The Grace Of God For Salvation Is Available For All Men: A Refutal Of The Doctrine Of Selective And Arbitrary Predestination Of Men Unto Salvation

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

The question as to whether salvation is available for all men, or only for some predestined elect, is a cardinal focus of reformed theology. Those who believe in absolute predestination of the soul deny human freedom in salvation. According to proponents of predestination, only those chosen before the foundation of the world by divine election can and will be saved. All others, irrespective of their faith in God, cannot be saved, as they’re not part of the elect. So goes the doctrine of predestination. Is arbitrary predestination the basis of salvation? Can all men be saved? Is there a place for human freedom in salvation, or is salvation all of God, without any human contribution? This article will attempt to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The Apostle Paul makes us understand in the passage above that the saving grace of God is available to ALL MEN! The grace for salvation can be accessed by all! And why shouldn’t it be so? After all, Jesus Christ died for the sins of all people, and not just for those in the Church! He paid the price for the sins of all men, from every tribe and tongue and nation. He’s the saviour of the whole world! He’s the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the whole world!

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.

John 1:29 The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father —Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (NIV).

It shouldn’t be difficult to fathom why God would extend saving grace to all men, and why he would send a saviour for the entire race. The answer lies in the depth of God’s love for mankind. God loves all men and wants all to come to the knowledge of the truth. He desires for all men to be saved. All men are his creation, and he cares for all, both the good and the evil. He doesn’t want any man to perish. For this reason, he gives all men the grace and the space to repent, and doesn’t give up on anyone till their very last moment on earth! God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but rejoices when any wicked person repents and comes back to him.

John 3:16 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 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

1 Timothy 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (ESV).

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

We see then that salvation is a free gift of God to all men. Whoever believes in the Son of God and confesses him as Lord and Saviour will be saved. Anyone who believes in the atoning sacrifice of Christ at Calvary and appropriates it for himself will experience God’s salvation. There’s no exclusive group of people for whom salvation is predestined. There’s no particular group of people for whom salvation is foreclosed. God is no respecter of persons; anyone who fears God and draws near to him will be accepted by God. The promise of salvation is for “whosoever will“, “he that believes“, “all that believe“, etc. It is for all men and all women!

Romans 10:11 For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.

Romans 10:13 For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

The Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

The Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Exponents of arbitrary predestination teach that God foreordained and elected some people to salvation before the foundation of the world, while sentencing others to eternal damnation, for no reason other than his good pleasure. Based on this teaching, no matter what anyone does, those predestined to salvation must be saved, and those foreordained to damnation must be damned! There is thus no room and no place for the exercise of free will. In essence, we’re all just puppets/automatons in the hands of God. Our actions have no consequences whatsoever, as the elect of God can do no wrong (because of unconditional love bestowed upon them), while those reserved for destruction can do no right, because of God’s perpetual displeasure with them. This teaching collapses everywhere in the face of Scripture, as it has no biblical foundation. First, salvation and redemption are available to all, and not just to a predestined few, as shown above. It flies in the face of countless Scriptures to say that God planned to save only a select few, when the Bible plainly teaches that God desires for all men to be saved, and that it’s not his will that any man should perish.

Second, predestination is not arbitrary; it’s based on God’s foreknowledge. Because God can see the end from the beginning, and because he knows all things, he is able to know before hand those who would believe the gospel and those who wouldn’t, even before they were born. Based on this foreknowledge, he calls those people he knew would choose him his own, while disowning those he knew would not accept his salvation. The elect according to the foreknowledge of God will hear and receive the word of God and be saved, thus confirming God’s foreknowledge of them! Predestination is thus not arbitrary, but is based on God’s foreknowledge of people before they come into existence. That’s what Scripture teaches!

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (ESV).

1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (ESV).

Genesis 18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Genesis 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.

The Acts 15:18 Known to God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Why would the Scriptures ask men to choose between good and evil, and between life and death, if we do not have the freewill to make that choice? Will God be justified to judge us according to our works if we were divinely programmed to do those works like automatons? If human freedom is out of the question, and arbitrary predestination is the basis of salvation, then there should be no need for judging men at all, since all are just fulfilling the divine will. There should be no punishment for human actions, since all human actions are just manifestations of the divine will. Why do we need to preach the gospel to all creatures if those to be saved would be saved anyway, and those to be damned will be damned no matter what we do? If the outcomes of our lives are already predetermined and cast in stone, why do we work and toil and labour? Why don’t we just sit still and let God’s will be done?

Scripture teaches us that humans are free moral agents with the capacity to make moral choices. We’re also taught in Scripture that our actions and our choices do have consequences. We’re not some robots or automatons programmed to do God’s will without a mind of our own! We’re not puppets being manipulated by divinity. Man was created in God’s image and likeness, with the ability to choose between good and evil, else God’s command for man to shun evil and choose good would be meaningless! We can choose to follow God and be saved, or we can choose to turn our backs on him and be damned! We can choose to be on God’s side, or we can choose to be his adversary. And, whatever moral choices we make, God respects and honours them, and will justly judge us based on our actions at the end of it all. The only way God can be a fair and a just judge is if all men are placed on the same footing and given the same chance to serve and follow God. Anything other than that would make God unjust and unfair. But the Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jehovah is a God of justice. He’s the epitome of justice and fairness, as he gives everyone equal opportunities for salvation.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.

Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil;

Deuteronomy 30:16 In that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: and the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:17 But if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

Deuteronomy 30:18 I denounce to you this day, that you shall surely perish, and that you shall not prolong your days on the land, where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Isaiah 45:21 Tell you, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together: who has declared this from ancient time? who has told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

In conclusion, there is overwhelming evidence from the Scriptures that salvation is a free gift of God which is available to all men. The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, even though some will reject it. All men are created free moral agents with the capacity to choose between good and evil. No one is arbitrarily predestined to salvation, as no one is also arbitrarily foreordained to eternal damnation. Our final destination is contingent on our choices here. If we choose life, we shall live eternally. If we reject life, we shall die. If we accept God’s salvation in Christ, we shall be saved; if we reject it, we shall be damned. Ultimately, we’re responsible for our actions and our final destination. Divine predestination and foreordination are based on divine foreknowledge of our actions. In predestination, God only affirms the choices he knew we would make, based on his foreknowledge. Predestination is just an affirmation of human freedom before it actually takes place, like being able to see and record tomorrow before it happens. The record does not impose on men what they must do; it only foresees and records before hand what men will do on their own, as free moral agents.

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Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr Ojo is a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a student of the Word of God, who believes firmly in the original apostolic faith as the only authentic version of Christianity, and the only legitimate basis for Christian conduct, order and doctrine.

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