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Predestination is the doctrine that God has foreordained all things, especially that He has elected certain souls to eternal salvation and others to eternal damnation. But the Bible teaches, that as God foresaw, and thus foreknew, each generation of men that would come upon the stage of this world’s action, He predestined them all to be saved.
God never had any other purpose than salvation for the members of the human family. The Bible declares, God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He says, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).
The gospel call is for all who will accept it. “Whosoever will” may “take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Any man who thirsts for the waters of salvation is privileged to accept the invitation, “Come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that all who “hunger and thirst after righteousness … shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). And He affirms, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Man’s Freedom of Choice
While salvation is offered freely to all, not all accept the gospel invitation. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Salvation is not forced upon man against his will. If a person chooses to oppose and resist God’s purpose, he can do so. God creates man with the freedom of choice. He declares, “I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction” (Deuteronomy 30:15).
Divine foreknowledge and divine predestination in no way take away the human liberty. The Bible doesn’t teach that God has predestined certain men to be saved and certain others to be lost, regardless of their own choice in the matter. To accuse God of that is a slander upon His infinite love and justice (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 99:4; John 3:16).
Some misunderstand the verse by Paul in Romans 8:29 where he says, “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.” This verse says, that the Lord predestined those whom He foreknew. In other words, as God foresaw, and thus foreknew, each person that would be born in this world, He added immediately His foreknowledge to predestinate them all to be saved. God never had any other purpose than salvation for the members of the human family.
Salvation is given freely to all people. But sadly, not all accept God’s gift of love (Matthew 20:16). Only those that accept will be saved (John 1:12). If men choose to reject it, they will be lost. Divine foreknowledge and divine predestination don’t take away the freedom of choice.
Paul gave this verse for a practical reason. He was trying to assure the persecuted people of God that their redemption is secure in the Lord’s arms. And that the Almighty will work all things for their good according to His good plans for them (Romans 8:28).
Salvation relies also upon the Christian’s cooperation and faithfulness in following God’s path. “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:14 also 1 Corinthians 9:27). The Christian is called for the path of surrender and self-denial in order that victory may be achieved over sin by God’s power.
In His service,