"3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 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: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; 8 Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:" (Eph 1:3-11 AV)
"When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (Act 11:18 AV)
"And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." (Act 13:48 AV)
"Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (Joh 1:13 AV)
aymon de albatrus
There is nothing more infuriating to the human heart than the notion of God interfering in his life. But the facts are simply these: which human has asked to be born? And of which sex? And of which race, and which country? Rich or poor, intelligent or dumb? And which man has asked of which death to die of and when? The real truth is: "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand." (Deu 32:39 AV)
It is God that decided to create us as He pleased, of His own initiative, and to keep us alive and to make us die and to call His own at the opportune moment according to His pleasure. It is Him that has decided and actuated all He wanted, and He is all in All.
But rebellious man wants to be the Captain of the soul God gave him and has invented for himself the notion of "free will" meaning that it is him, stinking little being, that decides on what he has been given, but this is pure fantasy: "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (1Co 4:7 AV)
And so rebellious man deceives himself that it is him that decides to be saved according to his will and when he wants to. Instead the truth is: "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." (Rom 3:11 AV) . If none seeks God how can he be saved by "his free will"?? Given that it is God that saves whom He wants to and not man: Psa 3:8 Salvation comes from the Lord … and "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (Joh 1:13 AV)
A famous Puritan theologian, John Owen, has put together such a clear reasoning that it cannot be confuted:
For whom Christ died???
The Father imposed His due wrath and the Son received the due punishment for:
1. All sins of all men, or
2. All sins of some men, or
3. Some sin of all men.
We can then say that:
If the last possibility is true, all men still have some sin to atone for and therefore none is saved, but we know that some are saved, therefore this proposition is false.
If the first option is taken as valid, why then not all men are free of the punishment due to their sins? To this you respond: "Because of their disbelief". I then ask: Is this disbelief a sin, or it is not? (Joh 3:36) Has Christ suffered the punishment for the sin of disbelief or not? If he did, why then the sin of disbelief limits them more than the other sins that He died for? If this is not the case, then He did not die for ALL sins of All men, for we know that not all are saved, and thus this possibility is also void of validity.
There remains only the second option and this is the true one, because Christ suffered for ALL the sins of His Elect, His people, and this is the truth for ALL these (and only these) will be saved: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (Joh 6:37 AV)
From the base verses above it is absolutely transparent that:
God has elected His own to Salvation before Creation,
These and only these He has predestined (preordained) to eternal salvation through the sacrifice of the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,
He has done this according to the good pleasure of His will, alone,
In Christ Jesus His own have been chosen for an heredity according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself,
God has then granted repentance to His own to obtain eternal life in His presence through a new heart that He has given to His, in other words the new birth (Eze 36:26,27),
Being preordained to Salvation, His own (and these only) receive a new heart (new nature) that will enable them to believe and to seek God and they will surely be saved,
These Elect are NOT born by the will of man, but by the will of God. (Joh 1:13)
Can there be a more clear statement than this marvellous Salvation in Christ?
The Word tells us that among the very many attributes of God there are these:
Thus only these 3 attributes are sufficient to make all things that unfold in time absolutely predestined and God is not contained by time, He is in time and outside time, without any limitations whatsoever.
It is us that live in time. An analogy to explain the concept of time is to consider a spool of a film. The film consists of thousands of single photos with a tiny difference between one photo and the other so that if these still photos are projected at a certain speed the resulting impression is that of movement and action. Thus for us it is as if we were travelling between a photogram and another, this action representing time and we are aware of changes as we travel along the film strip but not knowing at all what is next in a hundred photos further on. This is time for us.
It is NOT so for God, for He sees the total film as if it were fully extended, unreeled. He sees every single photo all at once, from beginning to the end, this at the same instant. It can be said that in this context God lives in an eternal "Now". The length of this film is as long as time will be; let us say thousands of years. God "saw" this film in its entirety, before the foundation of the world, by His Omniscience and by His decrees, even before time ever was. Once this Film was set in motion (that is, Creation and Time) NOTHING can change for if it does, then God did not really see, nor He decreed, the changes because if it does change from what HE "saw", then initially He "saw" something that did not come to pass, or changed due to the creature. Consequently this reduces His divine attributes of Omnipotence, Omnipresence and Omniscience to null, this making Him no more God, by definition.
