If God has already chosen His elect unto salvation, then why preach the gospel?
This question is often tossed in the face of those of us who believe in what are called the doctrines of sovereign, electing grace or ‘Calvinism’. Let’s briefly examine the motives and the Biblical basis that both the believers in sovereign, electing grace and the “We have to choose of our own free will to accept and believe the gospel” brethren hold.
At the beginning let me say that I believe in preaching the gospel and bearing witness to our Lord Jesus Christ. My wife and I help support several missionaries and, though I am not strictly speaking an evangelist, yet God has used me in my Christian walk to bring at least 10, that I know of, individual people to faith in our Lord and Saviour. I am not at all against evangelism; it is the means God has ordained to reach His lost sheep with the saving knowledge of our redemption that we have in Christ, the Lamb of God.
Now, let’s look at the reasons that motivate the “free willers” out there. They tell us that “People are going to hell all around us and unless we get out there and preach the gospel, multitudes who could have be saved will end up without a knowledge of Christ and will be lost forever. It’s up to us to go out there and get them saved.” Some even go so far as to tell us: “God will hold you responsible if you do not witness to them and their blood will be on your hands.”
I can honestly say that I have never met an Arminian free willer who actually lived as though he really believed his own message. If they really believed that multitudes who could have been saved will not be saved because we did not go out and preach the gospel to them, then why are they not out there day and night banging on their neighbor’s doors and living in near poverty as they use all their available finances to help spread the gospel?
Why do they waste all that time sleeping 8 hours a night (you can get by on a lot less) or waste so much of their precious time on things like common, worldly jobs, spending time with the family, taking vacations, reading books, novels or the newspaper, watching sports or other programs on TV and listening to music while people who could be “saved” are going to hell all around them?
I’ve also noticed that the free will Arminians pray like Calvinists, not like “free willers”. When they pray they usually ask God to open the eyes, draw somebody to Him, cause them to see their need, bring them under conviction and give them no rest until they finally surrender to Christ.
More importantly, I believe their thinking is decidedly unbiblical. Will anyone at all be “saved” (a word often misused and misunderstood) or redeemed whom Christ did not intend to redeem at the cross of Calvary when “He loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25); “laid down His life for His sheep” (John 10:15) and “gave His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28)?
If we actually believe what the Lord Jesus Christ said, the answer is a clear No. Listen to what the Lord Himself says. “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) Please notice that there is a specific group or number (as many as) and this group has already been given to the Son by the Father!
The Lord Jesus repeats this same idea in what is sometimes called the High Priestly prayer found in John 17. Christ says to the Father - “I have manifested thy name unto THE MEN WHICH THOU GAVEST ME out of the world, THINE THEY WERE, AND THOU GAVEST THEM ME...” (v. 6) - “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for THEM WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME; for they are thine.” (v.9) - “Holy Father, keep through thiine own name THOSE WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME, that they may be one, as we are.” (v.11) and “Father, I will that THEY ALSO, WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which thou hast given Me...” (v.24)
Will any be lost who could have been “saved” because you and I did not go out and preach the gospel to them? Not if you actually believe what the Lord Jesus tells us. He says in John 6:37 “ALL that the Father giveth me, SHALL COME TO ME; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” and “no man can come unto me, except IT WERE GIVEN UNTO HIM of my Father.” If a man comes to Christ, it is because he has already been given to Him by the Father.
Again in John 10 we hear the Lord tell us that “the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (v.11) and “I lay down my life for the sheep”. (v. 15) Then we read this amazing statement in verse 16 where He says: “And other sheep I HAVE, which are not of this fold: them also I MUST BRING, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Notice it does not say “whom I hope to have” or “want to have” but “I have”.
We are His sheep even before we hear His voice. We just didn’t know it, until such a time He calls us by name (John 10:3) and “ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus” (Ephesians 4:21).
John 10:16 has been almost universally understood as teaching that “the other sheep, which are not of this fold” refers to the Lord’s people among the Gentile nations who were not Jews (this fold). And Who is it that must bring them? Well, it is the Lord Himself. Could He possibly fail to bring His own sheep, those whom the Father had given Him, to Himself? Of course not.
Notice a similar doctrine taught in John 11:52 where the Jewish high priest “prophesied that Jesus should die that that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together the children of God that were scattered abroad.”
Again, this verse has been well understood as teaching that those who already were the children of God among Gentiles would be gathered; and they are called the children of God even before they knew they were.
That is why God has appointed the means of preaching the gospel to the nations - “God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name.” (Acts 15:14)
The Biblical reason God has called and gifted specific evangelists to preach the gospel and His people in general to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15) is because this is the means He has chosen to carry the gospel message to every nation. The gospel is not about something God wants to do, or hopes to do, but about something that God DID for His people. Only those who have ears to hear will hear and believe.
“To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life.” (2 Corinthians 2:16)
To the non-elect we are the savor of death unto death. Men SHOULD repent and believe their Creator, but when the gospel is preached to the non-elect their guilt and sin are magnified. They choose to rebel against the light.
