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Does God choose man or does man choose God?

The Christian Doctrine of Election

I am sure that you probably have heard some well-meaning Christian say, "If you want to become a Christian, you must choose Christ."  Some have  said that if you want to find Christ, you must look for Him or seek Him.   Others have said that God is waiting for you to make a decision to follow Jesus.  Well, are these statements true? DO WE CHOOSE GOD OR DOES HE CHOOSE US?  To answer that question, let me say first that you cannot find Christ because He is not lost. We are sinners and we are lost.  It does not take a great IQ to see that we are the ones who need to be found. Now, can you guess who is doing the looking?  Secondly, no sinner is looking for Christ.  Listen to God's word in the following passages:

  • Psalm 10:4 "In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, There is no God."
  • John 3:20 "For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light lest his works should be exposed."
  • Isaiah 64:7 "There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities."
  • Isaiah 65:1 "I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
  • Romans 3:11b "…no one seeks for God."
To answer more specifically the question, "Does God choose man or does man choose God", let me say that the Bible in many places teaches that God is the One who chooses men to be saved.  Ephesians 1:4 says, "He [The Father] chose us before the foundation of the world [creation]."  The Biblical term for God choosing us is election and the ones God chose are called the elect.  This truth is echoed throughout the Bible.  Read the following list of verses:
  • Romans 11:6 "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace."
  • Psalm 33:12 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance."
  • Psalm 65:4 "How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts."
  • Matthew 22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."
  • Collossians 3:12 "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, Gentleness and patience."
  • I Thessalonians 5"9 "For God has not destined us for wrath, but But for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
  • Titus 1:1 "Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness."
  • I Peter 1:1, 2a "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father."
  • Romans 9:16 "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."
  • Ephesians 1:11-12 "… also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory."

These are just a few of the many passages of Scripture that teach the fact that God chooses those who will be saved.

Christians commonly say they have made a decision to become a Christian as if they have initiated their own salvation, but nothing can be further from the truth.  Salvation is of the Lord alone. He saves alone! He does not need our help! Our choice of Christ is really a response to God's choice of us in eternity past.  We choose Christ because He chose us first.  The Bible teaches that God is sovereign.  This means that He is totally and absolutely in control of the universe.  He says in Romans 9:14, "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy."  There is a  question behind the question in this article [Does God choose man or Does man choose God?]. This question is , "Is God sovereign or is man sovereign?" Can a finite being, a sinner, stop an all-powerful God from carrying out His Divine will?" Could Saul, the sinner (who had been chosen by God before the creation of the earth to be saved) stop the Almighty God from saving him on the road to Damascus? Could Paul reverse God's election of Him, Christ's redemption for him on the cross, the Holy Spirit's "blowing upon him", (that is, his new birth "from above")?  I tell you dear reader, No! No! No! He could not.  In fact, nobody, including Satan himself can stop God from executing His great plan of salvation for His chosen ones.

Every Christian's salvation is a part of the eternal decree of God which He planned out in eternity past.  If any man can stop God from carrying out His plan of salvation, then God is not sovereign!  However, God is sovereign. Jesus says, "All that the Father has given me comes to me and I will raise them up on the last day.  My friend, if you are one of God's elect, either you are saved or you will be saved and Jesus will keep you saved and nobody will be able to snatch away your salvation. Isn't that comforting to know!  God's plan of salvation is so awesome and wonderful!

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