Monthly Archives: March 2018

Who Will Be Saved and Who Will Be Lost?

Perhaps this isn’t the best title for this writing. But here is the argument concerning the correct interpretation of Scripture:One group of believers declares that God decides before each person is ever born, whether that person will be saved or lost, regardless of any merit on the part of that person. And that this decision of God cannot be changed. This is oftentimes called the hyper-Calvinistic position.
The other group, associated to some degree with Armenianism, declares that the above belief is not correct and cannot be confirmed by Scripture.

Let us look at Bible evidence, as well as other evidence, that indicates that hyper-Calvinism is not correct.
(1) The Free Will of Man
I firmly believe that the Bible strongly bears out that man has Free Will, freedom of choice. I don’t think we need even belabor the Scriptures to establish that. As we look around us, see people, read the paper, or watch TV, it is obvious that people act out Free Will constantly.

Throughout the Bible there is a glaring record of God’s presenting choices to believers and unbelievers alike, and Jews and Gentiles alike, as to their direction and behavior. How can anyone turn his back upon God and His choices without declaring that he, man, is his own guide and savior?

As we look back upon the lives of the Jewish people (the children of Israel), as we ponder the choices of Cain and Abel, from Earth’s first family; as we consider the choice of Adam and Eve in the beautiful garden of Eden, to eat of the forbidden fruit; and as we remember the choices of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Peter, the Apostle Paul, King Saul, King David, and on and on, we know ABSOLUTELY that man, all men, had choices to make – and obedience to God or disobedience to God, was high on the list.

Let us look at Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God had told them they could not eat of that one tree in the garden, and they did. Now as we look at Cain and Abel, sons of Adam and Eve, both had been instructed to bring an offering to God. You know the story. Abel brought a lamb from the flock and Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground. Cain’s offering was not accepted, and God told him to bring the correct offering, and it would be accepted. Did Cain not know the type of offering that would be accepted? How did Abel know then of the acceptable offering?

What about Abram (later called Abraham)? He had a choice to make: to leave his father and his homeland and follow God, or not?
And many, many more choices for man, different men concerning the life designed by God or another type of life–the Bible is full of them.

There is much fallout if one does not believe in the Free Will of man.
Here is a little bit of the fallout if one does not believe in the Free Will of man.

It seems to me that the entire system of animal sacrifices would be unnecessary because they all pointed to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. If each person were already programmed by God to be saved or lost, arbitrarily, and he had no choice in the matter, why have sacrifices? And oh, dear friends, there is more–why should Christ have come to Earth and shed His blood for our sins if no one was to have a choice about Him? Why should He have suffered pain, rejection, and human suffering? That makes no sense.

I have heard it suggested that since no one really had a choice about choosing salvation, that those who agreed with God would go through the motions of receiving Christ anyway. They would automatically do that anyway.
And I could add to this–why should God The Father have sent Christ on a mission that was already settled because there was no free Will for man?
Now it seems obvious to me, that if man has no Free Will, how does God get any glory from a person’s life and choices? He obviously can’t. Neither could a human leader, if everyone were programmed in advance.

(2) God’s Foreknowledge
I would trust that most of us know what foreknowledge is, but in case not, let me explain.
One would expect God to have foreknowledge. After all, He is God, The Creator, who knows all things. Foreknowledge simply means that God knows ahead of time and from the very beginning what will happen and what choices people and countries and entities will make.

It should be a given that our God has foreknowledge. Now how can it be used for His glory? But if man has no Free Will by the hand of God, how can foreknowledge be used for much of anything?

Now, as far as foreknowledge is concerned, God would automatically know who would choose Jesus Christ, (if there were free choice), and by the same token, those who would reject Christ. Therefore, foreknowledge would be of little use to God if He had automatically chosen these for salvation, and those to be lost. If there would be any way to involve foreknowledge in the matter of choosing Christ, pre-selection by God would eliminate any role of foreknowledge.

But since I and many, many more believe in the Free Will of man, and especially in the matter of receiving Christ as Savior and forgiver of sins, foreknowledge would tell God who, in his own Free Will, would choose Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers.

Now, I want to caution all readers. There is nothing in Scripture that specifically states what foreknowledge may be used for, but I will submit to you that it seems apparent to me that God’s foreknowledge would lead Him to select those who would be saved. Yes, those, who, of their own Free Will, will choose Christ as Savior.
This act, if true, would mesh the Free Will of man with God’s foreknowledge perfectly.
And let me further clarify–if man has no Free Will concerning Christ and His free gift of salvation, he really has no Free Will at all!!

