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Free Will Vs Predestination: What Does the Christian Bible Really Say?

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The scripture of Romans 8:29 says, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son (to be saved)....."

God knows everything before it happens. The Lord knew that man would fall from grace before he ever created Adam, which is why Jesus, the Lamb of God, was ordained to be slain to redeem man even before earth was created.(Revelation 13:8). God knows who will be wicked despite hearing the gospel and he weaves their wickedness into his universal plans. Proverbs 16:4 teaches, "The Lord hath made ALL things for himself. Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." And we read, "Him, (Jesus) being delivered by the determinate counsel (purpose) and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23). Likewise, God also knows who will receive the gospel and be saved before they are ever born. God said to Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly (womb), I knew thee. And before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee and I ordained thee a prophet unto nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). The apostle Paul wrote, "But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace" (Galatians 1:15). Realization of God's foreknowledge is essential to understanding the question of free will vs predestination and the topic of destiny and fate.

Is Predestination an Unfair Advantage Given Only to Some People?


We learn that those whom God predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son Jesus (justified/saved) had to first be called like everyone else. Romans 8:30 says, "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called...." Remember that the calling of God is universal as evidenced in the scriptures. The scriptures say:

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing (wanting) that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

"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" (St. John 3:16).

Jesus told his disciples, "Go ye into ALL the world and preach the gospel to EVERY creature" (Mark 16:15).

How Predestination and Free Will Work in the Calling of God


The topic of free will vs predestination cannot be separated from the subject of the calling of God. What kind of responses are people giving to God's call to them to repent, to be saved, and to be conformed to the image of his Son? Regrettably, those who respond positively to his call are few in number. Those who reject him are many. The many who reject him and the few who receive him constitute the entire world--everyone. This is why we read, "...Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14). Scripture also reminds that, "...Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14).

Understanding of the subject of free will vs predestination also requires understanding of how choice of response to God's call works because this determines destiny and fate. Were those who answered yes to the call of God predestined to do so? Absolutely not. All who CHOSE to answer "yes" were predestined to be saved because of their choice. No one, however, was predestined to choose to say "yes" to God's call to repentance and salvation. God has always given man free will to choose to accept or reject him. These choices, nevertheless, are what determine an individual's destiny and seal his fate when speaking specifically of salvation.

Again, God foreknows and foresees the choices every person will make. In his foreknowledge, he predestined all who would answer his call to repentance. It should always be remembered that there is no scripture that says that God predestined anyone to say "yes" to his call. What scripture says is that he predestined those whom he knew would say "yes" to repentance, to be conformed to the image of his Son. When discussing free will vs predestination, believers as well as those who don't believe are reminded that salvation is a choice and that predestination to be conformed to the image of Jesus is the result of the choice that God already knows will be made. God said in Deuteronomy 30:19, "...I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore CHOOSE life...." Predestination and free will leads believers to say, "We love him because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Those of us who love God, love him because he first loved us, not because we were forced into salvation.


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