Question: In your February 2001 newsletter you stated that a sovereign God does not overcome a person’s free will in regard to justification. But if God has not irresistibly overcome my will, why did I believe in Christ and someone else didn’t? If I am able to believe the gospel without God regenerating me first, couldn’t I take credit for believing and boast in heaven?
Response: Salvation is a free gift of God’s grace for which Christ paid the full price on Calvary. Have you ever taken credit for any gift someone has given you? Wouldn’t it be equally absurd for a helpless, lost sinner to take any credit or to boast for simply receiving God’s free gift of eternal life?
God has provided salvation in Christ, offers it freely, and man is responsible to accept or reject it: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life;...” (Jn:3:36); “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,...” (Acts:16:31); “...the gospel of Christ...is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;...” (Rom:1:16); “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely...” (Rv 22:17); etc.
In salvation, God shows no favoritism. He “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn:3:16); and God “commandeth all men everywhere to repent:...” (Acts:17:30, emphasis added). He would not command us to repent if we couldn’t.
Why do some believe and others do not? Either God has from eternity past predestined some to heaven and others to hell; or God has given man the ability to choose so that from his heart he can believe in Christ and love God and receive God’s love.
The Bible leaves no doubt which of these is true. It declares that God desires “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4) and “is...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pt 3:9). I tremble for anyone who blasphemes God who is love (1 Jn:4:8) by declaring that He created billions of people without any hope and predestined them to eternal doom!