Everyone Has A Choice, Including God:
The God who created the universe is infinite in every regard. There is no end to His knowledge, no limit to what He can do. How and why He created beings like Himself, gave us choice, and then saved us when we were lost, is the greatest mystery of the universe.
Throughout the history of man on earth, God has revealed Himself to certain people—a select few—persons who possessed a certain character of humility. God does not choose people based on how good or bad they are, but according to whether they believe Him. The people that God reveals the secrets of His nature, existence, purpose, and will to are people who seek Him with all of their heart.
When God counted Abraham a righteous man, it was because he believed what God said:
“Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” ~Genesis 15:6
People who are militant in their opposition to God and His Word are prohibited from knowing anything past the fundamentals of salvation. The depth of scripture and the ability to “rightly divide” the texts of the Bible are reserved only for those who are truly His.
After Jesus taught the Parable of the four soils, His disciples asked Him why He only taught the masses of people by way of Parables, but to them He taught directly and to the point. Jesus said that most of the people who came to hear Him did not really want to know Him. Many were coming simply to see the miracles He performed, or to be fed by Him.
Jesus said that people who genuinely want to know Him, they will receive knowledge about Him and the Bible, by the Holy Spirit:
“Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, (Then Jesus cites Jeremiah 5:21): For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.” ~Matthew 13:10-13
Knowledge about God comes only to people who genuinely seek Him with all of their heart. Jesus said that people who have shut their eyes and ears to see and hear what Jesus is saying, God takes away their ability to understand the Bible. Persons who see what Jesus said, and listen to Him, God gives these persons more and more knowledge about God and the Bible.
This defines the atheists as incapable of understanding God or the texts of the Bible.
People who really don’t care about God or the Bible—will never be able to understand what the Bible is saying. Jesus said that people who deny Him have no ability to understand the Bible, because they are prohibited by their unbelief.
When Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth, He taught there in the synagogue, and the people were amazed. The people thought they knew who Jesus was because He had grown up before them. They scoffed at the idea that He was anything more than a normal man. Because of their unbelief, Matthew writes that Jesus only did a few miracles while He was in Nazareth.
Unbelief limits our revelation of God and the Bible; it limits what God will do in our life. If we deny the truth of who Jesus is long enough, eventually we will be completely hardened in our heart and mind and never be able to find the truth of who Jesus is. This is the place where many militant atheists have placed themselves today. It is the place where atheists and progressive biblical scholars reside: incapable of understanding what the Bible is really saying.
“Jesus returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.“ ~Matthew 13:54-58
Many people rely upon the statements and opinions of people who say the Bible is not true and the testimonies about Jesus in the New Testament are unreliable. These scholars are often atheists and progressive scholars who don’t believe the Bible is the word of God, and they deny its authority and truth.
The Bible is clear that no unbeliever has the capacity to be a genuine Biblical scholar. The Bible is not a work of literature like all other works found in the world that can be subjected to human criticism in order to be found true. The Bible is all true, because it came from the Living God who is the author of all its texts.
The God who possessed the power, knowledge, and ability to create this majestic universe we observe is the same God who has the power, knowledge, and ability to speak to men, who recorded His words and preserve these texts for every generation. God has the ability to ensure that all people could know who He is, by sending us a book that reveals Him to the world.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” ~2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” ~2 Peter 1:20-21
It is not possible for man to corrupt, alter, diminish, or destroy the words that God wanted to give mankind. The Bible comes to us exactly as God intended, and we can trust every word that is in these 66 books as reliable, truthful, and accurate.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” ~Isaiah 55:11
When I began my education as a scholar 47 years ago, I could not say with certainty that the Bible has been preserved by God over the millenia, and remains just as God intended. It was by four decades of intense study that I know for certain today—the Bible is perfect in every regard.
God cannot lie; He never distorts the truth as men do. Every word, event, person, and statement in the Bible is true. The miracles found in the Bible are what we would expect from the God who created all that exists. He is a God of miracles, and there is nothing that is impossible for Him. The miracles Jesus performed in the New Testament, certified by the men who saw and heard Him, are the same types of miracles we find God performing in the Old Testament.
The prophet Isaiah wrote that when the Messiah comes to earth, He will be God, performing miracles of restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, walking to the crippled, speech to the mute.
“Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!” ~Isaiah 35:4-6
These miraculous signs that Isaiah said the Messiah would show the world to prove He is God come to earth to offer salvation, is exactly what the men who saw Jesus said that they saw Him do:
- Sight to the Blind: Matthew 9:27-31, Mark 8:22-26, Luke 11:14 John 9:1-41
- Hearing to the Deaf: Mark 7:31-37,
- Walking to the Crippled: John 5:5-17,
- Speech to the Mute: Mark 7:31-37
When John the Baptist was arrested and taken to prison, he asked two of his disciples to go to Jesus and ask Him if He was the Messiah they were expecting:
“John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.” ~Matthew 11:2-6
Jesus is reminding John the Baptist, and all of us who read this today, that everything Isaiah and all the prophets said the Messiah would do to prove He is God and Messiah, Jesus was doing. The men who saw and heard Jesus say and do these things recorded what happened for us. This testimony has survived intact through two thousand years of history. God preserved the testimonies about Him that He wanted the world to know, and we have these words today in the Bible.
The New Testament we have in our possession today is virtually identical in every one of the important events the manuscript copies of these texts have preserved through time and decay
Everything found in the Bible is true, and there has never been any evidence that proves what is written is not true. All that we find are the opinions and conjecture of atheists and progressive scholars, who assert they have greater authority than the men who recorded the texts of the Bible as God spoke them to these men.
- Were The Gospels Written By Eyewitnesses?
- Who Is Qualified To Be A Biblical Scholar?
- The Ruse of Atheist New Testament Scholars
Who Does God Choose For Salvation?
The people that God chooses to reveal Himself to are a further mystery, for they are not perfect people; they have no goodness in themselves that compels God to choose them.
The criteria for God in choosing people for salvation is a great mystery, but this conundrum is revealed in the pages of scripture. Paul is the first to speak of this mystery, and he said that the reason God chose him to write about this great unknown quality of God was based upon what God knew about Paul before he was born:
“But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.” ~Galatians 1:15-16
One of the tragedies of Christianity is the misuse of texts in the Bible which describe the people whom God chose for salvation. Calvinism states that salvation and God choosing people to be saved is strictly a decision made by God and we humans have no part in His decision. This is not true, and this principle cannot be found in the pages of the Bible.
