There is a doctrine you may have heard of called “predestination.” It is the concept that God chooses certain people to draw them and save them, while not choosing other people. While there is such a concept as “predestination” written clearly in the Bible, if it is taught wrong, it will prove fatal to those that believe it. So let’s hear the truth about it.
Before we go any further, you need to know that Jesus came to provide salvation for the whole world, not just those who will believe (1 Timothy 4:10). Jesus provided salvation, even for those who will never believe on Him. It’s all up for grabs and all are welcome to receive from Jesus. Nothing I am about to say will contradict that. So let’s take a look at what the Bible says about predestination.
Ephesians 1:5 (NKJV) …having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself…
So predestination is clearly a thing because the Bible speaks about it. Furthermore, Jesus even says, in John, that we did not choose Him, but He chose us.
John 15:16 (NKJV) You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…
You’re going to need to stay with me through the whole article, because some of this may sound very strange at first, but I assure you it will become very clear at the end. It’s true that God only chooses and destines certain people to get saved. God destines certain people beforehand to receive salvation. The verses above cannot be clearer. Jesus even says that we did not choose Him, but He chose us. That means that the only reason we could even get saved, is because He picked us to draw us to His salvation. Now hold on! It is not what it seems. Stay with me!
So here’s the clincher! This is the part you’ll almost never hear! The problem with the “predestination” doctrine that you hear today, it’s not that there is no such thing as predestination. And the problem is not that God doesn’t choose certain people to draw to salvation. Here is the huge problem with the so-called “predestination” doctrine you hear today… They will never tell you God’s method for choosing people. Sure, many believe that God chooses certain people for salvation. And sure, they will say that people get saved because God destined them for salvation. And that’s fine because that’s all in the Bible! The problem is, they will never tell you who God chooses. They will simply shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, it’s all in God’s plan. And we can’t know His plan.” But this is totally unbiblical and terribly incorrect.
God does choose only certain people to draw, but we NEED to know His method for choosing. If we don’t, a doctrine like that will kill a person. Right here, in this verse, in black-and-white, the Bible says that we can and SHOULD know who God predestines for salvation.
Ephesians 1:5, 9 (NKJV) having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will… Verse 9) having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself…
Did you catch that? It certainly says that God predestines certain people according to the good pleasure of His will, but your average teacher will just stop there and say, “It’s all up to God’s will. And we can’t know His will.” But immediately after He says that God “predestines people according to His will,” He says that God has “made known the mystery of His will.” That means that God has made known His will for choosing people. He has made known His methodology. He has made known the kind of person that He chooses to draw to salvation. If you cannot tell someone, who it is, that God predestines, then you have no business teaching on predestination.
The People God Chooses
So, who is this group of people that God predestines? After all, the Bible says we can know God’s method for choosing. It’s not a mystery anymore. Well, let’s take a look at who God predestines:
Romans 8:29 (NKJV) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…
This verse couldn’t be clearer. It says exactly whom God predestines. It says that God destines for salvation, those “whom He foreknows.” That just means that there is something God knows about these people that causes Him to destine them for salvation. Peter says the same thing here. He says that God “elects” people because of His foreknowledge.
1 Peter 1:2 (NKJV) …elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…
So, God knows something about certain people which causes Him to predestine them. Whatever God knows about these people causes Him to draw those specific people to Jesus, so that those specific people will get saved. Now the question is, what does God know beforehand about these people, that causes Him to choose only these people, to draw them?
What God Knows Beforehand
First let’s read a verse from the book of John where Jesus speaks about predestination.
John 6:37 (NKJV) All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out… Verse 44) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…
OK, so this is Jesus saying that the people that come to Him are because the Father drew them. This goes hand-in-hand with what we’ve been saying. God chooses certain people, to draw certain people. And because this, understandably, sounds very strange at first, Jesus gave a clarification to His disciples later on in this very chapter. Pay close attention to this.
