Must God Choose Us, Or Can We Choose Him?

Q. In the Bible Study group I lead there’s an older gentleman who frequently makes a statement that I don’t agree with. I want to kindly correct him on this but don’t know how to go about it. He says he believes in Grace and OSAS. However, he says that no matter how much we pray to God, until God decides to reveal Himself to us, we cannot know Him. He goes on further to say that God has to choose us and that we cannot choose Him. It has upset some in the group as they are facing daily struggles and they are starting to believe that their struggles are because God hasn’t “chosen” them. Please help me address this situation. If I’m wrong and he is right, that’s fine, but I can’t find Biblical support for his position.

A. This person sounds like a Calvinist. They believe in eternal security, but that God created some to be saved and others to be lost, and we don’t have any say in the matter. They believe this in spite of verses like Matt. 7:7-8, John 3:16, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13, and others that say anyone who believes Jesus died for our sins and asks for salvation will receive it. And 2 Peter 3:9 says God doesn’t want anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Then there’s the problem with evangelism, as we’re told to do in the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20). What’s the point of sharing the gospel if people don’t have the choice to believe it or not? Calvinists can only refute these statements by taking verses out of context or reading things into the Scriptures that aren’t there. After years of studying the character of God I’m convinced the Calvinist position is incompatible with what the Bible teaches us about Him.

I doubt you’ll change his mind but you can tell him that you don’t agree and use these references to explain why. Then ask him politely to keep his opinions about this to himself because they are confusing to others.

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