Am I Predestined or Do I Have Free Will?
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. — John 6:37
This text highlights one of the longer-running theological debates of our time. The tension between the divine role and human role in a person's salvation. This is often titled the debate between "Predestination and Free Will." This has been a very heated debate for a long time. But right here, we have the best person to explain it, and that's Jesus. He states — "All that the Father gives me will come to me."
One of the primary concerns of this debate is who does the choosing when it comes to salvation. Does God choose who is going to be saved, and therefore he predestines a person to heaven or hell? Or does a man choose his own eternal destination because he is given free will? And there are strong positions on either side of this debate. And every position in between.
What makes this discussion so complicated are the subtle assumptions we make when engaging in the debate. I don't have time in a short video like this to list them all, but I want to give you a couple so that you can hear the tension in this debate.
One assumption on one side of the debate involves our discomfort with God's sovereignty. The discomfort we have with God potentially sending people to hell by not selecting them. The subtle assumption here, which is just one of many in this debate, is that God is not fully good or truly just in his sovereignty. Therefore he is incapable of making a good or just decision about every person because he is yet to know what choice they will make. And all this stems from a tiny assumption that God doesn't know the decision we are going to make in the future. Therefore because he is aloof to a man's choice, he unjustly sends people to hell. This makes him not a very good God.
Another complication in this debate is the understanding of free will. And the problem with free will is that man always freely chooses to sin (Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23). From the dawn of man, this is all we have done. If we could have ever freely chosen not to sin and thus reconciled our relationship with God, there would have been no need for Jesus. God declares that even the intentions of our heart are for nothing but sin (Genesis 6:5). It was Jesus who was the first man not to sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). We were saved and reconciled by his righteousness and obedience (Romans 5:10). This is the divine work Jesus is trying to explain to this group of people in this chapter. He is the first mover in our salvation. He is the bread of life.
So what we need to be careful about when it comes to this debate is the commingling of the divine role in our salvation with the human response to it. We are only in a relationship with God because he made the first move in Jesus. We do get a choice to come to him. But this choice isn't a mystery to God. He is not aloof to the decision you are going to make at some point in the future. He knows because he is fully sovereign. And during your life, you do get a choice. A choice to respond to his first choice. His choice is salvation for all who come to him. As Jesus said here, "All that the Father gives me will come to me." This is the divine dance with humanity.
Hopefully, I have helped you to understand and come to some conclusions about this debate. The question on the table is: Have you chosen the God who first chose you? And you can do that right now. Freely choose the God who has already chosen you.
But don't miss the best part of the verse! It's the last part. It's our eternal security. It reads, "And whoever comes to me I will never cast out." And for an explanation of that, you'll have to join me tomorrow.
ASK THIS: Have you chosen the God who first chose you?
DO THIS: Chose Jesus while you still have breath.
PRAY THIS: God, I choose to worship because you chose me.
PLAY THIS: I Choose To Worship.
SIGN UP — THE DAILY DEVO
short + biblical + practical
Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.