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Dave Brisbin 2.2.20
Continuing a series of exploring difficult subjects, those that tend to really set off emotional triggers and divisive arguments, we have dug into the concepts of salvation, eternal life, Satan and spiritual warfare…and now the question comes about whether God’s judgment on us is predestined or if we really do have free will. Wow, no easy questions here. Just as with salvation by works or grace, there is an immediate apparent contradiction in scripture. Paul seems to directly say that God, from the beginning of time, has already picked the winners and losers—those going to heaven or hell. And Calvinist reformers 1500 years later, based on those passages and the writings of Augustine a thousand years earlier, created a belief system centered on the predestination of God’s elect. Of course, the controversy raged then and still does now, but it doesn’t take much digging to find passages that state absolutely that God draws and desire all people, not just some, to come to himself, and he wishes for none to go astray, some by Paul himself.

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Once we look more deeply at Paul’s apparent predestination statements in context of the larger passages and Paul’s main missionary objective to bring Gentile followers of Jesus equally into what started as a Jewish movement, a new understanding of predestination emerges. What is predetermined is not a forced outcome by God, but God’s deepest desire and intention that each one of us realizes that we are all equally a part of the family. What is predetermined is God’s choice about us. Left undetermined is our choice about God.

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