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Did You Choose God or Did He Choose You?

The opinion between election and foreknowledge as well as between prevenient grace and irresistible grace have divided a lot of Christians.

Did you choose God or did He choose you? What is God's role in the choosing and where does man's choosing start? A.W. Tozer discusses a bit of this in "Following Hard After God", which is chapter 1 of The Pursuit of God. Here are my reading and reflection notes on the section.

a, Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which means that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.

b. Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him.

c. We pursue God, only because He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” 

d. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand.

e. God is always previous. In practice, however, man must pursue God. On our part there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine.

f. Being made in His image, we have within us the capacity to know Him.

g. In our sins we lack only the power. The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition.  That is the heavenly birth without which we cannot see the Kingdom of God.

I have yet to study deeper into the differing views on election and irresistible grace. From what I have thought about. Here are some simple truths:

a. God draws man towards Him for salvation.

b. God’s foreknowledge includes knowing who will come to Him for salvation and who will reject Him.

c. God being God, Creator, and Sovereign, rightly has every prerogative to select and choose who He wants to save.

d. If God will choose and select a few to salvation, it may well mean that he will choose and select men to damnation.

e. Scriptures, all throughout, declare God’s love for mankind and His desire for all men to be saved. 2 Pet. 3:9, John 3:16-17

f. Election according to foreknowledge is more consistent with God’s character rather than election to salvation and damnation.

g. Some say that election according to foreknowledge demeans God sovereignty and Deity. It’s like He’s now forced, with no choice but to accept those who want to be saved. But think of this. Because of His great love, He desires all to be saved. So, why should He feel, let alone, look like, He’s being forced to accept those who come by faith through Christ? when from the onset, that's what He truly wants for mankind?

h. That Christ died for all, not just the elect, is more consistent with God’s character.

i. That man has a choice in the matter and has to make the decision to believe or reject the Messiah is more consistent with man having free will.

j. That God’s grace is at work, yet not forcibly, is consistent with a loving and just God’s desire for man to love and choose God on his own volition.

k. Knowing the God I know, it’s hard to reconcile that He chose me in a way that I had no choice on the matter. He willed for me to love Him and choose Him. Is this the kind of disposition God wants from me? Is this the kind of love and following which our God deserves?

l.I see a God that has always been about choices. He gave Lucifer the choice. He gave the first man and woman the choice. He still gives people the choice today.

m. I see a God that has always been inclusive not exclusive. That He will willfully exclude people from the chance for redemption, leaving them hopeless, is something I can not reconcile with His true nature as a loving and all-merciful God.

photo credit to: Jill Wellington


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