During the Summer, I worked through the book of Romans in my Sunday messages at Lafayette Community Church. To hear the messages, visit the Great News II page.
One of the topics that Romans raises is the notion of election vs. free will. I took a rather strong position from Romans 9-11 that God chooses who will be saved. I taught that everyone has the freedom to choose God, but because of sin’s deceitfulness no one does unless God makes the first move to choose them and draw them to himself.
This has raised some very interesting questions in our church’s “CONNECT” cards over the past couple of months, and one that came in this past week really got me thinking. Tonight, I wrote a long response to the couple that asked the question, and I thought it would make sense to post the answer here as well.
I wanted to give a response to your connect card question from 10/7. On it you wrote:
…what if one of your children isn’t God’s “elect”? Do you have peace saying that’s a possibility and even God’s will that they are destined to be separate from you & Jen and God for eternity?
I’m hearing a few different questions in that, and I’m not sure which is the central question, so let me bullet point the options, and perhaps one of them is the one that is really weighing on your heart.
- First, I’m hearing the emotional question of whether I personally have peace in my heart knowing that I may not spend eternity with my family.
- Secondly, I’m hearing the faith question of whether I can accept a God who would choose to take ME to heaven while not choosing to take my kids.
- Thirdly, I’m hearing the theological question of whether it’s really accurate that God chooses some for salvation.
Let me take them in reverse order briefly.
Thirdly, my theological decisions are based 100% on my absolute best understanding of what the Bible teaches. On this point, the Bible seems to me to be completely clear on three counts: (1) Righteousness is required for heaven and every human being has been given the choice to pursue righteousness or selfishness. (2) Every human being save Jesus himself has consistently chosen selfishness over submission and has willfully lived in sin which in combination with Adam’s sin and the blinding power of Satan has locked each human into a perpetual cycle of sin. (3) Though salvation is offered to all through Jesus, no one in their sinful condition has ever nor will ever choose that salvation unless God does a special work of grace in that person’s life first, which he graciously does for those whom he has chosen.
The biggest point of debate among pastors and scholars comes from these statements. Catholics deny that humans are locked into sin. They teach that once Adam’s sin is washed away through christening, the person is “free” to choose good or evil. Many Protestants uphold that too claiming that God has given enough grace to everyone that they may choose “freely” to follow God. I don’t deny that claim. However, the Bible seems abundantly clear on point #3 that no one ever chooses salvation without a special work of God. Some today believe God does that special work for everyone and people still reject. Others believe that God does that special work for a few who always respond, Others believe it’s a combination of both. I personally believe that when God chooses someone for salvation, he does everything necessary to woo that person toward a response.
The bottom line is that I do not think there is any real biblical support for a position that denies point #3. Furthermore, I believe there is strong biblical support for the notion that ALL who are chosen WILL respond while ALL who are not chosen WILL NEVER respond.
My conviction in this matter is not based on any sense of “peace” but on a straightforward and rigorous study of the Bible’s actual teaching on this topic.
Secondly, with regard to my own faith in a God who would select some and not select others, I actually love God MORE and respect him MORE now that I understand election. You see, if it is true that no human ever chooses God unless God chooses him first, then for anyone to be saved requires an INDIVIDUAL act of grace from God to that person. He doesn’t do anything from a distance, but he is greatly involved in people’s lives. Now, of course, the problem with this notion is that if God chooses some, then we conclude he is “rejecting” others, and we have a problem with a God who loves some and rejects others. Well, that’s really more of a personal problem than a problem with God. According to Paul in Romans 9-11, God has the RIGHT to choose whom he will. I believe he COULD save everyone on the planet, and some Christian pastors believe he WILL. For myself, I don’t go that far because the Bible never indicates that he will save everyone. Therefore, I completely disregard the notion that God “rejects” some, because honestly, I don’t know how that process works with him, nor do I know how many will be rejected. On the contrary, I focus on the immense love and grace of a God who rescues SOME even if he doesn’t rescue ALL.
