Q. I have to respectfully disagree with something you said in your “All Three Agree” response. You said: “No one can come to the Son unless the Father draws Him, but the Father only draws those who have chosen to come.” This makes God’s election subject to, and dependent on our foreknown choice, and thus introduces merit on our part, in regards to our salvation. This does not agree with the teaching of Scripture on the Sovereignty of God, and the depravity of man.
Your interpretation of Romans 8:29 assumes a temporal sequence of events in the eternal counsels of God – who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will. This does not mean that we don’t have free choice. I believe that God’s complete Sovereignty and our free volition are completely compatible. But, election can’t be contingent on our foreknown choices without doing violence to God’s Sovereign Grace. Election was necessary because God knew that without it, no one would chose Him. Do we envision the foreknowledge of God as being, in any sense, incidental? I dare not! Rather, I see God as the Author and Orchestrator of the circumstances that led me to my choice. I can’t take credit for choosing Him, for if my life had played out differently, who’s to say that I would have made the same choice?
A. Romans 8:29 is the great Achilles heel of the doctrine of election and I’ve seen many unsuccessful efforts to refute it. But the verse is in fact progressive and to see it otherwise is to deny basic rules of grammar. Those who God foreknew He predestined. Those He predestined He called. Those He called He justified. Those He justified He glorified. The sequence begins with God’s foreknowledge of our choice and ends with our glorification.
By no stretch of the imagination is asking God to save us considered meritorious. We are not only encouraged to ask (Matt. 7:7-8), but are told to lead others to ask as well (Matt. 28:19). It would be dishonest of God do that knowing He was going to refuse most of us.
2 Peter 3:9 says God is patient with us not wanting any to perish. If it’s all up to Him why would he have to be patient with us? He doesn’t want any to perish but many will. If it’s all up to Him why is this so?
God is indeed sovereign, but the Bible is full of stories about God allowing people to make their own choices even when they proved to be disastrous. This proves that God will not make us love Him, and He will not make us obey Him. These choices have been left to us.
To believe that our salvation is God’s choice means you believe that it’s God’s choice that millions will not be saved, and will therefore spend eternity in agony simply because God decided not to save them.