SIDEBAR: This essay is neither an endorsement of Calvinism or Arminianism. The entire body of texts found in the Bible, proves that the truth is somewhere in the middle of these two extreme views of salvation. This essay addresses this balance.
The Error of Calvinism
The premise of Calvinism is well-intentioned. Giving credit to God for all things; placing the responsibility for salvation squarely in God’s hands. Like many views of God that man often has, we either go too far, or not far enough.
Salvation is strictly a decision made by God, predicated upon what He knew about us before He created anything. The complexity of God’s Sovereignty included using His infinite knowledge to determine what He would do. Our decision to believe or not believe was not what determined what God would do, but it was the critical part of God’s knowledge that caused Him to give us choice.
Fatalism is the idea that says human acts occur by necessity, which renders our choices not really free. The premise of this theory is not correct. God does not cause events to happen by necessity; He simply knows what will happen, and works within these events to make them turn out for good (Romans 8:28).
The responsibility to do right or wrong is all ours. I created two sons, and sometimes they do evil. This is their fault, not mine. If it were up to me alone, they would never do wrong. Because I created them and sent them into the world to live their own lives, what they do with the life they have been given is their responsibility.
Fatalism is the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable. This is not what the Bible reveals about God. All events are known by God, not determined by Him. We determine what we will do, and the results of our actions are our responsibility. The knowledge that God has of all events does not mean He caused them, good or bad, only that He knew what would happen. It is based upon this foreknowledge that God makes all His decisions and chooses to make all things turn out for good for those who love Him.
Atheists criticize the idea that God is infallible and knows all things, but does nothing about them. This argument states that we have no control over what will happen because God decided what will happen, therefore it is unfair to condemn us for what we do, since we have no choice. Once again, the premise is wrong:
- God knows all things, causes all things to turn out for good for those who love Him.
- We are given control over our own lives, but God knows what we will choose.
- We are responsible for what we do, good or bad, and God will judge us on what we do with what we have.
- God has done something about sin, evil, suffering, and death: He sent Jesus to die for all sins, defeat all evil, and give anyone who believes the opportunity to be a part of the perfect world God has promised.
God gave every human being the privilege of choice in determining their eternal destiny. What many fail to understand is that God knew what we would choose before He created us.
Based upon this perfect and advanced knowledge, God chose certain people whom He knew would hear what Jesus has done for them, repent from their sins, trust in Christ, and continue to trust Christ for their entire life. These are the persons God chose for eternal life.
From God’s perspective there are only two categories of human beings:
- The saved
- The lost
Within these two categories, there are four types of people who have lived on the earth all throughout the entire history of man on earth.
- The unsaved who will never believe.
- The saved whom God knew would trust in Christ and remain with Him.
- The unsaved who made a confession of faith in Christ, but later stop believing and never returned to Christ.
- The saved who God knew would believe, fall away, return to Christ, and continue to believe for the rest of their life.
God only chose people for eternal life who trust in Christ and are found to remain trusting in Christ at the end of their life
“It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you never truly believed in the first place.” ~1 Corinthians 15:2 (NLT) 2
“You must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.” ~Colossians 1:23
Jesus said: “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” ~ Matthew 24:13
The reward of eternal life in heaven is only given to people who continue to trust in Jesus for all of their life.
God Chooses Based Upon What He Knows
A statement of certainty in the Bible is that everything that will happen during the entire history of the universe was known to God before He created anything.
“Known to God from eternity are all His works.” ~Acts 15:18
Is there a conflict, contradiction, or inconsistency between God’s statement that He wants all people to be saved, and His declaration that He chooses certain people for eternal life, and others He does not choose? No.
Notice that Paul clarifies this question by stating that both are true at the same time: God wants everyone to be saved; God knew who would believe, in advance of creating us.
“For 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
“For God knew his people in advance (foreknew), and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” ~Romans 8:29
A fact of the Bible is that God knew who would believe and be saved, and who would not. Although He wants everyone to be saved, the actual accomplishment of personal salvation is up to every person to decide.
God, knowing before He created anything who would trust in Him for their salvation, decided that these persons would be counted as saved before He created anything. He also determined that this entire process would be seen and understood by the unpacking of time in its linear observation. God knew what would happen, but He displayed this to all creation by the process of time on earth.
God Knew Who Would Believe, But He Is Also Seen Drawing People To Christ
There is a principle found in the New Testament which states that people can only be saved whom the Father draws to Christ.
“But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.) “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.” ~John 6:43-47
This is further confirmed by Jesus who states that the disciples of Jesus were chosen by God in advance, these men did not choose Jesus.
Jesus said “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit…” ~John 15:16-17
Some people who read texts like these conclude that this is evidence that salvation is completely the choice of God, and we humans have no choice in the matter. What is missing in this conclusion is the certainty that the choice God made for these men—although it was before they chose to follow Jesus—God’s choice was based upon what He knew about these men before He created the universe.
God draws people to Jesus whom He knew ahead of time would believe and continue believing for all of their life.
Simply knowing and choosing people to be saved before they know and choose themselves does not remove the need for each person to make a personal choice. All that we gain in understanding these texts is that God’s choice to save people was determined before all things existed, but it was based upon what He knew about these persons before all things existed—that they would choose, of their own free will, to trust in Jesus for all of their life.
The Claim: “I Used To Be A Believer”
In type 3 above, we see “the unsaved who made a confession of faith in Christ, but later stopped believing and never returned to Christ”; these are the people who say they once believed in Jesus. Were they really saved?
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.” ~John 8:31
From God’s perspective these persons never were saved because He knew, before He created them, their confession of faith was false. The evidence this is true is observed in their later denial of Jesus and refusal to continue trusting in Christ for the rest of their life.
Because of God’s unique view of all time, that concerns every person, He is able to see who are truly saved and who are not.
- In John chapter 17:6, Jesus describes all true believers as “always His.” This means that there never was a time when the true believer was not His. This defines salvation as an eternal event known by God before He created anything.
- Because God knew who were truly saved, He only chose these persons, gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit, counted them forever saved.
- Persons whom God knew would make a confession of faith but later deny Jesus and never return to Him—God did not choose these persons for eternal life, did not give them the gift of the Holy Spirit.
