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Does God choose who will be saved?

Quick Answer: Does God choose who will be saved? Contrary to some popular teaching, God has chosen that everyone be invited to the Gospel message. He wants none to perish and everyone to believe (2 Peter 3:9).

Diving Deeper: John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” This sounds, at first glance, like the Father is making arbitrary decisions. Whom is the Father drawing? Is He only inviting certain people? What do we do with passages that say God loves the world and wants none to perish and everyone to come to repentance?

In John 12:32, Jesus says, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.” Yes, a drawing is necessary, but Jesus says He is drawing everyone! This makes sense, since God loves the world (John 3:16), and God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). Now, He begs the world (and everyone in it) to “be reconciled” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

In Romans, we learn what “predestination” really is. It’s not about God selecting individuals for salvation and leaving others with no hope. No, it’s about God calling a people who were not His people (Romans 9:25) – namely, the Gentiles. Predestination was God’s secret plan, now revealed, to include the Gentiles in the Gospel invitation. In this way, Abraham (by faith) truly became the father of many nations. In Romans, Paul uses several chapters to defend God’s right to choose the Gentiles and to defend his own ministry to Gentile nations. The result of this beautiful, predestined plan is that “whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

So, God has not predetermined that certain individuals be saved, leaving others with no hope. If that were true, one could never really know if they were saved or “picked”? Likewise, everything would be fated, so evangelism and world missions would seem nearly pointless. But what we see in the Scriptures is the opposite: We see the apostles begging anyone and everyone to “not harden their hearts” (Hebrews 3:15) and to “be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Clearly, the choice lies with each individual, and the invitation to be saved is wide open.

We see the same thing about Gentiles in Ephesians. Paul writes about “we who were the first to hope in the Christ” (Ephesians 1:12) and then “you also” (Ephesians 1:13). Who were the first to hope in Christ? The Jews. Who were next to hope in Him? The Gentiles. Paul is simply assuring the Ephesians (Gentiles) that there was a predestined plan for them to be included in God’s kingdom.

God has unleashed His secret plan to draw all people unto Himself. Yes, people can be stiff-necked. Yes, they can harden their hearts. Yes, they can reject the Gospel. But anyone and everyone is invited to call upon Him to be saved (Romans 10:13).

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. Do you think the common view of predestination (as individual selection) is inconsistent with God’s love? Why or why not?
2. React to this statement: If God already predetermined who will be saved, then everything is fated and evangelism is pointless.
3. React to this statement: If God chose who will be saved, you could never know for sure you’re one of His chosen.
4. Galatians 3:28 says there’s neither Jew nor Gentile. We’re all one in Christ. How does the true message of predestination unify us?

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