[The words in brackets are mine]
John 6:64-65 (NKJV) But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning [He foreknew] who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore [for this reason] I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
Here, Jesus says exactly what God knows beforehand that causes God to only draw certain people. It says, Jesus knew beforehand, exactly the people who would not believe and who would betray Him. And for this reason, Jesus said that God only draws certain people to come to Him. I strongly encourage you to read those verses again. Jesus clarifies to His disciples, essentially saying, “The reason why I told you that only those whom the Father draws will come to me, is because I know from the beginning those who do not believe.”
This is the undeniable, irrefutable, and biblical reason for why God only chooses to draws certain people. God chooses those whom He foreknows. And what does God know about them beforehand that causes Him to draw them? He knows exactly who will believe and who will not believe. Therefore, the Holy Spirit draws to salvation whom He foreknows will believe Him.
God is not excluding anyone from salvation. Anyone who wants what Jesus has provided can receive it. Anyone at all! But the Holy Spirit only works behind the scenes, to draw people’s minds to the gospel, if He foreknows they will receive it! But the choice is entirely theirs, as to whether to receive the truth or not.
Salvation Is For Everybody
It is critical for us to understand that when Jesus came to this earth, He provided salvation to everyone. He provided salvation to people who believe and for people who would never believe.
1 Timothy 4:10 (NKJV) …we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
This verse says that God is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe, because those who believe receive the salvation. So, God can especially be called the Savior of believers because they receive it, but His salvation is for all men. No one is left out. No one is excluded.
Jesus took on your sin, sickness, disease, and wounds on the cross. He was taking that for everyone. He demonstrated that love to people who will never choose to believe Him. And while I have more to learn about how the Spirit “draws” people, it is certain that the Holy Spirit only chooses and draws certain people, even though it is available to everyone. But the only reason — and I mean the only reason — why God chooses certain people, to draw them, is because He knows that some will believe Him and some won’t.
None of this absolves a person from choosing to believe Jesus. Every person still has a choice as to whether they believe or not. In fact, you could say, God only chooses those that He knows will choose Him. Saying that God chooses people for salvation, according to His will, does not in any way, shape, or form absolve people of the responsibility to believe in Jesus. All the contrary. God chooses to draw those that He foreknows will believe His Son. If God foreknows someone will choose to believe, God will draw them. If God foreknows that someone will not believe Him, God does not choose that person to draw them. God does choose to draw people, but we are the ones who choose to make ourselves eligible for His drawing! We decide whether we are willing to believe or not. We decide whether we receive or not… not God. He simply foreknows your choice.
Scripture says very plainly that people still need to choose life. People still need to choose to receive the good news.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV)…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life…
Every person, as individuals, gets to choose whether to receive the love of the truth or not (2 Thessalonians 2:10). God simply knows their potential decision beforehand. As we read from so many verses, it is based on God’s foreknowledge of their response that causes Him to choose to draw that person.
What About When Jesus Said “You Did Not Choose Me”?
When Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, that you should go and bear fruit.” Jesus is, of course, not contradicting all the rest of scripture that explicitly tells us to choose life and choose truth. But we could have never known Jesus, unless he chose to draw us first. We were only able to choose Him because He first chose us, to draw us and lead us. It was His choice that initiated our relationship with Him. He chose to draw us, and our choice was merely a response to Him.
Now we certainly did have a choice in the matter, otherwise the Bible is a lie, because it explicitly tells us to choose. Not only that, but if we don’t have a choice, then your sharing of the gospel with your neighbor is useless, because they have no choice in the matter anyway. We do get to choose to believe or not, but our choice was a response to His leading. So yes, it was Jesus choice of us that initiated everything, not our choice of Him. Without Him choosing us, we would have never known the gospel. When we chose to believe Him, that was merely our response to His choice to teach us. And that is all that Jesus is saying here.
Jesus chooses to draw people because He foreknows who will believe, but it is vitally important to know that it is God’s will that everyone be saved and know the truth, but not everyone is willing to respond to Him… as badly as He would like that.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 (NKJV) …God our Savior… desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
It’s your choice whether you receive His good news or not. It’s your choice whether you accept His salvation or not. It’s your choice whether you receive His love or not. It’s your choice alone. And for every single person that wants to know Jesus, and receive from Him, the Holy Spirit will, guaranteed, be there to draw you every step of the way. You can count on that!
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