We picked back up on our Got Questions? series and was it a tough one. After tackling the tough question of "Can we change God's mind with our prayers?", we challenged the tough topic of "What does the Bible say about predestination?". After a song set which included "Every Move I Make", "Salvation is Here" (Hillsong United), "SMS-Shine" (David Crowder Band), and "Hosanna" (Hillsong United), we dove right into the topic. This was a topic that I had wanted to avoid for quite a while, but knew that it was necessary. I began by talking about how people view this on opposite ends of the spectrum, but it is not something to be divided over, debate, or argue. An example of that I used is that some baseball fans like the DH (Designated Hitter) rule, while I do not. Even though we may disagree on the DH rule, we can still sit and watch a baseball game together without being divided. We can disagree on this topic of predestination, but at the same time be friends and go on through life with the same purpose of following God.
Just as we did the previous time, we looked at some of the attributes of God.
God is Omniscient- God is all-knowing
-God has complete knowledge of what will happen. Isaiah 46:9-10
-God has complete knowledge of what could possibly happen. He knows all that is logically possible. Matthew 11:21-23
-God has knowledge of how people's lives would have been different if they had made different choices. 1 Samuel 13:13-14
-God's knowledge is not causative. God knew that Adam and Eve would sin, but He did not cause them to sin. God knows every sin that you will ever commit, but He does not cause you to sin. It is against the nature of God. He does not force you to do anything (which I will talk about more in a minute).
-God is Sovereign- God has supreme authority
-Psalm 99:2; Psalm 113:4; Colossians 1:15-16
-God reigns and rules over all
-We were created for Him and to bring Him glory
Here is where is starts to get really interesting. Some people would believe that God's knowledge and sovereignty eliminate human's free will, the freedom to make choices. However I do not believe that this is true. I believe that we have freedom to make choices. There are hundreds of commands in the Bible for us to follow. If we did not have the freedom to make choices, then why would there be commandments to follow. Matthew 23:37, Deuteronomy 30:19, and Joshua 24:15 show examples of choices to make. We choose our actions without being forced by God. We are not forced to serve Him or love Him. It would not be true love if we were forced. However we are definitely held responsible for our choices as Jesus states in Matthew 12:36.
There are some things that cannot be ignored in the Bible. There are times that the words "elect"- Matthew 24:24, "chosen"- Ephesians 1:4, and "predestined"- Ephesians 1:5 are used in reference to those who are saved. Also the Holy Spirit must first draw you to Him in order to be saved- John 6:44. I believe this all to be true, and too vast for our finite human minds to completely grasp. However I do believe that salvation is for everyone who will accept Jesus as their Savior- 1 John 2:1-2; John 3:16. I also believe that God wants everyone to be saved- 2 Peter 3:9. But at the same time we know that not everyone will be saved and that many will reject Him- Matthew 7:13-14.
Here is the truth of the matter. I know many people who will agree with me on all of this, and many who will disagree with me. However I believe that is not to be a divisive point among people. The truth is clear in the fact that you cannot ignore what the Bible says about how to be saved. You must know that you are a sinner Romans 3:23 and that your sin leads to death Romans 6:23 and that Jesus has come to give the free gift of eternal life. If you believe and confess Jesus as Lord you can be saved Romans 10:9. The Bible is very clear on how to be saved and is very clear that our role as Christians is evangelize and make disciples. The main thing to remember is that you have a choice to make in whether or not you will follow Jesus Christ and make Him your Savior and Lord.
This was a tough topic to cover and like I said I know that many have many different views. However I want to challenge you to not let this be a dividing point in your life. Know where you stand, and follow Jesus regardless. The best thing about this night is that while we were driving home a student called me. She called to tell me that she had been struggling with her salvation and had got it settled. She had talked to her parents after getting home and then prayed to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She was excited to get this settled and about what God has in store for her future. I am so thankful that God was glorified through this tough message!