(originally posted 9/4/2015 at littlegirlriseup.blogspot.com)
Question 3: Is salvation totally predestined by God? (Part of a series entitled “Biblical Contradictions?” )
Answer: The notion of predestination is much better served and understood by using the word “foreknown”. Like we previously discussed in my answer to “Question 2” , God foreknew those who would be obedient (Abraham, Isaac, etc.) and those who would choose salvation. In that context, God “chooses” or “assigns” different people for different tasks and different levels of service. But still, it all remains contingent upon the obedience and submission of each individual. God doesn’t force us to do anything.
Roman 8:29 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son… and these whom He predestined, He also called…”
–Those who “love God” are those who choose salvation and obedience.
–Those who choose salvation and obedience “are called according to His purpose”.
–God “foreknew” that I would reach a point in my life in which I chose complete obedience to Him, therefore I was “predestined to become conformed into the image” of Christ.
–God “calls us according to His purpose”, because our obedience and humility make us usable.
Even though God already knew who would choose to come to salvation, we are still expected to share the Gospel with everyone we possibly can. For people to choose salvation, they have to hear about it, and they cannot hear about it unless it is shared with them (Rom 10:14). What about those who never hear it? Perhaps those who never hear it are those whom God knew would never receive it anyway, which is something only He could know, which makes that His business. Regardless, in all circumstances, only God can see a man’s heart (1 Sam 16:7; Jer 17:10), and since we can’t, we are called to share the Gospel with all men.
The alleged “contradictory” Scriptures the “Biblical Contradictions?” page uses as argument are as follows:
- (Psalm 65:4) “How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts.”
—God chooses the righteous to be near Him, but the responsibility is ours to choose to be righteous.
- (Prov 16:9 & 20:24) “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
—We can make all the plans in the world, but they are still subject to the effects of other people’s choices and prayers, and God’s overall sovereignty. Hitler planned to take over all of Europe, but his plans were still subject to the prayers of those who were against his nefarious plans and subject to the free will of those whom God worked through to bring about an end to those plans.
- All other scripture used as argument on the “Biblical Contradictions?” page is based on God’s foreknowledge of who would choose to follow Him and can be understood in that context