First, on a personal emotional level, there is only one Christian sect that guarantees my children will end up in heaven with me, and it is the Catholic tradition. According to Catholic tradition, if I “baptize” my children, keep them in church through their age of confirmation, and teach them the principles of confession to a priest, attending mass, and saying prayers, I will be guaranteed that they will be in heaven eventually even if they must spend some time in purgatory. My problem with that tradition is that it is unbiblical. Such promises about my children are never found in the Bible. Would I like a guarantee that my children will be in heaven with me? Sure! However, the Bible gives only one such guarantee regarding anyone’s eternal condition. It is found in many passages, and in many different phrasings, but the gist is captured in Romans 10
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. — Romans 10:9-10
Since I will never know the true condition of the heart of anyone but myself, I will never have 100% certainty that ANYONE I know will be in heaven. I can accept your declaration of faith, but I cannot see your heart. The same thing goes for my children. I will never have certainty over their eternal security, nor does the Bible indicate that I should. As it so happens, my children are both professing believers. They have not been baptized and I am not pushing for them to do that before they are ready to do it for themselves and their own reasons. However, even if they were, my belief in their eternal destiny would be based on faith and hope more than certainty.
However, you didn’t ask about what I believed. You asked about whether I had peace with it, and the truth is that yes I completely do have peace with it for three reasons:
When I get to heaven, I’m convinced that my love for Jesus will overshadow all earthly loves, my awe for Jesus will overshadow all my earthly doubts and questions, and his glory will make all other allegiances fade into the background. I believe I will know my wife in heaven, but I don’t believe that we will have in any sense a “special” relationship. It’s possible we will, but I’m certain that Jesus himself will overshadow all of that so greatly, that if I love the Tav family with a 5, my children with a 7, my wife with a 9, I will love Jesus with a 1,000,000, and that will pretty much win.
I trust God’s goodness, sovereignty, and glory so much that if for his purposes, he chooses to grab Charlie’s heart but not Katie’s heart, I will still trust Him. I will on this earth mourn the spiritual loss, but I will still have “peace” in my heart that God is in charge.
Finally, it will never be my role on earth to determine if God has chosen my children. Rather, I will live from the assumption that he chose them and is working to woo them toward himself. I, therefore, am to consider myself part of God’s wooing work in their lives. I am called to be God’s representative toward them and give them every opportunity to know him. In fact, I believe God put those kids in my family because of his work of choosing them for himself. I simply assume that he has chosen everyone, and so I call everyone to respond.
Now, this answer has been two things: long, and rational/male. I’m guessing that you want to know if this teaching should cause you to worry about your own kids. I’m guessing your question is either because you are firmly convinced of your own beliefs and want to challenge my belief or what I think is more likely, you think I’m firmly convinced and this concept has challenged a belief of your own.
So before I close, let me say a couple more things for you to ponder and pray over.
First of all, your love for your children is evident to everyone. The way you look at them, both of you at each of them, reveals a twinkle in your eyes. You love those two angels, and rightly you should. They are precious, beautiful creations of a loving God who has used you as his agents of creation to bring them into this earthly world. I believe he is continuing to use you and will continue to use you as his agents of creation in their lives to bring them into his heavenly world. I believe that all signs so far point to him choosing them for himself by placing them in your care for this earthly sojourn.
However, the very thing that brings him great glory and joy also brings a parent great anguish: Independence. Every parent who loves his child fears the days when the child will need to make decisions on his or her own. Every parent is concerned about those moments. There are some church traditions that try to say, “Even if your child screws up down here, there are things you can do as parents to guarantee their life in heaven,” but those traditions are not biblical. The sad reality is that if your children don’t choose to receive the gift of salvation for themselves, there is nothing you can do to make it happen. If they reject the offer of salvation, the Bible tells us it’s because the standard human pathway is the pathway of rejecting God. If they reject God, it’s because God has seen fit to honor their Independence and allow them to go their own way. However, the awesomely wonderful truth is that God is strong enough to overcome every sinful tendency they have. You aren’t strong enough but he is, and if your children choose to follow God, it’s because God did the work in their lives first… not the least of which was putting them in your household.
Therefore, our job as parents is simply this: To be agents of God’s election in the lives of our children; to woo our children toward God as effectively as we can.
