: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being PREDESTINATED ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE OF HIM WHO WORKETH ALL THINGS AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS OWN WILL: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”(Ephesians 1:4-12 13)
- “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are THE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE. FOR WHOM HE DID FOREKNOW, HE also did PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom HE did PREDESTINATE, them he also CALLED: and whom he CALLED, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified… What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?…Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s ELECT? It is God that justifieth.” (Romans 8:28-31, 33)
- “YE HAVE NOT CHOSEN ME, BUT I HAVE CHOSEN YOU and ORDAINED you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)
- “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE AN OPEN DOOR, AND NO MAN CAN SHUT IT…behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”(Revelations 3:7-8)
- In a similar pattern to the covenant relationship that God has with those he has chosen today (the Church) through Jesus Christ his Son, God told the Israelites in the Old Testament who were under the Old Covenant with him and who he had brought out of Egypt, which today, can be likened unto the world’s system: “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: THE LORD THY GOD HATH CHOSEN THEE to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not SET HIS LOVE UPON YOU, nor CHOOSE you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
- “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because GOD HATH FROM THE BEGINNING CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
- “Who hath saved us, and CALLED US WITH AN HOLY CALLING, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS, but ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE, WHICH WAS GIVEN US in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN…” (2 Timothy1:9)
- “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, THAT THE PURPOSE OF GOD ACCORDING TO ELECTION MIGHT STAND, NOT OF WORKS, BUT OF HIM THAT CALLETH;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I WILL HAVE COMPASSION. So then IT IS NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, NOR OF HIM THAT RUNNETH, BUT GOD THAT SHEWETH MERCY. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. THEREFORE HATH HE MERCY ON WHOM HE WILL HAVE MERCY, AND WHOM HE WILL HE HARDENETH.” (Romans 9:8-18)
- “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump TO MAKE ONE VESSEL UNTO HONOUR, AND ANOTHER UNTO DISHONOUR? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on THE VESSELS OF MERCY, which he had AFORE PREPARED UNTO GLORY, Even us, whom he hath CALLED, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:19-24)
- “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6);
- “NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, EXCEPT THE FATHER WHICH HATH SENT ME DRAW HIM: and I will raise him up at the last day…Therefore said I unto you, that NO MAN CAN COME UNTO ME, EXCEPT IT WERE GIVEN UNTO HIM OF MY FATHER.” (John 6:44, 65)
- ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME SHALL COME TO ME; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37)
- “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME; for they are thine.” (John 17:9)
- “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, And HE TO WHOM THE SON WILL REVEAL HIM.” (Luke 10:22)
- “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, NOR OF THE WLL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD.” (John 1:12-13)
- “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath BEFORE ORDAINED that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
- God told Jeremiah the Prophet: “BEFORE I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and BEFORE thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ORDAINED thee a prophet unto the nations.” This is similar to what he did in the case of Isaac, Jacob, Solomon and John the Baptist, where he spoke of them and what he would have them do and be before they were even conceived.
- “For IT IS GOD WHICH WORKETH IN YOU BOTH TO WILL and TO DO of HIS good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
- “Put on therefore, as the ELECT of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering” (Colossians 3:12)
- “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very ELECT.” (Matthew 24:24)
- “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19)
- “And shall not God avenge his own ELECT, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke 18:7)
- “And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the ELECT’S sake, whom HE HATH CHOSEN, he hath shortened the days.” (Mark 13:20)
- “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and ELECTION sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” (2 Peter 1:10-11)
- “And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his ELECT from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” (Mark 13:37)
QUESTION 2: Do people have FREE WILL to make decisions as they see fit and to choose whether to accept or reject Jesus as Lord and Saviour?
The answer to this question is yes. People are free to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ or to dismiss it and every time they hear the gospel in their sinful condition, they make a choice, to continue on as is or to submit to the Lordship of Jesus as their Saviour.
The invitation to come to Jesus and to be saved by believing on him is made to all mankind, irrespective of creed, race or background. That people are free to accept or reject this freely offered invitation is quite clear in the following verses:
- “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if ANY MAN hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”(John 3:16)
- “But WHOSOEVER drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)
- “And WHOSOEVER liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:26)
- “I am come a light into the world, that WHOSOEVER believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46)
- “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth ALL MEN EVERY WHERE to repent.”(Acts 17:30)
- “And it shall come to pass, that WHOSOEVER shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
- “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name WHOSOEVER believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)
- “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and WHOSOEVER believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 9:33)
- “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for ALL.” (Hebrews 10:9-10)
- “For the scripture saith, WHOSOEVER believeth on him shall not be ashamed… For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:11,13)
- “Come unto me, ALL ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
- “WHOSOEVER shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (John 1:4:15)
- “WHOSOEVER believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” (John 1:5:1)
- “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)
- “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER will, let him take the water of life freely.”(Revelations 22:7)
- In a similar pattern to the free will which exists in mankind today, Joshua told the Israelites in the Old Testament: “IF thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and IF thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul…See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But IF thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore CHOOSE life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deutoronomy 30:10-19)
- Joshua also told the Israelites: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, CHOOSE you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 25:15)
QUESTION 3: This is puzzling. Is there a contradiction?
