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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Predestination Or Free Will?

Romans 8:28-30 (HCSB) 28  We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. 29  For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30  And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

Ephesians 1:4-6 (HCSB) 4  For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5  He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6  to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

Predestination:  What Is It?
Do these two and similar scriptures mean that God determined beforehand who will be saved to eternal life and who will be eternally damned, separated from God?  If true then what about free will to choose?  If true why evangelize?   If true then why should I be concerned about my sin because it was predestined by God?

Predestination or freewill?  This question has fueled debate among Christians for centuries.  This post will in no way end this debate or prove which is true.  By the time you finish reading  you will have a pretty good idea of where I stand in the debate. 

One important point before I continue.  Your salvation doesn’t depend whether you believe in predestination determining your salvation or if you have free will to choose.   Your salvation is by God’s grace, whether predestined, or by your free will.  You are saved because Jesus paid the penalty for your sins on the cross.   


  • :  the act of predestinating :  the state of being predestinated
  •  :  the doctrine that God in consequence of his foreknowledge of all events infallibly guides those who are destined for salvation
  •  : the belief that everything that will happen has already been decided by God or fate and cannot be changed the decree of God by which certain souls are foreordained to salvation.

This word is properly used only with reference to God's plan or purpose of salvation. The Greek word rendered "predestinate" is found only in these six passages, Acts 4:28; Rom 8:29, 30; 1Co 2:7; Eph 1:5, 11; and in all of them it has the same meaning. They teach that the eternal, sovereign, immutable, and unconditional decree or "determinate purpose" of God governs all events.

This doctrine of predestination or election is beset with many difficulties. It belongs to the "secret things" of God. But if we take the revealed word of God as our guide, we must accept this doctrine with all its mysteriousness, and settle all our questionings in the humble, devout acknowledgment, "Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."

Predestination is often equated with or sometimes referred to as election.  There are two views on election which correspond to predestination and free will;

·         Unconditional election (predestination) is the belief that God chooses whomever He will, based solely on His purposes and apart from an individual's free will.

·         Conditional election (free will) is the belief that God chooses, for eternal salvation, those whom He foresees will have faith in Christ. This belief emphasizes the importance of a person's free will

The Debate



The belief in predestination or unconditional election is based on God's sovereignty and omniscience. Sovereignty meaning “in authority over” or “in control over.” We believe God to be in control over everything that happens. So if God is in control over everything, he must also be in control over who is saved and who is not.

Omniscience means “all-knowing.”  We believe that God knows the past, present, and future. So, if God knows what will happen in the future, there is no possible way that what he knows will happen could not happen. His knowledge of the future effectively determines the future.

Proponents of predestination say that before creation God chose who would be saved and who would not.

Ephesians 1:4-6 (HCSB) 4  For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5  He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6  to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

Perhaps the best known proponents of predestination were St. Augustine and John Calvin.  Calvin’s views on predestination are known as Calvinism.  (Click this LINK for information on Calvin and Calvinsim)

Other scriptures in addition to Ephesians 4:1-6 and Romans 8:28-30 used to support predestination are;

Matthew 24:31 (HCSB)  He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

Romans 8:33 (HCSB) Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies.

Romans 11:5-6 (HCSB) 5  In the same way, then, there is also at the present time a remnant chosen by grace. 6  Now if by grace, then it is not by works; otherwise grace ceases to be grace.

Ephesians 1:11 (HCSB) 11  We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will,

2 Peter 1:10 (HCSB)  Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble.

Revelation 3:5 (HCSB)  In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels.

Free will

Critics of predestination argue that this view eliminates humanity's free will because it denies human beings the ability to choose salvation or reject it.

From the Holman Bible Dictionary (

Human Free Will

The ability the Creator gave people to make meaningful decisions, especially concerning their relationship to God. Because humanity was created in the image of God, freedom is an inherent part of human nature (Genesis 1:26 ). Since this freedom is like God's freedom, it includes the power of choice. Mankind's actions thus derive from the voluntary actions of the human will. Outside forces can influence the human will to take a particular course of action but cannot force it to do so. Free will has been the subject of considerable debate over the years. Biblical evidence indicates that God Himself does not predetermine the choices that mankind will make. This is especially true in relation to God's will (Matthew 23:37; John 7:17 ).

 Since God gave mankind the privilege of a free will and then intervened through Jesus Christ when sin changed this freedom to bondage, He gives mankind the privilege to make individual choices. This includes the relation of mankind to God. Salvation and obedience are left to mankind's free will (Romans 10:12-13 ). God elects all people to be saved who will call upon His name (Romans 10:1-21 ). It is left up to the individual's free choice to accept or reject salvation and to accept the consequences of the choice. - Bob Sheffield

Here are some scriptures that proponents of free will use as proof of their argument;

Isaiah 45:22 (HCSB) Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.

John 3:16 (HCSB) “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 12:32 (HCSB) As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to Myself.”

Romans 8:28-29 (HCSB) 28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB)  The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

Revelation 22:17 (HCSB) Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.