You are doing a great job as far as I can tell so far. Just keep demonstrating the love of God to your children, and he will demonstrate his work of election in their lives through you. I have no doubt that God loves your kids even more than you do, and I have no doubt that He is trustworthy and good.
Grateful for you and your example as parents,
32 thoughts on “What if God chooses not to “elect” my children?”
An excellent response. This should surely join your list of ‘best posts’.
Jeff, I don’t believe you fully answered the “mail” when asked if you were comfortable with the fact that your child may not be one of God’s Elect and would spend eternity apart from Him and you. You brushed off this parent’s honest inquiry by answering that no religion can guarantee one’s child will end up in heaven. That the only guarantee is the profession of faith. All that’s true. However, what you failed to address is that election doesn’t ALLOW those who might otherwise profess (the unelected) to do so. They don’t have that choice. They can never come to the realization of their sinful life … never able to repent … not able to turn towards God with that prayer that you rightly said must be made. They are doomed.
That’s the point. For you to then try and reassure this parent – despite the hopelessness that is at the root of election – with an unbelievably cruel statement: “I believe he is continuing to use you and will continue to use you as his agents of creation in their lives to bring them into his heavenly world.” Are you kidding me? More accurately, are you kidding yourself? You can’t have it both ways. You are not the first I’ve heard trying to ease the heart of those who believe that only the elect can turn from their sin and accept Christ. Not the first to tell/imply to parents that God will watch out for the kids of the elect … as though there some kind of magical Spiritual DNA at work.
I believe you owe that parent an apology for giving him what can only amount to a false hope. You don’t believe that the parent has any sway/say as to whether or not their child(ren) are God’s elect. None. To even suggest that might be possible is an incredibly deceitful act.
Thanks Worthey, for your comment. I’m sorry you consider my reply a brushing off of the question. However, I disagree. Note specifically that nothing in my belief system says that the non elect are disallowed or prevented from entering heaven by anything other than their own sin.
In fact, my conviction is that everyone may freely enter heaven by responding to God’s gift of grace in Christ; however, because of sin, no one will unless God does a special work of grace in his or her heart. God is not actively preventing people from entering heaven. Therefore, I simply disagree with your claim.
Election is not a doctrine of hopelessness. It is a doctrine of sovereignty. I for one, maintain always that God’s work of election is a mysterious secret that I will never see. However, even if I can’t see it, I can still participate in it by doing my part. It just may be that God’s work of choosing my children involves placing them under my care and asking me to guide them to him.
Therefore, let me restate an essential point to my understanding of biblical teaching. I do not believe that only the elect CAN turn from sin even though I firmly believe that only the elect WILL turn from sin. This is more than a semantic difference.
No parent will be able to change whether or not a child is elect; that’s God’s sole prerogative; however, I’m convinced that parents should assume that their children ARE elect and behave in ways that participate in God’s self revelation to them.
Finally, if you wish to discuss this further, I’d love to deal with specific Bible passages relevant to the topic. If you have any to offer that support your understanding, I would welcome the interaction.
No need to post this comment, I do not want to wrangle about words that might lead to the ruin of the hearers – which will certainly be the outcome of this thread. I fear that your Greco-Christian Aristotelean layered logic has lead you down a very bad path, one which you are innocently unaware of having followed. I don’t think you are a harry-tic or anything. I think you are being as honest as you can be, from your gut. So I have no stones to throw. I am sure that much of my earnest theology is flawed as is my life at times – regretfully. Deep within your soul, the Spirit of God will trump the postmodern Calvinist whiz kids, and the theologians of old that unwittingly made Calvinism their God. If you had never read a commentary to that end, with layered logic based on established presuppositions, that sounded elite and brilliant; I seriously doubt that the Word would have landed you in the same spot. I think that you are legit and earnest, so don’t recoil, explode, or crawl in a hole. I was a Calvinist for years on end, as were many of my teachers. A word by word, verse by verse study of Romans (oddly enough) totally exposed the errors that I had accepted. I do believe that God is sovereign, who could deny that! I too believe that man cannot come to the Lord without His initiation first. But I reject an “order of salvation” that demands that regeneration precedes faith and repentance. I find that no where in scripture. It simply is not there. I love you brother, and you are doing a good work. Speak strongly about what the Word speaks loudly about, be silent about what the Word is silent about, and walk cautiously in areas where great men of wonderful heart and holiness disagree. Some things need not go viral. In Christ alone. Do the lost really need to be worrying about God unwillingness to love their children. Thats tough for an aged saint. SW
I am sure you did not need my comments in the middle of handling this issue. I regret that I responded. I should not have responded. Please accept my humble apology.
