The Love Position – Is my salvation predestined or do I have free will?

Are some predestined by God to be eternally saved (from eternal punishment) while others are not, or do we all have the option of choosing our eternal home? In other words, do we believe in predestination or do we believe in determination (free-will)? Rather than talk about what we feel, let’s take a look at what God shows us through His scriptures.

In the beginning, God created a perfect abode for man to lay his head. Man had no knowledge of evil in this abode and so there was no shame, fear, or justice to speak of. Man had dominion over every living creature and his only job was to tend the garden. See, God so loved man that he created a world where man could live in perfect and perpetual fellowship with man. How do we know this? He created a world without sin (for sin came with knowledge of evil) and did not keep the tree of life (eternal) away from man. Truly, God predestined man to live the good life forever!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: God so loved man that He predestined Him to live an awesome life of perfect and perpetual fellowship with Him

Now, since true love is never forced (for anything forced involves control and torment) but is freely chosen and given, God (who is love) gave man free-will to choose. Too bad man chose to end the good life. But when man did this, God was still merciful to stop him from eating of the fruit of life by removing him from the garden and guarding the way to the tree of life with a flaming sword (see Genesis 3:24). You see, if man had eaten of the fruit of life after his disobedience, he would have lived forever in eternal separation from God. God did not want that! So while putting him out the garden seemed harsh, it was actually done out of love. See, as soon as man disobeyed, God already had a master-plan to redeem man from being separated from Him but rather to be redeemed through the shed blood of Christ.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: God so loved man that even after exercising his free-will in disobedience, God predestined him not to be eternally separated from Him but to be redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice

To reiterate, when man exercised his free-will of disobedience, both evil and justice entered the world. Being a just God, He had to mete out the punishment that man’s choice (sin) deserved. But thankfully, He found Abraham righteous enough to make a covenant with him that through his Seed (Jesus) all the nations will be blessed (with the covenant blessings available in the Holy Spirit).

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” – Genesis 22:18

“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ” – Galatians 3:16

See, because of Abraham’s faith, God predestined man (all nations) to be blessed through the redemptive work of Christ. Note that is does not say “this” nation or “that” nation, but it says all nations – meaning all peoples or all mankind.  Thus, it is clear that God wants all mankind (all nations) to be saved. But man still has the same free-will to choose Christ, just as the first man (Adam) and subsequent men had the free-will to disobey God in the garden at the beginning. Paul puts it this way:

“For since the creation of the word His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” – Romans 1:20

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: God so loved man after the fall that He predestined all mankind to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ

How much God loves us – that He would have His own son slewed in order for us to be saved from eternal separation from Him when we choose to believe in His Son (see John 3:16). All that is required is belief! It is not based on performance or our own self-accessed righteousness (which is as filthy rags) but it is a free gift which is irrevocable!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a free gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” – Ephesians 2:8-9

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” – Romans 11:29

But the above is not the end of God’s love, there is more. For those that choose to believe in His Son, He seals with His Spirit who upon our choosing can direct our path. When we choose to walk in the Spirit and allow Him to lead us, we are lavished with the fullness of the covenant blessings – riches, honor, life, peace, and so much more. We are able to live heaven on this earth just as God designed it from the beginning! We do not have to wait till we get to heaven (our destination once saved) to experiences goodness.That is not to say that bad things will not happen to us (for we still live in a fallen world), but that things are eventually working for our good (see Romans 8:28)

So, looking through the lens of the love of God from the beginning of the world, it now becomes clear what Paul is talking about in Romans 8:29-30:

“For whom He foreknew (all nations or all mankind), He also predestined (through our acceptance of Jesus) to be conformed to the image of His Son……Moreover whom He predestined (all nations), He called (to accept Jesus); whom He called, these He also justified (though the blood of Jesus).

Thus, predestination does not work completely independent of free-will but in conjunction with it. Based on what we know from scriptures, we can conclude the following:

  • God predestined man to live in perpetual and perfect fellowship with Him when He created the world (God’s choice)
  • Man chose to break that fellowship through sin (Man’s choice)
  • God predestined (called) man to be saved from  separation through Christ’s sacrifice (God’s choice)
  • Man can neglect the call to salvation and justification  (Man’s choice)
  • God predestined man to enjoy the benefits of accepting His call to salvation through the Holy Spirit (God’s choice)
  • Man can choose not to walk in the Spirit although they have already accepted Christ unto unnecessary suffering (Man’s choice)

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Predestination is not the problem –  what God predestines is good. Rather, the problem is our choice – for some reason we like choosing death instead of life.  Adam was predestined to live a sweet life, but his choice made him live a “not so sweet” life!

