“So, you do not believe in predestination?”
“No, I do and I love that I am predestined to be a son of God.”
It’s like the Marines. You can choose to be a Marine or not be a Marine. It is offered to everyone. However, once you enlist, there are a host of pre-ordained consequences. You will get the haircut, no more pink mohawk. You will wear the uniform. You will adhere to their training and when it is over, you will become the soldier they predestined you for. Predestination is not whether you go to Heaven or not, it is what you are when you are in Christ. If you are IN the Marines, you are predestine to be a great soldier.
This is what I think it means “many are called but few are chosen.” The invitation goes to all but not all respond to the call. Those that do are set on a pre-determined path.
Ephesians 1 is a favorite passage of Calvinist. It is one of my favorites too. It is about who we are when we are IN Christ. Look how often that word “IN” is used. “To the saints IN Christ (1),” “blessed with all spiritual blessings IN Christ (3),” “as we were chosen IN Him before the foundations of the world (4)”, “where we are adopted IN the beloved (6),” “IN whom we have redemption (7),” “He gathers all things IN Him…even IN Him (10).” Note, how the book opens; “To those saints IN Christ.” These are the blessings of being a Christian, not whether you are one or not. To be “chosen IN Him before the foundations of the world” is not a contrast of if you are chosen or not chosen, it is if you are IN Him or not in Him.
When it comes to Romans 9 “Jacob I have loved, Esua I have hated…that the purpose of election might stand” I would make two points. First, Paul is giving a history of the Jews in terms of salvation. The Old Testament is a canvas on which God would paint the picture of Jesus. There are occurrences, happenings, and orchestrations so that Christ would come in “due time” and die as our Passover lamb. This is the story, through One, that is Christ, all could be saved. So, at certain points the story has an involved Author. “He has compassion on who He wills” I believe God is as involved as He wants to be. He is not distant. But He is not a mico-manger in everyone’s life either. This is why we pray, inviting Him, trusting Him to move in our realm. Jesus walked on water but often used a boat. Jesus paid the temple tax once from a fishes mouth but for years He paid his bills as a carpenter. He died on the cross once, it was not His habit. I see that there are events that God controlled more closely than others. These are the blessed exception rather than the pattern for all things in all times. They are “super-natural” while “natural” is what usually happens. Secondly, Paul is making the point in verse 22, IF God wanted to show His power, He is God. He is not saying that God makes vessels of wrath. It is hypothetical hence the word “If.”
Ephesians 2 is a wonderful passage of what we are truly made for. God had good works for you to do before you were born. Will you do them? Few will. Your old life was living in sins, you were “dead in your sins.” But because of faith (which is not a work Rom4:5) and God’s grace we know God has a plan for us.
“Well isn’t God Sovereign?”
“Yes, but your definition and my definition are very difference.” Sovereign does not mean “in control of every detail.” Sovereign means God is the ultimate authority. We have kings and judges on Earth that are sovereign. It doesn’t mean their will is always done. It means justice is carried out by them. Life is likened to a cruise ship. God is the sovereign captain. He decides what port it begins and what port it will end. However, you are free to do whatever it is you want while on this ship. You can go to the bar or the casino. You can go to the chapel or swimming pool. It is up to you. But realize when you get off, you are accountable and there will be a bill due. Ultimately the captain will bring its pre-destined port.