You never answered the question. Are you “ok” with God choosing you, thus allowing you the ability to believe…and not choosing your child, thus not allowing him/her the ability believe? Put simply, you were born with a chance, your child was born with no chance. Answer this question as a loving father.
Yes. I’m ok with letting God be in charge.
I, as you, and ok with letting God be in charge. Why would I not be? Although, you and I would disagree as to what that meant in specifics. But when the Scripture tells us “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” One can not reconcile that with your line of thought. It is impossible. How could God look at your child, or mine for that matter, and say “I am patient toward you…not wishing(willing/desiring/wishing “boulomenos”)anyone, including you, should perish, but that you should reach repentance”…and then say in the same breath, “but I have chosen you to go to hell, with no chance.” How can you reconcile that? “I desire you to repent, to not perish…I have chosen you to go to hell.” That is exactly what has happened if you hold to that line of thought.
It is hard for me to believe, if you knew your child was born with no chance, that you could bow in worship to our God, looking at your child who was born destined to go to hell, and say, “Father, I worship you, because you have predestined my child to go to hell. I worship you, because you are in charge and have seen fit to allow my child to be born with no chance whatsoever…thank You Lord.” If you believe as you say, then you have to be willing to do this.
Thankfully, I have enough trust in the love of my heavenly Father that I do not worry about the hypothetical situation you describe. He loves my children more than I do. After all, Christ died for my children, and I have not done the same. He loves them more than I do, so I trust him.
Finally, I am convinced that God does not, has never, and will never say to anyone, “I have chosen you to go to hell, with no chance.” In our sin, we have all chosen hell for ourselves, and God in his grace has chosen to reach out to some of us in rescue.
I operate on the assumption that he has chosen my children, so I do my part in bringing them to maturity. I operate on the assumption that he has chosen you, so I invest my time in this conversation as well. I operate on the assumption that he has chosen people in Lebanon, so I support a missionary family over there. In fact, I operate on the assumption that I am the agent of God’s elective process in the lives of everyone I contact. It’s as if God were making his appeal through me. It’s as if I’m his ambassador, telling people that in Christ, God has chosen them, and if for whatever reason, that other person decides to reject Christ, I worry not, because they are not rejecting me. I’m only the ambassador.
On another note, I’m wondering why this issue is so important to you. Are you that worried about me and my relationship with my children, or are you concerned about something else?
I appreciate the time you have taken to converse with me about these issues. I sincerely do. At this point, I agree to disagree, and do so respectfully, as you deserve nothing less.
You and I both know, if “in our sin, we have all chosen hell for ourselves” (including newborns? 1 year olds?)…and “God in His grace has chosen to reach out to some of us in rescue”…you are not willing to say the obvious thing your beliefs are saying…if we have chosen hell, and God has only reached out to some, then the other “some” have no chance, because they cannot come to Him unless He reaches out to them. You are not willing to say that, although that is exactly what you are saying.
By believing as you do, you have to operate on an assumption…lots of them actually. I do not have to operate on assumptions – I know Jesus died for all, as you state yourself since you believe He died for your children, whether they are chosen or not. The Bible clearly says that we can “know” we have eternal life; we do not have to assume. I know He loves the people of Lebanon, which He died for them, and that He has told us to pray that He, the Lord of the harvest, would send out laborers into that field, and that He sends them forth…you believe if they are chosen, they are chosen, and will go to heaven, whether the laborers go or not. I believe unless we go, some will die without Him.
