This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
–1 Timothy 2:3-4
After expressing his concern for Israel in Romans 9, Paul began to discuss the issue of election–also called predestination–which is the biblical doctrine that God has chosen some for salvation. Remember, God never promised to save all Israel. The promise was to the elect of Israel. Today, let’s look at three statements that I want you to remember about election.
Statement number one: No one is lost without choosing to be lost, and no one is saved without choosing to be saved. What do I mean by that? What I mean is, first, God does not drag people to Hell kicking and screaming against their will. That is not why people end up in Hell. They end up in Hell by their choice. No one is lost who does not choose to be lost, and nobody is saved without choosing to be saved. God is not a divine rapist. God does not force His love on people against their will. Nobody is saved without choosing to be saved. Nobody is lost without choosing to be lost.
Statement number two: God’s desire is always to save as many people as possible, not as few people as possible. We find that truth all over the pages of Scripture. For example, in 1 Timothy 2:4, Paul said that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Does that mean all people are going to be saved? No, that is not a decree of God; it is the desire of God–those are two different things. God desires that all people be saved. In 2 Peter 3:9, the Apostle Peter said that God “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Look at the parables Jesus told in Luke 15 about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Do people rejoice when something is lost? No! Heaven rejoices when someone is found and saved. Just like the father did when the prodigal son returned–the father rejoiced, embraced his son, welcomed him–the angels in Heaven rejoice when one sinner is saved. The heart of God is to save as many people as possible, not as few as possible.
Statement number three: There are truths in the Bible that appear to be contradictory and cannot be explained. In theology, we call this an antinomy. These are two truths that appear contradictory but in fact are complementary. And that is true about the biblical truths of predestination and human responsibility.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “More Than Conquerors” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.