In light of the scriptures that undeniably speak of the ELECT or chosen of God and then the scriptures that speak of man’s FREE WILL to choose, people then ask: How is this possible? Does man have free will to choose for himself or does God choose for us?
How can the Bible say on the one hand, that God has chosen or elected those who will be saved and then on the other hand, that people have free will to choose whether to accept salvation through believing faith or reject it?
Are these two statements contradictory? And if God has already elected or chosen those that will be saved, then why did Jesus give his disciples and by extension, all believers the mandate to go into all the world and preach the gospel and why does the Word of God state that whosoever calls upon the name of Jesus will be saved? If those that are saved are those that God has handpicked or selected, why do we have the mandate to preach to all mankind and why does the Word make it clear, that an invitation to receive salvation is extended, not to some but to all? Is this not contradictory with the fact that God has already elected those who will be his?
The answer to this is no.
To explain, it is important that we remember three (3) things:
- The Bible is true in every respect. There is no lie contained in it;
- The Word of God never contradicts itself;
- As mere human beings with limited understanding, we do not have complete knowledge nor will we easily or quickly grasp everything that is true and indeed, there are some things as mere mortals, that we will never understand in this lifetime.
It is important that we be guided by these three (3) points, as we try to understand what seems to be an irreconcilable mystery.
As we keep this in mind, irrespective of whether we understand or not (because as human beings we must admit that our understanding is limited), we must be prepared to accept, that whatever God says in his Word is true, even when two portions ‘appear’ to be contradictory.
Also, where two or more portions seem to be contradictory, we must remember that because God’s Word does not contradict itself, 1+1 must therefore be equal to two.
If there appears to be a contradiction, we know that the problem is not with the Word of God which is infallible but with us, in that we are finding it difficult to understand and reconcile the implications of both portions of scripture.
This is nothing to be ashamed of. God’s ways are past finding out and his thoughts are not our thoughts (Romans 11-33-34; Isaiah 55:8-9). Whereas we have limited understanding as human beings that were formed from the dust of the earth, God is omniscient and all wise. He is also far more powerful than we can ever truly understand or appreciate.
Having said all that, it is clear that the scripture teaches that God chooses those that will be saved AND that man has free will to choose or to reject the gospel of salvation.
We should not therefore argue in favour of one point and ignore the other (in light of the scriptures that make it clear that both are true) but seek to understand with God’s help, how the two work together.
The fact of the matter is that both concepts are in the scriptures, so in my view, God does not want us to hold on to one and leave the other, even if they ‘seem’ contradictory. He wants us to get to the place where we accept both: That man has free will to accept or reject the gospel of salvation but at the same time, that those that are saved, have been chosen before hand by God.
You may ask but isn’t this inherently impossible? My answer would be simply, that you must remember, that with man there are some things that are impossible but with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
HOW THEN ARE THE TWO CONCEPTS TO BE RECONCILED TOGETHER?
The fact is God selects, chooses or elects but man still has a free will to choose to accept or reject. These two are not mutually exclusive (as our limited human understanding is initially inclined to believe) but are able to operate harmoniously together because of how powerful God is. That is, it is not elect OR free will as the debate tends to be pitched but elect AND free will.
These two work hand in hand at the same time, although it baffles our minds because God is God. He is so sovereign, that he can have his plan accomplished even when men make their own choices.
In fact, if we search the scriptures, we will recognize that God has left us infallible evidence of the fact that these two concepts have worked harmoniously together in the past, even as they continue to work to date.
I propose to refer below to some of these examples.
Examples of GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY demonstrated, despite MAN EXERCISING FREE WILL TO MAKE HIS OWN CHOICES
Think of Jesus and his death. In 1 Peter 1:18-20, it states to believers:
- “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: WHO verily WAS FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
It was therefore God’s plan, purpose, will and design, even before the world was created, that Jesus should die a sacrificial, substitutionary death for the sins of mankind.
In fact, the Prophets of old like Isaiah, spoke about him (as was put into their mouths by God) and of the death he would die, before he even came to earth. In Isaiah 53 for example and in particular, verses 8-12, it was prophesied many years beforehand and before Jesus was even born on earth, that Jesus would be killed as an offering for our sin.
