Question:Does man have free will to choose salvation? The
Bible seems to point to both aspects. The Bible says we are servants,
but it also says that it is He who chooses, not us (John 15:16).
I know that it refers to the disciples mostly and how they were chosen,
but it could have a double meaning.
Bible Answer: The Bible teaches that man has
freewill and God chooses salvation for us. Scripture does teach both.
Man can choose Jesus, and God predestines men to eternal life with Him.
We do not understand how they work together - only God knows. Jesus'
selection of His disciples is a very interesting example of God choosing
and man "making the decision."
Calling His Disciples. In the gospel of
Matthew, scripture tells us that as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee,
He invited some men to become His disciples. Here is what happened.
And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers,
Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into
the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow Me,
and I will make you fishers of men." (NASB) Matt. 4:18-19
Jesus offer was "Follow Me." He chose them, and scripture
says they responded. He selected even Judas who would later betray Him.
Listen to His words.
Jesus answered them, "Did I Myself not choose you,
the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" Now He meant Judas the
son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray
Him. (NASB) John 6:70-71
If you were of the world, the world would love its own;
but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world,
therefore the world hates you. (NASB) John 15:19
So God chooses and man chooses.
In a previous
question and answer
, we discovered that when God selects a man
or woman for salvation, they will choose to be saved. But there is
a question we have not asked, "Is it possible for a man to choose
and have God reject him or her? The answer is illustrated in a parable
about guests who were invited to a wedding feast. The king sent his
servant to invite anyone who would come - both bad and good.
Then he *said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy. 'Go therefore to the main
highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.' "And
those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they
found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner
guests. "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests,
he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes, and he *said to him,
'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And he was
speechless. "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand
and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall
be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "For many are called, but few
are chosen." (NASB) Matthew 22:8-14
They were given clothes to wear since they came from the streets and
came unexpectedly. Many people came including one who did not belong.
He did belong because he was not dressed correctly. He did not choose
to come to God, but he wanted to come dressed as he preferred. The king
is Jesus and the wedding garment is the holy righteousness of Christ.
This man did not really choose Jesus. Yes, a man can choose and be rejected
by God. This man only chose salvation and not Jesus. He wanted salvation
on his own terms.
Conclusion:Man does have a choice. He can choose
Jesus and receive eternal life with God or he can choose himself. When
God chooses a man or woman, - they come to Him. How does this work? Scripture
does not tell us. But if one believes Jesus is God and that He died to
forgive their sins, they
will be saved from the penalty of their sins. Yes, God chooses and
so does a man or woman. When a man or woman respond to Him, scripture
reveals that God caused it to happen.
God chooses and man chooses. Both are true. There are two previous questions
that may be of interest since one talks about man's ability
or desire to be saved and the other asks
why our will leans towards evil.