I do not worry either if a person decides to reject Christ. We know that some plant…some water…but God brings the growth. But, what if your child, or someone else you love, decides to reject Christ? Do you merely say, “I worry not…I am only the ambassador?” Can you really look at a loved one, and say “I worry not” that you have rejected Christ? Maybe so, because you assume.
You wonder why this issue is so important to me. Why is it so important to you? Why do you operate on all these assumptions? You do so, because it is one of the most, if not the most, important issues of our walk with Christ. That is the same reason why it is so important to me – all of life is shaped by what we believe about these things.
Am I worried about you and your relationship with your children? No, I’m not worried about it, but it concerns me. Not your ability as a father, or your significance, or anything like that; but what are you teaching them when you lead them to operate on assumption rather than assurance? It’s important because you will answer for the influence you have over the local body of believers you lead. I hold myself to the same standard. I genuinely care, and am in no way desiring to win an argument.
I end with what I said earlier. You and I both know, if “in our sin, we have all chosen hell for ourselves” and “God in His grace has chosen to reach out to some of us in rescue”…you are not willing to say the obvious thing your beliefs are saying…if we have chosen hell, and God has only reached out to some, then the other “some” have no chance, because they cannot come to Him unless He reaches out to them (draws them). You are not willing to say that, although that is exactly what you are saying. Why? I just wish those who hold to this line of thought would have the guts to say it.
Thanks Rich for your comments. You are right that we should agree to disagree. In fact, people have been agreeing to disagree on this very topic for thousands of years. However, the biggest disagreements on this issue come from one side not truly understanding the other side, and from neither side truly understanding the middle road taken by the overall text of the Bible. Therefore, I need to clarify just a couple items from your comments so that we have greater clarity on both positions and greater clarity on the middle-road taken by the Scripture.
First of all, I AM willing to say that some people have no chance to come to God depending on how you define chance. If by chance you mean it is a hypothetical theoretical possibility, then I say that everyone has a chance to come to God because God has given free will to each creature. The Bible clearly indicates that everyone has a theoretical possibility of choosing God (Romans 1, John 8:31-32). If however, you mean by chance the reality of what is actually able to happen, then I say that no one has a chance because in fact sin has enslaved everyone. I am not alone in this. Both Jesus and Paul claim the same thing. (Romans 6, John 8:34-36).
Both Jesus and Paul also indicate that every human being has already rejected God, is in a present state of rebellion, and will never choose God unless God does a work to draw that person to himself (John 6:44, Romans 9:16-18, Ephesians 1:11-12). However, the Bible also indicates that humans have the responsibility to choose God (Ephesians 1:13, etc.).
I operate on one assumption and one assumption only, and it is this: if the Bible clearly teaches two concepts that appear on the surface to be contradictory, it is because I am unwilling or unable to see the relationship, but both must be true. In this case, I believe the Bible teaches two concepts of human responsibility and human inability. In response to that dilemma, the Bible clearly teaches that some are chosen and some believe.
My conclusion, along with Paul in Romans 9-11 and countless scholars through the centuries is that God chooses first, and we choose in response.
Finally, I do have the guts to say that some people will never get to heaven because they continue to reject God. I also have the guts to say that those same people would be able to accept God if God chose to work in their lives. I finally have the guts to say that if God chooses NOT to save someone, he has that right.
I don’t believe any of this because it makes the most logical sense to me. I only believe what I believe because it is the only way I can see to reconcile the Biblical teaching on the subject. I’m committed to balancing the two notions of human responsibility and sinful inability because the Bible teaches both.
And therefore, I proclaim grace to any and all who will hear because grace through the death of Christ is the only thing that can save us (Ephesians 2:8-9).
God bless you my brother. Thank you for taking time to share. May neither one of us walk with pride in our lives over this issue, but may we be humble and tremble at His word. I pray we have sharpened each other and become more Christlike through our conversation. May Jesus be glorified in both of our lives, and may the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.