(3) God’s Authority
Now let’s be absolutely clear–both sides of this issue of Free Will would have to admit to the authority of God The Father. He is The Absolute Creator and sustainer of all human life.
There are things that can be easily proven and shown from Scripture that deal with God’s authority. And all of these things have to do with the fact that Jesus Christ The son is also God. Because all three persons of God have equal authority, does not mean that they have the same office/work to do.

John 1:1-3 – “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
(Jesus Christ is the Word and the worlds were made by and with the authority of Christ.)

John 1:14 – “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (God’s purpose for man.)

John 3:18 and John 3:36 both tell us who will be saved (not condemned) and who will be subject to God’s wrath.

John 5:22 – “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”

John 5:26-27 – “For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the son of man.”

John 10:30 – (Jesus is speaking) “I and My Father are one.”

Romans 10:9-10 – “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

(4) God’s Attributes
God The Father has many attributes (things that are true about Him, His powers). We will need to discuss judgment, love, mercy and grace.
God committed to Jesus Christ the judgment of this world and its people (John 5:32).

There could be questions, then, concerning the use of God’s attributes and their interactions, if any. We have seen judgment committed by God The Father to the authority of the Son, Jesus Christ.

We see God’s love found or expressed in John 3:16 and in Romans 5:8, which states, “But God commended (showed, demonstrated) His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
We understand God’s mercy, which means that God withholds from us the punishment we deserve because of our sin.
We also understand God’s grace, which gives to us what we do not deserve, and have not earned, and cannot earn.
Now the question arises, how, why, and if any of these attributes of God interact or modify judgment, which is the carrying out of God’s justice.
If justice were done, all sinners would die. But God, because of His love, has modified His justice, or tempered His justice with mercy and grace–the result of His love for us.

It seems to be man, or some men, who say that justice is above love and trumps love. But in God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation through Christ, justice is tempered by mercy and grace, to those who believe.
Now love brings to pass God’s mercy and grace – but that love must be obtained through Christ’s offer of forgiveness.
Now another point of order seems to be that salvation must be all about God and nothing about man.
Allow me to explain this by a discussion of God’s gifts to man:

(5) Gifts
We should all realize the many gifts God has given man, whether that man is a believer in Jesus Christ or not. I will deal here only with the free gift of forgiveness and salvation.
Our good believer friends have complicated the situation, those who have difficulty with God’s gift, they say, salvation must be all of God, nothing of man. So far, so good. But they seem to have forgotten what a gift is.

A gift is something given to one person by another, no strings attached. Well and good…but with a gift, there must be a giver and a receiver of that gift. This is where our good hyper-Calvinistic friends run into trouble, as well as in other areas of reasoning. Christ offered and still offers Himself as THE FREE GIFT. Salvation is about Christ, in Christ, and through Christ. But that is where God must stop. Free Will, which cannot be disproven, must be exercised to receive that gift. Technically, a gift is not a gift without a receiver. But God will never force anyone to take what he doesn’t want. So, as viewed by God, here is THE GIFT, even though it may not be received.

So I believe that God has done all He can to offer THE GIFT. Of course, many of this persuasion do not believe that man has a Free Will. But I ask you, or anyone, it seems that God says you have Free Will, or such a marvelous gift would not be offered. There can be no “whosoever” according to those who deny Free Will. But the Scripture offers THE GIFT to “whosoever believeth in Christ Jesus.” (John 3:16)

(6) God’s Glory
God’s glory is a very important subject, which must be considered. According to my dictionary, “glory” is defined as “praise, honor, or distinction, accorded by common consent; renown.”

How is God’s glory promoted or served by a belief system that turns people into robots, programmed to do one thing over and against another? God can receive glory from man only by man’s obedience to God. And since man cannot be fully obedient to God in the flesh (“…for all have sinned….”), he can be obedient to God by choosing Christ, THE GIFT that is offered to all men and women.

There is no proof in Scripture that what God does has no purpose. The purpose of the animal sacrifices was a lesson to Israel (the Jewish people), pointing to Christ at a later time. The purpose of Christ’s coming to Earth was to offer a pathway to God The Father. Jesus Christ said, “…I and My Father are one.” “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

Robots–People who are pre-programmed do not choose anything or anyone. The Bible is filled to the brim with choices for man–obedience or disobedience– throughout all of the Scriptures.

The thousands of times in the Bible that choices are in front of people and choices must be made are too numerous to mention. God receives no glory from disobedience or rejection, but from willful obedience to the Word and to His commands.

If God wanted glory to Himself, He did what was required to get it–not from creating the heavens and the Earth alone, but by creating man and woman. Please don’t cloud God’s glory with people who have no choices, people who are unable to choose. The offer to receive Christ as Savior and sin-bearer is a Free Will choice. It has never been otherwise.

-Composed by Bill Figley
Professional Musician, Student of Government
and of Politics, Navy Veteran W.W.II