How A Person Is Truly Saved
The actual process of salvation is extremely simple, but the ability of each individual heart to actually do these things is quite difficult. God has already done the hard work of salvation. There is nothing that any person must do to be saved. The difficult part for most people is the arrival at a place of humility before God, where we are ready to believe and accept what God said.
A primary requirement for salvation, regardless of the person, is that we must first believe that God exists.
“It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” ~Hebrews 11:6
This surprises many people because they are under the impression that God must prove His existence before they believe. From God’s perspective, He has already proven His existence by the the universe, earth, and human life. Humanists and atheists assert that these three are possible by natural processes, but this has never been proven. In fact, the complexity of the universe, earth, and human existence prove no natural process could create anything of complexity.
The God who created all that exists requires the following for salvation. The first five are the necessary steps to obtain salvation; the last two are required to complete salvation.
- They must believe God Exists (Hebrews 11:6).
- They must seek to know God with all of their heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
- They must first repent from all sin (Matthew 4:17).
- They must be born again by faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection (John 3:3, Acts 16:31).
- They must be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
- They must diligently study the entire Bible for a lifetime (Daniel 2:21).
- They must continue to believe in Jesus for all of their life (Matthew 24:13).
It is important to note that God only conveys the forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the sincere who genuinely are sorry for their sins, are willing to turn from those sins, and believe that Jesus alone can convey forgiveness and eternal life to those who believe.
Jesus said the gift of the Holy Spirit is only given to those who are truly saved. This is because the Holy Spirit comes to live inside each true believer, and He never leaves them. God—knowing who are truly saved, before He created anything—determined that He would not give the gift of the Holy Spirit to the pretend believer. People who believe for awhile, but later fall away from Jesus and do not return and continue for all of their life, He does not give the Holy Spirit to these persons.
What People Believe About themselves Is Not Always True
I have had numerous conversations with atheists who are certain they were once a true Christian. They will recite all of the things they did while a Christian, and state they were completely sincere.
I believe them. I think they really believe they were once a Christian.
Unfortunately, Jesus said that people who once believed, but later fall away, their unbelief was known by God before He created them. Only people whom God knew would believe, and continue to believe for all of their life, were chosen for eternal life.
Jesus speaks of true believers in the eternal state. When He was praying to the Father for all who believe in Him, Jesus said that we were “always His.”
“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.” ~John 17:6
In some translations the text reads: “They were yours…”
The Koine Greek describes these people who believe in Jesus as εἰμί eimi, the same verb Jesus used in describing Himself as “I AM.” This is a state of being from eternity—always was, always will be. There never was a time when this was not true.
There is no ambiguity in what Jesus meant. The people who are truly saved were always saved in the realm of eternity. How can this be? From God’s perspective, all the things we are living in linear time on earth have already taken place. There is no time in eternity.
When we go to a movie theatre and watch a production of actors portrayed in a story, we watch one frame at a time until the entire movie is finished. God, dwelling in eternity, sees human life on earth much in the same way, except He has already seen all the events that will take place on earth at one time. For God, everyone who will truly believe in Jesus and remain faithful to Him was known before He began creating anything. All the issues of every human life are already a settled issue.
God is not predicting the future; He is telling us what has already happened, because He has already seen everything that will happen during the entire history of man on earth.
When Jesus prays to the Father for all true believers, He speaks of us as “always His.”
This becomes particularly important when we describe people who once believed, but later do not. These persons could not be described as “always His,” because there came a time in their life when they were not His. This defines the claims of people who say they were once a Christian as untrue. From God’s perspective in eternity, He knew these persons would only believe in Jesus for awhile, but then later give up.
These short-time believers were not chosen for eternal life. In the eternal perspective, they never were saved. These people may have thought they were true believers; but from God’s view, who knows the truth about all of us, they never were His. They were never truly Christians who rely upon Jesus for their salvation during their entire life.
The test for a true believer is the duration of an entire life. People who give up never were saved.
Everything That Is Genuine Often Has An Imitation
It is a fact of Christianity that it is possible to externally imitate the things that true believers do. It is even possible to learn the language that Christians speak and imitate this language. A parrot can learn human language, but he will never be a human being. I believe that persons who state they were once a true Christian really believe they were. The problem with their sincere belief is that many at the final judgement will say they were true believers, but Jesus will tell them: “I never knew you.”
Jesus said it is not important what we think about ourselves; what is crucial is what He knows about us. In the end it is what Jesus knows about us that will matter on the day of judgment. Jesus only comes to live inside persons who are genuinely sorry for their sins, turn from these sins, believe His death paid or their sins, and continue to trust Jesus for all of their life.
Jesus said: “On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” ~Matthew 7:22-23
These persons thought they were saved. They said the right things, did the right things, but Jesus said He doesn’t know them. Notice that Jesus said they are still breaking God’s laws. In other words, they did not repent from their sins; they are still practicing them, they are still guilty and under the condemnation of God for their sins.
Jesus would never speak of the truly saved as “breaking God’s laws.” This is because everyone who trusts in Jesus, all of the laws they have broken, and will break, are forgiven and removed from their record. Only people who have not repented and had their sins removed by Jesus are described as still breaking God’s laws.
- A person who is not willing to cease their old sins proves they never were born again.
- The persons who are really saved by God cease their sins and follow Jesus for the rest of their life.
These persons who thought they were Christians, were not. Jesus defined them as self-deceived and continuing in their old sins.
Seeing Salvation From God’s Eternal Perspective
We are observing things in linear time, which have already taken place in the domain of eternity. God knew who we would be before He created us. He knew the choices we would make—for or against Jesus.
God’s choices are based upon what He knew before He created anything. He knew what we would choose. The people who He knew would choose Jesus—God chose for eternal life.
People who have hardened their heart against God, He perfects that hardening.
In Exodus 32:14, Paul cites this text in Romans 9:14: “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”
In Romans 9 Paul wrote: ”
“Not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,” though Abraham had other children, too. This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children.” ~Romans 9:6-8
God chose only Abraham and his descendants through Isaac, to receive His promises. God made this choice before Abraham had any sons, before any had chosen to believe God.
