Q. Re: Calvinism. I’ve been talking to someone who uses verses like Ephesians 1:4 to suggest that we’ve been chosen and that’s that. The choice has already been made and we just have to be thankful we were chosen and not among those ‘fitted for destruction’. Any thoughts on this?
A. Paul’s comment in Ephesians 1:4 appears to support predestination until you read Romans 8:29-30 where he laid out the entire process. There we discover that God predestined those He foreknew. What this means is that God confirmed a place for us in His Kingdom, because He looked down through time and knew in advance that we would ask for His salvation. At the appropriate time in our life, He called us to make the decision He had already seen us make and when we did He justified us by crediting the death of Jesus as payment for our sins. The remaining step, glorification, will take place at the rapture/resurrection.
To accept the Calvinist view of Ephesians 1:4 you have to believe the Holy Spirit led Paul to contradict his earlier statement from Romans 8:29-30. But the Bible, being the Word of God cannot contradict itself, and there are several passages that confirm that Paul was not doing this. In John 3:16 Jesus said, “Whosoever believes will not perish,” implying anyone can choose to believe. In John 6:28-29 Jesus said belief in the Son is the only work God requires of us. How can God require something we can’t do? In Matt. 7:7-8 He said everyone who asks receives, etc and in Romans 10:13 Paul wrote, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” These are just some of the Bible’s statements supporting man’s power of choice. They all have to be re-interpreted in some way to fit into the Calvinist model.