Should I bet the house on free will or election?

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Question / Comment - Should I bet the house on free will or election?


My question is: Do you think, from scripture, that everybody that God chooses gets saved, and if they don't then they weren't meant to? (election) I have read extremes on both sides. Please provide me with some insight?

JPN Reply:


For what it is worth, I believe in free will... and I believe in election! I believe that in the free will vs election debate you have to hold both sides... why? Because the Bible teaches both! Going to either extreme is dangerous. I know that it may not satisfy our little brains completely as we like everything to fit logically into our little boxes but it is the only way to go and you will find that the best Bible teachers in ages past generally taught both sides. For example, H.A Ironside gave the illustration of the sinner coming to the gates of Heaven and above the gate it reads "Whosoever will, let him come" (Rev. 22:17). As he accepts this gracious invitation and goes through the gates into Heaven, he sees written on the other side - " Him before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4). Which is true? Whosoever can come or that we are elected and chosen of God? Both. Free will and chosen by God. The Bible teaches both so we must accept both even if it does do some mental gymnastics with our little brains!

In like manner, Charles Spurgeon said that free will and election are like two parallel lines that don't ever seem to touch. But he said that if you follow them far enough, all the way up to Heaven, then they do meet each other. When asked how he reconciles free will and election, Spurgeon replied 'You don't have to reconcile friends!" In other words, we look at the issue down here and think there is no way that both can be true but the great Bible teachers knew that both were true and they held both. And in eternity we shall see that the two thoughts were not against each other but were friends!

If you just hold to election/predestination then it can lead you down the path that some are elected for Hell. Which is NOT what the Bible teaches and is an insult to a loving God. But, as a Christian, if you give up on the election track and just go with free will, then you'll miss a whole lot more of what the Bible teaches about that it is God who chose you, and it is God that is holding you and keeping you safe in this salvation.

C.H.M, one of my favorite old writers wrote about this in "One sided theology". He wrote:

"He, blessed be His Name, has not confined Himself within the narrow limits of any school of doctrine, high, low, or moderate. He has revealed Himself. He has told out the deep and precious secrets of His heart. He has unfolded His eternal counsels, as to the Church, as to Israel, the Gentiles, and the wide creation.Men might as well attempt to confine the ocean in buckets of their own formation as to confine the vast range of divine revelation within the feeble enclosures of human systems of doctrine. It cannot be done, and it ought not to be attempted. Better far to set aside the systems of theology and schools of divinity, and come like a little child to the eternal fountain of Holy Scripture, and there drink in the living teachings of God's Spirit.

Nothing is more damaging to the truth of God, more withering to the soul, or more subversive of all spiritual growth and progress than mere theology, high or low—Calvinistic or Arminian. It is impossible for the soul to make progress beyond the boundaries of the system to which it is attached. If I am taught to regard "The Five Points" as "the faith of God's elect," I shall not think of looking beyond them; and then a most glorious field of heavenly truth is shut out form the vision of my soul. I am stunted, narrowed, one-sided; and not only so, but I am in danger of getting into that hard, dry state of soul which results from being occupied with mere points of doctrine instead of with Christ.

A disciple of the high school of doctrine will not hear of a world-wide gospel—of God's love to the world—of glad tidings to every creature under heaven. He has only gotten a gospel for the elect. On the other hand, a disciple of the low or Arminian school will not hear of the eternal security of God's people. Their salvation depends partly upon Christ, and partly upon themselves. According to this system, the song of the redeemed should be changed. Instead of "Worthy is the Lamb'," we should have to add, "and worthy are we." We may be saved today and lost tomorrow. All this dishonors God, and robs the Christian of all true peace. C.H.Mackintosh, "One Sided Theology,"

Sooooo....To keep it simple, if you're thinking about those that don't know Christ yet, think 'Whosoever will' for they stand outside the gate and the offer of salvation is available to all. Christ didn't just die for some but 'for God so loved the world that He gave...' But, when thinking of Christians, you can also think 'Chosen before the foundation of the world!' (Eph 1:4) And that means security in the family of God. Great thought.

I hope this helps. Don't go to extremes on this one.

All the best.

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