The Prophet stated:
- “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
It was therefore within the perfect will of God for this to happen, so as to reconcile man, who God knew before the foundation of the world, would fall due to sin, back to himself.
There were even prophecies as far back as in the Old Testament, that Jesus would be betrayed. In Acts 1:16-20, after Jesus had come to earth, been betrayed by Judas, killed, resurrected and went back to heaven, Peter stated:
- “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David SPAKE BEFORE concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.”
It is clear therefore, that it was the will of God BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD for Jesus to die a sacrificial death for the sins of the world but it is important to note that despite this fact, people lived their lives according to their own free will and moved with jealousy and envy, crucified him of their own accord. God’s plan which he willed from even before the foundation of the world was therefore accomplished but at the same time, people exercised their free will and made the decision to kill Jesus.
In fact, Judas was spoken of in the Old Testament but he, not being mindful of God’s purpose, exercised his free will to steal from the bag that Jesus used, which eventually culminated in satan entering him (because he never believed that Jesus was Lord) and him offering and negotiating with the enemies of Christ, to betray him for money.
In this regard, GOD’S WILL AND PLAN FROM BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE EARTH and MAN’S CHOICE to betray and kill Jesus, both existed harmoniously.
In Matthew 26:24, Jesus said in advance of the betrayal: “The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.”
Also, as additional examples of how the COUNSEL OF GOD, PLANNED BEFOREHAND can occur simultaneously with MAN’S FREE WILL TO MAKE CHOICES, think of people in the Bible like:
- Abraham, (who took Sarah’s bad advice and decided to sleep with her maid Hagar, which resulted in Ishmael’s birth),
- Isaac (who chose to lie like Abraham had done two times before, telling the men in the city where Abimelech was king, that Rebekah was his sister),
- Jacob (who loved Rachel but was tricked by Laban’s choice to deceive him into marrying her older sister Leah first),
- Judah (the son of Jacob whose widowed daughter in law was Tamar and who became pregnant by him through her choice to deceive him into thinking she was an harlot),
- Rachab (who many think is Rahab the harlot from Jericho, who believed the true and living God and chose to hide the spies),
- Ruth (the Moabite who made the choice to return with Naomi to Bethlehem and happened to be seen by Boaz, the owner of the field she was working in, who eventually married her),
- David (who chose to commit adultery with Bathsheba and then chose to have her husband killed to cover up his sin because she was pregnant),
- Solomon (who made good and bad choices like all those who went before him) and then
- Joseph who chose Mary to be his wife.
All of these people lived their lives, exercised their FREE WILL without giving thought to any plan or design of God involving them or future descendants, made their CHOICES, made mistakes, seemingly uninhibited but when all was done and over, we find in Matthew 1 where a genealogy is provided, that from Abraham right up to the time that Jesus the Son of God was born, God’s design for there to be 42 generations was achieved and in three perfect sets of 14, 14, 14.
Take the time and let that and its implications sink in.
If you read Matthew 1, you cannot deny that there is a pattern of 14 generations from Abraham to David and then 14 generations from David to the time the Israelites were carried away into Babylon as God had said would happen and then 14 generations from that time to the birth of Jesus Christ.
To emphasize this point, verse 17 tells us:
- “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.“
This was not coincidence but the product of the perfect will and design of an all powerful God.
What we have in Matthew 1 boggles the mind. For, we are intimately acquainted with the stories of all the main characters mentioned and we know from the record given in the Old Testament, that all these people lived their lives, made their choices (some good, some bad) and exercised their free will, YET, as stated before (but it is worth repeating), God’s design for a perfect 14, 14 and then again 14 generations up to the point of the birth of Jesus Christ was accomplished. That is, all these characters exercised their free will without giving thought to any divine numerical design but yet, God who set out to achieve it, still achieved it. Despite the fact that they all freely made their choices, some good, some bad and in their own generation, place, time and circumstances, God still took all of it, including the mistakes and the messes and extracted or weaved together his design, his plan which he had planned and perfectly.
This is eye opening and mind blowing. It demonstrates the fact that although we don’t quite know how, we as human beings can exercise our free will and make our choices (including mistakes), yet, whatever God has planned or purposed and the part we are to play in that design, will still come to pass.
Is it so farfetched to realize then, that the same holds true when it comes to the issue of salvation? We exercise free will to accept or reject the Lord Jesus but yet God’s plan and purpose in relation to the salvation of those he has chosen and purposed from before the foundation of the world, will also be accomplished.
His plan to save those that he has chosen, does not take away from the fact that people are free to accept or reject His Son.