Yes, the natural man has a will. But his "will" follows his nature and by nature he is a child of wrath who hates the light, loves darkness, is willingly ignorant, goes his own way, resists the Holy Ghost, and rebels against his Creator. The “natural man” is an enemy of God. “We will not have this man to reign over us.” (Luke 19:14)
His sin is therefore compounded and he becomes all the more guilty before God. God is not doing him injustice by leaving him to follow his own will and nature.
The only difference between the elect and the non-elect is that God has chosen of his own will to save those he elected and predestined unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his own will.
God made this choice, not man.
This is what the Book clearly says, but the natural man absolutely hates this doctrine of the electing grace of God and his hatred is not just against this doctrine, but against the God who chose to do things this way.
God is indebted to no man. If he chooses to save some out of the fallen wreck of lost and rebellious and sinful humanity, but not others, and instead leaves them to face the consequences of their own rebellion and sin, who are we - mere lumps of clay - to question God or accuse him of wrong doing?
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
Not everyone is called to be an apostle or an evangelist. See 1 Corinthians 9:13-17 and the surrounding context - “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel”, that is, they should be paid to do so. Not everybody is called to do this. Also Ephesians 4:11 tells us: “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers”
Yet each Christian should be ready to give an answer for his hope in Christ and by our lives and words bear witness to our Saviour. This is the means God has ordained for His words to go out to the nations and to gather in those for whom Christ died - His sheep, the children of God that are scattered abroad.
Will any single one of them finally be lost who could have been saved? No, not at all. We have the promises of Christ Himself who tells us that He MUST bring in His sheep and that ALL that the Father gives Him SHALL COME; and when the gospel is preached “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)
Good 10 minute video on Why Share the Gospel of Eternal Life i We're Predestined?
After putting together this article, another brother shared this video with our Facebook forum called King James Bible Calvinists They bring up some very good points. Well worth a listen.
Notes from the Internet
Hi Karen. You bring up some good questions. You are right in a way. In one sense all arguing and discussing is not going to change who gets saved and who doesn't.
Do you REALLY believe the Scripture? I believe you do, but do you understand and believe what it actually SAYS and not some reading between the lines and just flat out making stuff up to come out with "I chose of my own free will to believe" baloney.
Look at what the verse says. Jesus is speaking and He says: "ALL that the Father giveth me, SHALL COME TO ME; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
You will notice there are zero conditions here to be met by man. Nothing, nada. It is a promise from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. ALL that the Father gives me shall come. Not one will be left behind. They will ALL come to Jesus. That is what the verse says. Do you really believe it?
Nothing you or I do or don't do one way or the other is going to alter, change or nullify what the Lord Jesus said here in this verse. God usually, though not always, uses other people to carry the gospel and preach or teach it, but these are merely the means God generally uses. He can also use the printed page, a gospel tract found on a bench, a Bible that a person just happens to pick up in a motel, or he can "accidentally" click on a gospel radio program. But one way or another ALL that the Father gives to the Son WILL COME and be saved.
So, why have I decided to get into this discussion? It is because, purely by the grace and mercy of God, He has given me some passion and desire to know Him and to proclaim to others Who this Amazing God and Redeemer is that made us. And I have desire to know the Truth and to let others know about it as well. God gets and deserves ALL the glory. He will not give His glory to another. See Isaiah 48:11
I am convinced that the "free will theology" is a fabrication of the flesh that robs God of the glory He alone deserves, and tries to give dead, vain and carnal man some kind of credit for his own salvation.
According to free will theology, Christ has already done His part, and yet no one is really redeemed (only "potentially" redeemed). According to free will theology the "deciding factor" that makes it all real is man's "free will" to chose to believe, and there is not a verse of Scripture in the entire Bible that teaches this, but rather the exact opposite - That GOD does the electing, not man. And GOD gives the faith to believe, not man. And it is GOD who gives the new birth, and not the will of the flesh nor the will of man.
I want to emphasize again that I do not believe "free willers" are lost and on their way to hell just because they believe that they "made the decision that determined their own destiny". I think they are completely WRONG, but I do NOT believe they are therefore not or cannot be among the redeemed children of God.
I believe that all of us are going to be very surprised and humbled in that coming day when we stand before Him and realize just how much we got wrong and how much we fought against His revealed truth. It is all part of His eternal purpose for Him "to stain the pride of all glory" Isaiah 23:9 God bless.
More Notes From the Internet
Mr J the Arminian, says:
If God picks to save certain people then what is the point in the great commision? Why did Jesus tell the Discipes to go make Disciples of all nations? Did God forget that he has already elected and reprobated people? Your doctrine takes the power of the gospel away."
This is such a lame argument, yet we hear it all the time from the "free will" fantasy lovers. They have the same "problem". If God knows everything long before it happens (most free willers will at least admit that He does know everything), then God also knows beyond all doubt that there will be many who in spite of everything done will not believe and will perish in their sins. And YET God brings them into the world and gives them life knowing full well beforehand that they will die in their sins and unbelief.
So the logical question then becomes "Why would God give the Great Commission if He knew that multitudes would be reprobates and unbelievers and would NEVER believe the gospel even if it were preached to them?"
We could well ask again - "Why does God call upon them to believe when He knows beforehand that they will NEVER believe?"
"Free will" fantasy lovers never seem to actually think through what it is they really believe to see how consistent (or utterly inconsistent) they are in their beliefs.
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