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“Are some chosen for salvation while others are not?”
“Predestination…election…chosen”: heavily freighted words from the standpoint of both Scripture and 500 years of debate among Christians.
The sometimes volatile contention between adherents of election and free will respectively has resulted in the formation of separate camps of Christ-followers, all of whom claim to hold the correct position and many of whom refuse — because of the disagreement — to cooperate with other believers in common Christian causes.
The very existence of such dramatic disagreement leads me to the conclusion that it is a misplaced debate, a disservice to the Scripture, and dishonoring to the very God whose good name all the participants seek to protect. Surely God who has revealed His work among mankind in the Scripture would prefer that those who purport to identify with Him would be wise and gracious enough to seek a “middle ground”; i.e., a place that honors Christ and is less divisive.
Indeed, both positions appear in Scripture. The idea of “the elect” (those who are set aside by God for salvation) may be found in numerous places (e.g., Jn. 4:56; 6:44, 65; Acts 13:48; Rom. 9; Eph. 1:3). Clearly, salvation is the initiative of God and He invites humans into this relationship.
That individuals may freely choose salvation appears in those texts that proclaim “whosoever will may come” (e.g., Jn. 1:12; 3:16-17; Rom. 10:13). These passages and many others seem to show that the forgiveness Christ accomplished on the cross is for all who believe (II Pet. 3:9).
Perhaps a desirable approach might be to agree that both perspectives are biblical and that though we cannot fully understand or explain the broad range of texts, we agree that they are all there for a reason and are instructive for us.
Perhaps the greater focus should be placed on Christ Himself and His kingdom (Mt. 6:33; Phil. 2:4-11; I Tim. 1:16-17; Heb. 13:15-16, 20-21; I Pet. 1:3-5; Rev. 1:7-8, 17-18; 21:13-17).