Ok – this is from a study I prepared for our small group – so this one is gonna be a long one… sorry – it’s a big topic to address! But it’s really good stuff – maybe break up the reading into two parts… First I’ll present the concept then attempt to address common questions – and finally present practical applications. Feel free to use my notes as a study guide or whatever – it’s here to bless you guys…
Firstly – I’ll clarify that I don’t see these views as contradictory or incompatible. I see evidence for both of them in scripture and don’t think this is a case of either/or – but rather seeing how they work hand in hand and complement each other. So this is not going to become an argument between Calvinism and Arminianism. Neither will this be an exhaustive study of the topics of election and free will. Rather we’d like to focus on how understanding these two doctrines affects us practically – specifically with regards to salvation and evangelism. Their implications though are far reaching into much more than just that – such as the sustaining grace of God for the believer, the good works which we do, and the blessings of God into eternity… however, those are for now – irrelevant to the focus here – which is evangelism and salvation – so I will not address them.
Curry R Blake once said, “If your Gospel isn’t touching others, it hasn’t touched you!” An understanding of how we are elected, and how our choices affect our faith only helps us to better appreciate the gospel and as such should drive us to spread it’s message even more.
Paul wrote a lot on the topic of predestination and free will in the bible. The concept, however, is not purely a New Testament one. In the Old Testament election was that Israel was God’s chosen (elected) people and nation. God chose the corporate nation of Israel, which comprised of individuals. Anyone who was a part of Israel was a part of God’s chosen people. But the key, though it was largely predicated by nationality, race, birth, etc., was that from the beginning, God told them that anyone who wants to join can, so long as they keep the commandments and do the signs of the covenant (including circumcision). It was by faith in God’s word that they were part of Israel (free will). This is why Rahab (a non-Jewish woman) was part of this chosen people as well. So, we get to the New Testament and see the same type of language (chosen, elect, etc.) Now the Church is the corporate chosen people of God.
Election is an act of God before creation in which He chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of His sovereign good pleasure.
Where do we see election?
It even seems to extend to other created beings – in 1 Timothy 2:13 Paul says – “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without favour.” Nothing is outside of God’s election – even angels are subject to it…
In Acts 13:48, it says, “And when the gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of God; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
It is interesting here that Luke mentions election in passing as if it was a normal thing – that wherever the gospel was preached – how many responded? – the ones that were ordained to eternal life… duh!
We even see predestination in marriage! For the ultimate purpose of marriage is not your own satisfaction… it is to display Christ’s love for the church. In marriage – we choose our spouse and then enter into a covenant relationship – where we choose to love them til death do us part. Predestination is like that – God sets His affections on us, chooses to love us, enters into covenant with us – and then carries out that covenant into eternity!
Romans 8:28-30 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”
Notice there are two descriptions here of the elect: 1. They love God and 2. They are called according to His purpose.
Why are we elected?
Later on in the next chapter – Paul talks about God choosing Jacob and Esau – not because of anything they had done – but simply so that His purpose of election would continue.
“But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” – Romans 9:11&12.
He says God is the one “who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of His own purpose and the grace which He gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago.” – 2 Timothy 1:9
God calls people according to His divine and sovereign purposes – not based off any of their own current or foreseen merits. This is very important to understand… so stop and read this carefully! – that it is not that God looks into the future and sees our merits, or future faithfulness, or goodness or even our capacity to serve Him – that we would be useful to Him and He would somehow need us… and chooses us based on our desiring Him and choosing Him.
NO! In fact scripture is very clear that there is none righteous, none that seek God, no one who does good, not a single one (Romans 3:10-18). Instead it was “while we were yet still sinners that Christ died for us.” This is why we are saved by grace and ONLY God’s grace to elect to choose us, by our faith – not of works… Here in we see clearly the roles of these two doctrines (election and free will). It only because He first loves us and chooses us that we are saved. Election leaves no room for pride.
1 Peter 1:2 says, “God the Father knew you and chose you long ago…” and “as a result you have obeyed Him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.”
God has His own high and holy purposes that govern whom He calls, and His call accords with these purposes not with ours. Had He waited for me to have a purpose of salvation, I would still be wallowing in my sin and depravity.
So what are His purposes in calling the elect?
