Does God Choose Who Will Be Saved?
What are the doctrines of Election and Predestination? Do they mean that God decides who will be saved and who will be lost? With both of these teachings it is best that we limit our understanding to what the Bible says rather than what man teaches.
The doctrine of Election deals with the ‘choice’ of God. The word election means “the right and power of making a choice.” The Bible says that God the Son is the Lord’s Elect, His Servant (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 12:18). God has chosen Israel to be His servant nation (Isaiah 41:8-9). Saul and David were chosen by God to serve Him as kings of Israel (I Samuel 10:24; I Kings 11:34). Christ chose twelve men to serve Him, even Judas who was called a devil (John 6:70). Paul in Romans 9:11-12, makes it clear that God has purpose and reason in His choices. They are not arbitrary. In speaking of Jacob and Esau and the nations that would come from them, it was determined by God’s election that the elder would serve the younger. It should be clear from these few passages that election deals primarily with service and not salvation. Peter, like Paul in Romans 8:29, makes it clear that election is based on the foreknowledge of God (I Peter 1:2). God knows beforehand and with this knowledge He determines His choice in using an individual as a vessel of honor or as a vessel of wrath. We clearly play a part in this determination (II Timothy 2:20-21). With this in mind we can understand why God chose Pharaoh, Judas, Pilate, and others to accomplish is divine purposes.
Predestination simply means to determine beforehand. God not only knows what will happen, but in some areas He claims to make events turn out they way that they do. It is very interesting that God refers to only two events as “predestined” in the New Testament Scriptures and the Epistles of Paul. In Acts 4:27-28 and in I Corinthians 2:7-8 we are told that the crucifixion of Christ and the surrounding events were foreordained or predestined to happen. In Romans 8:29 and Ephesians 1:5 & Ephesians 1:11-14 God tells us that He has already determined that every member of the Body of Christ will ultimately be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ at our resurrection. That is His work. He will perform it.
It is not God’s will that anyone should be lost (I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9). It is man who must choose to respond in faith to the grace of God. God, of course, knows who will and who will not respond. This is foreknowledge, not predestination. Foreknowledge is an attribute. Predestination is an act.
While much of God’s workings remain a mystery to us, He has revealed His heart to us. We must believe that God’s plan will see more people saved than any other.
Keep studying (II Timothy 2:15). The truth will make you free (John 8:32).
by David Cannon