Predestination and the freewill of man is our topic today as we consider the major doctrines of the Bible. Perhaps, no two doctrines seem farther apart from each other than these two. Predestination teaches that God controls the destiny of each person, and freewill teaches that each person makes his own choices, using his or her free will. It would appear that these two ideas could not coexist. Perhaps, after our Bible study today, you will see that they can, or maybe you will be even more emphatic in saying that they are poles apart. Let’s look at each of these concepts and the scriptures that would seem to teach each.
Those who teach the freewill of man would use, among other portions of the Bible, those that use the term, “whosoever.” There are many of these in the Bible.
John 3:14 But even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, 15 so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Ironically, this verse is in the chapter that speaks the most powerfully on the sovereignty of God. Romans 9: 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (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;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 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. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
In the next chapter, we have further teaching on freewill. Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
In the last book of the Bible, the last chapter, God once again gives the invitation to all to come to Him for salvation. Revelation 22:17 “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.”
Those who believe the Bible teaches that God predetermines the destiny of the saved and the lost would use the verses that have the word “predestined” or “predestination” in them. Here are several.
Ephesians 1:4,5 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,
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. 29 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 30 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.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Those who are predestined or chosen are sometimes called the “elect.” The word “elect”, means “one chosen or set apart, designated by God to salvation, predestinated to glory as an end and to sanctification as the means.” (according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) This term is used in several Bible verses. First Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 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. 3 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, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Looking at the verses that seem to support these two opposing views, we do see one thing that sheds some light on the subject. In the verses that are used to support predestination, we usually find the words “according to the foreknowledge of God.” God, Who knows the end from the beginning, knows who will claim the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, as their payment for sin, and elects them to salvation, thus predestining them to Heaven. Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. I like to summarize that by this phrase, “There is enough room in the sovereignty of God to handle the freewill of man.” A God as awesome as the God of the Bible is in control of all things and all beings. However, our God is also a God of love, giving each person the will to choose or refuse His Son as Savior and Lord. To go too far on either side in this area, is to misinterpret the Bible. On the one side would be the fatalism that says, “Whoever God is going to save is who will be in Heaven, so we do not need to witness or send missionaries. On the other side is a view of God that makes Him inferior to man and bound by man’s decisions. Neither extreme is biblical.
As someone have aptly put it, “As you approach the gate of Heaven, you see the phrase engraved over the gate, ‘Whosoever will, let him come.’ After you pass through the gate, you turn and read the phrase again, and it reads, “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:.” Ephesians 1:4
Now, the question comes down to this, “Have you chosen to receive God’s gift of life in His Son, Jesus Christ?” I felt led of the Lord to teach this lesson, because there may be someone listening today who may feel that they are not one of God’s chosen, elect, predestined saints. My friend, if you have an interest in Heaven, trust Jesus Christ today and He will save you. If you have not done so, and you would like to trust Him right now, where you are, just call this number and someone will be glad to help you, 1-800-888-7077. Don’t let anything stand in your way. God’s invitation is clear, and it is for you. “And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is a thirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
For more on this topic see BBN Bible Institute course # 00900 Doctrine of Salvation