“For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins. 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.)” ~Romans 9:9-12
God chose the younger son, Jacob, not the older son, Esau, because of what God knew about these two brothers—before they were born. God chose Jacob because he would believe what God said, and Esau would not. Even at this early time in the history of the Jews, God was demonstrating that He chooses people based on what He knows about them. He chooses people who believe what He says.
“Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” ~Genesis 15:6
This is the way that Abraham began, and it the way that Jacob continued to gain the favor of God—he believed God, and this caused God to count him as righteous. God chose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because of what He knew about them—before they were born.
God makes the same choices today. He saves only the people whom He knew ahead of time, who would believe in Jesus for their salvation, and continue to believe for all of their life.
Even though God knew who would believe and be saved—before He created the universe—Jesus still came to earth and died for every person who would ever live. God did this because He wanted us to know that it was His eternal desire that every person would have the opportunity to live forever with Him in a perfect world.
Even though Jesus knew who would believe and be saved, and who would not believe and be lost; He still died for the sins of every person who will live on earth. He wanted us to know that we were all invited to receive His free gift of forgiveness for all sins, and have eternal life.
The degree of suffering that Jesus experienced on the cross, was determined by how many sins He would be paying through His suffering on the cross. The greater the number of sins, the greater Jesus would suffer. Despite knowing that most people would not believe the testimony written about Him in the New Testament, and place their trust in Him, Jesus still died for the sins of every person, for all time.
This truth eliminates the idea that the payment Jesus made for sins while on the cross, was limited to only those who would believe. This is not what Jesus or Paul said when they wrote concerning this idea.
Jesus said: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” ~John 3:16
Paul said: “And Jesus is the payment for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” ~1 John 2:2
God’s Absolute Requirement Of Moral Perfection
One of the realities of God’s nature is His absolute perfection. God is perfect in every way and when He makes something or someone, the result is always perfection. God has no tolerance for imperfection, specifically, moral imperfection, known as sin.
The term sin came from an old English word that was used to describe a bowman who shot his arrow at a target. The bullseye was perfection, anything outside the center, a person was known as a “sinner,” someone who has missed the mark of perfection.
When the Bible designates human beings as sinners, it is describing our nature, not our behavior. We sin because we are sinners at heart. It is not possible for any human being to be perfectly righteous in their present fallen condition. Only by a new spiritual rebirth can we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Even then, we still live in the same body that loves to sin. As a result, there will always be a struggle to do what is right (Romans 7).
Sin is descriptive of our fundamental nature, which defines us as incapable of moral perfection.
Not until the Lord returns for those who love Him, and give us a new and perfect body, will be be able to live perfectly forever. Judicially we are already perfect before God because our faith in Jesus’ death for our sins on the cross, paid the debt we owed. God has give us a full pardon and expunged our record of all wrongdoing.
We Became Imperfect By Our Decision To Sin And Break The Laws Of God
“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” ~Romans 5:12
When God created man on the earth, He made us perfect like Himself. There was no imperfection in human beings from the start. God made man perfect, but it was our choice to experience evil that brought imperfection, evil, suffering, sickness and death to earth. If man had never sinned he could have lived forever on earth. It was sin, our nature, that causes all of the problems we see on our planet which ruin human life.
The moral laws of God are similar to the physical laws God created for the universe. If we break the law of gravity it will kill us. If we break the moral law of God, it will also kill us. We have grown so accustomed to sin that most of us don’t notice how terrible sin is. in our modern society, what was formerly known as sin, is no longer defined in these terms.
“Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.” ~Ezekiel 18:4
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 6:23
The law of perfection for man in all his moral behavior has never changed. God said from the beginning that the “soul who sins will die.” From the moment Adam sinned, his body began to die, until he was completely dead, physically. Adam became spiritually dead the moment he sinned. His fellowship with God was broken at this first sin.
Every human being since Adam has also been infected by the sin nature that Adam brought into the world. We are all dead in our sins and separated from God with no hope of redemption. This was until Jesus came to earth as God, took the body of a man, lived a perfect life, offered His life as payment for all our sins, and made it possible for anyone who trusts in Him to be forgiven and obtain eternal life.
“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 5:21
Today people have rebelled against the moral laws of God as they are described in the Bible. People claim the Bible is not true, and therefore, all of the laws and requirements for moral behavior in these books, are irrelevant. The truth is, the Bible is all true, but people don’t like what God has required. We live during a time when people want to live as they please, and they reject the Bible and any reference to God, who makes demands upon their life.
The Progressive Christian Movement And Sin
During the entire history of the Christian church, people in the world have correctly understood sin, salvation, and judgment, according to the texts of the Bible. The Progressive Christian Movement has redefined sin, salvation and judgment, according to new, socially acceptable set of moral values.
The Progressive Christian Movement is the result of people who didn’t like what the Bible teaches, changing traditional views of sin, and moral behavior as it is established in the Bible, and reinterpreting them for a modern society.
- Sex between unmarried persons is acceptable
- Sex between same-sex persons is acceptable
- Change of gender according to personal choice is acceptable
- Demand that these choices be accepted by all other persons
- Special laws and rights conveyed to same-sex and transgender persons
- Abortion on demand
- Interpretation of the Bible as not the Word of God
- Conveyance of academic Biblical degrees to unbelieving individuals
- Behavior determined by the feelings of an individual, not an absolute moral code
Only in these Last Days before Christ returns has the line between sin and salvation been blurred.
- It Was Jesus Who Destroyed Sodom And Gomorrah
- What Was The Sin Of Sodom?
- Are The Levitical Laws of Death For Adultery, Sodomy, And Fornication, Applicable Today?
The primary argument for the Progressive Christian Movement in altering the traditional views of same-sex persons, as well as transgender person, is the assertion that Jesus never said anything about these two groups. The idea that Christ never condemned same-sex unions, or people choosing to live as a transgender person.
This error has resulted from a complete lack of knowledge in the texts of the Bible. Jesus did not begin His existence on earth, in the pages of the New Testament. The Bible describes Jesus as Yahweh from the Old Testament, God who has always existed and created all that exists.
In Genesis 19:24, where the Lord come to Sodom and Gomorrah and brings fire and brimstone down upon these two cites, destroying all the men who were living same-sex relationships, this was Jesus’ statement on this issue.
Jesus is called by John, the “Logos,” the written Word of God, alive and living with us. All of the texts from the Old Testament which prohibit same-sex relationships and condemn those who practice these acts, was authored by Jesus as Yahweh in the Old Testament.