The inevitable conclusion is that ALL is predestined and immutable if God is truly God, as defined for God to be God.
However this does not remove the "free" action of men, for they are responsible for them.
Another simple analogy to understand this concept is to consider an infinite series of dominoes (chain effect) where an action causes a series of actions and so on.
This is the concept: at the beginning God was alone and decided to create what He wanted to create at His pleasure e.g. Universes, Galaxies, Stars, Worlds, Humankind and all the rest, from nothing. He had a choice of infinite possibilities and decided to give life to the one we live in now. There is nothing created that He has not created, ALL that exists, He has created and given life to it. This makes Him the Absolute Owner, Sovereign and Governor of all Creation and there is no other God outside Him. This Creation has intertwined in it the actions of God and all the voluntary action of mankind; good, evil, all of them, that God decreed that they shall be to obtain an end result that He wanted, unknown to us.
One action causes another and so on. When God decided to give life to that possibility (now a certainty) He "saw" every single little details, from beginning to end, these were known to Him even before He created them thus being fixed in time and space, therefore no detail can change as an happening follows another. This predestined reality has included in it all the "free" action of mankind together with the interventions of God, such as: Salvation of the Elect, every exhortation to do good, every menace of punishment, all the blessings, i.e. nothing excluded or left to chance. In this system man is responsible of his actions because he did them consciously, without any forcing from God, BUT, at the same time all that happens in this reality is perfectly coherent with what God wants, for He knows the beginning from the end because he not only saw those, but He also decreed them to be.
One example of this principle is presented in the famous passage: "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." (Rom 8:28 AV) In our life many things occur that seem to be evil, and yet all things work together for the good of His own, even the evil ones. For example, Hitler has existed by the will of God, if God had not wanted him, this satanic man would not have existed. Indeed this malefic man and his evil actions, in the infinite prescience of God, have cooperated, in some ways, to the good of His own.
The conclusion, without fear of refutation, is that independently if one has a Calvinistic or Arminian vision of the Creation of God, the immovable truth is that everything is in fact preordained, or predestined, according to what God has established before the foundation of the world and that nothing can change from what God has "seen" and decreed, other ways the definition of God as God falls.
In this creation God has intervened at his pleasure, and he makes people born, live and die at His liking for His reasons, in all righteousness. Moreover He gives Salvation in Christ to whom He wants to, not for reasons found in the creature, but for His reasons, unknown to us: "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deu 29:29 AV) Salvation is by Grace, it is a gift of God that cannot be had by works lest any man should boast and settled forever before the foundation of time.
Indeed, the founder of our Faith and our blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, was Himself preordained before time began: "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you," (1Pe 1:20 AV)
But men do all they can to cavil the point of the much loved "free will" that can be easily compared to - rebellion. A verse they put forward as an impregnable evidence is: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us–ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2Pe 3:9 AV)
They quibble on the phrase "not willing that any should perish" and say: "there is the irrefutable proof". But, wait a minute, to whom this phrase is referred to? Who is the object intended? Here is: "but is longsuffering to us–ward" It is ‘us’ as identified by Peter himself at the very beginning of the letter: "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:" (2Pe 1:1 AV) The subject ‘US’ are the Elect: to them that have obtained like precious faith with us.
It is not referred to ALL men indistinctly, but specifically to those that have been called by the Lord and have received (obtained) from Him a new heart (Eze 36:26,27), that is the ‘new birth’ and of these He wants none lost but that they will come to repentance (only possible with the new heart) and thus to Salvation, and it will be so, assuredly. We see the same principle spelled out in the first letter of Peter: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to [the] elect sojourners of [the] dispersion of Pontus, of Galatia, of Cappadocia, of Asia, and of Bithynia," (1Pe 1:1 LIT) Where Peter addresses the letter to the ELECT and not to the whole world. Therefore, clearly, the ‘US’ are the Elect to eternal life, as evidenced in our base verse: ….. and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed (Act 13:48)
Another verse very dear to the supporter of "free will" is the following:
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the [one] killing the prophets and stoning those sent to her. How often I desired to gather your children in the way a bird gathers her chicks under [her] wings! And you did not desire it." (Mat 23:37 LIT)