Does man choose God, or does God choose man?

Some people think their salvation depends totally upon their choice of God. But what does the Bible say?

We need to realize God doesnt NEED you to do anything – GOD gives life, breath, and all things. GOD decides when and where people live so they would seek God.

Acts 17:24-27

24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

You can’t come to Christ if He does not call you. EVERYONE GOD gives to Christ WILL come to Him and not be cast out.

John 6:37

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

Realize that if God gives someone to Christ, they WILL come to Christ. So, if you were given to Christ, and you WILL come to Christ because God gave you to Christ, did you really have a choice?

ONLY those GOD gives to Christ CAN come to Him. Christ WILL raise those who are given to Him up.

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

Realize that NO ONE can come to Jesus unless God calls him. So how much choice did you really have? You couldn’t come to Christ without the Father sending Jesus and without the Father drawing/calling you.

John 6:65

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.”

If you were not given permission by God, you could not come to Christ.

In fact, you are saved by grace through faith – and that is a gift from GOD.
Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith.

Hebrews 12:2

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Christ is the author of our salvation as well.

Hebrews 2:10

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

It is GOD who works in you to even desire to His will, but not only that, GOD works in you to DO His will.

Philippians 2:13

13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Without GOD working in us, none of us would seek God.

Psalm 14:2-3

2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there are any who understand,
Who seek after God.
3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one.

Romans 3:10-12

10 as it is written,
“There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”

Some use John 3:16 to say that verse is saying that people have the right or responsibility to choose and that God cant and wont save them unless they choose to be saved.

Lete us look at John 3:16

16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Look at the word translated as ‘world’.

Strong’s Number: 2889
Original Word Word Origin
kosmoß probably from the base of (2865)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Kosmos 3:868,459
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
kos’-mos Noun Masculine
  1. an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
  2. ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:
  3. the world, the universe
  4. the circle of the earth, the earth
  5. the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
  6. the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
  7. world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
    1. the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
  8. any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
    1. the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)
    2. of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19


The Greek word is actually ‘kosmoß’ (cosmos). Although this word is most often translated as ‘world’,  it is creation. God loves His creation, which includes mankind. But that does not say you can choose. It says those who believe in Christ have eternal life. It describes those who have eternal life – not how you get there.

God must grant people repentance. Without that, they can’t repent.

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 correctingthose 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.

John 3:3-7 tells us what must happen to gain eternal life – one must be born again – a spiritual birth.

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

But remember, no child ever had part in deciding to be born. We are born at the will and action of our parents.

The same is true for us spiritually – we were dead in our trespasses and sins. GOD made us alive with Christ when we were dead in our sins GOD raised us up with Him. GOD seated us with Christ in heaven. GOD gifts us with faith. It is not a response to what we do (including being able to make a choice without GOD working in us). We are GOD’s workmanship, created for good works.

Ephesians 2:1-10

1 And 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.

Unbelievers are DEAD in their trespasses and sins. What dead man ever came back to life as part of his own volition? None. GOD chooses who lives and dies. GOD chooses who will be in heaven and not.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 tells us some people will never be able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power ; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Does this mean God destines some to damnation? Maybe. It looks like it. Romans 11:7-11 tells us God sent a stupor to Israel so they could not believe.

7 What then ? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened ; 8 just as it is written, “GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.” 9 And David says, “LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM. 10 “LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER. 11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.

Yes, God does love us. It is becausse of God’s love for us that He sent Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-5

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

God has chosen the poor to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom HE promised to those who love Him.
James 2:5

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

But CHRIST authored our faith and our salvation.

It is clear that some are chosen by God and some are destined for stumbling and disobeying the message.
1 Peter 2:4-10

4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”

7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”

8 and,

“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

We know at least Judas was doomed for destruction.
John 17:12

12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

In fact, enemies of the cross of Christ are destined to destruction.
Philippians 3:18-20

18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

So yes. God predestines some to be saved to eternal life, and others to destruction. I’m not certain I see in scripture where everyone not predestined to be SAVED is predestined to be destroyed. But an argument could be made that that is the case. And if so, then I still stand by the idea that only some are predestined to be saved because that is what scripture says. And God does that because HE is the potter and can do what He wants. As a righteous and Holy God, He demands people be righteous to be able to enter into heaven. Those who are righteous will enter, and those who are not will not. God works to ensure His will is accomplished, but that does not mean EVERYONE will be saved. Nor does it mean we have the right to choose God. GOD chooses us.




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