I gave myself to Him, i backslid but then repented and asked for forgiveness. i was back on track but i always felt a doubt. i would always listen to the Christian radio station and i felt shaky about my faith. i prayed that God speak to me in the next sermon as He always would when i needed him. i asked Him to give me an answer if i was his or not… the next story on was the story of Cornelius in Acts. i was heart broken, but i thought maybe just bad coincidence. i fought on in my bible studies and listening to all my favorite pastors on the radio, i even got baptized… but when i came out of the water i felt the same. I love God, i know who He is and I know His greatness, grace, love and His Word, but this feeling has pushed me to a place where i know i am living wrong and although i try to tell myself “well you’re not saved anyways” it’s hard for me to do completely wrong as i still fear Him.. this feeling makes me feel completely lost.
Hi George! Thanks for sharing. Have you shared these feelings with your local pastor? If he is a man who follows the Bible, he will encourage you to realize that your salvation doesn’t depend on your feelings of being saved. Your salvation depends on whether or not Jesus actually died and rose again. Jesus is the foundation of your salvation. The only thing left for you to do is said right there in Romans 10:9-10:
The promise is not that you will “feel saved” but that you will be saved. Claim the promise and live by faith.
Kind of contradicting yourself throughout this post..first you go from saying that only God can lead a person to repentance and if he does they will never turn from him to saying that salvation or not has to do with the child’s “independence” once theyre old enough. Which is it?
Hi Jeff… well I’m a bit late to the conversation, but I came across your website when searching for the Calvinist view of whether young children are predestined or not. 🙂
While your article was interesting to read to gain some insight into the answer to my question, you did misstate the Catholic belief pretty severely. Catholics do not believe in Once Saved, Always Saved, and a human who has received all the sacraments can still, within the context of their own free will, deny God at any point in their life, fully rejecting his gift and offer of salvation.
I think it’s important if we bloggers are going to explain alternate views, that we at least explain them accurately and fairly, and wanted to let you know about that error on the Catholic position.
Thank you so much!
I think you misread my statement above. I don’t think Catholics believe in the once saved always saved doctrine either. However, the church has taught for centuries now that a baptized infant will have original sin wiped out. Furthermore, the church teaches that participation in the sacraments of the church will lead to a person not going to Hell but to purgatory first and eventually to heaven.
There are so many Scriptures that confirm the ones that will be given salvation. Those who yield to the truth in Gods Word will be able to obey His Commandments by His Own Spirit. Ezekiel 36:26, along with
Revelation 22:14 and Hebrews 5:9 are a few that state this. The Apostle Paul stated that with his “mind” he served the law of God. He,
Like David, had an on-going desire to do the will of God, which is being able to keep His Commandments. They both knew it would take Gods
Holy Spirit to be able to do this. Without His power we are hopeless.
Jesus said whoever blasphemes the Spirit will not be forgiven. We must submit to the truth that is taught, and never turn from it.
Blessings to those who will seek, hear, and do. They will find, have faith, and follow. It’s a promise from God???
Romans 9 has been my nemesis for awhile. At least parts of it. (Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.) I love many who do not currently live as if they are surrendered to God. As you said, I know no-one’s heart and can never know truly where they will spend eternity, only God does. And I’m fighting to trust Him with that. But, I don’t.
Praying for a family member very dear to me that I’m not quite sure truly has faith in Christ, I asked God. “Would you really allow this person who love so deeply to leave this earth not knowing you while I’m spending my energy ministering to all of these strangers who I don’t care so much about?” His response to me, “Would you love me if I did?” My answer, “I don’t know.” I’ve thought about your point above about my love being so changed and God-centered in eternity, but I’ve received no comfort from that now. And I feel as Paul says, If it were possible to save the one I loved, I would rather that I was separated from God than them. But, I know that’s not how it works. I grew up in Calvinism although I don’t claim to understand things as confidently as I did before. I’m not quite sure how this all knowing, sovereign God’s will works in combination with our independence. But, there is some place of His initiation in it, I’m sure. Because Christ told us that none could come to Him unless drawn by the Father. Whether this means the Father draws everyone and some reject or not, I’m still unclear. But, what I do know still causes me to struggle. I want to find rest in the goodness of God, but my heart is still wrestling. I appreciate this post. But still pondering things myself.