To cite another example in the scriptures of God’s sovereignty working at the same time as man’s free will being exercised, think of Rachel and Leah, both of whom were married to Jacob.
Rachel had Jacob’s love but could not bear children, while Leah was fertile and bore Jacob children but she did not have his heart. Envy and a struggle then ensued between the sisters, each trying to one-up on the other. One wanted children and the other wanted Jacob’s love.
Almost every time Leah gave birth to a child, she thought to herself that this would finally make Jacob love her and although Jacob was in love with Rachel, when she saw that her sister was bearing but she could not bear, the Bible says she was envious of her sister.
She then, of her own free will and to win the competition, decided to give her maid to Jacob in marriage, so that her maid could get pregnant and she could claim the child as her own. Not to be left out of the fight, when Leah realized that she had stopped becoming pregnant, to win the struggle against Rachel, she then made the choice of her own free will, to give her maid to Jacob as well to be married. She planned, that once that maid bore a child, she would add to her score, by claiming it as her own.
As a result of all this envy, competition and struggle between two sisters trying to score points on the other, Jacob ended up with four wives and due in part to the choices made by Rachel and Leah, he ended up with twelve (12) children.
Yet, although Rachel and Leah exercised FREE WILL and MADE THEIR CHOICES for wrong, self-serving, insecure and prideful motives, God in his SOVEREIGNTY, always had a plan for the children of Israel to consist of twelve (12) tribes. This plan came to pass without any interference seemingly on his part and even in the face of Rachel and Leah’s ill-motive choices.
Indeed, God stated of himself and his sovereignty in Isaiah 41:4: “Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.”
MY FURTHER COMMENTS BASED ON MY VIEW
What is significant to note is that God did not just set out from the beginning to have twelve (12) tribes because of his foreknowledge, where he knew from the beginning in his omniscience, that Rachel and Leah would compete with each other and Jacob would have twelve (12) children in total.
No. I believe that his sovereignty is greater than that. In other words, he did not devise his plan simply because he knew how the sisters would act and what they would do and what would be the result. If this was the case, then it could be said that God only devises his plans, not really based on what HE wants but based on and subject to the actions of man.
This is not the case. God is not subject to man in any matter, nor are his decisions subject to or predicated on the decisions of man. I do not believe that he just looks into time and sees how we will act and what we will do and then determines at that stage, what he wants to do for himself based on that. He does make provision for us in his mercy yes, to some extent, based on his foreknowledge but our actions, choices or decisions do not tamper, obstruct, thwart, foil, prevent or act as determinants of his purposes, that which he planned to do from the get-go. In other words, I believe that God does not just formulate a purpose for himself, based on how we act. He has a purpose based on what HE wants, irrespective of how we act.
I believe then that God set out from the beginning and purposed to have twelve (12) tribes. This was the plan that HE wanted, separate and apart from man’s actions or what they would or would not do. However, man came along and of their own volition, made their own choices based on their own motives, exercised their own FREE WILL without God’s interference and yet STILL, their actions fit right in to the OUTCOME that God planned. That is mind-blowing and it is called the SOVEREIGNTY of God.
It reminds me of the beauty of the fact that God has purposed for his children to have victory in this life and to overcome by the blood of the lamb (Jesus) and the word of their testimony, despite what the devil does, how hard he fights against them and despite their mistakes, poor choices and weaknesses. He has already said that we are more than conquerors through Christ, that he will never leave us or forsake us, that it is his will that we be sanctified, that greater is HE that is in us than he that is in the world and that we have an eternal inheritance reserved in heaven for us. As God’s elect, this is what he has purposed in his sovereignty for us and not even our poor FREE WILL choices and blunders which we make in this life from time to time, can thwart, obstruct, derail or prevent God’s purpose.
If God has willed and purposed that a child of his for example, will be married and to a high quality spouse, the poor choices and mistakes that he or she may have made in the past, will not prevent it. Whatever God has purposed to do, he will bring to pass in his own timing because his sovereignty is greater than the enemy’s power and our own free will.
As another example, in the Bible, we see where God purposed in his sovereignty, that Samson would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines, even before he was conceived in his mother’s womb. The angel of the Lord which appeared to Samson’s mother before she was even pregnant, told her: “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.“
Despite how much Samson messed up and displeased God by pursuing and aligning himself with ungodly women, his sin which was birthed from his poor choices which he made in his own FREE WILL, without interference by God, eventually cost him his life but God still achieved the purpose for which he had created him. For, Samson slew many Philistines while alive and even more at the point of his death. In that way, deliverance for Israel had begun, as the Philistine population decreased significantly through those deaths.
