The universal invitation to all to join in salvation purchased for humanity by the blood of Jesus Christ.
We live in a day when the above statement is intensely contested. However, let us examine this in light of the teachings of Jesus.
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Jesus communicated the need to believe. If you believe, you can be saved. Faith is the foundational requirement to be saved. I believe Jesus taught many simple admonitions we must do in addition to faith. However, nothing has any effect or benefit if it is not done in faith. Faith is the catalyst that causes the Word of God to be miraculous in the life of the believer.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Some have been taught that only those Jesus chooses can even believe. If you have not been chosen specifically to be saved, you can’t have faith. And if you have not been chosen, you have no ability to believe. So in fact the act of belief is no act at all but a predetermined programming. If you are chosen you can’t help but to choose him. If you have not been chosen, there is nothing you can do to choose him. In a word, fatalism.
This kind of reasoning ignores, in whole and part, the teaching ministry of Jesus.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells of ten virgins. All were pure, invited, and called upon when the bridegroom came. The difference between the foolish and the wise was determined by the preparation each individually did or did not do.
The parables of Jesus visit this theme over and over. Jesus warns repeatedly if one lacks diligence, they will be lost. The parable of the wise and foolish concerning building a house on sand or stone. The difference? Not if they were chosen, but if they individually choose to hear and obey or hear and disobey.
The Apostle Paul, in Romans chapter 11, visits this same theme in the discussion of the natural and engrafted branches. Again, it points to a purposeful choice to believe.
“20 Well; because of unbelief, they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
The tactic to discount this is to view the preferred text in an absolutist way and thereby discount, dissect, and disagree because it seems to disagree with their favored texts.
Here is the problem for them. They reject the simple reading of scripture and have been taught that some scriptures are more true, and therefore, any text that disagrees with their orthodoxy, what they read in the text is inaccurate or misunderstood because in no universe is what their tradition is wrong or overstated.
I contend that all scripture is true. Jesus chooses us. However, my distinction is choosing is based on our response to his universal appeal.
Many are called but few are chosen. God does choose. However, it is not arbitrary, but it is a qualification.
The universality of the word “Whosoever”.
The false charge for those who reject absolute election is to speak to compare to the error of the Universalist.
The universalists teach that everyone is saved no matter what they do.
Calvinism is a dark kind of universalism. The Calvinists teach a type of the same logic. No matter what you do, only those chosen are saved. The rest are lost, and no choice or opportunity is given.
I reject both of these errors.
The truth is very simple. Jesus died for all and whosoever believes will be saved.
That sounds a lot like what Jesus taught.
Whosoever, what a wonderful opportunity for those who will believe.
Ninety-three times, this wonderful word is in the New Testament.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” Matthew 7:24
I reject the fatalism in those teaching a fatalistic view of God. This fatalism paints God as one who is a type of puppetmaster. Every decision, every action, every word, and every deed is programmed into the universe, and it is predetermined and ordained by God. Every terrorist attack. Every accident. Every mass murder.
I see God as the one we read in the Bible. From the very beginning, all of us are given a choice. Life and death. Faith and doubt. Obedience and rebellion.
We are made by our choices, and we make those choices. Why?
Because in his sovereignty, God gave each of us, made in His image, the ability to choose who we would serve and what we would do and not do.
That is the God of the Bible. That is the God I worship.
I pray that all would come to a true faithful obedience to a God manifested in Jesus Christ. This Jesus Christ shed his righteous blood for all who believe in Him and obey His Word.