“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will…” (read Ephesians 1:3-6)
God Himself picked us out before the creation of the world that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love. I believe this is where the doctrine of predestination is all locked down. Indeed it is wonderful to know it’s God choice not ours; it means it’s secure because He chose us. We didn’t choose Him. There’s a real tension in the Bible between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. It’s a paradox and that paradox is so difficult for us to assert. But the Bible asserts both of them without explaining their relationship to one another. And I thank God that He chose me and I also thank Him that I have responded to Him by faith. I think we have to realize that God always deals with fallen man in terms of a covenant. He initiates, sets the agenda, offers man His free gift of salvation in Christ, but requires man to receive it by an act of repentance and faith. God’s sovereignty and man’s free will are Biblical doctrines that are both to be affirmed in juxtaposition. We need to know that the Bible is an ancient Near Eastern book that presents truths in eastern and not western genres, and as such presents major doctrinal truths in tension-filled paradoxical (dialectical) pairs. We must not remove nor attempt to reconcile the tension caused by paradoxical pairs of doctrinal truths. Other examples are: God as transcendent versus God as immanent; security vs. perseverance; Jesus as equal with the Father vs. Jesus as subservient to the Father; Christian freedom vs. Christian responsibility to a covenant partner; etc. We must affirm both paradoxical truths because they are divinely inspired. To do otherwise will create serious problems. We should not proof-text one side of the paradox and depreciate the other!