Food for Thought: When we choose love (God), we are predestined to live a blessed life

5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Love Position – Is my salvation predestined or do I have free will?

  1. Pingback: Eternal Life or mortal symbol « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  2. Linda Teng

    Hi there. Great website and articles here! Inspiring!

    However, I can’t help as I read this article…to have some questions…if you don’t mind answering them for me, that’ll be great!

    1. Was there truly free-will for Adam & Eve? If there was free-will…it means a choice given, which is choice uncontrolled by God, and controlled by man….then how can God be sovereign (which means God is in control)?

    2. Could this be a possible explanation to Gen 3:22-24: Because of original sin, God barred man to the tree of life (eternal life) and kicked man out of the garden of Eden? In which the logic behind this, means God was protecting the tree of life from man and kicked man out of the garden of Eden…is due to the fact that man no longer deserved eternal life due to the sin (disobedience to Him) committed. And because He loved man…God already had a master-plan to redeem man from being separated from Him which is through the shed blood of Christ?

    3. Does man & subsequent man still have the same free-will to choose Christ, just as the first man (Adam) had the free-will to disobey God in the beginning?
    – “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.” (Rom 1:19-20) –> man cannot plead ignorance to their misdeeds & unrighteousness (now, how is this free-will?)

    4. Was there free-will for man to sin? Or were they predestined to sin? But how can God predestined them to sin? If to sin or not, is free will…then we cannot be predestined to be saved?

    5. God loved man, even after original sin, He predestined all mankind to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. –> If we are predestined to be saved, in John 3:16, we were given a choice in believing in Jesus Christ (free-will), how does that work?

    6. Finally, I can’t understand your conclusion “predestination does not work completely independent of free-will but in conjunction with it” –> as predestination means “foreordained, willed by God”, in which cannot work hand-in-hand, or like you said…in conjunction with free-will BECAUSE how can the choice of man (free-will) override what has been willed (predestined) by God…if He is after all, Sovereign, Almighty, etc! It can either mean, our salvation was predestined (which includes the choices of man being foreordained), OR that we are truly given free-will for our salvation without the predestination of God on our choices hence, we will face the consequences of our choice. It cannot work hand-in-hand, because our choices cannot override God’s will. UNLESS, you mean….our choices are already foreordained by God according to His will…then that’s a different story.

    Sorry for the long post. But, I’m struggling with the idea of predestination and free-will of salvation in my walk with Him now. So yeah. Hoping and it would be very much appreciated, that you could answer some, if not all my questions!

    Thank you & God bless you in His ministry!😀

    • Hello Linda,

      Thanks for you for your comments. I get the impression that we will be in conversation for sometime based on your question. I say this because I have written thousands of words on these questions. I want to begin by asking you to consider a few things:

      First: God is Sovereign because He has all power and all authority. When He created man on earth, He gave man dominion over all the earth (see Gen 1:28). The word ‘dominion’ mean rule/authority/control. So you see, God gave man authority over all the earth. Why? Because He made us in his image! He is Sovereign, so He wanted us to have Sovereign rule over something. Note that the earth is but a speck compared to the enormity of the universe! Though God gave man control in the beginning, man decided to give that control to Satan (the fall of man). This is why Satan could say to Kingdom in Matthew 4:8-9:

      “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

      Only reason the devil could say “I will give you” is because Adam transferred the control/rule of the earth to Satan when he disobeyed God. I show you all this to say this: Just like a King can delegate his rule to his subject, God delegated his authority to man on earth. When God delegated his authority to man, His will for man was for him to do good all the days of his life. But man did not obey the will of God, so God had to step back in and administer justice. Consider the Roman empire in the time of Jesus. The empire was so vast that the emperor delegated the rule of provinces and regions to governors and the like. In Israel, it was Pilate. Just as Pilate still had to answer to Caesar, man still had to answer to God.

      Second: There is a difference between what God will’s (wished and desires) and what he has ordained (decree or ordered). No choice can override what God has ordained, but our choice can override what God wills for our life. Consider this: God’s will for Adam and Eve was to be subdue the earth and rule over it. Yet, Adam and Eve decided not to act according to the will of God in the garden of Eden.

