“And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” -Romans 8:30
One thing any Bible believing Christian must agree on is that some people go to Hell when they die. God’s just wrath against some sinners is not forgiven, and they take the wrath themselves. If Jesus died so that people could be saved, and God is powerful enough to do whatever He wants, why doesn’t He make everyone go to Heaven? Do people go to Hell because they just didn’t make the right decision?
Does God Choose?
The Bible teaches, from beginning to end, that God does whatever He pleases. He creates things out of nothing. He gives, and takes away. He parts seas, and makes pillars of fire. And He most certainly chooses to use people for His purposes.
The Old Testament tells the story of a Chosen people called Israel. God chose a single Pagan, named Abraham, out of all the other Pagans in the world, to reveal Himself in an intimate way. God made huge promises to Abraham, and said that the whole world would be blessed through his seed. Abraham believed the promise. A couple questions come to mind: First, why did God choose Abraham?, and second, Could Abraham have just said, “No thanks.”? Did God leave the selection of the person who would Father His people, and ultimately be a cradle for the Messiah, up to chance? With God there is no chance.
God has planned all of history, from beginning to end, and He will accomplish all His purposes (Isaiah 46:10). Nothing, especially not the will of creatures, can stop the Creator’s plans. He plans the ends, and chooses the means. God is in control, and we are at His mercy.
Does God Choose in Salvation?
Paul tells the Church of Thessalonica:
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…” -1 Thessalonians 5:9
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” -2 Thessalonians 2:13
Jesus, speaking of the end of the world says this:
“And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.” -Mark 13:20
He shortens the days for “The elect, whom he chose”. Some people believe that this “election” is actually just a response of God from outside of time, when he sees who would choose Jesus. Obviously this completely redefines the word election. If God chooses man simply because man chose God, who is ultimately in control of our destinies, us or God? To say God’s salvation is based on our decision completely opposes scripture.
“though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”” -Romans 9:11-13
Scripture clearly states that the election of God is NOT based on Him seeing what we’ll do, but is based strictly on God’s purposes.
“…I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” -Romans 9:15-16
I’d like to repeat that, to make sure we aren’t missing the point here. God’s mercy or “salvation” depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Why Doesn’t God Save Everyone?
Could God have saved everyone? Absolutely. God is all powerful. The sacrifice of Christ could have saved a million earth’s worth of sinners. Through it, God could have forgiven every sin from Adam to all the people who will be alive when Christ returns. Every rapist, murderer, thief, adulterer, gambler, and goody two shoes who thinks he doesn’t need Jesus could have the blood of Christ applied to them, and they could all go to heaven. So why doesn’t God do it?
God hates sin, and will reveal His power by pouring His eternal wrath out on those who blaspheme His name. God is holy and sinners deserve Hell, we have to never forget this. And the Bible teaches that in order for God to reveal His power and wrath against sin, He will not have mercy on some. It’s not because they were worse, or less spiritual than a saved person, and it’s certainly not because they just didn’t make a good decision about Jesus. It’s because they deserve to go to Hell, and God will pour out His judgement… that’s the bottom line. When we truly appreciate how guilty man is, it makes this question pale at the more mind bending question…
Why Does God Choose to Save Some?
“What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” -Romans 9:22-24
God chose a people, before the foundation of the world, to be “vessels of mercy”. Not because we deserve it, or because He saw something that He liked in us, but just to show “the riches of his glory”. Praise God! We were “prepared beforehand for glory”!
“…He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” -Ephesians 1:4-6
Can you believe this?! He chose that we should be “holy and blameless before Him”. He “predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ”… why? “According to the purpose of his will, to the praise of His glorious grace.”. That’s why. He loves us because He chose to love us. To show off how AMAZING He is! We will forever praise Him for his grace! Hallelujah!!
Isn’t That Unfair?
“You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” -Romans 9:19-21
Again, we return to where we started. God is God. He can do, and indeed does, whatever He wants to. All deserve Hell, who are we to question Him for saving some of us?
I beg you, anyone who has a problem with God’s electing grace, do not despise God’s right to choose. If you are a Christian, this truth secures you. You didn’t choose God, He chose you, and He will never let you go. He is truly working all things for your good, including your salvation. You know Him because He allowed you to know Him. All the glory goes to God alone!
What About the One’s Who Aren’t Elect?
First of all, remember that we don’t know who the elect are. From our perspective, we need to treat everyone as if they were elect. We preach the gospel to everyone we can, and pray that God would save them. We should trust that the Holy Spirit will work in the people we share the gospel with, so we don’t worry about watering down the message to suit someone’s sensibilities. Preach the true gospel, and God will save His people. The best thing you can do for someone that looks like they aren’t saved, is share the gospel.
Secondly, remember that there is nobody that will desire to be saved and be turned away. We all hate God naturally, and are spiritually blind, so when any person desires to know Christ, it’s only because God opened their eyes. That doesn’t mean there won’t be people that claim to love the “jesus” of their imaginations, and just want a happier life. Everybody wants that. It doesn’t mean they want to be saved. So preach the real gospel to them, and pray for God to move.
Finally, we must trust that God is wise. Our God is good and loving. Some people will go to Hell… bluntly, some people that you know will go to Hell. But we must trust that God is just and will do what is right, even if we don’t understand His purposes.
If God were fair, we would all go to Hell. Praise God that he chose to pull some of us from the flames!