If it weren’t for the unconditional call of God apart from human distinctive, God would become like a political candidate up for vote going from precinct to precinct to see if he might be elected Lord. God would propose, but man would dispose. The size and make up of God’s constituency would be owing finally to the vote of man. The success of Christian missions and the possibility of converts from every tongue and tribe and people and nation would depend finally on the vote man. But the apostle Paul knows nothing of such a God. Instead he says that God set his favour on Jacob and not Esau before they were born so that HIS purpose of election might stand, not on the basis of their deeds but only on the basis of his call… You see a flawed understanding of election actually can breed a warped view – where man is elevated above God – where man is sovereign… and is this not what we can trace back to the original sin? That we wanted to be gods in our own right? To not be subject to God’s will, but to have our own be sovereign… this is the same thing that got Lucifer kicked out… and ultimately the heart of rebellion is the basis of all sin.
God’s uninfluenced choice of election affirms His sovereignty.
He is what He is and does what He does without need of external approval or influence to determine it and He alone is the only being with that unhindered, unbounded, unlimited sovereign will.
In Exodus 33:19 – ” The LORD replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”
Moses asked to see God’s glory and His response was to proclaim His name, “YAHWEH” then to state its meaning – His sovereignty in what He does – “I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy”. This is what God reveals about himself when Moses asks to see His glory because God’s total sovereignty is synonymous with His glory. It is one of the characteristics that sets Him apart from everything and everyone else. Angels stand in awe of His unfailing, unchangeable, matchless, wise, unlimited and uninfluenced will as He does what He pleases, without need for permission – and it is all incredibly and totally good! And one day we too will stand in awe of this… as we will see how He has masterfully woven all the threads of time together, how He has brought great beauty and glory to His Name. We will marvel…
How does election relate to God’s glory?
In Ephesians 1:4-6 it says, “even as 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.”
And 1:12 says, ” so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.”
From this we see that He calls us for adoption to become His children, holy and blameless before Him (which he does by sanctification and justification in Christ – where Christ’s righteousness is accounted to us), to the praise of His glory. God is passionate about His glory, and spreading His glory throughout the world and in the hearts of believers. Don’t be fooled – even your salvation wasn’t ultimately about you… it was to bring God glory… you just reap the benefits of that. This is the whole point of the great commission – missions and evangelism is spreading His glory to the nations. Therefore – the doctrine of election/predestination does not negate the call for evangelism – but actually fuels it!!
2 Peter 1:10 says, “Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall.”
In other words our zeal of faith and obedience does not make us elect. It confirms that we are elect. Faith and obedience are a gift, and the possession of the gift is a confirmation of the favour of the Giver. God is not moved to choose us because of our faith.
Also in this we can infer that our lives are for His glory, and our evangelism and spread of the gospel, and people being saved – are all part of how God spreads His glory… all because of His election – it is a reflection of his sovereignty – and thereby His glory! And because of this – we have no reason to boast in ourselves – (saved by grace through faith not of works lest any man should boast) – and therefore ALL glory goes to God – even for our faith, deeds and choices!
So what about free will?
So if God elects whom He wills, and has determined this from eternity past – then do we really have any sort of true free will or choice?
Let me preface this section by first saying that I think somewhat our western minds may tend to put too much emphasis on ultimate free will as we are raised in a culture where freedom is so highly valued. However in cultures where it is monarchist or even communist – there is less of such an emphasis on total autonomy as it is here in the west. But even in saying this I elude to the fact that when we talk of human free will – this is not by any means equal to the free will God posses. He has ultimate sovereign free will without limits. Our freedom naturally exists within limits such as time, ability, choices, etc…
There are certain things which we just simply cannot do. We cannot control where we are born, the family we’re born into, our looks, our height, the length of our life… we cannot will things into existence… in fact – when you think about it – our ability to express our will is really not that impressive when compared to sovereign will… our wills and thereby our destinies are also subject to determination and limitation naturally as we are not omnipotent in expressing our will.
So – yes. We have free will. But it exists within limits and God’s sovereign will supersedes and encompasses or engulfs ours without violating it… I guess in a way – to put it in math terms – our wills exist as a sub-set of God’s bigger will.
Are we then impersonal robots?
Some of the misconceptions about predestination/election negating free will comes from the idea that it is either fatalistic or mechanistic… that is – our choices don’t mean anything since it is all predetermined – therefore our humanity is destroyed since we can’t truly affect change or make a real difference… or that we are like machines in the way we function in accordance with predetermined plans and in response to predetermined causes and influences. However both of these in practice end up removing the motivation for moral accountability we see in scripture, since if we are just robotically following a plan or program without any will of our own to act on – how can we be held morally accountable for sin?
However, we do see in the bible that our salvation is something brought about by a personal God in relationship with personal creatures. His election is not impersonal or mechanistic, but filled with personal love for those whom He chose. And by extension – also even extends to the ones who rebel against Him.
In Ezekiel 33:11 we see, “…I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?”
