Good News about Predestination!

By Royce Frederick

Part 3 of 3

HARDENING Pharaoh’s Heart

Romans 9 talks about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.’ Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens (Rom. 9:17-18). Does this mean God makes some people’s hearts sinful and decides their eternal destiny without their free choice?

This section of Romans is talking about how God used certain people to unfold His eternal plan for all people. In different ways, He used Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Pharaoh, the nation of Israel, and Gentile nations to accomplish His plan. This does not teach that God chooses anyone’s eternal destiny without that person’s free choice.

The book of Exodus tells us that “...the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh...” (Ex. 9:12; see 4:21). However, Exodus also says Pharaoh hardened his own heart. “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants” (9:34; see 8:15, 32; 9:17). How can both be true? How can the Lord and Pharaoh harden Pharaoh’s heart?

When God gives a command to anyone, it forces that person to make a choice. Words can harden the heart of anyone who does not want to hear them (see Acts 7:54-60). We often see different people react in opposite ways when all of them hear the same words (see Acts 17:1-5).

God commanded Abraham to give up his son, Isaac (Gen. 22:1-2). “So Abraham rose early in the morning…” to obey God (22:3). Later, an angel told Abraham, “ I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Gen. 22:12).

God commanded Pharaoh to give up his slaves, Israel — only for a short time, at first, to go and worship God. Moses and Aaron delivered words from God: “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’ And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go’ ” (Ex. 5:1-2).

Israel had become slaves — a cheap source of labor for Pharaoh. It would be a great economic loss to him if Israel went into the wilderness and did not return. By His demand, God forced Pharaoh to make a choice. God foreknew that Pharaoh would choose rebellion. God had said, “But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand” (Ex. 3:19). Later, Moses said to Pharaoh, “But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet fear the LORD God” (Ex. 9:30). Pharaoh “sinned” by choosing to resist God’s words (Ex. 9:34).

To accomplish His eternal plan, God used many sinners, such as Joseph’s brothers, Assyria, and Judas (Gen. 37; Isa. 10:5-12; Matt. 26:23-25). None of them deserved mercy. But to fulfill His plan, God had mercy on some and hardened others. Even when they chose to sin, God was able to use their actions in His plan. As Joseph told his brothers, “ meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20).

God used Pharaoh to show His power so His name would be “declared in all the earth” (Ex. 9:16; see 10:1-2; Rom. 9:19-24). Pharaoh chose to sin, but God used his actions to save people in all nations, including Egypt.

Good news! God does not harden humble hearts! “...God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble (Js. 4:6; see Is. 26:5; Rom. 1:21-32; 10:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Matt. 18:4). So, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion...” (Heb. 3:8). “...Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God...Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you...Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (Js. 4:4, 7-8, 10).

OPENING Lydia’s Heart

Does the statement about God opening Lydia’s heart teach that His grace overwhelmed her heart and saved her without her free choice? “And on the Sabbath day we [Luke, with Paul and others] went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And...she and her household were baptized…” (Acts 16:13-15).

This does not say the Lord opened her heart without her choice. It only tells us who opened her heart. We do learn that her heart opened after “we...spoke” and “Lydia heard us”after she heard words from God.

Many times, the Bible shows the following process in conversions:

(1) The apostles and evangelists used Old Testament prophecies to show the identity of the Christ (see Acts 2:14-36; 8:29-35).

(2) After learning who He is, many people were ready to “heed” (16:14) the commands of the Christ — ready to obey (Acts 2:37; 8:36).

For example, the next chapter says, “...there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures [Old Testament], explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.’ And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas” (Acts 17:1-4).

Apparently, Lydia already had some knowledge of, and respect for, the Old Testament. She worshiped God, and she did that on the seventh day, as Jews did. The hearts of many Jews were closed to the idea of a new covenant replacing the Law of Moses — until their hearts were overwhelmed by the good news that the Old Testament prophecies of the Christ were fulfilled in Jesus! There are more than 300 such prophecies!