The idea that Jesus never said anything about same-sex or transgender persons, is preposterous. This is the result of people making conclusions about the Bible, when they don’t really know what the Bible teaches.
We Belong To God; Earth Belongs To God; We Are Accountable to God For How We Live
Though people reject God and deny He exists, the truth is, God created all that exists and everything that exists belongs to Him. He created us perfect and He has the right to demand perfection from us if we want to live in the universe He created and owns.
Anyone is free to leave this universe and create their own universe with a planet where they can live as they please. If we will live on this earth, in God’s universe, we must live as He commanded, or face the consequences of our actions. People don’t like this, but it is the reality we live in. Until the rebellious can create their own planet, they must obey what God said, or He will gather all the rebellious together and burn them up like useless garbage.
Jesus said: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” ~John 15:5-6
God wants a universe filled with righteous beings like himself, so that these people can live in peace, safety, beauty, love, and perfection. God will get what He wants, and the rebellious will get what they deserve.
These are not threats from God: He will judge all sin and the guilty will be placed in an eternal prison with all other rebels.
People shake their fist at God today; they mock Him, hate Him; curse Him, but someday soon, they will be silenced and never be heard from again. All of the horrible things that people say and do against God and the people who love Him, will be never be heard again. Hell is a prison where all the rebellious are sentenced. God does not torture people in Hell; the people sentence to this place will torture each other. The most evil, vile, violent and perverted people ever to live, will be in this prison. The horrors of this existence will be magnified by the evil persons who will live there together, forever.
God is not threatening us will Hell; He is offering us all Heaven.
We have the choice today while we are still alive to choose heaven. Where we end up in eternity, is completely our decision.
God Chose People For Eternal Life Based On What He Knew About Them From Eternity
God does not choose some people for heaven and other for Hell. People make this choice themselves, God is simply acknowledging their choices by His own choice from eternity.
Paul’s Old Testament example of how God chooses people, is found in the text of Romans chapter 9. Although the early Hebrews chose the firstborn as having preeminence, God ignores this tradition and chooses the younger brother, Jacob, over his older brother, Esau.
The reason is clear: God knew before these two brothers were born, what their character would be, and the choices these two men would make. God chooses Jacob because of the choices he made. God rejected Esau because of the choices he made.
“This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins. 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.” In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.” ~Romans 9:10-13
It is interesting that Paul cites a text in the book of Exodus, designating Moses as the writer, applying what Moses wrote to an important principle of how and why God chooses people, according to His sovereign will. Paul cites Moses as the only author of the Torah, ten times in the New Testament. Paul was certain Moses wrote the first five books.
God chose Jacob based on the choices that he would make. Paul tells us that God “chooses people according to His own purposes.” This is not a random choosing, but predicated upon what God knows about each one of us. He knew what we would choose.
Choosing the younger Jacob, over the older, Esau, seems unfair, incorrect, improper, according to some people. Paul cites a text in Exodus as the authority for his own comments regarding how God chooses people. In Exodus 33:19, God told Moses that God “will show mercy to anyone He chooses; compassion to anyone He chooses.”
The sovereignty of God includes using what He knows about every person and their choices, as criteria for how God makes His own choices. Our choices are not above God in His decisions, they are a part of His great power. Knowing what will happen and deciding which of us will be included in the perfection of heaven, is all based on God’s infinite knowledge of all things.
What God Does Concerning The Obstinate
Because God knew who the true believers would be before He made earth and places human beings on it, He could speak of people who were not even born yet, as chosen, elected, ordained, and destined.
God also knew who the people were who would harden their hearts towards Him. To these people whom He knew would refuse to believe, God perfected the hardness of their hearts. These persons can never be saved. The inability of these persons to be saved was not limited by God’s choice, but by their own choice to harden their hearts and refuse to believe the truth of Jesus death for all sins and resurrection from the dead.
Essentially God has said: “You want to harden your heart against me and refuse to believe the truth, I will perfect that hardness and make it so you can never believe.”
In Romans chapter 1, Paul describes this fact of salvation, that God knew ahead of time who these person were who would harden their hearts, refuse to see, listen, and respond to God’s offer of salvation. These persons will have no excuse on the day of their judgment. God knew them perfectly, saw their complete unwillingness to believe what God said, disqualification from eternal life because of their unbelief.
There is only one sin that God cannot forgive; the hard heart who will not believe. It is the sin of unbelief that will prevent many people from obtaining eternal life. God wanted every person to be saved; but He also knew that not every person would believe and accept His offer to save them. God respects our decisions to believe and be saved, or not believe and be lost. He does not force anyone to believe, but He does seek to influence our decision by showing us His great love in the lives and testimonies of people throughout the Bible.
A Person Can Believe And Fall Away From Jesus, But Not Be Saved
It is possible to make a profession of faith in Jesus and begin to live for Him, but later fall away. Paul addresses this in Hebrew 6. In this description of a person who has “experienced the good things of heaven; shared in the Holy Spirit; tasted the goodness of God’s word, but later turns away from Christ:
“For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.” ~Hebrews 6:4-6
The key to understanding how far this person has gone with Jesus, is in the words Paul uses to describe them:
- Enlightened: gr. φωτίζω phōtizō, made to see
- Experienced: gr. γεύομαι geuomai, have an experience with
- Shared: gr. μέτοχος metochos, shared with others
- Tasted: gr. γεύομαι geuomai, to taste, to try the flavour of
These terms listed above from Hebrew 6:4-6, indicate a person who has come near salvation, but never went all the way. “Enlightened, Experienced, Shared, and Tasted,” are casual tems, but not descriptions we would use of a person who have truly turned from their sins and made a full commitment to Jesus for life.
These terms are described by Jesus as “Born Again,” in John 3:3, a transformative event when the former person becomes a completely new creation. Paul uses similar language to express a metamorphosis that takes place when there is genuine repentance, and sincere desire to be saved by Jesus:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” ~2 Corinthians 5:17
The key here is the term, “new creation,” by way of placing ourselves, “in Christ.”
New creation is related to a Greek word, κτίσις ktisis (tʰé.sis)
The etymology of this Koine-Greek word is, “creating.” Also something that has been created.
The usage of this Greek word by Paul, defines a true Christian as “Ka-na-tesis,” a new creature in the state of being in the new faith, by the same word used when God makes something completely new, as in a new species or being. The same Koine-Greek word used in Galatians 6:15, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation” (ktisis).
