DOES GOD CHOOSE TO SAVE SOME
AND TO DAMN OTHERS,
OR DOES HE ALLOW EACH OF US
Man is a free moral agent. We see mankind has will for many areas of life.
Genesis 13:9 Abraham said to Lot...
“if thou wilt, take the left hand...’
Genesis 14:23 Abraham said to Sodom...
“I will not take from a thread..”
Genesis 18:5 Abraham said to the three heavenly visitors...
“I will fetch a morsel...”
Genesis 21:24 Abraham said in his covenant with Abimelech...
“I will swear...”
Genesis 22:2-8 Abraham said of his trip to Moriah...
“I and the lad will go yonder and worship...”
Exodus 3:3 Moses said about the burning bush...
“I will now turn aside and see...”
Obviously, from these and many other passages, we see the Bible indicates that mankind has a free will. “I WILL’ is used by man over 200 times in the book of Psalms alone. God recognizes that mankind has free will.
“if ye offer a sacrifice... ye shall offer it of your own free will.”
“when you offer a sacrifice... offer it of your own will...”
So, God recognized that mankind has free will, and God demanded that sacrifices be made without constraint, with irresistibility.
Jesus continued in that recognition of free will.
“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily.”
When Paul instructed the church concerning the marriage of virgins, we find these words:
I Corinthians 7:36-37
“...let him do what he will, he sinneth not... he hath power over his own will.”
Therefore, mankind is shown to have a will. God has given such free choice to mankind.
“Wherefore, be ye not unwise (Greek word is ‘aphron” meaning, senseless as mad men, completely mad), but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
What is the ‘will’ of God? Many are confused. Some think that He wants to save all, and none will miss heaven. Others think He has chosen to save some, to damn others, and the choice has been His. The Bible teaches that God has a will, and He wills for all to be saved, but allows mankind’s own wills to overrule His wishes.
There are two Greek words for ‘will’ of God in the New Testament.
1. Boulema ... This is God’s immutable, predeterminate will. For instance, God will defeat satan. That is not up for discussion. Jesus will come again. There is no changing that part of God’s will. He has determined those things and more to happen, and they will.
“find fault? For who hath resisted the will (boulema) of God...”
God has an ultimate will, and it will be done.
2. Thelema ... This refers to God’s desires. He desires for us not to sin, but we do. He desires to not have any to perish, but some do. God allows mankind to exercise a will.
Matthew 23:37 speaks of this kind of will of God.
“how often would (thelo = wish, desire) I have gathered thy children together as a hen even gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would (thelo = wish, desire) not.”
“Thy will (thelema) be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
God’s desires are done in heaven. Here on earth, that is the prayer we should pray, yet, it is obvious that the murders, crimes, abortions, etc. are not God’s ‘wish’ (thelema).
God allows our free will to override His thelema will. Yet, His boulema will will not change. The boulema will is inalterable, immutable, unchangeable.
II Peter 3:9
“not willing (bouloumai) that any should perish...”
This shows that it is not God’s pre-determinate will that any perish. So, if any do perish, it is not because God caused it to be so, but their own wills brought them to the place of perishing. This does not mean He has predetermined everyone to be saved, but it means He has not predetermined anyone to perish. In other words, God has allowed our ‘thelema’ to make the decision.
Let’s take a closer look at II Peter 3:9:
“but is longsuffering (Patient, long in waiting for us to make the right choice) to us-ward, not willing (bouloumai, God’s predestined will) that any should perish (appolumi, to loose away, to destroy, and this refers to verse 7 where Peter reminded us that the heavens and the earth are kept in store, reserved for a day of judgment), but that all should come to repentance (metanoia, meaning a change of man’s will).”
The grace of God is offered to all mankind. It is the individual’s own choice, their free will, that either accepts the gift of salvation, or rejects the same.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation (soterias, ‘saving’) has appeared (epiphaino, meaning ‘to shine upon’) to all men.”