      Please read this excerpt from the book ‘Love Deficit’ and then lets continue the conversation.

      When Genesis 1:26 says, “Let us make man in our image,” the our refers to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—the Godhead. Now, the Godhead is the image of love because the members of the Trinity freely and willingly choose to live in perfect unity and harmony with one another. Although being equal to one another, they lovingly take on diff erent roles in an established hierarchy and lay down and exercise their free will in such a way that they live in unbroken relationship and fellowship with one another. Instead of using their free will to do their own will, they defer to one another. Th is can only happen where there is profound trust and love. Hence, free will and love always go together, for without choice, what we call love is simply control. Now, when God created man in his image, he not only made him a spirit being but also gave him free will just as each member of the Trinity has free will. And just as each member of the Godhead chooses to live in relationship and fellowship with one another, he gave man the option of choosing to live in fellowship with him. Th us, we understand that the only reason the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was created was so that man could exercise free will — to choose to live in fellowship with God or to choose otherwise. In truth, God, in his goodness, made this free will decision for man as easy as possible by creating a picture-perfect world, warning him of the catastrophe the other choice would bring, and giving him only
      one rule to follow.

  3. David

    I’m really trying to be fair here, but I can’t find free will in the New Testament at all, regarding salvation. I see no free will to the new birth. All I find is:
    Free Will? – But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil. (Matthew 5:34-37)
    Free Will? – All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (Matthew 11:27)
    Free Will? – And when the disciples heard it, they were astonished exceedingly, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 And Jesus looking upon them said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:25, 26)
    Free Will? – And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” 27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:26,27)
    Free Will? And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. (Mark 13:20)
    Free Will? – All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Luke 10:22)
    Free Will? – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12,13)
    Free Will? – A man can receive nothing, except it have been given him from heaven. (John 3:27)
    Free Will? – For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. (John 5:21)
    Free Will? – I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 5:30)
    Free Will? – All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (John 6:37,38)
    Free Will? – No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. (John 6:44)
    Free Will? – And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:65)
    Free Will? – If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. (John 13:17,18)
    Free Will? – You did not choose me, but I chose you (John 15:16)
    Free Will? – Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. (John 19:10,11)
    Free Will? – For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. (Romans 4:2-4)
    Free will? – though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call—12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Romans 9:11-21)
    Free Will? – For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (Romans 9:15,16)
    Free Will? – So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” (Romans 9:18,19)
    Free Will? – too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:5,6)
    Free Will? – And such confidence have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God; (2 Cor 3:4,5)
    Free Will? – But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through his grace, 16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood: (Galatians 1:15,16)
    Free Will? – having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will…9 making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him (Ephesians 1:5,9)
    Free Will? – according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11)
    Free Will? – for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
    Free Will? For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:29)
    Free Will? – for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13)
    Free Will? who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2 Timothy 1:9)
    Free Will? – in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:25,26)
    Free Will? – Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, 21 make you perfect in every good thing to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20,21)
    Free Will? – They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (1 Peter 2:8)
    Free will? – Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)
    Free Will? – Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:19)
    Free Will? – if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. (1 John 5:14,15)
    Free Will? – Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power: for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created. (Revelation 4:11)
    Free Will? – For God did put in their hearts to do his mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished. (Revelation 17:17)
    Free Will? – A man’s goings are established of Jehovah; And he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For Jehovah upholdeth him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23,24)
    Free Will? – Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, That he may dwell in thy courts: (Psalm 65:4)
    Free Will? – The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. (Proverbs 16:1)
    Free Will? – The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
    Free Will? – Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood. (Isaiah 10:15)
    Free Will? – Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? 38 Out of the mouth of the Most High cometh there not evil and good? (Lamentations 3:37,38)
    Free will? 1 Samuel 14:20 and behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion.

  4. David

    The Core Heresy of Arminianism (aka Semi-Pelagianism),
    Is that in Effect,
    GOD doesn’t Actually Save anyone,
    But rather,
    HE merely makes everyone Potentially “Savable”(via “prevenient grace”),
    and therefore in Effect,
    leaves it up to them to “Save” themselves (via “free will”).
    But according to Scripture,
    GOD does Not merely make everyone Potentially “Savable” –
    HE Actually Saves HIS People from their Sins -John 6:37 Matthew 1:21 (cf. John 6:37-65, 10:27-29, Romans 8:29-39, Ephesians 1:4-11, 2:1-10, Philippians 1:6, 2:13, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:4-7)..

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