Did you choose God or did He chose you?
“YE HAVE NOT CHOSEN ME, BUT I HAVE CHOSEN YOU, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” John 15:16
"...ye are not of the world, BUT I HAVE CHOSEN YOU OUT OF THE WORLD, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:19
No other doctrine of the Christian faith is as hated and resisted among Christians as is the Doctrine of God’s electing grace of individuals to salvation. Yet God’s Book clearly teaches this doctrine in a multitude of passages all throughout the Holy Bible.
“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because GOD HATH FROM THE BEGINNING CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Whereunto HE CALLED YOU by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.
"For God HATH not APPOINTED US to wrath, but TO OBTAIN SALVATION by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who DIED FOR US, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10.
"God Who HATH SAVED US, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE, WHICH WAS GIVEN US IN CHRIST JESUS BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." 2 Timothy 1:9-10
By nature all men are born natural "free willers" - those who believe and teach the idea that “I chose of my own free will to believe the gospel.”
We hear the gospel that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead and if we believe and are converted, and it SEEMS TO US that we made some kind of a “decision for Christ” and “of our own free will we chose to believe and accept Christ as our Saviour.”
It is only natural to think in terms like this because that is how it FEELS to us in our personal experience. It isn’t till later, as we begin to read God’s Book for ourselves, that some of us realize that it wasn’t we who chose God but rather it was He who chose us.
We read that our new birth was “NOT of the WILL OF THE FLESH, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD.” John 1:13
And that it was God Himself who gave us both the repentance and the faith to believe on Christ as our Saviour.
See “Why do some believe the gospel and others do not?” -
“For UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also to suffer for his sake." Philippians 1:29
"For I say, through the grace given unto me, TO EVERY MAN THAT IS AMONG YOU, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH." Romans 12:3
God, speaking through the apostle Paul, is telling the Christians to whom the book of Romans was written, that they believed the gospel because He himself had given them the faith to do so.
And God is also telling us that if we believe otherwise, then we are thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.
“Now faith cometh not of our free-will; but is the gift of God, given us by grace, ere there be any will in our hearts to do the law of God. And why God giveth it not every man, I can give no reckoning of his judgments. But well I know, I never deserved it, nor prepared myself unto it; but ran another way clean contrary in my blindness, and sought not that way; but he sought me, and found me out, and showed it me, and therewith drew me to him. And I bow the knees of my heart unto God night and day, that he will show it all other men; and I suffer all that I can, to be a servant to open their eyes. For well I know they cannot see of themselves, before God hath prevented [that is, to go before - H&F] them with his grace." - William Tyndale
Read online: William Tyndale, "Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue"
“Chosen in Christ”
In no uncertain terms God tells us in his book that “HE HATH CHOSEN US IN HIM (in Christ) BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; HAVING PREDESTINATED US unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, ACCORDING TO THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:4-6
And when exactly were God’s chosen people actually redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb? This same book of Ephesians goes on to explain in chapter 2:4-10 -
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, HATH QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH CHRIST, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 AND HATH RAISED US UP TOGETHER, AND MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 FOR WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
The plain truth of Scripture is that God chose his people before the foundation of the world IN CHRIST, and that we were IN CHRIST when he died and we were raised up TOGETHER WITH HIM when he was raised, and we are now seated in the heavenly places IN CHRIST JESUS and that we are GOD’S workmanship CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS.
No where in these passages of holy Scripture do we read a single word about the vaunted “free will of man” or his “decision to follow Christ” or even of him “placing his faith in Christ.” It is ALL of God.
If you were not chosen IN Christ before the foundation of the world, and were not IN Christ when he died and rose from the dead, then you are no child of God at all, and never will be.
***Objection #1. raised from a guy who says he was NOT IN Christ when he died and rose again.
Bernie H. writes: “Why wasn't your apostle Paul "IN CHRIST" before Christ died and rose again?
Romans 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were IN CHRIST ***BEFORE**** ME.
I mean you say a person is "in Christ" before he died, yet Paul says he wasn't IN CHRIST before "Andronicus and Junia????? These two people were "in Christ" before Paul.”
Answering the Objection -
Hi Bernie H. You apparently do not believe the book. There is a big difference between what is called Positional truth and Practical truth, or sometimes called Standing versus State.