Lydia’s heart was not opened by the wisdom or eloquence of the men (see 1 Cor. 2:1-5; 3:6-9). Every time a person comes to Jesus, the glory belongs to God (1 Pet. 4:10-11; 1 Cor. 1:29, 31; Eph. 2:8-9). His word pierces hearts (Acts 2:37; 7:54). “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12; see Eph. 6:17).

Lydia had to first hear who Jesus is. Then she was ready to “heed” what Jesus says, and she obeyed Him in baptism. Other hearts were also opened and followed her example that day. God’s love in His message draws hearts to His Son and eternal life (Rom. 1:16; Jn. 12:32)!

Some GENTILES in Antioch of Pisidia

Many Jews obeyed the gospel, but some in Antioch of Pisidia did not. Paul and Barnabas told them, “‘It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles [non-Jews]. For so the Lord has commanded us: “I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.”’ Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed (Acts 13:46-48). Does this say God alone made the choice to save these Gentiles? No. Nothing in these verses says He saved them without their free choice.

Notice that the gospel had already touched their hearts one week earlier. The message they had heard is recorded in 26 verses (Acts 13:16-41). After that message, “...the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath” (Acts 13:42)! People saw their excitement! Also, they had seven more days to think about the gospel. There can be no doubt that God knew their hearts long before Acts 13:48.

“On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God” (13:44)! This event is a vivid example of people making their own choices about eternal life. Regarding some who heard “the word of God” that day, verse 46 says, “ reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life….” In contrast, after this second message, the Gentiles again responded joyfully! They were “...glad and glorified the word of the Lord...” (13:48). This is when Luke says, “...And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (13:48)!

Some chose to resist God’s grace, and some chose to accept it. Verse 48 does not say anything about the Lord appointing these Gentiles to eternal life without their free choice. Instead, each time they heard the good news, they joyfully welcomed it! These Gentiles chose to believe!


The idea of “once saved, always saved” is also called “eternal security,” “the perseverance of the saints,” and “the impossibility of apostasy.”  

“Once saved, always saved” is an absolutely necessary part of Calvin’s Predestination. If Calvin’s Predestination were true — if God had decided our eternal destiny without our free choice — it would mean that all saved people could never choose to leave Him. So, if the Bible says saved people can choose to leave God and be lost, we will know God has not already decided each person’s eternal destiny without our free choice. We will know for sure that Calvin’s Predestination is false.

Does JAMES Teach “Eternal Security”?

James says, “Brethren [Christians], if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (Js. 5:19-20). If a Christian “wanders from the truth” and never returns, that choice is eternally fatal — “death.”

Good news! We can help save souls! When some of God’s children wander away, He often uses some of His other children to help rescue them (see Gal. 6:1). Prayerful encouragement can touch a brother’s heart, bring him back, and “save a soul from death”! Also, James says God’s word can save Christians from departure:brethren...receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (Js. 1:19, 21-22).

Does JOHN Teach “Eternal Security”?

John wrote, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us...” (1 Jn. 2:19). Some say this teaches that all saved people will never leave. And, they say it teaches that all people who leave were never really saved.

This does not say “they were never of us.” It says they “were not of us.” It does not reveal how long their hearts were not with God’s people. There are two ways a person can be with God’s people, but not “of” His people:

(1) Some are with God’s people for a while who have never obeyed the gospel. Some of these were “baptized,” but did not obey from their heart (see Rom. 6:17-18, 3-4). We know this because they tell us. Some explain that they were baptized to please other people, or they were baptized for some other reason. Many of these people eventually obey from their heart. But some leave who had never obeyed the gospel.

(2) Other people who leave were saved. Some are like the seed which fell on stony ground (Matt. 13:20-21). They receive the gospel with joy, obey it, and endure “for a while.” But they let false teachings, troubles, or hurt feelings weaken their faith. For some time, they are present in body, but absent in heart. When they leave God’s people, it can be said that “they were not of us,” because their heart had already left earlier. This is like many of the Israelites. They rejoiced at the Red Sea. But when troubles came, they started complaining, and “ their hearts they turned back to Egypt” (Acts 7:39). They were with Moses in body, but not in heart — and many died (see Heb. 3:8-4:11).