The Bible states:
- “And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.“
This account of Samson is sobering though. It tells us that God will achieve whatever he has purposed for our lives, even if through our own disobedience, we end up dying as a result. It therefore means that, not because he has purposed for us to do something or to take a certain path in our lives or to attain eternal life, does it mean that we can live as we please recklessly while here on earth and not care if we sin or not. God can achieve his purposes in our lives and still allow us to reap the consequences from our actions and free will choices.
As two further examples of situations in the Bible where people exercised their free will and lived their lives without regard to any design or pattern, yet, God STILL achieved his plan and perfect design, read:
In speaking of the vision he received of future events to come, John stated that the number of those who he saw sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads was one hundred and forty four thousand (144,000) of all the tribes of the children of Israel. There being twelve (12) tribes in all, a breakdown was then given of how many Israelites from each tribe would be sealed and of every tribe mentioned, the exact same number of twelve thousand (12,000) was mentioned. Twelve thousand (12,000) people from each of the twelve (12) Israelite tribes therefore, would be sealed with the seal of God.
It is clear that this will not be by chance. Although these Israelites will be living their lives without any regard as to numeric design, God has planned and purposed, that when it is all over, there will be a PERFECT DESIGN of twelve thousand (12,000) people sealed from each of the twelve (12) tribes.
1 Chronicles 25:1-31
In the Old Testament, the sons of Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons, lived their lives and exercised their free will as it pertained to marriage, family life and having children, YET, God achieved a perfect design of twelve (12), when a count was made of each of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun, plus the siblings of each of those sons plus the sons of each of those sons. Each verse from verses 9-31 therefore, as it relates to each of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun, ends with the same or similar words, “…he and his sons, and his brethren, were twelve.”
It is clear therefore, there being what appears to be twenty three (23) situations of there being the same count of twelve (12), that:
- It was no coincidence;
- Although these men (children of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun), lived their lives and made their choices and exercised their own free will, God wanted the number twelve (12) as it pertained to each of them, whenever a count was to be taken of them, plus their brothers plus their male sons;
- God’s perfect plan, will and design that there would be twelve (12) was not in anyway thwarted or undermined, by these men exercising their own free will.
Indeed, as Christians, when we do God’s work, we exercise our own free will but at the end of the day, once the work is pleasing to God and we are submitted to him, he achieves his PLAN and DESIGN for our lives and that work in question.
I have seen this happen time and time again, even in my writing these Articles. For example, when I wrote this Article in October 2020 about Rachel and Leah and the twelve (12) children that they bore Jacob, I had not a clue and did not at all have in my memory, Revelation 7:4-8. It was only about three weeks ago during family devotions (I am adding this ADDITIONAL NOTE on 19th June, 2021), that these verses were highlighted to me and I realized for the first time, that this was another biblical example, of free will, working hand in hand with God’s perfect design.
Then, it was only today, 19th June, 2021, in deciding to make an ADDITIONAL NOTE here (only because I randomly turned to the Chronicles scripture this morning in my devotions), that it dawned on me, how perfectly the mention of the twelve (12) tribes in Revelation 7, fits with what I had felt led to write about before, about Rachel and Leah, since October 2020.
I say all this to say, that God is awesome. We often underestimate him but his power has no comparison. It is clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he allows mankind to have free will and to make his own choices but STILL, when all is said and done, he achieves HIS PERFECT PLAN AND DESIGN. This is an attribute that belongs to God alone and as mere human beings, we could never fully understand how he does it but YET, IT IS TRUE.
From all the verses we have looked at thus far, in my humble view, these are the conclusions we can draw about the question of God’s ELECTION (which results in salvation) and man’s FREE WILL:
CONCLUSION 1 -The call or invitation to come to Jesus for salvation is to EVERYONE.
God sends out the call or invitation to come, to all of mankind. For, according to the scriptures, Jesus died for all, not some. Those who are elected are therefore called but so are those who remain unbelievers and die in their sins.
CONCLUSION 2 – Only those who are chosen or elect by God, based on what HE HAS PURPOSED, will respond.
Ephesians 1:11 states of those who God has elected: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the PURPOSE of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his PURPOSE.“
The call or invitation is the same and to all without discrimination but only those that have been elected or chosen based on God’s own purpose, will respond to the call. That is, only those who God DRAWS to the Saviour and GIVES to the Saviour, will respond and come (John 6:44, 65). It follows therefore, that persons who receive the gospel in their heart and are saved by God are those whom, according to his foreknowledge, he chose or elected to be saved.