My Thoughts

Did God predetermine or predestine specific people to be saved and specific people to be damned?  I say Absolutely Not!   

The Bible clearly teaches that God is not willing that any man should perish, but rather that all of mankind to come to the knowledge of truth and be saved.

2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB) The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 (HCSB) This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4  who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

These scriptures and others tell us that it is God’s perfect will at all mankind be saved.  That is what would please God most.

Scripture also tells us that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. 

Ezekiel 33:11 (HCSB)   Tell them: As I live”—the declaration of the Lord GOD—“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent, repent of your evil ways! Why will you die, house of Israel?

So if those scriptures are true, and they are,  and it’s true that God is sovereign, and He is, and he predetermines who is saved and who’s not,  then he would make absolutely sure that every person who ever lived “..will not perish but have eternal life.”

Let’s take a look at the verse both sides use in the debate of predestination or free will.

 Romans 8:29 (NKJV) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. brethren.”

This from an article, “What Does the Bible Teach about Predestination and Free Will”, by Jack Wellman on the website What Christians Want to Know

Freewill and God’s sovereignty are not opposed to each other but run parallel with one
other.  Imagine that you are a slave on a ship.  You are chained to the deck below.   It is determined that you row for the captain of this ship.  You have no choice but to be chained to this ship.  This is like God’s sovereignty.  But even here you have freewill.  You are free to row or not to row.  If you do not row you choose to receive beatings by the quartermaster, but if you row, you choose not to be beaten.  You might even chose to break free of the ship by escaping your chains, but God’s sovereignty is not diminished.

God’s sovereignty does not diminish man’s freewill.  God never twists anyone’s arm into heaven.  God is all knowing of the past, present, and future.  He alone knows what we will do.  One example is that there are said to be over 600 prophecies in the Bible regarding Jesus Christ.  God alone is able to know the future and the means to bring about what He desires to come to pass.  God knew that I would be saved and come to a saving faith in Christ.  The very fact that you are reading this may be an indication that He is or has called you for salvation.  You have freewill to either reject Him or to accept this saving grace. Either way, He knew it, He planned it, He purposed it, He desired it, and He predestined the very thing that you are now reading. 

Here is another that I found, on the Social Media site Quora.  It is an answer to the question “What are your views on predestination?”

 Brian Zwick - Domestic Christian missionary, musician, reader, writer, father, thinker.

I see no conflict between the fact that God can know the results of our future decisions and the fact that we can make a decision freely. God's knowledge does not negate our freedom. He created us; he knows us more intimately than we even know ourselves.

For example, think of your closest friend or relative, or your spouse. Let's say you're trying to decide what movie to watch that night. Your choices are an action/adventure, a drama, a comedy, and a thriller. You know in your head which movie your friend will prefer, and you even know if those preferences will come out if you try to convince them otherwise. But you knowing which movie your friend will prefer does not remove the freedom of the choice from him or her. I believe God's relationship to us is similar in this regard: that he knows us perfectly, but we are still free and responsible for our own choices.

Because God is sovereign and omniscient or all-knowing He has known from before the foundation of the world who will be saved and have eternal life in His presence, and who will not be saved and be in eternal torment.  Foreknowledge of those who will and will not be saved is not the same as predetermining who will and will not be saved.  What is predestined, as shown in Romans 8:29, is that those who God foreknew would be saved, will be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus.  The choice of acceptance of that salvation is yours.  Just like the slave who is confined to the slave ship has the choice to row or not row and to accept the penalty of not rowing, we have the choice to accept the sacrifice of Jesus as payment for our sins or to reject it and accept the penalty.  The choice is yours.  It’s God’s desire that all men be saved, but He has given us the free will to accept or reject salvation.  Eternal life with God or eternal separation from Him is your choice.  I urge and pray that if you haven’t done so please choose life.

It Doesn’t Matter Whether You Believe In Predestination Or Free Will

 Although as you can tell by this post I believe in the doctrine of free will it doesn’t mean that those who believe in the doctrine of predestination are not saved and will not have eternal life.  The doctrines of free will and predestination are just doctrines and we can agree or disagree on them.  Belief in either of them is not a requirement for salvation. What is a requirement of salvation is that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died in payment for our sin, that God raised Him from the dead and He is the only way to achieve eternal life.  If you haven’t come to that decision in your heart it doesn’t matter which one of these doctrines you believe.

John 14:6 (HCSB) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Romans 10:9-10 (HCSB) 9  If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10  One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

If you want to receive God’s grace all the benefits that God has promised to His children then pray this prayer in all sincerity (only you and God know if you’re really sincere);

“Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior.”

If you have just prayed this prayer, in all sincerity, call, text, email, Tweet, change your Facebook status and tell somebody, leave me a comment here or send me an email with this Link.  Then find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers.  Welcome to the family of God.

I would also like to hear from you and your thoughts and opinions on my view of predestination versus free will.  Please comment whether you agree or disagree and I will respond within 24 hours.  God bless you.