This is in the Greek perfect tense: describing a completed action which produced results which are still in effect all the way up to the present. The people who turn from their sins and fully trust in Christ to save them, are a new creation, a new species, to the present moment. This also implies an event that took place in eternity for God, but exists for the person, in the present, but also continuing forever.
When science discovers a new lifeform, they call it a new species, something that has never been known before. The literal meaning of this Greek text is that whenever someone sincerely turns from their sin and genuinely turns to Christ in order to have a new and eternal life, God makes them a completely new species that the world has never known before, “metamorphōsis,” or as Jesus described this event to Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Born Again.”
Not only are they a completely new and different person, in the spirit; the old things that have happened before that moment, and everything from that moment on—they also become something completely new.
The term, “have passed away,” is in the Greek; παρέρχομαι parerchomai; is in the The aorist tense. Simply stated, the fact that an action has already happened in the past.
In simple terms, the Koine-Greek here is very clear and specific: people who are made a new creation by their genuine repentance and trust in Christ, have become something that has never existed before, and everything that existed before that moment for the person, and in eternity past for God, is all gone forever.
These new beings are now and have forever been, perfect.
This is the only way that anyone will ever make it to heaven. They must become a completely new creation, and every sin has been removed as though they never existed. Such is the power of Jesus’ death on the cross to cleanse us from all sins, and make us new and perfect beings.
But, for God, this has been a settled matter, even before He made anything. This is because He knew who would do this in its required sincerity, and the event would really take place.
God saw our choice; He saw our sincere repentance; He saw our since desire to be a new creation—so, He made is new and perfect—before He created anything. He also saw those who would not really turn from their sins; they would not genuinely turn to Christ; they would later fall away from Jesus and cease believing. These person God did not choose for eternal life. They were not saved, because they would not do what God required. The central issue which prevented their true salvation was an unwillingness to turn from all sin and then turn to Christ completely, and remain for the rest of their life.
God Saw All Of These Events Before They Happened
In Romans 11 we see that God chose some of the people of Israel because He knew ahead of time they would believe. He rejected most of the people of Israel because He knew they would not believe.
It is a fact that human beings often harden their heart towards God. Jesus described four types of human heart in the Parable of the Four Soils:
“Then Jesus spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” ~Matthew 13:3-9 (NKJV) 3
In this Parable, the soil is the human heart; the sower is the Lord; the seed is the words that Jesus speaks with the message of salvation.
The Hard Heart: The Trampled Path
In Matthew 13:4, Jesus describes this first type of human heart as hard, like a path that many people walk on, over and over again. This heart is already hardened towards God, and when this person hears the Good News about Jesus, the hardness of their heart, causes these persons to immediately reject the Gospel. Jesus said that when satan sees a person with a hardened heart towards God, he comes to take away the words of the Bible, and discourage people from believing its truth.
The Superficial Heart: The Rocks
The second type of human heart is represented by soil that is rocky. This heart hears the message about Jesus, receives it, but because of the rocks, described by Jesus as, “problems or are persecution,” they fall away from Jesus and stop believing.
Jesus said that “in this word we will have tribulation” (problems and trials), it is a fact of life that everyone has difficulties.For some people who hear about Jesus and receive His invitation to follow Him, the problems and the persecution they experience because they believe in Him, is too much. These person quickly fall away from Jesus and they no longer believe.
Today there are many who share the Good News about Jesus during an evangelistic outreach while great crowds of people are gathered together. In the emotion and excitement of these events, people often make an emotional response, and pray a prayer of faith, but a year or two later, they are no longer following Jesus.
One of history’s great preachers during the eighteenth century, George Whitefield, was described by the newspapers of that day, as the: “marvel of the age.” Whitefield preached to thousands of people on two continents, and by the power of his words through the Holy Spirit, he preached more than 18,000 times to over 10 million people.
When Whitefield was asked how many people were saved during his crusades, he often replied, “We’ll see in a few years.”
He was not implying that people have to earn their salvation by works that are seen in the following years, but that time is the process that proves whether true salvation has taken place.
It is not difficult to make an emotional response to Jesus; it is another thing altogether, to continue to believe through all of life’s problems and difficulties. Many people fall away because they cannot endure the trials of their life and the persecution they experience from family and friends after they confess their trust in Jesus.
The Divided Heart: The Thorns
People with this type of heart, hear the word of God concerning Jesus, but “the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, prevent any lasting fruit to be produced.” After a confession of faith, many people find no room for Jesus in their life because they love the things of this world more than they love Jesus.
Having things is not a sin; but things having us can rob us of eternal life. When the Rich Young Ruler, came to Jesus and wanted to know what he must do to have eternal life, he said that he had kept the laws of God concerning the treatment of other human beings. When Jesus told him to “go and sell all that he had and give it to the poor,” this revealed that although his heart was right towards people in the world, it was not right towards God. The things that he owned had filled up every space, leaving no place for Jesus. He walked away sad, because he had so many things in this world.
It is likely that had the young man told Jesus that he would gladly sell everything to follow Him, the Lord would have told this young man that it was no longer necessary. It was not the things he had, but the fact that they were first and all important to him, that prevented him from following Jesus. If a person can truly keep Jesus first, then having things in this world is no hindrance.
The reason that many people reject Jesus today is that we live during a time when we can have many wonderful possessions in this world. It is the pursuit and occupation of all our thoughts and desires for things of the world, that often crowds out Jesus and harms the heart that wants to follow Him.
The Good Heart: Producing Fruit
The fourth heart is represented by people who hear the Good News about Jesus, receive it, believe it, and go on to follow Jesus for the rest of their life. Notice that only about twenty-five percent of the people who hear about Jesus, achieve this result. The problem is not with the message; there is no defect in who Jesus is or the reliability of the testimony from men who recorded His life in the New Testament; the defect is in the heart of people who cannot continue to believe.
Some people who are in this fourth category, also have doubts about Jesus. Everyone will likely have a crisis of faith when they consider giving up in following Jesus. The true believer comes back to Jesus after a time, and continues to follow Him for the rest of their life.
If we follow this thread in the New Testament, and read the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, He said that those who are truly His, were “always His.” Because God knew all things from the beginning, He also knew who would be included in this fourth category of human hearts. He could see who would hear about Him, believe, and continue to believe for all of their life.