Our Position is who we are IN Christ, and all of God's elect were IN Christ chosen of God before the foundation of the world and IN Christ when he died and rose from the dead. That is what the Book teaches and Paul includes himself in the letter to the Ephesians. He too is in the "us" and the "we" as well.
But the Practical, experiential truth is the outworking and the result of our Positional truth of who we are in Christ.
If you can't see this difference, then you end up creating direct contradictions in the Bible, and the "free will" fantasy ALWAYS creates contradictions. Are you now seated in the heavenly places IN Christ as Ephesians 2:4-6 teaches or not? IF you are a Christian, then you are, and that is our Position in Christ.
The same truth is taught in Colossians 2:13-14. Here we read: "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, HATH HE QUICKENED TOGETHER WITH HIM, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and TOOK IT OUT OF THE WAY, NAILING IT TO HIS CROSS."
It all happened at the cross. He finished the work the Father gave him to do. He came to redeem HIS PEOPLE from our sins and to reconcile us to God, and that is what he did.
***Objection #2. raised -
Some of the "free willers" then come up with the argument - "Yeah, but look Will, God chooses those who believe. It says in Ephesians 1:12-13 that we trusted in Christ AFTER we heard the gospel of our salvation and after we believed we were sealed the holy Spirit of promise, and in Ephesians 2:2-3 it says that "IN TIME PAST ye walked according to the course of this world", and that "we all had our conversation in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
And then in 2:11-13 it says: "Wherefore remember, that ye being IN TIME PAST Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That AT THAT TIME ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: BUT NOW in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
Answering the Objection -
What the "free willers" fail to grasp here is once again the crucial difference between Positional Truth - who we are IN Christ even before we were born, and Practical Truth - our experience of learning about the Lord and what he did for us after we are given physical life and God begins to reveal himself to us.
Those that were chosen in Christ BEFORE the foundation of the world and PREDESTINATED unto the adoption of children, DID live in the lusts of the flesh and were "without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel...having no hope and without God in the world", but this is obviously AFTER they were given physical life and born into this world.
That is our natural state as men who fell in Adam and by nature were "ungodly, without strength, sinners, and enemies of God." (Romans 5:6-8) But then we "hear the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation" (Ephesians 1:13) and God then gives us the faith to believe in what he had already done for us IN Christ at the cross and the resurrection before we were even born into this world.
And what exactly IS the gospel? It is the good news about what God has ALREADY done for us who were chosen IN Christ and who were IN Christ when we were "quickened TOGETHER WITH CHRIST, AND RAISED UP TOGETHER, and made to sit in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus."
The gospel is NOT about something God WANTS TO DO, or HOPES TO DO, or OFFERS TO DO, but about something God ALREADY DID for his people at the cross and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
THIS is the good news, and when he gives us the faith to believe this gospel, we then are saved from a life of vanity and of fulfilling the desires of the flesh and we learn that God has already broken down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, and that he RECONCILED us to God in one body BY THE CROSS.
It is already done for us. It is a finished work of redemption and reconciliation. And so now that we believe, we begin to walk in this newness of life that God has given us through the substitutionary death, burial and resurrection of our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Objection #3 raised
At this point I have had several free willers bring up a verse like Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord SHALL BE saved." or Acts 16:31 "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED, and thy house." They then say: "See, Will, this is in the FUTURE. It is not something that has already been done for us. You have to choose to believe and accept Christ."
I deal with this objection in a separate article you can see here - What they are missing is the fact that words like Redemption and Reconciliation and Salvation are NOT the same things.
A free willer named Brian W. posts: “According to Calvinism God chose before any rebellion by anyone's will took place. How is that even possible when no individuals except the members of the Godhead existed to be chosen before creation?”
My Response: One has to marvel in disbelief about how ignorant some Christians are about both the nature of God and the Bible. Even the Arminian “I chose of my own free will to believe” god supposedly knows everything and is omniscient. He sees and declares the end from the beginning. He himself is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
God knew he would create man (Adam) with a free will and that this free will of his would eventually come into conflict with the will of God. Just as all mankind was IN Adam when he fell - “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” We all sinned in Adam.
If you or I had been there instead of Adam, we would have done the same thing he did. We STILL often follow our own will instead of God’s.
