I met with my boys club tonight (That's what we have taken to calling ourselves, a group of men I meet with every week). At some point, the conversation went into a predestination direction. Somehow, I always seem to be involved in these conversations. Think God is saying something to me? Like maybe, "Finish it."?
Well, I am close. The things I have discovered are amazing me, like places where the concept of God's choice over ours is found that you would never even think to look at. Take John 6:65 for example.
"For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."
Or, there is John 5:21, which says;
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes."
Now, I understand that Jesus is not explicitly saying that He chose us in either of these verses, and each one by itself would probably not stand alone. But when you begin to look at all the places where evidence of God's Sovereign choice can be found, it becomes overwhelming very rapidly. "The Son also gives life to whom He wishes" is ALMOST an explicit statement of His choice standing by itself, not quite, but almost. For whomever Jesus wishes to be in heaven with Him will be there. What is a wish in this case but a choosing according to His own desires and reasons, not subject to any approval or decision on anyone's part, but based solely upon the wish of Jesus.
Let's turn a moment to Free Will. I have never met the believer who didn't "feel" as though they had chosen Jesus. With overwhelming evidence such as that, it is very hard to refute the idea of Free Will. Yet by the same token, I have never met a person who said they believed their every thought was only evil all of the time. Yet this is what God says about us, before we know Jesus, so it must be true. What am I saying?
I believe, for right now, that to prove predestination or Free Will, no matter which, it will depend largely upon the perspective we see from. From a human standpoint, it certainly "feels" like we chose God. But from God's standpoint, if we are slaves to sin, how can we choose anything good? If God first loved us, would it not follow that He loved us so much that He also chose us? After all, God's history, which we know about, consists largely of choosing people. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Israel, all chosen, not because they chose Him, but He chose them.
He chose them not for any righteousness in them, or because of any attribute they possessed. It was not for their size, number, or strength. In fact, all these things were given to them only after He chose them. With regards to Free will, the only evidence we have of our choice is how we "feel". Compare that to the fact that choosing people is part of God's histry as we know it. History is not on our side in this argument. Nor is any attribute we possess, or any goodness we had, which is impossible since we were slaves to sin.
Here is a question, encompassing every miracle Jesus performed in front of people. After witnessing these miracles, some believed, while some didn't. Here is an example of people in the very same context, the same event, the exact same time, all the circumstances the same for each person. Each one saw the miracles. And yet, only some were saved as the result of witnessing these miracles. Does that speak of our choice, or Predestination? If choice, why the mixed responses? After all, if Jesus gives an attesting miracle, wouldn't all who saw it believe it, if it were left up to our choice?
How can we explain that in one place, hundreds would see a miracle, and only a few would believe? Remember, you can't remove the fact that these few were still slaves to sin right before they saw the miracles. You cannot take that out of this context, because unless a man is saved, he is damned, and a slave to sin. How then, upon seeing a miracle, would such a man be able to believe? If he, as a slave to sin, cannot choose anything good, why all of a sudden can he do so now? And if one, then why not every one?
Yes, more questions. But throughout all of this, one question has remained constant. Regardless of the doctrine, do you still trust God, no matter what? That's the most important question here. Thank you.