Predestination; are you chosen?

20150210-What-is-Predestination[1]Do you choose God or does He choose you? This question has been debated for centuries.  Pertinent to one’s eternal salvation, it sure gets us thinking.

We love free will, and don’t want to be robots. We love the control that God has on the universe, but then we question world suffering. We love heaven, but our finite minds can’t comprehend it. A lot of people but especially millennials are choosing to live without God, but then they are choosing eternal separation from God….i.e. Hell.

What is this  all about?

Born in a nation like the U.S. where many are Christians? Check.

Born into a family where both of your parents (or one) and grandparents are Christians? Check.

Born into a home where there is easy access to the Bible? Check.

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Don’t let your Bible gather dust!

Born into a family that brought you to a Christian church while you were growing up? Check.

Are these opportunities, advantages, or are these ways that Jehovah God chose you from the beginning?

Think about it…………..

Born into a land of Hinduism such as India where over 95% of the people are pantheists? Where each day you grew up praying to the love God Vishnu. Check.

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Born into a family in a country like Angola, Africa where there are few Bibles, and many are Animists? Check.

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Born into a culture where there is no mention of the name Jesus Christ? Check.

Born into an orthodox Jewish family in the US? Check

For News: 03/09/14: Israel's Draft: New York - Some of the thousands of Orthodox Jews in a prayerful demonstration on Water St. in the Wall St. area. They are demonstrating against a mandatory draft in Israel. Photo by Helayne Seidman

Not saying that becoming a Christian is not possible in these scenarios, as God can do any miracle, but think about it, the odds seem less.

Are we predestined when it comes to family, culture, society, and nation?

This brings us to points of view regarding predestination. There are two major categories: Calvinism and Arminianism.

CalvinismJohn Calvin was a French attorney who lived in the 1500’s.  He believed that

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God was ultimately in control of everything (sovereign), and that a person was chosen by God ahead of time for salvation. He believed in eternal security. Are you a Calvinist? The acronym TULIP is often used to describe the Calvinist belief positions. T- Total depravity of man; sin has affected every part of our nature. You are not a good person in yourself. There is none righteous, no not one. There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Psalm 53:2-3, Proverbs 20:9, Romans 3:10-12U- Unconditional election.  God chose us in Christ apart from our own merits, and not because He foresaw that we would believe.  L-Limited atonement. Christ died to save only His people, even though what He did is enough to save all men.  I-Irresistible grace. When the Holy Spirit wills to save us, He always accomplishes His purpose. P- Perseverance of the saints.  Once God has saved us and given us true faith, we can never again be lost from Him. This speaks of eternal security, but it also speaks of the importance of commitment and “proving your salvation.”                                                                                                                                                                         Some Scripture that suggests that God chooses you– Deuteronomy 7:6b The Lord your God has chosen you (the Israelites) out of  all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. Deuteronomy 9:6- God did not give the Israelites the Promised Land because they were good; but because He chose them! 1 Samuel 16:12 God chose David to be Israel’s second king.  He was an unlikely choice, but God looks at the heart, not outward appearance! 1 Chronicles 28:5 King David states that “of all of my sons, and God has given me many,…..he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom.”  Matthew 11:27 Jesus said, “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”  Jesus is in control of you understanding spiritual truth.  Are you  grateful?  Matthew 22:1-14 In the Story of the Wedding Feast,  Jesus teaches that “many are invited to the wedding feast (which represents eternal life) , but few are chosen.” People must have the wedding garment on to enter. (this represents the righteousness of Christ)  John 6:44-45 No one comes to Jesus unless the Father draws him.  John 6:65   Jesus taught that “no one can come to Jesus unless the Father has enabled him.”  John 13:18 Jesus said, “I know those I have chosen”.  Ephesians 1:4 Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own………. Ephesians 1:11 In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.

Now for those of you who feel that you choose to follow God on your own merit, and God doesn’t sway you. You might like Arminianism.

Arminianism– Jacob Arminius lived in the 1600’s.   He was Divinity Professor at Leiden slide_13[1]University in Holland. His philosophy was in many ways the opposite Christian view of Calvinism. He challenged pre-destination and absolute salvation. His three main points were: 1) God has decreed to save through Jesus Christ those of the fallen and sinful race who through the grace of the Holy Spirit believe in Him, but leaves in sin the incorrigible and unbelieving.  2) Jesus Christ died for all people (not just for the elect), but no one except the believer has remission of sin.  3) Those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith have power given them through the assisting grace of the Holy Spirit to persevere in the faith. But it is possible for a believer to fall from grace. (see Hebrews 6:3-6)

Among Christian denominations, the Wesleyans, Methodists, Nazarenes, Pentecostal  groups, as examples, have all been heavily influenced by Arminianism.

I welcome any comments you have on this tough topic. Why God does what He does?

I believe that God wants every person eternally with Him, in fellowship, but He knows that won’t happen. After all, we aren’t robots, and with free will, God knows that the “temporary sin” of people and Satan will divert them from the truth of hell without Him.

God chooses to extend His gift of grace to us, but we must choose to accept the gift! After all, what good is a gift that you purchase for someone you love, and they don’t open it and receive it with open arms?   Also, nothing worse than an unappreciated gift. Think about how God feels about His Son who died for our sins in our place? Not to appreciate that love deeply hurts God.

The way I see it, there are only 4 kinds of people in the world:

a) those born with a Godly influence towards Christ and continue to follow Him b) those born with a Godly influence towards Christ and rebel against Him and fall away c) those born without a Godly influence towards Christ and miraculously  turn to follow Him, or d) those born without a Godly influence towards Christ and for whatever reason choose not to follow Him.

Those in the B and D category choose to not follow Christ. They, in turn, choose an eternity of godlessness. Makes sense. Do they realize that?

For those who have never heard of Jesus Christ who have lived on this planet……, and there are many I am sure…………..I fully trust our God of love and justice to take care of it. Not for us to judge.

No doubt that your family, culture, and nation can  negatively affect you in the direction away from Christ. Wow.

Looking forward to teaching “New Testament Overview” at Grace Church in the Fall, 2016 . Plan on attending!

 

 

 

 

 

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About Dr. Robert

I am married to Janet and we have four children. I am active in Grace church in Racine, Wisconsin and serve there in leadership and teaching . I have been an internist for 30 years and keep busy by taking care of a full load of patients. On the side, I like to write, coach, mentor, spend time with my family just hangin' out, and help take care of our three dogs; a Golden and two Berneses'.
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2 Responses to Predestination; are you chosen?

  1. Donna H says:

    I enjoyed reading this. For the longest time, I was under the impression that if I weren’t a good Christian example, I could influence someone to reject Christ and therefore would be responsible for that person’s choice to reject God. It was a huge burden and stress to bear. In a way, the salvation of someone else depended on me- I have forsaken that view in recent years. Salvation is ultimately a work of God and everyone is responsible for their own action or inaction- I’m simply not powerful enough to save someone or cause them to be unsaved and that truth is freedom!! God’s will is bigger than my choices and will ultimately come to pass.

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