Throughout history, people have argued over and discussed the mysterious ways of God, specifically in the subject of why God picks some people over others. Although many religious traditions have their own distinctive viewpoints on this matter, most belief systems share the idea that God is involved in the choice of certain people.
From a philosophical standpoint, the subject of God’s choosing of individuals raises several problems concerning the nature of God and the problem of evil. Some contend that since God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good, He must have a reason for favoring some people over others. Others contend that the concept of an all-powerful, all-good God is irreconcilable with the reality of evil and suffering in the world.
From a Christian viewpoint, God has already predetermined some people for salvation before the world’s creation. This is a concept called predestination, an idea supported by biblical verses like Romans 8:29–30 and Ephesians 1:4-5. The concept of free will, which asserts that people have the power to determine their own course and, ultimately, their own salvation, is one of the competing views within Christianity.
The Bible is replete with instances where God selects some people for particular roles or purposes while excluding others. In theology, this idea is referred to as “predestination” or “election.” The underlying notion is that God has a purpose for humanity and the planet, and He selects particular people to fulfill particular roles in that purpose.
The narrative of Abraham and his offspring, the Israelites, is one of the first instances of God picking certain people. Abraham and God entered into a covenant in which God pledged to bless Abraham and create a large nation. Additionally, he promised that all of the peoples of the world would enjoy blessings via Abraham’s offspring. Via the Israelites and finally, through Jesus Christ, who is an ancestor of Abraham, this promise was realized.
The account of Moses and the Israelites provides another illustration. God picked Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and to bring them to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. Moses was also selected to serve as the intermediary for the Israelites’ covenant with God. God also decided that Joshua, Moses’ deputy, would take over as the Israelites’ leader.
God’s Sovereign Choice
The Bible claims that God picked some people for salvation independent of their actions or future plans, in accordance with his own free choice and determination. Romans 9:11-13 states, “Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'”
According to what the Bible says, God’s decision to save certain people is motivated by his kindness and compassion. Romans 9:15-18 states, “For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”
The Bible also says that some people have been saved because of their trust in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Furthemore, God chooses to save certain people because of his great love for them, not because of any merit or worth on their side. Ephesians 1:7-8 states, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.”
The Bible teaches that as part of God’s ultimate plan and purpose, he has predestined some people for redemption. Ephesians 1:9-10 states, “And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”
Does God Send People to Hell?
We cannot talk about God choosing some and not others without touching the subject of whether he sends people to hell. Some Christians embrace the doctrine of predestination, as we have already discussed. This doctrine teaches that God has already decided which people will spend eternity in heaven and which will spend it in hell. This concept is supported by passages from the Bible that mention God choosing certain people for redemption, including Romans 8:29–30 and Ephesians 1:4-5.
However, a lot of Christians disagree with the notion that God intentionally chooses some people to be damned. They contend that God is a merciful God who longs for everyone to be rescued. 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 are evidence of this. Christians who lean toward this belief hold that people have the freedom to choose their own fate and that God does not predestine anybody to damnation.
Scripture passages like John 3:16 and Ezekiel 18:23, which affirm that God wants everyone to have eternal life, serve as proof for this idea. Many Christians also emphasize the idea of God’s justice and fairness, contending that it would be unfair for God to predestine some people to hell without providing them a fair opportunity to accept redemption.
Still, others hold a viewpoint referred to as reprobation. This concept holds that God has intentionally overlooked certain individuals and has abandoned them in their sins to the point of refusing to extend his gift of salvation. You can find supporting verses for this idea in the Bible, particularly Romans 9:18 and Romans 11:7, which mention God being kind to certain people while being cruel to others.
Implications of Embracing Predestination
Believing in predestination, the idea that God has already chosen certain people for salvation while saving others, can have a number of positive effects on one’s spiritual life. A feeling of serenity and security is one of these benefits.
Anxiety and concern regarding one’s ultimate destiny can be reduced by the conviction that one’s salvation is predestined by God. It can also provide you with the comfort of knowing that no matter what occurs in this life, your ultimate destiny is safe in the care of your Lord and Savior who loves you and cares for you.
Some would argue that believing in this doctrine only leads one to be lackadaisical when it comes to their faith. However, when you realize how much God loves you by choosing you out of his grace and mercy, the more you will love him back and do whatever pleases him. Damnation is out of the equation, so the only motive you have for serving him is genuine love and affection. As Luke 7:47 suggests, he who is forgiven much, loves much.
The notion of God’s choosing is a tough one to grasp and embrace. The Bible does not provide a comprehensive explanation of God’s choice, but it does teach that God is sovereign, that His ways are higher than our ways, and that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. This raises many questions, including “Why does God choose some people and not others? Is it fair for God to choose some people and not others?”
In the end, the Bible teaches that God makes decisions based on His love and that He selects people to carry out His plan for the redemption of humanity. If he chooses some and not others for his purposes, no one can blame him because he acts out of his love and infinite wisdom. As believers, our only role is to trust in his decisions. After all, that is what faith is all about.
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