Christian thought on the role of free will and predestination often permeates discussions of Christian theology. One camp (Arminianism) says that people have complete free will, whereas the other (Calvinism) says that God predestines everything. The Bible actually supports both positions, so complete exclusion of either free will or predestination is a non-scriptural position. God's role in salvation is also debated. Some say that God chooses whether or not people are even offered salvation. This page examines the true scope of God's offer of salvation, citing verses not usually found in Cavinists' Bibles.1
In the Old Testament, God told His people to choose whether or not they would follow Him. The reward for such choice was life and blessings.2 In the New Testament, the choice is whether or not to seek Jesus, God's Messiah.3 The choice was based upon faith - both in the Old Testament4 and New Testament,5 since it is impossible to please God without faith.6
The offer of salvation through faith is given to all who believe. This belief results in eternal salvation:
- "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
- "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:40)
God's desire is for all to be saved:
- This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
- The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
The scriptures specifically state that God is the Savior of all:
- For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. (1 Timothy 4:10)
- For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, (Titus 2:11)
The scriptures also indicate that Jesus' act of redemption is sufficient to justify all:
- "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." (John 12:32)
- So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (Romans 5:18)
- For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. (Romans 6:10)
- For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)
- For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Corinthians 5:15)
- For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. (Hebrews 7:26-27)
- But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-12)
- By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10)
- For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; (1 Peter 3:18)
God does predestine redemptive history so that His will is accomplished. He uses both the righteous and unrighteous to sanctify His children. Although God's desire is for all to be saved, most choose to reject God's love and to live solely for themselves. However, God brings His offer of salvation to all people and calls us, His followers, to proclaim this offer to all, so that they may experience God's love and peace for themselves. May we be faithful to our calling to love others as we have been loved.
- Four Views on Divine Providence Book Review
- Predestination vs. Free Will - Is It One or the Other?
- Why Would God Create a Person Who Would be Destined for Hell?
- Salvation in the Old Testament - by Faith or by Works?
- Salvation Word Study
- Many are Called, But Few Are Chosen
- Obviously, these verses are found in the Bibles Calvinists read, although they are to be avoided at all costs!
- "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set
before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order
that you may live, you and your descendants, (Deuteronomy 30:19)
"And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)
- But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42)
- By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24-26)
- And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son;
your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2)
And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." (Mark 2:5)
Seeing their faith, He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you." (Luke 5:20)
and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. (Acts 15:9)
'But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.' (Acts 26:16-18)
even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; (Romans 3:22)
nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:22)
- And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
We are what we think.
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Last Modified February 27, 2006