This series is not about predestination, but about what free will is, why it is, and how it benefits us - which will explain a lot of the troubles we have in this life. But predestination is an issue for some, so let me address that before getting into our subject.
Predestination is the belief that a person has free will in this life to sin or not sin, but they do not have free will to choose heaven or hell. They believe God has 'predestined' them to either heaven or hell.
The error of predestination was started by John Calvin, a French reformer around the year 1530, and beyond that narrow line of thought you won't find it in Judaism nor 2000 years of Christianity.
There are 2 main verses predestination stands on. The main one is Romans 8:29: "For whom He foreknew, He predestined them to be conformed to the image of His son..."
This verse says is that God knew from the beginning who would and would not be saved, and with that knowledge provided salvation for those who would want it. There is nothing here about being locked into either heaven or hell; it just states God knows all and provided salvation for those He knew would want it. That means free will is intact.
Don't we make decisions at the start of our day to provide us options during the day? In my elementary school education my mom foreknew that my school day included a lunch hour, so based on her knowledge she made my school lunch, but also made sure I had money in my pocket. She foreknew there were times I would rather have the school lunch so she predestined me to have money to buy lunch if I wanted. Her foreknowledge and predestination (determination before it happened) was used to provide me a choice in lunches, which left my free will intact.
Don't we based on foreknowledge make decisions before we leave for work in the morning, predetermine if we should take an umbrella in case it rains as forecast? Don't we take our lunch to work to eat there or put in the break room refrigerator if someone invites us to lunch instead? We have a basic foreknowledge of our day so predetermine a course of action based on that foreknowledge. That's all God did with salvation, for those who He knew would believe given the chance, He predetermined to provide salvation for us.
Another verse often used to justify their doom is Romans 9:13 in the King James Version: "As it is written, 'Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.'" Paul here paraphrases Malachi 1:2-3.
In Malachi, and in Romans, God is talking about His choice of Jacob to be renamed 'Israel', and the word 'hate' as many Rabbi's and Christian commentators point out, is not in context the active personally directed word 'hate', but rather that He made a distinction between Jacob (Israel) and Esau.
In other words, God is not talking about the predestination of blessing for one brother and predestination of hell for for the other; He is merely talking to Malachi (the last book in the OT) about the history of Israel, contrasting the histories of the two peoples they represent. Esau was called 'Edom' and the Edomites hated Israel and refused to let Israel pass through their land after they came out of Egypt, as did his other descendants, the Amalekites, who fought against Israel in Exodus 17, and God swore He would destroy them off the earth for doing so.
A small number of people still believe in predestination, which serves to feed their fear and emotional turmoil, remove hope and faith from their lives, and is used to justify their unbelief. Like anyone who wants to follow God, once such a person sees the balance of the Word and allows Him to reach down inside them, they respond to His love. But some struggle for years in the error thinking God has rejected them and there is no hope for them.
Free will - you are a sovereign being
When the Lord God made the first man and woman and put them in the garden, He pointed out that they had free will to choose life or death, blessing or cursing, spiritual separation from God or walking with Him.
He strongly advised them to choose life, and strongly urged them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, as He said in Genesis 2:17: "...for in dying, you will die." Meaning, in dying spiritually, you will die physically. Paul restated this in Romans 5:12: "For by one man sin entered into the world, and death entered by sin, so that death has passed to all mankind..."
I should state that 'spiritual death' is not a ceasing of existence nor of one being dormant spiritually, rather a statement of the nature of the life that is in the human spirit. The human spirit is eternal, the only question being of what kingdom is that person a citizen? A person who is not born again can still function in the spirit realm which is how those involved in the occult function, and certainly before we were born again we felt God's tug on our hearts in our spirit to respond to His invitation. A person who is not born again has a spirit that is alive in the eternal sense, but does not have God's Life in their spirit.
The Lord God set both trees before Adam and Eve and stated the consequences of making the wrong choice. Centuries later He did the same thing with Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19: "....I have set before you this day life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life that both you and your children will live and love the Lord your God..."
Your will is stronger than God or the devil
We are sovereign beings, with neither God nor the devil able to make us do anything. The Lord God set the trees in the garden and gave instructions, but He couldn't make them eat of one or the other. The devil had to tempt Adam and Eve to get them to sin, but he couldn't exercise their free will for them. Free will means we are sovereign beings.
Even in our New Testament times we are told we should cast demons out of our lives, and those whose lives with demons we cross paths with who want free, but we cannot take authority over the human spirit. We are sovereign.
The trouble with most Christians is timidity from having no backbone
Once you realize your will is absolutely sovereign, you can be unstoppable for righteousness. The devil is out there, and we are not ignorant of his devices, but we have no fear for he cannot make us do anything, and if he so much as crosses our path we can rise up and command him away. It's that simple.
We try to influence the unsaved to walk with God, but if they choose not to, there is a kingdom called hell they may go to with others who don't want God, provided out of God's good grace for those who reject Him. He gives them what they want - a place without God - for He cannot force anyone to walk with Him. It is completely our choice.
Millions of non-believers conquer sin in their lives simply by exercising their free will. They determine to stop an addiction, discipline their food, exercise, destructive habits, thoughts, and emotions from their lives, all to break free from all these things by exercising their will - without God's help. They get free by exercising their free will. And their personal demons back off because they find no place for them to exercise their will over that person, so they wander about looking for other victims to influence under their will.
Yet how many Christians are in torment thinking they are powerless against demonic attack in dreams or through a person, or in their thoughts and emotions? How many Christians have been wrongly taught they are weak without Christ and are subject to the devil playing with them like a cat plays with a mouse before devouring its prey?
Grow up Christian! Exert your will and stand firm! Your free will can only be influenced by God or the devil, but neither can make you do or think or feel anything. Your are a sovereign being. The additional fact we have Christ in us makes us the most powerful people on the planet. We not only have a free and sovereign will, but we have chosen to exercise that free will to walk with God and are therefore empowered by Him with tools to help keep us free and help others be free in Him.
Period. Paragraph. Over and out - grow a back bone! Your free will is stronger than the devil!
I'll pick it up there next week, until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at email@example.com