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Predestination vs Free Will: The Truth in Faith and Love

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Predestination vs Free Will: The Truth in Faith and Love
Predestination does not negate free will. Being chosen activates free will, and we need to use it to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Predestination vs Free Will: The Truth in Faith and Love

Protestantism has been divided into two camps ever since the Reformation.

On one side, Calvinists, are champions of predestination. On the other side, Arminians, or Wesleyans, are champions of free will.

Denominations and theologians have been fighting over this for 500 years with no end in sight.

But what does the Bible say?

Predestination vs. Free Will: Opposites or Complementary?

Do not pick a side, Christian. Rejoice in the glory of each!

My folks were free will people. I grew up in a Pentecostal home, where we took John 3:16 as the basis for our faith.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

What a wonderful promise it is, everlasting life, and all we need to do is believe! We use our free will to believe. Praise God! Sign me up.

In Sunday school we used to sing:

“Whosoever” surely meaneth me,

Surely meaneth me, O surely meaneth me!

“Whosoever” surely meaneth me,

“Whosoever” meaneth me!

by J. Edwin McConnell, 1914

My family, my church and I were all happy believing we could get eternal life simply by believing in Jesus.

He is so wonderful, who would not want to believe?

Well, most of the people in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the mid-20th century.

That is why my father and mother planted Emmanuel Pentecostal Church in 1936, to preach the Good News of Jesus and His love.

And we held street meetings, tent meetings, Sunday schools, and Vacation Bible schools to “bring them in.”

Bring them in, bring them in,

Bring them in from the fields of sin.

Bring them in, bring them in,

Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.

Alexcenah Thomas, 1885

And in they came. Individuals, men, women, and children. They believed! Of their own free will! Praise God.

What they got was salvation, everlasting life, and a new lease on this one.

They also got freedom, freedom from sin and from the chains of sin which bound them.

In those days, the binding agent was most often alcohol, which first took hold of the father who then drank up his earnings neglecting his wife and family. But Jesus broke those chains and set the captives free.

It was the chains of sin that bound them, but their free will was still active, and when they heard the Word of God, they decided to follow Jesus.

Does free will preclude predestination?

As a boy, I had read the word “predestinate” in a good context:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:28-31

All I could say to this was “Amen.” Later St. Paul* taught me this wonderful truth:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: – Ephesians 1:3-4

(An asterisk* indicates a short biography of that person is in my book SPIRITUAL LIVES.)

Praise God again! He knew me, Ken Kalis, before I was born, and before the world began, and He chose me to be holy and love Him back as He loved me.

Jesus* said the same thing to His disciples:

You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,John 15:16

Biblical dynamics of predestination and free will

Being chosen does not negate free will. Being chosen activates free will, and we need to use it to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus’ disciples chose Him too, but one used his free will to betray Him!

There have been others who were chosen but used their free will to turn away from the call to the kingdom of heaven. Kings Saul and Solomon come to mind.

God Himself chose Saul, gave him a new heart, and filled him with the Holy Spirit so that he became a new man and prophesied! (1 Samuel10:9-10)

But once he was in power, he chose to reign outside of God’s will. He ended up with an evil spirit, visited a witch, and committed suicide.

God appeared to Solomon twice and gave him the wisdom he asked for.

He used that wisdom to become the wisest man on earth, but that was not enough to bring him to salvation.

And God made it clear to him that his free will was important:

if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. 1 Kings 3:14

And Solomon chose to walk in those ways, of his own free will, and built the temple in Jerusalem. Now the Lord appeared to him the second time and gave this word:

if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:

Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.

But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:

Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: 1 Kings 9:4-7

Sadly, we know that Solomon used his free will to turn from following the Lord and activated the judgment that destroyed Israel.

The clearest example of the partnership of predestination and free will is Saul of the New Testament.

In his own words, he testified that God had…. “separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace”.– Galatians 1:15,

Despite this, Saul hated Jesus and persecuted His people until Jesus knocked him off his horse on the road to Damascus and called him to be His minister. But here his free will came into play:

I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: Acts 26: 19

Clearly, Saul had the free will to remain Saul of Tarsus and go on persecuting the church, but he chose to obey, and Jesus turned him into the Apostle Paul and sent him

to the Gentiles to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light. – Acts 26:18

In all of this, we see that Biblical predestination and free will are not opposing theologies at war but complementary revelations of the Gospel.

God chose us to be in Jesus before the foundation of the world and gave us free will to do the good works He prepared for us to walk in.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

Free will lets us choose predestination! What should we choose?

We all have a choice to make, and God wants us to choose Jesus!

The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 1 Peter 3:9

See how this verse affirms the promise of John 3:16? The basis for our salvation is God’s love. John tells us His love was the reason He gave His only begotten Son so whoever believes on Him can have everlasting life!

A free will choice. Why? John tells us quite simply: God is love.

And that is why He predestinated us to be justified and glorified. And He has given us free will to believe on His Son and have everlasting life.

How glorious! As St. Paul says:

If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

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