A person’s departure does not tell us he was never saved. If he was a saved person, his departure does not reveal when his heart changed. His departure only shows that his heart was not with God’s people before he left. John does not teach that all people who depart were never saved. And, he does not teach that all saved people will never depart.

If a Saved Person Has “Eternal” Life, How Can He Lose It?

Does a saved person have eternal life now? John records these words of Jesus: “...he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (Jn. 6:47; see 3:36; 5:24, 26; 6:54; 11:25-26; 1 Jn. 3:14-15). So the answer is, “Yes.” A saved person has eternal life now. In these verses, “believes” refers to obedient faith, not belief without actions (compare Jn. 12:42-43; Js. 2:14-26).

Some people have reasoned this way: “A saved person cannot lose eternal life, because losing it would mean it was not actually eternal.

That reasoning is based on a mistake about the location of eternal life. Eternal life is not distributed to people like money or food, with all people taking their gifts and going their own separate ways. Instead, eternal life is always located in one place. Eternal life is located in Christ!

Good News! Before God made our physical gifts, He gave us spiritual gifts! He put “every spiritual blessing” in a very special location for us! He put them “in Christ”! By doing that, He chose and predestined all who are in Christ to receive forgiving grace, adoption, and eternal life!

God “...has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2 Tim. 1:9). He “...has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:3-7); “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23); “...the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 1:1). “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation...” (2 Cor. 5:17). “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). “...I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10).

John likewise says, “In Him was life…” (Jn. 1:4; see 11:25-26; 14:6; 1 Jn. 1:1-2). “...God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn. 5:11-12); “...and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:20).

John gives us these warnings from Jesus: Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He [God] takes away...” (Jn. 15:2). Each “branch” is a saved person in Christ. Anyone who does not bear fruit will be taken “away” from Christ — away from the location of eternal life. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (Jn. 15:6; see Rev. 20:11-15). Eternal life never ends. But a saved person can lose eternal life by leaving Christ, the location of that life.

Good News! God foreordained a way to keep His children clean: “...if we [Christians] walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin...If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness...My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 Jn. 1:7, 9; 2:1). Continual cleansing is in Christ. When we fall away, we need to return to Him and His spiritual body, the church (see Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 12:25-27). If we repent, God forgives us. John says, “...everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 Jn. 3:3). A Christian “purifies himself” by “walking in the light,” continuing in the place where there is cleansing and help every step of the way!

The Holy Spirit through John reminds and urges us: “...he who keeps His commandments abides in Him...” (3:24; see 2:24); “...He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9); “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 Jn. 2:28).

Does REVELATION Teach “Eternal Security”?

Rev. 17:8 says, “...And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world….” Does this say each person’s eternal destiny was decided without our free choice — and cannot be changed by our choice?

Again, this verse calls our attention to the foreknowledge of God. It says nothing about our eternal destiny being decided without our free choice. Instead, Revelation clearly teaches that our eternal destiny depends on our choices. (Other verses which mention “the Book of Life” are Lk. 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; and 22:19.)

Names can be removed from the Book of Life. We see evidence of that in these words to Christians: “Be watchful...and repent...He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father...” (Rev. 3:2-3, 5). Jesus warned some Christians, “...because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth…Therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:16, 19). John warned, “...if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:19). So, Rev. 17:8 does not teach that each person’s eternal destiny was decided without our free choice. The names of unfaithful Christians who do not repent will be removed.

In Revelation 20, John gives us a view of the judgment day, when all people who have ever lived will be judged by God through Christ (see Acts 17:31). Notice that the Book of Life and God’s record of our actions will both be used in deciding each person’s eternal destiny: “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:12-15). This clearly shows that we will be judged by our own actions.

