For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
This, in my opinion, is a very discouraging article. It paints out God as being capricious and isn’t interested in people at all. He only wants to apparently flatter his own ego by being totally in charge. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, it only matters if God, for some reason, wants you around. Good for those he chooses, but bad for those who do not meet his apparent fancy.
Such a view totally makes a mockery of the “fairness” that Abraham talked about in Genesis 18:23 “Abraham came near and said, "Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” God should have just told Abraham that it doesn’t matter. He will do what he wants to do and it doesn’t make any difference whether one is “righteous” or “wicked.” Instead, he let Abraham believe that it did make a difference. According to this article, what actually mattered was whether God, for no reason at all, chose to destroy Sodom. It is an apparent “mystery” why he chose to wait until Lot and his family escaped. It certainly had nothing to do with whether they were righteous or wicked.
Can anyone actually believe this about God? The problem is, this article does not distinguish between “reward” and “salvation.” Someone may lose their reward, but still be saved. (1 Corinthians 3:12-14)
(Contd) Finally, this article does not consider that God is outside of “time.” When Jesus predicted Peter would denounce him, it was because Jesus was no doubt given a preview of all the things that were to happen to him in the final hours of his life. Peter didn’t denounce Jesus because he was “chosen” to do so. He did it because he was weak and impulsive. You have to remember, for God, everything has already happened. Since God has approved of everything that has happened, it can be said he “chose” it because he didn’t choose to change it. So, from that viewpoint, God chose all the saved and unsaved. We call that “God’s providence.” So, if you are wondering whether he has chosen you, just look at the fruits of your life. If they are “bad” he no doubt has not chosen you yet. That is a signal that you better make some changes in your life. If your fruits are “good,” then that is an indication that you are chosen. It is as simple as that. Good fruits are a product of the Spirit’s adoption of you as a child of God. (Romans 8:13-18 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption,
Nils Jansma: The debate over the five points of Calvinism and the counter-points of Arminianism have been debated vigorously by many folks for many years. I don't wish to attempt to give a thorough analysis of my perspectives on the whole matter, but I do wish to offer a correction on one point your made.
You said, "...look at the fruits of your life. If they are 'bad' he no doubt has not chosen you yet." Scripture does urge us to consider spiritual fruit, both our own and that of others. But those who are chosen by God were chosen "in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4). God doesn't wait for us to begin producing good fruit before choosing us; that would be a sort of works based salvation. Rather, God chose us before we existed, and our good fruit should be the result of the working out of our salvation, as we are led by the Holy Spirit.
This only makes me have more questions. Like why pray for others salvation if God knows they will never change
Galen, Eph 1:4 says that God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless, not that he chose some people to be in Him or some people to be believers. He chose believers who are in Christ to be Holy before time began.
It can also be said that God pre-limited those in Christ before time. God in His sovereign wisdom made this limit conditional on faith. Only those in faith are then in Christ. God's selection doesn't mean in this passage or anywhere that God pre-selected certain people to have faith and others not.
Nancy, God's plan was that anyone may be saved by Christ and subsequently in Christ if they repent and believe Christ is the Messiah. While God doesn't force or pre-select anyone get faith, He does act to soften hearts or reveal truth. We pray for the salvation of others because we are appealing to God's mercy. We are asking that God soften their hearts to be more receptive to the gospel, that He open their eyes to the truth, that He gives them a thirst for righteousness, that the Holy Spirit might convict them of their sin, etc.
Thank you so much jennifer