Predestination vs Freewill

Life is a journey, not a destination

Predestination. What a word, according to the Lexicon

Strong’s G4309 – προορίζω – proorizō

1) to predetermine, decide beforehand

2) in the NT of God decreeing from eternity

3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand

The Calvinists often use “predestination” to describe their belief that all Christians were chosen before time began by God, to be His children. The implication is that you have no choice in the matter. God chose you whether you like it or not. If you want to be saved, but God did not choose you; tough luck. No matter how good or exemplary your life, you’re going to hell. Nothing you can do about it. And if God did choose you, you can do what you want, you’re going to heaven; once saved always saved. You cannot lose your salvation again or change your mind. God even gives you the necessary feelings and love for Him, your own emotions are no longer your own. Even your thoughts are turned to His purposes, you’ve become brainwashed with no true free will or choice. Can this be? Is this really love?

So let’s look at the verses commonly used to justify the Calvinist doctrines and see if we can come to a biblical interpretation that still fits with everything else the Bible teaches.

We also need to look at 2 other words that is also often used often in conjunction with predestination:

Strong’s G4267 – προγινώσκω – proginōskō

1) to have knowledge before hand

2) to foreknow

a) of those whom God elected to salvation

3) to predestinate

Strong’s G4268 – πρόγνωσις – prognosis

1) foreknowledge

2) forethought, pre-arrangement

Note the inherent difference: predestination used in the Calvinist sense implies that God is actively influencing and working to achieve some preconceived end – while foreknowledge of something does not necessarily imply this. Knowing that something will happen in a particular way, does not mean that you are forcibly causing it to be so. If I could look into the future and determine / check whom will win a particular game, does it now mean that I am causing the result? No, it just means I know the outcome of the match. Similarly, God can know our choices in the future, without causing or forcing these choices in us.

God has foreknowledge of what will happen in the future, so He can influence and change things around so that He will maximise His glory. But the catch is God can only do so if does not go against His own character. So God will use whatever means available to Him, to get you to change your mind and believe in Him, as long as it does not break His character. Taking away your free will to choose, is against His Character, because He cannot punish you then for making the wrong choice. Bear in mind though that God will help you to change – BUT ONLY IF ASK HIM TO DO THIS FOR YOU…

I believe this is why sanctification is a process. Usually slow. Because you really have to want this to happen and actively pray and ask God for this. God will then take the reins in your life and put you through the required life experiences (good and bad) to help you achieve this. All the while the Holy Spirit and your own conscience will let you know whether you are on the right track or not.

There can also come a stage where He has no options left, where He cannot earn His glory without “breaking character”. This has happened in history before! Look at Noah and the ark for example. God had to eradicate the entire human race bar 8 people to start again from scratch. But is this really breaking character? Is the earth not better off without these people, where there is no hope left for repentance or from receiving any glory by allowing them to exist at all?

Should we not look at individual salvation the same way? Aren’t we all called to become Christ followers? God sent His son to die for the entire world, that ALL might be saved. Yet He will not force this. He still allows free choice, otherwise love would not be love. So aren’t those He predestined not the ones then, that He foreknew would choose Him? Is He not helping those to come to Him that He knows will respond? So in essence He is then predestining for salvation those He foreknows will choose Him… Can freewill still exist in this? I think so. You are both free to choose, while God is sovereignly able to predestine you for salvation, because He foreknows how you will choose.

Rom 8:29-30 KJV – 29 For whom he did foreknow , he[4309] also did predestinate[4309] [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate[4309] , them he also called : and whom he called , them he also justified : and whom he justified , them he also glorified .

So how much free choice are we actually left with? How much influence is God actually applying in this choice? As an atheist I remember feeling a huge emptiness in myself. There was a hunger for truth that would let go. Sure I could ignore it if I chose to, but it was still there…

My conclusion is that it is somehow a mutual choice. Both God and I have to want this. God foreknows my choice, and can therefore predestine me for salvation. Now this reasoning makes sense for the currently lost (if they stay lost to death, they will go to hell) and for those that claim to be saved currently (if they stay saved, they will go to heaven).

But what about people that seem to change their minds? Does this mean you can still fall away and lose your salvation after choosing Christ? The Bible is full of warnings in this regard (see previous posts), so yes this surely must be possible. So were you really saved then in the first place? From our perspective we cannot know for sure. This is why the Bible is full of warnings to make our election sure. So can we ever be secure in our salvation? We do not know the future, so for us there will always be some doubt – yet this is where faith comes in. We need to trust that God is sovereignly in control and able to keep us – AS LONG AS WE DO OUR PART – and keep HIM first and foremost in our affections and lives.

From my studies so far I have come to the following conclusions:

– I believe as Humans, we have a threefold existence:

  1. Spirit
  2. Mind / Soul
  3. Body

– I believe God sovereignly chooses whom He wills and touches and regenerates their Spirits so that they are able to understand the Gospel.

– I believe God will regenerate the Spirit’s of all Souls that He foreknows will choose Him.

– I believe in His great mercy, He also regenerates the souls of some people that will make the choice for Him, but will fall away in the end.

– I believe your Soul does have a choice whether to accept Christ or not. (new birth)

  • God cannot punish you in hell for rejecting Him, if you do not have free choice
  • Love cannot be truly love, if there is no free choice involved.

– I also believe that you can fall away even after making the choice.

1Ti 4:1 NKJV – Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,

Now this inherently means, that we cannot know for sure – now – whether we will inherit everlasting life – because we do not know if we will be able to complete the race of faith to the end.

Yet, we can be sure of God’s promises that if we keep putting Him first and foremost in our lives, and keep His commandments, and produce the Fruit of the Spirit, and live a repentant sanctified life, that He is faithful and just and will keep us and intercede for us on the day of judgment. He will never turn His back on you – it is fully up to you to keep putting Him first.

Yet beware the warnings, that if you do not these things, if your heart and love for Him colds, and you start to worship the things of this live, and allow unrepentant sin in your live – that God will turn His back on You; and on the day of judgement He’ll answer with depart from me, I do not know you.

There is this duality in salvation. If we do what we must CONTINUALLY TO THE END, you can be sure of your salvation. Yet if our hearts and affections cold along the way we will be given over to deceptions and our hearts will cold, and then we will be lost.

– I believe as proof of your soul’s choice, it has to bring the body under subjugation. (sanctification)

– I believe only once all three areas were touched (spirit regenerated, soul dedicated to Jesus, and body under sanctification) that you can be secure in your salvation.

2Pe 1:10-11 NKJV – 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

– I believe that there are degrees of rewards, for how well you overcame this life (see previous posts), and concurrently depending on how badly you messed up your punishment in hell will be worse.

My conclusion is therefore that God can predestine us for salvation because He foreknows our choices, not because He removes our free choice.

Here are some texts where these words predestination [4309], foreknow [4267] and foreknowledge [4268] are used:

Act 4:27 NKJV – 27 – 28 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before[4309] to be done .

1Cr 2:7 KJV – 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained[4309] before the world unto our glory:

Eph 1:5-6 KJV – 5 Having predestinated[4309] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Eph 1:11-12 KJV – 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated[4309] according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

1Pe 1:19-20 KJV – 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained[4267] before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

2Pe 3:17 KJV – 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before[4267] , beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

Act 2:23 KJV – 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge[4268] of God, ye have taken , and by wicked hands have crucified and slain :

1Pe 1:1-2 KJV – 1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge[4268] 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 .

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Posted on 2013/08/08, in Insights / Messages, Salvation, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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