There is therefore a calling and there is an election. All that are elected are called but not all that are called are elected. Matthew 22:14 tells us: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” 2 Peter 1:10-11 also tells us: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”
The call is therefore to all to come but only those that God has chosen, will respond, solely because in his mercy, he will orchestrate circumstances in their lives to ensure that they do. They will make the decision to come of their own free will but they will only have made it because God initiated and drew them to him in the first place. In other words, his will and his divine counsel, superimposed theirs. All that the Father gives to Jesus, according to his own divine purposes, will come (John 6:37).
CONCLUSION 3 – God bestows grace on all so that all are eligible to make the CHOICE to receive the gospel but he bestows MORE GRACE and shows MORE MERCY to the elect, resulting in them CHOOSING to receive and not CHOOSING to reject the gospel.
There is a grace that extends the invitation to all (Christ died for all) but there is more grace bestowed abundantly on those who have been elected, which causes them to respond to the general invitation.
A person who chooses to remain in his sins therefore because he loves darkness, cannot say that God has been unfair in granting the elect more grace, (which he does solely through his mercy and according to his divine prerogative, purpose and will), to respond to the gospel message. For, whereas he was not granted as much grace as the one that has been elected, he was granted enough to make a choice for himself, as to whether he would accept or reject the gospel.
Of course, he CHOOSES not to accept because his understanding and deeds have been so darkened (as the rest of the world), that unless God intervened further to bestow further grace on him (which he is not at all obligated to do but goes out of his way in mercy, to do for the elected), he would remain lost, as his heart has been hardened by sin.
God does not have to show everyone the same level of mercy. He is God and can do as he pleases. It is important to remember, that none of us, not even the elect are deserving of any of God’s grace and mercy. It is not an entitlement or a right. It is not something that God is supposed to do or offer. It is a privilege. If God chooses to lavish much more grace and mercy on the elect than on those who are not the elect therefore, that is his prerogative as God.
The scripture is clear that God chooses to show some mercy and some not. Romans 9:15 states of the twin boys that Rebekah bore Isaac:
- “…when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that THE PURPOSE OF GOD according to ELECTION might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
- What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
As said before, God is not obligated to show anybody mercy or to show everybody the same level of mercy, especially when the invitation to come and receive Jesus Christ as Saviour is sufficient and open to all. However, to make sure that those he has selected and chosen (the elect), will accept his invitation, in mercy, he pursues them and orchestrates things in their lives, so that although they are free to make their own choices, they will make the decision to turn to him and make the CHOICE to receive his salvation.
Of the pivotal role that God’s mercy played in the life of the elect, resulting in him or her making the choice to come to Jesus and be saved, verse 18 of Romans 9 concludes, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
I get from this that, while God does not interfere in the elect’s free will to make his or her own choice as to whether he or she will accept or reject Jesus, he surrounds him or her with his mercy, which then results in him or her taking the right path and making the right choice.
This mercy could take on many forms. For example, in mercy, God could allow a wayward, rebellious, hardened criminal, who is part of his elect, to get shot at while in the midst of a robbery, while his other accomplices escaped, so that he would be caught, have to go to hospital to recuperate and then do his time in prison.
In God’s mercy, during that time at hospital, he could cause that criminal to hear the gospel in his quiet moments on a Christian radio station that he seemingly randomly found, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ from his sick bed, that he rose from the dead, to humbly pray to ask for his forgiveness for all of his sins and to ask Jesus, who he confesses with his mouth as Lord, to come into his heart and save him.
When he gets better and is convicted of his crime and sent to prison for a number of years, God in his mercy, may then allow a particular Preacher to visit and offer weekly Bible Study meetings to a group of prisoners, which that former criminal signs up to attend and in so doing, learns more about the Lord that he is now in relationship with and loves.
By the time that former criminal is released some years later, he has not been reformed but completely transformed by the power of God and his saving GRACE and he now walks the straight and narrow, seeking no longer how he can hurt people but how he can contribute to make people’s lives better and how he can share the gospel of God’s saving grace.
This is one of many examples of God’s mercy working in the life of an elect. While not forcing him to make the right choice, he orchestrates circumstances in his life, that will result in him making the right choice.
CONCLUSION 4 – NO ONE CAN TELL whether a lost person is part of the elect or not, although God knows.
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.”
As mere human beings, we cannot tell who will respond to God’s call in their lifetime and who will not. For, a person could hear the invitation once and not respond but then hear it again at another time, due to God’s mercy and respond. However, God knows those who are his. He knows who he has elected and those persons will respond affirmatively at some point to the call, believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and confessing with their mouth that he is Lord.
Also, we cannot write-off any person as having reached a point where he or she has sinned too much, for God to save him or her because we are so repulsed with the life he or she has lived thus far and so conclude that they are not part of God’s elect. Once a person believes in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and repents of his or her sin, he or she will be saved.
