Does John teach the doctrine of predestination?

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The apostle John doesn’t teach the doctrine of predestination. This is clearly seen in the beginning of his gospel when he writes, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

Here, John stresses the importance of making a personal decision to get saved. And thus he clearly negates the belief that God predestines certain men to be saved and others to be damned. He declares that the conclusive factor lies with people themselves—“as many” as receive and believe are given access to sonship (Isa. 55:1; Eph. 1:5).

John uses the phrase “Sons of God” frequently (John 11:52; 1 John 3:1, 2, 10; 5:2). And to become a son, or child, of God a person needs to enter into the covenant relationship (Hosea 1:10) by the new birth (John 3:3). All these actions demand the agency of the free will.

God does not arbitrarily make men His sons; He enables them to become such only if they so choose. John does not exclude the free choice of man with respect to conversion (v. 12), nor does he deny the need for human cooperation with divine agencies. He simply confirms that the initiative and the strength comes from the Lord.

And in the book of Revelation, the apostle John says, “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). Here, he states that the offer of salvation is universal. And no one is left out from the promises of salvation. Christ is a propitiation for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2).

He again emphasizes that whosoever wishes to inherit immortality is invited to take of it. The living water is offered to all: “And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts” (Revelation 21:6). And any person can purchase the gift of immortality “without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1).

But people have to make the choice to respond to the invitation. Men will be saved as individuals, not as churches or congregations. Salvation is strictly personal. Only those who hear and accept the message are qualified to repeat the call. Thus, the false doctrine that certain ones are chosen to be lost is denied by the revelator’s statement (Rom. 8:29).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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