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Question 91

Q: I have a question about predestination. Since God is all-powerful, He knows if you’ll be saved or not.

How does that play against our having a free will to either accept or reject Him? If God knows I’m going to burn in hell, where is my free will? Where does this leave me to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ when, at least for me, free will is so open to question?

Asked by: RD


A: Well RD, first of all, thank you so much for asking one of the most difficult questions that I could ever be asked.

The issue of free will versus predestination has had a long history in the Christian church full of debate. But let me start by saying this: first of all, all Christians believe in predestination. There’s no question about that because it’s taught in the Bible. Not only does the word “predestination” occur many times, but the idea occurs also, so everybody believes in predestination. The question is, how do we understand it?

On the one hand, it’s very clear that we’re not robots. We couldn’t (or wouldn’t) have human responsibility if we were simply robots or puppets on a string. But on the other hand, it’s also clear that God does elect some people to eternal life and He does bypass others.

And when a person is saved, that person cannot give thanks to himself, any thanks to himself, because it is a gift of God. God works in some lives in ways differently than He does in others. And I think that what we need to do is to live with both ideas of free will and predestination, and humbly confess that we can’t understand exactly how they fit together.

Now in your case, and in the case of those who are reading this, nobody has to say, “Well, I’d like to be saved but I can’t be because I’m not elected or predestined to eternal life.” If you have the desire to be saved, you can be. Like I’ve told others, if you want to find out whether or not you’re a member of the elect, simply come to Jesus. He will receive you. And that will prove that you belong as a child of God. So that’s my quick answer to your difficult question, but keep thinking, keep working, and keep studying.

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