As far back as the Old Testament, Rahab was a prostitute but she believed on God and was saved. In the New Testament, while Jesus was still on earth, the Samaritan woman at the well who had had five husbands and was living with a sixth man, believed on Jesus when she met him and got saved.
Heaven’s arms are open to whosoever will come and there is no discrimination. Of course, when a person comes, they must part ways with sin but Jesus does not hold their past and the life they formerly lived, against them.
Today, once a person is in his or her right mind and alive, there is hope that he or she can hear the gospel (again) and believe on the resurrection of Jesus Christ in his or her heart, confess that he is Lord with the mouth and be saved.
People did not know it but God had given Zaccheus the dishonest Tax Collector to Jesus to be saved and also one of the dying thieves on the cross. He had also given several people to Jesus to be saved (although only God knew this at the time and the nature of their identities), from the city of Corinth, telling Paul, who was mandated to spread the gospel to the people there who were lost: “…for I have much people in this city…”
CONCLUSION 5 – Due to our limited knowledge and God-given mandate, in obedience (because God told us to do it) WE MUST KEEP PREACHING THE GOSPEL without slackening and without prejudice.
Because God has not revealed to us who he has planned before the foundation of the world to save and because he has decided to partner with us and given us a mandate to go into all the world and preach the gospel, we cannot disobey on the ground that God has already elected some, so our preaching will be to no avail.
Our preaching would be to avail when heard by those who God has afore purposed to save. Since we do not know who those persons are (because God in his wisdom has decided not to tell us), we would be going against his will if we decide not to be used by him as the medium he has purposed to use, to reach ALL (not some) of the lost.
It is God’s desire, in his fairness and justice, that the invitation be sent out to ALL, so that the ungodly who CHOOSES to remain in his sins and reject the salvation which is freely offered through Jesus Christ, God’s Son, will not be able to say at the judgment, when he is banished forevermore in hell, that he did not receive the invitation.
Furthermore, as stated before, Peter did not know that God had a group of persons who were elect in the city he was in but God knew it and therefore wanted to reach them through his preaching. The same holds true today. We do not know where God has his elect, what they look like or anything else about them but God wants us to reach them by reaching the world in general with the gospel.
Mark 16:15 commands us: “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
We are not to worry ourselves therefore, about who God has elected or not elected. Why are we taking up concerns that do not concern us? That is not something that God has burdened us with trying to figure out. We must simply make our calling and election sure and once we have done so, get busy doing what God has told us to do, never letting go of hope, that those to whom we preach, will hear the gospel and receive it. For, we never know if they will.
We cannot look on a man’s appearance or on how sordid a life he currently lives or the extent to which he has sinned thus far or his age and conclude that he is not part of the elect. Only God knows. Our responsibility is therefore to preach the Word and to be instant in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).
Philip never could have guessed that the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40 would be part of God’s elect, nor could Paul and Silas have guessed in Acts 16:30-33, that the Prison Keeper who had the responsibility to ensure that they remained in prison and bound in chains was part of God’s elect, along with his family. YET God knew and all they did was submit themselves in obedience to God, maintain the right attitude through their suffering (which was a testimony to the lost) and serve him by preaching the gospel to these people, whenever the opportunity presented itself.
We are to therefore do our part without worrying about matters that do not concern us. We are to be content with what God has revealed to us and what he has, in his wisdom, not chosen to reveal to us and simply trust and obey. It is clear that he wants us to preach the gospel to all, as if all would be saved, although he knows those who will be saved and those who will remain in unbelief.
CONCLUSION 6 – God DESIRES that everybody be saved but he KNOWS that everybody will not believe.
God wants everybody to be saved and it is not his will that any perish. 1 Timothy 2:4 states: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
2 Peter 3:9 also states: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
However, despite this fact and that God has made ample provision for the salvation of all upon belief on the resurrection of his Son Jesus, God who is all-knowing, knows that all will not be saved and some will choose to reject the gospel.
It is possible to desire something, although you know it is not going to happen.
God wanting everybody to be saved and not delighting in those who eventually perish, does not mean that he extends the same amount of mercy and grace on everyone, as he does with the elect. He has extended sufficient grace for everyone to make the right choice to be saved but it is clear from the scriptures, that he extends more grace and mercy (because he will be merciful to whom he will be merciful and according to the counsel of his own will) on those who are elect, to ensure that they respond to the gospel and come.
In fact, had it not been for his mercy in the lives of the elect, they too would have CHOSEN to reject the gospel but he has seen to it that things would work out in their lives where they would hear and receive the gospel in their hearts, as a result of their own FREE WILL but directed along the right path protectively by him. As Proverbs 16:9 states, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps”.