There is a heart felt cry in that verse from God – pleading with the unrepentant to turn from their ways and be saved.
Peter says in 2 Peter 3:9 that, ” The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
I think if we were to fully understand how God’s heart grieves for sinners, and longs for us to come to repentance it would change how we ask that question…
So does God elect those who He knows will choose him?
I’ll quickly revisit this…Throughout the gospels – there is an invitation by Jesus for people to “come to me”… If there was no free will – there would be no need for an invitation. But this invitation is addressed to genuine persons who are capable of hearing and responding to it by their wills.
So there is a felt tension between the sovereignty of God and His choosing the elect, and the responsibility of man and his free will to respond to the call… what then are we to make of this? Does God look into the future and see who will come to faith and then elect them?
Absolutely not! It is not based on foreknowledge of that person’s faith, otherwise the ultimate reason why some are saved would lie within the people themselves, not within God. All God would be doing in predestination then would be to confirm the decision He knows people would make ON THEIR OWN. Or it would mean that God elects them based faith which he foresaw, it was a faith which He Himself intended to create since faith comes from God (the author and perfecter of our faith – Heb 12:2), and the argument breaks down since it comes from God anyways.
Jesus said in John 15:16 – You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
So what does God’s foreknowledge mean then?
Romans 8:29 says “For those whom he foreknew He also predestined…” – What did God foreknow??? …the passage speaks rather of the fact that God knew persons… “those whom He foreknew” – not that he knew some fact about them. God, looking into the future, thought of certain people in saving relationship to Him, and in that sense he ‘foreknew’ them. Scripture never talks of our faith or the fact that we would come to believe in Christ as the reason God chose us. In fact, just the opposite – scripture stresses that God chooses us apart from any inherent merit in or of us, ‘in order that God’s purpose of election might continue’ (Rom 9:11-13).
So foreknowledge actually means that God knew you personally from eternity past, and sovereignly chose to love you out of His grace independent of any merit in you. He then gave you the faith to come to knowledge of His already established love for you.
Jeremiah 1:5 says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
It is this way that we can have a profound appreciation for the salvation He provides which is totally undeserved and therefore we will forever praise Him – for who else has loved us with an everlasting love from eternity past to endless ages to come? Who else has known us completely before we were even a thought and chosen to set His affections on us?
“He destined us in love to be His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” – Ephesians 1:5-6.
So how then do we reconcile election and free will?
If God already knows who will be saved and who will reject Him before He creates them, then does that mean it is all determined? Well, yes and no. In some sense – God’s foreknowledge in a way is passive. Let’s call it passive foreknowledge due to His omniscience. So in that sense – yes – He does know before He creates who will be saved and who would not. But this isn’t the basis for his choice to elect. The very fact that He creates free willed creatures who can choose to disobey Him necessitates that there will unavoidably be some that will choose not to accept Him – these ‘vessels of wrath’. However, their fate is determined within the construct of time by their own decisions and will so that they are without excuse (Rom 1:20).
The duality doesn’t contradict because they are two totally separate dimensions of reality… like two totally different perspectives being looked through. Predestination being that of God’s view – from outside of time, seeing all of history as a whole… and free will existing within the construct of time since for free will to exist, choice must exist. Choice can only exist if there is a passage of time in which to choose. (this is why in eternity our choice for or against God is forever – there is no longer concept of time as we know it now to allow for us to change our mind)So from God’s view – seeing it all at once – He has predestined and predetermined – He exists in an unchanging, time-less state of being…. (here the weakness of language shows in conveying concepts which are time-less – since all our understanding is time-bound)… and from our human view – within time, we see the choices and very real existence of free will. The two don’t contradict because the exist in separate ‘realms’ or ‘dimensions’… I hope that made sense…
God, in a very real sense causes us to choose Christ voluntarily for God can work sovereignly through our desires. The misunderstanding is that a choice must be absolutely free in order for it to be a genuine choice – however we previously established that our free will is not sovereign or ultimate. Only God’s will is sovereign (undetermined and uninfluenced).
How is it fair?
Well – simply put – it isn’t. What would be fair is that God would destroy all who rebel against Him. What is fair is for us to get the just penalty of our sin. It would be perfectly fair for a perfect and Holy God not to save anyone – as He did with the angels in 2 Peter 2:4 – “For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment…” That God saves anyone is a great demonstration of His grace that goes far beyond fairness and justice.