Good news! Jesus said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne...” (Rev. 3:19-21). Jesus said this to Christians. He does not lock us IN or OUT. He doesn’t want us to lock Him out, either. But He will not break down the door. Each Christian decides whether to open the door. Even when we fall away, Jesus stands at the door asking us to let Him in again. The One who died for us wants to help us again!

Jesus promised, “...Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10)! He will help us be faithful, if we want His help.

Does PETER Teach “Eternal Security”?

Peter says God “...according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:3-5).

Our Inheritance is “incorruptible” (cannot decay), is “undefiled” (kept free of stains), “does not fade away” (will never lose its glory), and is “reserved” (set apart) for us.

Christians are “kept by the power of God through faith.” Does “kept” mean we cannot leave? He does not say God keeps us against our will. Peter is reminding us that it is not our own power that keeps us clean and safe. The power of God “through faith” saved us (Eph. 2:8-9), and “the power of God through faith” keeps us clean and helps us endure (see Eph. 3:20-21; 1 Jn. 1:7; Phil. 4:13). His power will never fail us!

However, if we leave Him and never return, we will lose our inheritance. Peter uses some unpleasant “pictures” to warn Christians not to go back into sin: “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire’ ” (2 Pet. 2:20-22). If we leave Christ and never return, our punishment will be worse than if we had never obeyed the gospel (see Heb. 10:28-36). So, Peter says, “...beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away...” (2 Pet. 3:17).

Good news! God’s word can help you avoid falling. The next verse says, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...” (3:18). Paul said, “...brethren, I commend you to God and the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance...” (Acts 20:32). The inheritance will be given to Christians who grow spiritually in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

Peter does teach about “perseverance” of the saints. He urges saints to persevere so we can enter heaven. To “persevere” means to continue on a course of action through all difficulties. He says, “ all diligence, add to your faith...” virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love, For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things...has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so [in this way] an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:5-11). Christians are the kingdom people, citizens now (Col. 1:13; Phil. 3:20). If we grow and persevere, we will enter the eternal kingdom place (see 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-4). Jesus said, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you...” (Rev. 3:10).

Peter is the one who wrote, “The Lord is...not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). That includes Christians who have fallen away. God wants everyone to come home.

Does HEBREWS Teach “Eternal Security”?

The letter to Hebrew (Jewish) Christians warns all of us: “...we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away (Heb. 2:1); how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation...” (2:3). “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, ‘...Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion’” (3:12-15). “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience (4:11; see 10:28-29); “...if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him” (10:38); “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble...” (12:15); “...much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven” (12:25).

Good news! Hebrews encourages us. “...He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Heb. 13:5-6). “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16; see 10:19-25).

Does PAUL teach “Eternal Security” in Romans 8?

Does Romans 8 teach “once saved, always saved”? Several verses in Romans 8 show that this chapter opposes “once saved, always saved.”

Good news! In Romans 8, Paul is giving us reasons to remain faithful to God, and assurance that God will remain faithful to us!

Romans 8 BEGINS and ENDS “in Christ”! “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39).

All spiritual blessings are in Christ (Eph. 1:3). There is safety for all who are in Christ. If we choose to leave Him, we leave the place of safety. To “those who are called,” Jude says, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 1, 21). If you want to stay in Christ, God will help you. God is on your side!

Romans 8 says those who “set their minds” on “the things of the Spirit” will have “life and peace” (8:5-6). Christians have a choice: “...brethren, we are debtors; not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (8:12-13; see 6:12-16).

Paul does mention “perseverance” in Romans 8. But it is not an action by God, not a guarantee that we will never fall away. Instead, perseverance is something we do, with God’s help. We choose to persevere — persist in Christ — or turn back to a life of sin. Paul says “hope” helps us persevere: “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (8:25; see 5:3-5; Eph. 6:18). Paul and Job are examples of people who faithfully persevered through many troubles (2 Cor. 12:12; 2 Tim. 3:10-11; Js. 5:11). Romans 8 encourages us to set our minds on spiritual things and persevere. God will never fail those who stay in Christ!

