Originally Posted by adamt
so people have no free will at all?
I don't pretend to understand it completely and the whole "Predestination vs. Free Will" thing is still one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. The only reason that I believe in Election is because it is so clearly taught in Scripture.
Jesus couldn't have stated Divine Election any clearer than He did in John 15:16 (emphasis added)
"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 the Father in My name He may give you."
Another really good quote from Christ is in John 17:9
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours."
Now, I'm no Bible scholar, but why would Jesus NOT be praying for the world, unless GOD never intended to save the whole world?
Also, if salvation was completely a human work and we chose GOD, then wouldn't Jesus be saying something more along the lines of "I do not pray for the world but for those who have chosen You," instead of "those whom You have given Me"?
Originally Posted by Max
This is a serious question, I'm not trying to be an ass (amazing right, I'm not trying to be an ass for once). If God predestines me to go to Heaven and you not to, what happens to you when you die?
Yes, if you were elect and you accept Christ, then you would go to Heaven. If I was not elect, then I would hear the call, but it wouldn't affect me. The Gospel would be like the seed that fell by the wayside for me, in the parable of the sower (Luke 8:4-15). In other words, Satan would snatch it away before it even took root. So I would not go to Heaven, but I would not care, because I would have no time or interest in GOD or the things of GOD.
However, I believe that just because you are elect does not guarantee that you will go to Heaven. You still need to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. So there is still the possibility of rejection and thus free will is not completely removed from the equation.
Again, I don't completely understand it, but I believe it.
Originally Posted by VCURamFan
It's not God flipping a coin for Heaven or Hell. All of us are going to Hell. We have all sinned & fallen short of the glory & perfection of God. Some God has predestined to save. Those who do not hear the irresistible call of his Grace will continue on the path to Hell.
Exactly, GOD doesn't send anyone to Hell, everyone was destined for Hell from the moment they were born.
I believe that GOD takes an active approach in saving people, but He doesn't choose to save everyone and that is His prerogative:
For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
In fact, I think Pharoah is a perfect picture of this:
"You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”
And Pharoah's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said.
First Plague: Waters become Blood
And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this.
Second Plague: Frogs
But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.
Third Plague: Lice
Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had said.
Fourth Plague: Flies
But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.
Fifth Plague: Livestock Disease
Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go.
Sixth Plague: Boils
But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.
(Notice something different with that last one?)
Seventh Plague: Hail
And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the LORD had spoken by Moses.
Eighth Plague: Locusts
Now the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him,"
Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death only.” So he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD. And the LORD turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.
(Interesting, Pharaoh seemed repentant at least on the outside, but GOD hardened his heart so that he would not let the Israelites go, paving the way for 2 more plagues.)
Ninth Plague: Darkness
But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.
Death of the Firstborn Announced:
So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
Finally, GOD sends the 10th plague and He kills all the firstborn of Egypt (children of royalty, children of slaves, and the offspring of the livestock), except for those Israelites who marked their doors with lamb's blood and were passed over.
So, did GOD violate Pharaoh's free will? What about all the firstborn children in Egypt who died as a result of GOD hardening Pharaoh's heart after the 9th plague? What about their free will? (These questions aren't directed at you specifically, Ben.)
The fact is that GOD is going to do exactly what He wants to do. It's not our place to accuse Him of wrongdoing.
Paul sums this up perfectly in Romans 9:20-21
But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
Originally Posted by Tyburn
Are you a Servant...or a slave?
And having been set free from sin, you became slaves
2 Peter 1:1a
Simon Peter, a bondservant
and apostle of Jesus Christ,
James, a bondservant
of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants
—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant
saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants
of our God on their foreheads.”
The words in bold all come from the Greek word doulos
, which means "slave." As in a person owned as a possession.
But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves
of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
Here is a different variation of the word, douloo
, which is a verb meaning "to enslave" or "to cause one to become a slave."
The only reason doulos/douloo
is translated as "servant" (or "bondservant" in the NKJV) is to keep from offending English readers. You have to remember that the King James Bible was first published in the midst of the Enlightenment and slavery was becoming a very unpopular concept.
The New Testament continually compares salvation to slavery. The meaning is clear: when you get saved, you become the property of GOD and your will becomes supplanted with His Will. In other words, a slave only exists to carry out the will of his master.
Of course, it is only after we become willing to become enslaved to GOD that He adopts us as His children, with all the rights and privileges that that entails.
So we might approach GOD with the heart of a slave, but we will not remain as slaves.