It was these persons that Jesus and Paul said, “were always his.” It was these persons that God chose for eternal life. God makes His choices by what He knows—all things. Because God knew who would believe in Jesus and continue to believe, He chose these person for eternal life before He created anything.
The First Soil: The Hard Heart, The Most Difficult To Save
Also in Matthew chapter 13, after Jesus had taught the Parable of the Four Soils, Jesus’ disciples asked Him why He taught the crowds of people by Parables, but to them He spoke clearly.
“Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”
“That is why I use these parables, (then Jesus cites Jeremiah 5:21) “For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.“
Then Jesus cites Isaiah 6:8-10:
“This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.”
According to Jesus there are two types of people in the world:
- Those who hear what He says
- Those who do not hear what He says
To people who are listening to Jesus, who want to hear what He says, He seek to understand who He is and what His words mean; He will give them understanding.
To people who are not listening. People who don’t care what Jesus says. They will not be able to understand who He is, or what the Bible is saying. If they persist in this resistance and refusal to listen, even the little knowledge they do have, Jesus will take that away.
It is interesting that Jesus cites both Jeremiah and Isaiah concerning people who refuse to listen to Jesus, hear Him, and try to understand what He is saying. Jesus tells us that 700 years before He arrive on earth in fulfillment of the 400 Prophecies of the Messiah, Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted that when the Messiah came to earth, most people would ignore Him, or refuse to believe in Him—even though they saw the miracles He performed:
John 12:37-40: “But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: Isaiah 53:1 “LORD, who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?”
But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, “The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.”
John cites the same texts in Isaiah 6:8-18: people will refuse to listen to the Messiah when He arrives. As a result, the Lord will blind their eyes, harden their hearts, and make it so they will not be able to understand who the Messiah is.
God takes it very serious when a person refuses to listen to the words of scripture, or believe in Him through the testimony of the men and women who saw Jesus. He took it serious when the Jews saw God deliver them from Pharaoh and Egypt—through the Red Sea, but still didn’t believe or trust Him. That entire generation died in the wilderness and were not allowed to enter the land God promised.
Just as Pharaoh hardened his heart against God, and God perfected his hardening until he could never believe, the same happens to people today who harden their hearts against God.
Paul references the Jews in the wilderness as a prior example of what happens when anyone knows the truth about God, but hardens their heart against God:
“So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say, “God has put them into a deep sleep. To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear.” ~Romans 11:7-8
The people who believed God and trusted what He said, God chose them for eternal life. This selection did not happen after they chose to believe, but before God created the universe. The Lord was able to make this choice because He knew the choice that every person would make
God did not choose some people for heaven and others for Hell. Everyone decides their eternal destiny themselves. God simply knew what our choice would be before He created us. He made His choice to save those He knew would believe. These are the persons who Jesus said, the “Father has given me.”
Jesus said: “But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” ~John 6:36-37
People with hard hearts towards God, are represented by the hard path that Jesus described in Matthew chapter 13:4. In the Gospel of Mark, there is an additional detail that Peter dictated to Mark that the Parable of the four soils is the key to all of the Parables:
“Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?” ~Mark 4:13
In Luke 8:6, we find the same Parable of the four soils, with additional details: The hard path is described as s place that people, “stepped on.” In the Koine-Greek texts, this footpath is called, “hodos,” “a way, a journey, a road of life that people choose to travel. Also a course of conduct that people choose, a way of life; a way of thinking, feeling, and deciding.”
We see the truth of the hard path that many people take, the path the world steps on, which hardens the human heart against God. It is by the choices that people make to reject God, the Bible, and the salvation Christ offers, that their hearts become so hardened that they can never come to Jesus and be saved.
It is not impossible for God to save anyone; but people make it impossible for themselves by hardening their heart towards the Lord. God knew these people and the fact of their chosen path in life, to live for this world and reject Jesus, and based on this knowledge—He did not choose these persons for eternal life.
Sidebar: Before we condemn God for only choosing people who trust in Him, we must remember that every human being does the exact same thing in their own life. We only choose people to be a part of our life who are truly our friends; who love and trust us, and stay faithful to us throughout our life. What if you had the ability to know who these persons were before the universe existed? Wouldn’t you choose the people you knew would be your true and faithful friends? Wouldn’t you reject people who you knew would never love or trust you? People often say that if they had known the things that would happen in their life, they would have made different choices. We sometimes wish we could go back and start over again, using the knowledge we have now about what was going to happen. God had this ability, and He used this knowledge in choosing people for eternal life, He knew, would choose Jesus.
When people are lost for eternity by dying in their sins and rejecting the one way that God has provided for their salvation—they have only themselves to blame. I find it extraordinary that Jesus knew who would believe in Him and be saved—before He arrived on earth, but He still died for the sins of the whole world.
According to militant atheists, God is mean, cruel, unfair, vindictive, and filled with wrath. What we see in the Bible when we read it for ourselves, is that before God destroys people, He gives them an extraordinarily long period of time to repent. God warned the Midianites to cease their brutal murder of infant children by placing them on the fiery-hot arms of their God, Molech, for nearly 900 years. When the Midianites refused to repent, God sent men to destroy the nation. Would any human being wait more than a few months for someone to repent who had wronged us?
Not taking the time to actually investigate what transpired when God destroyed the Midianites, atheists condemn God for destroying an entire nation. If you read the above essay, you will learn all the details that transpired before, during, and after God brought judgment to the Midianite nation.
When People Harden Their Hearts, God Turns To Offer Salvation To The Willing
When God first offered salvation to the world, He first gave this knowledge to the Hebrew people. It was Abraham who “believed God, and God counted his trust as “righteousness. God accepted Abraham based on his trust in what God said, not his good or bad decisions. God told Abraham that He was going to make him a great nation and through his future descendant, the Messiah, God would save everyone who believed.
“The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” ~Genesis 12:1-3
Abraham’s faith in what God said, became the basis upon which God offered salvation to the whole world. When Jesus came to Jerusalem and performed all the miracles required by the Old Testament prophets who predicted a Messiah exactly like Jesus, the Jews rejected Him, also predicted by Isaiah and all the prophets.