Warnings from Paul

Paul told the Christians at Corinth, “We...plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain (2 Cor. 6:1; see 1 Thess. 3:5). “Vain” means “worthless, unsuccessful.” How could God’s grace be unsuccessful?

The Corinthians had received God’s forgiving grace through faith when they were baptized into Christ: “...many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). That day, God removed their “old sins” and would “remember” them “no more” (see 2 Pet. 1:9; Heb. 8:12). But the ultimate goal of that grace was to present them sinless to God on the judgment day (Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7; 21:2; Col. 1:21-23, 28). They would need “more grace” (see Js. 4:6). If they did not continue in Christ, their new sins would not be removed by His blood (see 1 Jn. 1:7). They would miss heaven, the final goal of the grace they had first received.

Paul told Christians in Galatia, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel...You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace (Gal. 1:6; 5:4). They had obeyed the gospel call. But these “called” people fell from God’s grace.

Paul wrote: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit...Let no one cheat you of your reward...” (Col. 2:8, 18); “...concerning the faith [some] have suffered shipwreck (1 Tim. 1:19); “...some will depart from the faith...” (4:1). “For some have already turned aside after Satan” (5:15); “...some have strayed from the faith in their greediness...” (6:10; see 6:21). Hymenaeus and Philetus “...have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some (2 Tim. 2:17-18). “If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us (2 Tim. 2:12). Paul warns, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12).

Good news! In the next verse, Paul assures us, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). God gives us “the way of escape,” along with strength and grace to help us endure (2 Cor. 12:9-10; Phil. 4:13). But each Christian must choose whether to take God’s way of escape or yield to sin. God does not remove the need for saved people to make choices between good and evil (see Heb. 5:14; Phil. 1:9-11).

Good News! God Helps Us “Will” & “Do”!

Does your “willpower” lose power some time? You and I cannot remain faithful to God by our own strength. Paul says we don’t have to! God helps us “will” (determine) and “do” (act) when we choose to keep on serving Him: “ beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). When you “work out” — strive to be faithful through every trial — God “works in” you to “will” and “do”! “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 3:20-21)!

The Testimony of a “Predestined” Man

Paul includes himself when he says, God “...chose us in Him [in Christ] before the foundation of the world...having predestined us to adoption as sons...In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined...” (Eph. 1:4-5, 11). Even if we did not know what “predestined” means, we would know this: Paul was one of the “predestined” people.

Now consider what this “predestined” man said: “...I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). Paul was “predestined,” yet he could “become disqualified.” If he yielded to sin through the temptations of his flesh, he would miss heaven. This clearly shows that “predestined” does not mean a person is “once saved, always saved.”


Jesus gave us God’s word through the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:12-13). In a multitude of verses, the Holy Spirit tells us that “once saved, always saved” is absolutely false. A saved person can choose to leave Christ and be lost. The failure of “once saved, always saved” shows that God has not decided your eternal destiny without your free choice. And, that means Calvin’s Predestination cannot be true.

Calvin’s Predestination opposes a massive amount of God’s word. It’s a very serious matter to oppose God’s word. “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him; the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (Jn. 12:48). We pray that this study has helped you understand more of the Lord’s word, and that you are determined to “...abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 Jn. 2:28).

Good News! Christ WILL be in Heaven!

Before creation, God placed all spiritual blessings in Christ. Today, God invites all people into Christ. His spiritual body will be in Heaven! So, every person who enters into His body and continues there, by grace through faith, will also be in heaven and enjoy God’s blessings forever!

Where will you be when Christ returns?

Will you “be found in Him” (Phil. 3:9)?

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:21).



All Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.

We give thanks and glory to God for His marvelous word!

We greatly appreciate all who make this work possible through gifts and prayers.

We also give our thanks to the many gospel preachers whose diligent studies of God’s word helped in the preparation of this study.

Copyright © 2011   Royce Frederick

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We encourage you to also make that your goal, and we invite you to visit the churches of Christ in your area.

May God bless you in every way, unto His glory.