People exist in the mind of God before they actually exist physically.
God’s elect were IN Christ BEFORE the foundation of the world and predestinated unto the adoption of children, and we are clearly told that we were “quickened TOGETHER WITH CHRIST, AND RAISED UP TOGETHER, and made to SIT TOGETHER in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:5-6) before we were even born.
God tells the prophet Jeremiah “BEFORE I formed thee in the belly I KNEW THEE; (THAT is God’s foreknowledge); and BEFORE thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ORDAINED thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
And we are told in the book of Hebrews 7:9-10 that “Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. FOR HE WAS YET IN THE LOINS OF HIS FATHER, when Melchisedec met him.”
Do these people read their Bibles? Or is it that they just don’t believe what it says?
There are no contradictions in the doctrines of God's purpose according to election. It is only the "free will" mindset that causes them to misread and misapply the Scriptures in such a way as to create contradictions, and they always end up making God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ out to be both liars and colossal failures, because they do not believe they DID what they said they DID.
If God didn’t mean that the doctrine of his electing grace is the truth that should be believed, then why is the Bible written the way it is?
Why do so many Christians grasp as any straw to try to “explain away” or re-interpret what God has so clearly stated over and over again?
The word “elect” or “election” is found 27 times in the King James Bible and in every case it is God who does the electing - “that the purpose of God according to election might stand.” Romans 9:11
“ALL that the Father giveth me SHALL COME TO ME; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37
NO exceptions. ALL - every single one of us - whom God gives to the Son WILL COME.
“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, THAT HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO AS MANY AS THOU HAST GIVEN HIM.” John 17:2
When Paul and Barnabas were preaching the gospel to a mixed group of both Jews and Gentiles, we read these words given by the Holy Ghost himself -
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: AND AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.” Acts 13:48
Notice that it does NOT say “as many as chose of their own free will” believed.
“OF HIS OWN WILL BEGAT HE US WITH THE WORD OF TRUTH, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” James 1:18
It all comes down to this. Are you going to believe what God Himself says in his Book, or are you going to rely instead on the natural sense of your own experience and how it initially SEEMED to you when you came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour?
Many Christians through history have received and believed these precious doctrines of God’s electing love to His chosen people, and others have resisted and fought against them. And so it continues today.
I often hear three responses from those who oppose these doctrines. One is that they toss out 4 or 5 verses that they THINK teach contrary to this doctrine, and in every case they both misunderstand and misapply these verses in such a way as to directly contradict the other clear verses of Scripture.
Another response is to say something like “That is not the God I worship. I could never believe in a God like that who chooses to save some but not the others.”
Well, maybe this is true. The “god” they believe in is not the God of the Bible who of the same lump of clay makes both the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction and “the vessels of mercy which he afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called” - Romans 9:16-24
They have a god of their own imaginations created in their own image, and it is not the true and living God revealed in the Holy Bible.
And others, whom I believe are true Christians, resist these doctrines and half-jokingly say things like “Well, I am predestined to not be a Calvinist.”
This may also be true. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7
One of the main things God is doing with his people is to humble us. We will either be humbled in this life as we come to recognize our own wretchedness and unworthiness, and that we had NOTHING AT ALL to do with our own salvation - not “our will” or our “decision” or our “placing our faith in Christ”. Nothing.
Or we will be greatly humbled at the judgement seat of Christ where much of the life work of many a preacher will be burned up as so much wood, hay and stubble when we will find out just how much we got wrong and were fighting against God and his truth.
“The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD ALONE shall be exalted in that day.” Isaiah 2:11
Let me close out this little study with the inspired words from the infallible King James Bible that are found in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
Read them slowly and think about what they are clearly saying. Let these words sink down into your heart and mind and simply believe what God tells us.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But GOD HATH CHOSEN the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and GOD HATH CHOSEN the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, HATH GOD CHOSEN, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE.
30 But OF HIM ARE YE IN Christ Jesus, who OF GOD is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, HE THAT GLORIETH, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD.”
ALL of grace, believing the Book.
Return to articles -
For additional reading see Calvinism and the King James Bible -
Which will also give you the link to my article -
Undeniable Proof the ESV, NIV, NASB, Holman Standard, NET, Jehovah Witness NWT etc. are the new "Vatican Versions"