I have been doing a study with a fellow brother in Romans 9-11, which we all know to be some of the most difficult and debated scripture in the entire bible. The main block we seem to be hitting is the fact that the bible teaches both Predestination/Election and Freedom of Choice. I have read many different articles on the matter and I have found 4 different viewpoints: 1) Strictly Predestination, 2) Strictly Free Will, 3) Some variant of reconciliation between the two, or 4) Both Doctrines exist but are distinctly separate.
I know this is a hotly debated subject, but I really feel the need to understand how these doctrines fit together. Currently, I am leaning towards #4 simply because I can clearly see that both doctrines are taught in the Word, but at the same time they are so diametrically opposed. It seems any time someone tries to reconcile the two together, they end up doing a disservice to one side or the other. The best I can understand it is this: That since God is outside time, He is in all points of time at the same time.....so He is currently in the beginning, He is currently "now", and He is already in the end. Therefore from His point of view, He already knows who is His in the end......even at the beginning. So from His angle, He foreknew us. But since we are in a time limited dimension, we cannot know those whom He has called, or predestined, so we preach to everyone who will listen, and those who are called will come to believe.
The part I am struggling with is the fact that the meaning wording in the Word goes beyond just a "calling" from God. The word "predestined" implies that those who are saved have been specifically chosen out of the whole lot of people ever to exist. So some are chosen and the others are not. Yet, 2 Peter 3:9 states:
That is where the Free Will part comes in. If the Lord wants everyone to come to repentance and so be saved, why did He only elect some for salvation? Did Jesus Christ not die for all people? Indeed, He died "once for all", so that "whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life". So there you have it......a never-ending paradox.The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
I also struggle with the fact that if God predestined and elected some to be saved and others to be condemned, how is that Just? I feel like such a heretic saying that because I KNOW God is Just.....I just dont know how! My limited and fallible knowledge of God bothers me to no end! I long to understand these difficult doctrines but fear that maybe we are not supposed to understand? But if that is so, why would it be in His Word?
If anyone could shed a little insight into the matter, it would greatly be appreciated.