Even beyond this – in asking how is it fair for God to even create people He knows will be damned to hell? These ‘vessels of wrath’…
Romans 9:20-23 is a good reminder of God’s sovereignty and rights as the only God:
“But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me thus?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honourable use and another for dishonourable use? 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…”
Simply put – how can we ask if anything God does is fair or not since He Himself is the definition and source of all that is right and just!? He does according to His sovereign will and it is always right. He is the Creator, unsubjected to any ‘higher’ authority – so then by what authority can we question His will? To what law can you hold the Lawgiver? What higher power than God can you appeal to in which to hold Him accountable? He is God and we are not.
But even in this – God wills to save everyone… “[God] desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4. And His glory is also furthered by the fact that some are not saved for it shows His absolute sovereign right to judge, and the infinite worth of the salvation of the elect that they would be called! And God’s ultimate priority is His glory.
How do we deal with Reprobation?
Reprobation is the sovereign decision of God before creation to pass over some persons, in sorrow deciding not to save them, and to punish them for their sins and thereby manifest His justice.
This doctrine is understandably hard to take in and causes us to recoil at the thought – however we are also to see that brings God great sorrow, not delight (Ezekiel 33:11). As such also, this should be our response – of sorrow for the lost – and this should be one of the driving motivations on us proclaiming His gospel so that the maximum number of those elect may hear and come to repentance. However, this doesn’t deal with the reality of the doctrine – that some are to be destined for destruction.
I’d draw you back to Romans 9:22 & 23… “vessels of wrath fitted for destruction” and “vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory”.
Notice something distinct in the tense of the verbs? In the Greek there is a distinction in the voice used – which is similar in English – it is passive and active. In the passive – “fitted for destruction” – the subject receives the action. The verb is passive. The vessels are prepared for destruction… God takes a step away from the responsibility of preparing a person for destruction – because it is as a result of their free will rejection of Him. God doesn’t take that responsibility – everywhere in scripture we see that responsibility falls on the heart of every man who rejects Him.
However, in the active – “He had prepared beforehand for glory” – the subject does the acting. God is the subject here, and the verb is active. God says, I prepare vessels for glory. In the act of salvation – God is at work here. Philippians 2:13 says – ” For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” It brings Him great delight to save! People aren’t created by God to occupy hell. He wants that all would come to salvation. However – without the demonstration of His wrath, the value or need of grace could not be seen.
The fact that reprobation causes us to recoil and tremble in horror as we think of the implications of eternal hell on people created in God’s image, is not altogether without purpose… for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). And it is a reality that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:31). Fear and trembling are appropriate responses to the greatness of an entirely vast and infinitely Holy God. We look at the responses of all the prophets Jeremiah and John in scripture who encountered God – they fell prostrate in fear! That is what coming into the presence of God does – it puts us face to face with the reality of His immense holiness and we see ourselves as totally unworthy, undone; it should cause a fearful and reverent awe which leads us to worship and thus furthers the purpose of His glory.
Practical implications of election and free will to the believer in evangelism and worship:
– Secured in your salvation.
Because God elected you – the responsibility for the work of salvation is on God. And we know He never fails nor can He fail. He is unchanging – so He will never go back on His choice. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17
– Your election is unconditional, no one is excluded from the possibility of salvation.
There is hope for the worst of sinners. Because God chooses to elect people regardless of any present or future merits and He chooses us before we were born to even do anything good or evil, this means that any given person at any moment may come to saving knowledge of His grace. No conditions, nothing they can do, or think or say can exclude them – since election isn’t based on them. There is nothing you can do to warrant your exclusion – therefore all you need to do is believe (free will) and prove that you are elect! It makes it that easy! No other responsibility is put on us to be saved.
For those struggling with how to be saved – election helps them in taking the focus off themselves and what they must do – and onto God and what He has already done!
If you encounter someone who asks “Am I elect?”, then help them turn their eyes to Jesus – and in seeing him – then regeneration and the experience of election is a reflex that will happen when they see Christ for who He really is.
Also God has a habit of calling the most unlikely of sinners to grace. Look at Paul – who wrote a lot of the doctrine of election that is in the bible – he of all persons would understand unconditional election… for before He was writing scriptures, He was murdering Christians without any intent at changing. The fact and manner in which God radically saved Him – knocking him off his horse and blinding him so He could really see! – is a testimony to God’s unlikely grace to even the most destitute of sinners.
– Election and our free will acceptance of grace spreads the glory of God.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14. Jesus is he incarnate image of the glory of God. God destined us to share in Christ’s glory in order that the glory of the son might be magnified in the countless mirrors of those who are conformed to His image. As we are saved, sanctified and conformed more and more as we submit and surrender our lives to him (free will) – God’s glory is spread wide in and through our lives to others (witnessing).
