“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him…” Eph 1:11
I know the feeling all too well, for I have experienced it many times. It was a sense of total helplessness and nothing I could do but waited for the inevitable. Whether I would be chosen for a certain position or job was completely out of my control. Someone with greater authority would make the final call, and there wasn’t any opportunity for me to appeal the decision; I just had to accept the final verdict, either good or bad, and move on from there.
Of course, before the final decision was made, I was given a chance to promote myself or to boost up my résumé, so to a certain degree I might have had something to do with my final destiny, albeit I had no way of knowing whether my merit as a person had anything to do with the final verdict. There are basically two groups of people in this world - the deciders and the ones being decided upon - and the majority of us fall in the latter category.
Concerning our eternal destiny, all of us appear to fall in the latter category. We are either chosen or not chosen to be saved before the foundation of the world. This is the doctrine of predestination which most of us find rather puzzling, especially when we bring our freewill into the equation. If we have been chosen by God before the foundation of the world to be saved, our freewill choices of accepting Christ’s salvation in time are no longer free and, in the scheme of things, we have nothing to do with our own salvation at all.
For sure we can always look at this issue from two different points of views and avoid looking at this from an either-or type of perspective and accept one in exclusion of the other. It may appear to be paradoxical, but God’s predestination and human freewill both can coexist without opposing each other. Obviously it’s entirely possible that both can be valid if it’s looked at from a different time and space and by different people. Besides, if the Lord considers our freewill choice valid, it’s valid indeed.
How can anyone choose the Lord if he or she isn’t chosen first? Obviously this is a legitimate question to ask and it’s totally logical according to our rationality. If we, however, look at the two separately from two different spheres, they both make sense, for the actions are made by two entities freely and under no compulsion. Whether we are among the elect or not, we cannot deny the fact that we have made a choice, and upon the basis of our choice we will be judged. Besides, when we make the choice whether to accept the Lord’s salvation or not and ultimately decide not to, we don’t do so on the basis of us not being predestinated to be saved; we do it with hostility toward God and deem what the Lord Jesus has done on the cross merely a myth conjured up to fool us by the early Christians. How can we not be judged by harboring this kind of idea?