Free will & election

Free Will & Election

The free will of man

Free will means that a human is at least in part can make choices in which they are fully culpable. Without free will, it would be unjust to punish someone incapable of having a choice. Love is the ability to choose. If you cannot choose, love is absent.

The volumes of words in the Bible that are asking men to make choices seem rather absurd if a man does not have a choice. The very beginning of human history, man had a choice to either restrain from eating the tree of knowledge of good and bad or to enjoy the tree of life. From there on, the Bible compels men to choose good. It takes some extreme mental convoluting to understand God asking men to choose while He preordains what they will do.

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

The volume of text where men are asked to make choices is overwhelming. An honest student of the Bible has to have this consideration when coming to conclusions about doctrine. 


If men have free will, then how is God sovereign? Somehow these two concepts have to come together in a way that is natural in understanding. The understanding that brings these two together is that man is given a choice to accept or reject God’s plan, but we cannot decide for ourselves what we can choose. By that, I mean a host can offer a beverage, but one cannot choose what beverages are offered; one can only choose from the choices given. With God, we can choose His offer of salvation, but we cannot choose what salvation is. We also cannot choose what salvation does. For instance, I cannot say I want to be saved by my good works.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:5

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

1 Peter 1:2

God only gives one choice for salvation and that is by receiving His Son as the propitiation for our sins through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Usually, the Bible speaks of foreknowledge as a predetermined plan and outcome. It is something God has determined since He created man. God’s will is non-negotiable when it comes to salvation. We either accept or reject it and then live with the decision.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:18

We also cannot decide our destiny. What Heaven is and how we will exist within eternal life is God’s decision. God has predetermined many things for the believer.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:5

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Ephesians 1:11

Ignoring Predestination

Others believe that God’s will is subject to their own will. They may not state it like that, but in practice, that is what happens. After receiving the gift of salvation, these people would say that a man has a choice of backing out on it and thus circumventing God’s predestination. That understanding does not bring together the free will and election.


The only way I see possible to reconcile God’s election and predestination with human’s having a free will is by understanding that man can only choose or reject what God has to offer. Calvinism swings too far towards election so that free will becomes an esoteric concept. On the other hand, those who believe a person can lose their salvation ignores predestination. I hope that what I have stated is clear: free will, is the ability for a person to choose to accept or reject God’s offer, and God’s election and predestination are His means of salvation and intentions for it.

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