Thinking about Predestination and Freewill

Moses calls the people to choose the way of life (following the instruction of God) or the way of death (serving the false gods of the pagan peoples around them) 
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Joshua tells the people to choose to serve God or the idols of their neighbors.
"And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all people and wants all people to come to repentance. This does not mean that Jesus' death affects salvation for those who resist God's call.
  • "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
  • "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." (John 12:32)
  • For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God." (Romans 6:10)
  • "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22)
  • "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2 Corinthians 5:15)
  • "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." (1 Timothy 4:10)
  • "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men..." (Titus 2:11)
  • "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
  • "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit..." (1 Peter 3:18)
Yet, as we have faith to share the gospel with every person, we have to admit that the will to call, the act of saving, the justification of sin are completely in the hands of God and administered at His will.  It is at this activity of His divine will that we are called His "elect:" 
  • "And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short. (Matthew 24:22); 
  • "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24); 
  • "And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other." (Matthew 24:31); 
  • "And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect whom He chose, He shortened the days. (Mark 13:20); 
  • "...for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, if possible, to lead the elect astray. (Mark 13:22);  
  • "And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth, to the farthest end of heaven." (Mark 13:27);  
  • "...now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?" (Luke 18:7)
In as much as we are instructed in the scripture to choose between God and the the ways of the world, the enemy, false gods; we are also told that it is Christ who chooses us.  
  • "Jesus answered them, "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70); 
  • "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you." (John 15:16);
  • "...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will..." (Ephesians 1:4-5)
I don't intend to give you a fully developed theological position here.  I'm mostly sharing some of the things I have been thinking about lately.  I have a couple of friends who occasionally like to plumb the depths of this particular subject with me.  I thought it might be worth sharing some of the verses that recently came up in our studied conversation.
One thought that I have on the subject is that most of us don't like the tension that this subject brings on.  But, I think that in the same way that we have to accept some tension in our faithful belief in the triune God in order to bring harmony to God's revealed word, we also have to accept that this discussion of predestination, election, and free will is a matter of divine mystery.  It inherently beholds tension for us and wherever we land on the topic, the tension should keep us in check, so as not to wonder either into legalism or into license.  ('License' is a blanket term that refers to exercising sin because of a perception of guaranteed grace.  This is another tense subject all together.)
Please share some of your thoughts.


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