“Who has believed our message?” ~Isaiah 53:1
“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.” ~John 1:10-11
Paul asks a rhetorical question of the Jews in Romans 11. Did God’s rejection of the Jews for their rejection of Jesus as their promised Messiah, mean they could never recover? No!
“Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves.” ~Romans 11:11-12
A person can reject Jesus as their Savior and later change their mind. It is possible for people who once has a hard heart towards God, to change their heart and come to God in humility, repentance, and a desire to be saved. In the case of the Jews, their rejection of Jesus opened the door for the rest of the world to hear about Jesus and be saved.
This is the period of history we are living in right now. This is the time referred to as, “The Times of the Gentiles.” This is the “harvest” referenced by Jesus; the four months between the Feast of Pentecost and Trumpets, when the Jews harvested their crops.
Jesus said: “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.” ~ John 4:35
We are in the harvest period, just before the Feast of Trumpets when the Rapture will occur and Jesus will take all those who love Him from this earth, before the horrors of the seven year Tribulation will begin.
Branches Broken Off—Branches Grafted In
Paul continues: “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.
“Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either.”
Those Who Fall Away Are Branches Broken Off And Burned
One of the shocking terms used by Jesus and Paul in the New Testament to describe people who believe but later fall away from Jesus, is “broken off.”
Jesus said: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” ~John 15:5-6
The need to “remain in me,” described by Jesus, is a reference to a continued belief in Jesus and reliance upon Him for life. People who so not remain in Jesus and cease to believe, Jesus says, these persons are thrown away.
Although God is sovereign in choosing people for eternal life, the choice of the person to believe and continue believing, remains with each individual person. We decide if we want to be saved; we choose whether or not we will continue to trust in Jesus every day of of life, until the end of our life.
God, seeing the entirety of our life—only chooses for eternal life—persons who He knows will remain a believer for all of their life. If a person believes for awhile, falls away, and comes back to Jesus and continues to believe for the rest of their life; Jesus also sees this, and He chooses these persons for eternal life.
The emphasis of Jesus in John 15:5-6 is the enduring faith for life of the persons who are actually saved and inherit eternal life. This proves that people who only believe for awhile, later fall away from Jesus and never come back, were never given salvation. They did not receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; they were never known by Jesus.
The reason we know that people who once believed, but later stopped believing were never given the Holy Spirit, is by what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that when God gives the sincere believer the gift of the Holy Spirit, “He will never leave you.”
Jesus said: “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” ~John 14:15-17
Notice that people in the world who have not been born again (John 3:3), cannot receive the Holy Spirit. People who “Know Jesus, He lives in these people.”
While You Are Alive, It’s Not Too Late To Come Back To Jesus
If the Jews who first denied Jesus as the Messiah, change their minds and believe, God will graft them back into the original branch of Abraham. This means that a Gentile who believes in Jesus but falls away, can also come back to Him and believe again, and He will graft them back into the original branch of Abraham.
What is important regarding this entire process, is that God knew who these persons were, and what they would ultimately do, before He created anything. It was those whom He knew would continue to believe for all of their life, that He chose for eternal life.
God’s sovereign choice to call and ordain people for eternal life, was based upon what He knew about all of us, and who would ultimately choose to permanently trust in Jesus. God’s choices and His sovereignty, were based upon what He knew about us and our choices.
The entire process of salvation that God determine for the persons He created like Himself, is described by Paul as a “great mystery.”
“Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.” ~1 Timothy 3:16
If you have never committed your life to Jesus, or if you once comitted your life to Jesus but have fallen away, you can change your eternal destiny at this moment. Think about this: you are headed towards a certain end to life. Every one of us is going to die. The Bible said that if we die while still in our sins, we will face judgement for our sins.’
God created us perfect like Himself, and He commanded all of us to live righteous lives. Each of us has chosen to not obey God’s commands for how we live, and we have lived as we chose.
Jesus came to earth as God living in the body of a man. He lived a perfect life, without sin, and presented His perfect and eternal life to the Father, as a payment for our sins. If anyone believes they are a sinner and is sorry for their sins, they can come to Jesus and request that their record be cleansed of all wrongdoing. The moment this happens and we determine to continue trusting in Jesus for the rest of our life, God gives us eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit, who comes to live inside us.
If you want this for yourself, you can pray a simple prayer to God, asking Him to do these things for you:
“Father I come to you in Jesus’ name who died for me. I am asking you to forgive all my sins. I am sorry I sinned against you. I want to be forgiven and no longer continue in my sins. Jesus forgive me and come into my life and live through me. I want to commit my life to you, for the rest of my life. Thank you for dying for me; thank you for giving me the forgiveness of all my sins and eternal life. I pray this in your name, Jesus, amen!”
- What Happened to Our Sins When Jesus Died?
- What The Death Of Jesus Did To All Of Our Sins
- The Fundamentals Of Salvation: God’s Responsibility; Our Responsibility
- The Supremacy Of Christ And The Present Possession Of Salvation For Every Believer
 John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
 Matthew 19:16-20 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ Honor your father and your mother,’ and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
 John 17:6 (Jesus said:) “I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. In order for a person to “always be His,” they must have been His before the world existed. In eternity before the universe, earth, and man, God knew who would truly believe in Jesus and be saved. These people He chose for eternal life. The people whom Jesus knew ahead of time, would only believe for awhile, or never believe, Jesus did not choose for eternal life.
 STRONG’S NUMBER: g3598 ὁδός hodos; apparently a primary word; a road; by implication, a progress (the route, act or distance); figuratively, a mode or means: — journey, (high-)way. AV (102) – way 83, way side 8, journey 6, highway 3, misc 2; properly a waya travelled way, road a travellers way, journey, travelling metaph. a course of conducta way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding.
Categories: Agnostics and Skeptics, All Israel will be saved, Chosen/ Elected, does god harden hearts?, Following Jesus, Forgiveness of Sin, Going to Church but unsaved, Hell is not God's will for you, His Compassion, How Salvation Occurs, Jesus is the Messiah, Leading People to Jesus, Living For Jesus, Must Be Born Again, Not understanding salvation, Pretend Believers, Reasons For Unbelief, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation is a free gift, Salvation through Jesus, The Condition of the Heart, The failure of religion, The Four Gospels, The Historical Jesus, The Tribulation Period, Those who stop believing, True Repentance, We must see our need, What happens after death?, What is required for Heaven?, Why Jesus had to die