17thMarchsalvation | 2008 | by Ken Horn | 16 comments
There is a teaching that some people are predestined for heaven and others predestined for hell. Doesn’t man have free will?
Here’s the short answer. Jesus died for everyone. God desires all to be saved. No one is predestined to heaven or hell. Everyone has a choice (free will) to accept or reject Christ.
Now here’s some detail.
The Assemblies of God has a position paper called “The Security of the Believer.” The following section addresses this issue:
Two questions may be asked: “Are some predestined to be saved and others to be lost?” and, “Who are the elect?” The answer is clear when it is recognized that the message of the gospel is one of “whosoever will.” No one reading the New Testament can miss the impact of this great truth.
However, in Romans 9-11 there are some statements that seem to imply that man’s free will is excluded in the matter of the believer’s salvation and that God in His choice of the elect exercises His divine sovereignty entirely apart from man’s volition. For example:
(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)…Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated…. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy…. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth (Romans 9:11, 13, 15, 16, 18).
When this passage is considered in the light of all that God’s Word teaches concerning election, however, it is evident that man’s will is involved in his election. Jacob was chosen before having done good or evil, but God’s choice was on the basis of what He foreknew Jacob would do.
This truth is brought out in Peter’s letter to “the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” These believers were recognized to be “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Peter 1:1, 2).
This same truth is stated in Romans 8:29. Paul wrote, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.”
God determined beforehand the conditions on which He would show mercy. And on the basis of His foreknowledge believers are chosen in Christ (Ephesians 1:4). Thus God in His sovereignty has provided the plan of salvation whereby all can be saved. In this plan man’s will is taken into consideration. Salvation is available to “whosoever will.”
The paper also says, “The General Council of the Assemblies of God believes in the sovereignty and divine prerogative of God untainted by arbitrariness or caprice. It also believes in the free will and responsibility of man.”
Man has free will and God desires to save everyone. Though He has foreknowledge of the choices each individual will make, He does not predetermine those decisions.
Read the entire position paper here.