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” – 1 John 3:1&2
– Humility for the best of saints.
There is no greater thing which causes you to be humble than to know that every virtue you posses is owing to the sovereign grace of God. Even our faith is a gift of God. We were dead in trespasses and sins – dead to God – to His holiness and righteous standard – unable to help ourselves or even see the true nature of our depravity. Diseased and depraved, our will was to do evil, to rebel, in our foolishness we thought ourselves wise, called evil good, we wanted our own sovereign wills, we did not want God…
And God in absolutely free and unconditional, undeserved grace – sets His favour on you and made you alive. He takes your heart of stone and gives you a heart of flesh, gives you a new nature, new desires… there is NOTHING we can boast in. He becomes incarnate – God in the flesh – to live the perfect life not for Himself – but to give you His righteousness – to put it on your account… then brutally dies for our rebellion… and raises to life again to conquer death and bring new life…This should humble us… our righteousness is not our own – but Christ’s.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21… we not only get his righteousness – we become it! We are clothed in it. Hidden in Christ.
In chinese, the word for righteousness is a combination of two characters… the figure of a lamb and a person. The lamb is on top, covering the person. When God looks at you – this is what He sees – He sees His Son! Covering you… He sees His righteousness imputed to you. He sees the spotless Lamb of God, His beloved son – in whom He is well pleased – and He looks on you with those same loving eyes. That God rejoices over you, with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17) and dancing (Isaiah 62:5)! That He takes joy in His kids that He has chosen to adopt… that is humbling.
– A proper understanding of election and God’s sovereignty produces worship and awe.
We are called to worship in spirit and truth. The more we know of God; His character, nature, person – the more accurate and effective our worship. To worship in ignorance is to run the risk of developing a false image of God in your mind. Understanding God’s election – that He will be gracious to whom He will be gracious – shows us His sovereign freedom which is synonymous with His glory. And His glory is what compels us to worship. In light of His ultimate sovereignty we can’t help but shrink back in reverence and fear, standing in awe of the absolute freedom of God who does rightly and justly what He wills undetermined or affected by anything else. We would rejoice with great joy that He has set His favour on us!!
Understanding this doctrine takes the focus off us in worship and onto God who has done everything! It shows us His greatness and our finitude. No one goes to the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or any huge natural wonder for an ego boost… you go there and are wowed by grandness and vast size – you realize just how small you are and you are humbled. In the same way – no one comes into the presence of God and feels proud. We are floored by His greatness. Understanding His sovereign election of total and ultimate free will shows us just how big and powerful God is to be independent of all influences.
– It frees us to be bold in evangelism.
Because salvation is totally the work of God – and all responsibility is on Him – we cannot fail! Because it is not up to us. He does the calling, He elects, He gives faith, He justifies and sanctifies. All we have to do is be faithful to carry the message. For how can they believe if they’ve never heard, how can they hear if no one goes? We are privileged to be the instruments by which God carries out His will for salvation… Whether you fail or succeed ultimately isn’t on you. This should not breed apathy but boldness! For if our God is for us – what can stand against us?
Also because it means hope for the worst of sinners – no one is excluded – no matter how bad they may seem to us – no matter how impossible a case. God can break the hardest of hearts. We can be bold to witness to even the most unlikely of not-yet repentant sinners.
– It has changed the way I view, think and pray about the lost.
This is a personal one – but it has changed the way I pray for my friends who are lost… I pray now that God would set His favor on them to call them to Himself by whatever means He sees best. I pray that He Himself would reveal His glory to them in His election that their eyes may be opened up and respond in repentance and surrender to Him. I pray that I would be a faithful instrument of His election – to say and do that which would further His purpose of election. I submit myself to His will – that none should be lost but all be saved. And I pray against pride to think that it is I who saved, or who seeks or calls… against pride to not want to look bad and not say anything…
I hope this helped you in your understanding of predestination and free will – and ultimately that it would lead you to deepen your worship and understanding of God as well as encourage you to boldly proclaim the hope in Christ we have.
There are more things pertaining to predestination and free will that I could talk about – such as the sustaining grace of God for the believer, the good works which we do, and the blessings of God into eternity… however I’d encourage you to do your own study on this… Ultimately though – predestination is one of those things we may never fully come to grasp within the limits of our human minds…
But as Blaise Pascal said, “Human things must be known to be loved: but Divine things must be loved to be known.”
So learn to love doctrine – to love Who this doctrine is about – and in doing so you begin to know the heart of God and to understand and trust in Him …keep studying the Word and be transformed by it to ever deeper love for God.
Thanks for suffering through to the end… haha. God bless.