Andrea. Romans 9, when taken as 9-11, along with the Old Testament quotes from Paul, takes much of the Calvinistic “issues” away. There are deep and Biblical resources out there that take time to explain Romans in context – check out Soteriology101 for example. The Reformed folks are not the only ones that take theology seriously and are not the only option for interpretation. Sometimes it can seem that way because of Reformed resources are numerous.
I would recommend listening to Mike Winger discuss Calvinism , Arminianism, election & predestination on YouTube. It’s really been helpful for me. I’m struggling as you are.
You REALLY need to look into “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” / Dispensationalism . Start with reading Cornelius Stamm’s book, Things that Differ. Your life will change, and you won’t be keeping people out of heaven by telling them that God doesn’t want them.
2 Timothy 2:15 — “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth.”
Romans 10:13 — “For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
tht is sooo untrue i accepted god i believed he didnt elect me ive done not much wrong in comparision to most all i know ive been abused since prior to birth i never hurt anyone and love the lord and his son jesus why am i in heLL?
Spot on Jeff. You so articulated it…
Hi Jeff, read this article recently as I have fear that I am not elected. I was born into a Catholic background and stayed there until I moved to a Protestant church in my 30s. I professed Christianity at a young age and continued that in the latter years until now. The truth of the matter now is that I am not a born again Christian as my life testifies although I thought and professed that I was a Christian. It terrifies me to know that and that I am so set and hardened in my ways to be born again unless God intervenes. Please can you keep me in your prayers – Regards, Andrew
Andrew, the New Testament is clear about two things that should bring you some reassurance: (1) Your salvation is based on you placing your trust in Jesus as your Savior and making a commitment to follow him (Ephesians 2:8-10 and context) and (2) Your assurance of that salvation is strengthened by walking a life of spiritual growth (2 Peter 1:5-11). Simply put, if you ask God for salvation through Jesus, and if you walk the path of following Jesus, your confidence in your election will grow.
I’m (more than) a bit late to this. Sorry about that.
I’ve been reading up on this whole predestination thing (I’m a rather new Christian, I’ve been one for only a few years, and for some reason I’m just hearing about election), which is how I found this article. This has brought me a slight bit of clarity to this topic- I’ve always believed it’s a combination of God doing special work for everyone and people still rejecting and God doing special work for a few who always respond, as said in the article. So just now realizing that God actually chooses who is saved and who spends eternity in hell has shaken me up a little bit, just with the thought that most people are never given the chance for salvation and will be doomed.
Still kind of trying to figure this out though, whenever I think about it it just makes me want to cry (I never liked thinking about hell is real in the first place, so the fact that it’s guaranteed for many people before they’re even born made it worse for me).
In the meanwhile, when I’m still trying to wrap my head around this, do you think that people who don’t believe in unconditional election aren’t saved/are worshipping a false idea of Jesus, and therefore will be in hell? I’m just afraid I’ll die before I can fully convince myself of this doctrine.
Hi Missy! First of all, you aren’t alone in feeling sad that God might predestine some people for Hell. Many Christians who embrace predestination don’t think God does predestine people for hell. The idea is that God opens the possibility of heaven to everyone equally, but for some people, he chooses to go the extra mile and give them special nudges to help them respond to him. It’s nuanced.
Another way to think about it is that perhaps hell isn’t everlasting conscious torment. There are many passages in the New Testament telling us that the punishment of hell is permanent, but permanence doesn’t require the people to be conscious eternally. A number of well-respected Christians through the centuries have embraced the possibility that God might allow for “annihilation” or that the person sent to hell will actually just cease to exist.
However, and this is the most important point to all of this. YOU don’t need to know any of these answers. Neither do I. God isn’t going to give you a test on your knowledge and your belief before you can get into Heaven. Rather, God went to extraordinary lengths to send his son into this world to die for our sins so that we could be forgiven and welcomed into eternity. God loves people and wants people to be with him forever. You can trust that. You can trust him.
With this article being about two decades old, I was not expected you to respond so soon! I was praying for that to happen though haha. That does make me feel better, thank you