Many times I have heard or read where people are adamant they chose Christ. They protest that they made the decision to follow Christ, that if they had not made such a decision, then God could not have saved them. Some say they ALLOWED God to save them. Then they claim its not an egotistical idea to say they chose to be saved, but it is some how egotistical to say that God chose to save them.
When people say they chose Christ, I think of John 15:16
16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
Some might complain, “Context. Jesus is speaking to His disciples, the men He physically chose in person while He was here on earth in His pre-glorified body.”
And I would agree. He was speaking to the men who chose to follow Christ – yet he is reminding them that HE chose them. This is no different than you and I choosing to follow Christ. We made a decision to do so. Yet, Christ chose us first.
God chooses who will be saved, and hardens the rest.
2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4 But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;
Indeed, God chose us before the foundation of the universe (which is the first meaning “kosmos”, which is often translated as ‘world’ and often taken to mean all people every where and ever when). We were predestined to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ. We see this repeatedly in Scripture.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some want to argue that there is a difference between God ordaining (or pre-ordaining, or predestining) something and something being destiny because God knows what someone’s choice will be.
Yet, God tells us our salvation depends NOT on what we want or do, but on GOD. God has mercy upon whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
Soooo many people call that heresy – yet it is what God said, so it can not be heresy.
Soooo many people say the God they follow would never do that. They claim that because God is love, and they do not see that as loving, then it can not happen. Yet, it is in scripture. So if the God they follow would never do that, perhaps they need to reevaluate whether they are following the God of the Bible, or a god of man’s own construct….
People want to argue that if that were the case, then how could they be held liable for their own sins, since God made them that way and no one can resist God’s will? Paul addressed this in Romans 9:19-23. It upsets some people to think that God may have made some people to be saved, and others not to be saved. Yet, this is exactly what scripture says. And Paul says the clay, the things formed, the creature, has no right to complain to the creator about it.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
And then there are those who say God chose them because He saw that they would choose Him first. But this goes against scripture.
6 For this is contained in Scripture:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
“The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,”
“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
Some would complain that is for people who have not chosen God. But notice something – it was appointed that they disobey and stumble. Not that they stumbled and then were appointed to the doom – but the appointment came first.
Some would say they have the right to choose and God cannot and will not cause them to choose Christ.
Others would say that everyone will be saved. But Jesus said ALL that the Fathers gives Him WILL COME TO HIM. Yet, we see Jesus speaking to some who disbelieve, and so were obviously not given to Christ. So there will be some who will not be given to Christ, otherwise they would come t Christ.
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
There are some who say they can come to Christ without God working on them – but this is not what Christ said – NO ONE CAN COME TO CHRIST unless God draws him.
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
EVERYONE who has heard and learned from God comes to Christ.
45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
EVERYONE who has heard and learned from God comes to Christ. So that means that if someone does not choose Christ, they have either not heard or not learned from God.
In fact, Jesus reiterated that no one can come to Him unless God gives permission.
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
Still, there are those who say they must choose God before they can be saved. I say God has to gift faith and grant repentance and work in them to desire to be saved. And if God does that in you, then you will not refuse to be saved.
31 He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
17 Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”
2 Timothy 2:24-26
24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
Indeed, according to 2 Timothy 2:26 , those who are in opposition to God, who do not choose God, are snared by the devil, captive to do his will.
But if you believe, it is because it is God at work in you to desire and to do for His good pleasure.
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
So yes, those whom God foreknew, He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son. Those He predestined, He also called. Those whom He called, He justified. Those whom He justified, He glorified.
If you still believe you chose God without Him first working in you to desire to choose Him as if you were able to prevent God from saving you, please remember that you were dead in trespass and sin – what dead man do you know can do things and make choices? dead men lie there and have things done to them.
1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
GOD made you alive in Christ – because of His great love with which He loved us – NOT because He knew we would choose Him.
Almost all of us remember making a choice for Christ. But that choice is something God worked in us to ensure we would make. We have a human responsibility, but it was a foregone conclusion. Yes, from our perspective, we choose God. But from God’s perspective, God did it – from start to finish. Before time began, God chose people to be saved (Romans 8:28-29) and gave them to Jesus (John 6:37-40). God worked in those He chose (Philippians 2:13). Only those God gives to Christ can come to Christ (John 6:65), and all those who God gives to Christ will come to Christ (John 6:44-45). God grants repentance (Acts 5:31, 11:17-19; 2 Timothy 2:24-25). Jesus is the author of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10). Jesus is the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2). God gifts faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). God raised us from the dead while we were still dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:5).