Some will say, well if God wants or desires that all men be saved and none perish, then he should extend the same level of mercy and grace to the ungodly, as he does the elect, to ensure that all be saved.
It is important to remember though, that God’s ways are not man’s ways, nor are his thoughts (which are far superior to ours), our thoughts. Not because God desires that all be saved, does it mean that he extends the same level of mercy to everyone and he is not obligated to do so. The fact of the matter is that he wants all to be saved but he has chosen, as God, to extend more mercy and grace to the elect, than to those who will not be saved.
As stated before, this does not put the ungodly at any unfair advantage or prevent them from taking heed to the invitation. The call has been made to everyone and the ungodly is free, like everyone else, to come. The invitation is addressed to WHOSOEVER and that includes everyone, ungodly and elect.
In the final analysis, when he rejects the gospel of his own free volition, the ungodly cannot therefore say that he CHOSE to not come and to reject God’s salvation offer because he did not receive as much mercy as the elect.
THINGS WE OUGHT NOT TO DO
In light of all that the Bible teaches us about God’s election and man‘s free will (both of which exist simultaneously), as believers, we ought not to do the following:
- Stop or lessen our preaching;
- Become puffed up and proud because we are confident we are elect. Instead, we should humbly serve the Lord with fear and trembling, making our calling and election sure and taking heed lest we fall;
- Be judgmental and condemn people to hell by convincing ourselves that they are not of the elect. We don’t know (as long as a person has breathe and is capable of receiving the gospel), whether God in his mercy, will guide that person to accept the truth.
IMAGINE THIS SCENARIO
To explain further the concepts of GOD’S ELECTION and MAN’S FREE WILL, I will like to share the following fictitious scenario, which I believe God allowed me to picture, so that I could better understand how MAN’S FREE WILL and GOD’S ELECTION co-exist harmoniously.
- It is like a door standing open and there are two persons standing close to it. U and E. U is on the left of E and E on the right of U. Both are invited to step forward in faith and go through that door with the promise of something better on the other side. The invitation is open to both of them. Both of them are free to go forward and enter at any time, if they please. Nothing is holding them back. Yet, U decides, of his own free will, that he is not going through that door. He therefore stays put. As a result, he loses out on the blessing that would have awaited him, if he had gone through in faith, that what the owner of the door had said he would experience, he would.
- E on the other hand, like U is so at enmity in his thinking against the owner of the door, that he too, left to his own self, would not decide to move forward in the direction of the door. However, in his mercy and although he is not obligated to do so, the owner of the door (G) decides (because he planned or purposed before hand for E to benefit from what he has on the other side of the door), to give E a gentle push in the direction of the door. He does not make the choice for E or force him through the door but gently nudged him in that direction. As a result of this push, E is still free to walk away from the door but he has gotten so close, that he begins to see glimpses of what is on the other side and he decides to go through it.
- E is the Elect. U is the Ungodly. U cannot say, when he realises that he has lost out on the blessing that all those who decided to go through the door obtained (eternal life), that G (God) was unfair because he had handpicked E before the foundation of the building was laid, to go through that door.
- G (God) did handpick E yes and was determined for his own purposes, that E would make it through that door. However, the invitation was open to U to enter but he decided of his own free will, not to. He cannot claim preferential treatment to E because G (God) decided in his mercy, to give E a push in the right direction.
- That was G’s prerogative. He was never obligated to also push U. U cannot therefore say that it was because he was not pushed that he ended up not making it through the door.
- No. It was because of his own rebellion, pride and stubbornness that he decided or CHOSE not to enter.
- Yes the outcome would have been the same for E, had G not pursued after him and given him a nudge in the right direction but it doesn’t change the fact that the invitation was open to all and whosoever saw it fit to enter, could have entered of his own volition.
- Yes (G) God in his wisdom, knew that man had become so wicked that none would have entered of his own volition without him pursuing after them. Yet, the decision to not enter was still their’s. He can choose (in the midst of man’s rebellion), to be merciful to who he decides to be merciful to and to pursue after whoever he decides to pursue after, to make sure they get through that door. Yet, he is not unfair because the opportunity to enter was open to all.
- Finally, U cannot state (so as to justify his CHOICE to reject and to try to put the blame on God), that he CHOSE not to come because he did not think that he was one of God’s elect. God knew what he had purposed as the sovereign God but he never published to anyone, a list of those who are his elect or those who are not his elect. No one can therefore claim to have given up on salvation because he or she did not make the list. This excuse is flimsy at best and will not stand.
(Written on 31st October, 2020)