Yes, we are confused with regard to predestination, divine choice and foreknowledge. It is very convenient for Christians and Jews that God does and did everything and to inject any human effort insults God. Many hold to the idea that works negate God’s grace. No doubt, God, in Jesus’ words, has provided “the way the truth and the life” (Jn.14: 6); but, He also insisted that the choice is ours to accept to be elected in Christ. The election is in and because of Christ and not in anyone single human being (Eph.1: 3-14).
What was Paul saying to the Ephesian Christians that also applies to us?
We must choose to be in Christ in order to be chosen, elected or predestined. We must will to be in Christ, if we want to be part of God’s plan. Man bears the image of God and is therefore capable of deciding between good and evil (Gen.3: 22). Prior to Adam’s disobedience, man may have been like a robot; but after that fatal act, man is in the “choice-business.” Man must do what God in Christ prescribes in order to qualify for being chosen or elected in Christ (Mt.7: 21). It is what God wants man to do that shall qualify us. God’s purpose precedes the election of man (Eph.2: 10).
The entire idea of divine preference of certain individuals and groups can only be argued when scripture is used out of context. The Biblical view is that God called certain individuals and even a nation for a very special purpose and when the called failed in God’s purpose, they were replaced. Not even Moses was permitted to fulfill God’s objective, neither were the people of Israel. The Lord chose a people that were not His people to carry out His plan (Hos.2: 23). The institution of divine succession did not meet with God’s demands. That is why Jesus could not communicate with the leaders in his day and reached out to people that had more faith than his own. People from everywhere else but from Israel shall be included in God’s kingdom (Mt.8: 5-13). Paul’s wish that all Israel shall be saved will hinge on Israel’s willingness to be included in Christ; hence only a remnant shall fulfill God’s purpose (Ro.9). Indeed many are called but only a few shall be chosen in Christ (Mt.22: 14). And it was Christ that promised He would not turn anyone away that would come to him (Jn.6: 37-4).
I shall have three more articles on predestination.