I have been digging into the famous Romans 8:28 scripture (“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” NASB) trying to get a handle on the way that works concerning my life right now, and as I was reading it in context, something I have always considered false doctrine came to mind. I had to follow it up, no doubt about it.
The teaching of Calvinism that says all people are predestined – some to be saved and others not; no choice, is the way Calvinism is taught around where I live. I consider it false doctrine because it causes me to wonder how both that explanation and John 3:16 could be true. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” says, “whoever,” and whoever means… whoever – “any person who,” according to the dictionary. And how does the fact that God created man with a free will to be able to choose to love Him, rather than as robots that are programmed to be loyal to the Master, fit in with not having a choice? It also debunks Matthew 22:14.
There is a problem here – the Bible must agree with itself – and this is an example of the opposite happening by means of man’s interpretation. “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;” Revelation 22:18 (NASB) See also Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:5-6; Deuteronomy 12:32; Matthew 22:29; Mark 7:13; Matthew 24:24.
When using Romans 8:29-30 as support for this false doctrine, the correct meaning of “predestined” is not considered as it is used in this long sentence. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:29-30 (NASB)
Nor is the accurate translation from the original Aramaic considered, which explains this misunderstood or misused word. “And he knew them previously; and he sealed them with the likeness of the image of his Son; that He might be the first-born of many brothers. And those whom he previously sealed, them he called: and those whom he called, them he made righteous: and those whom he made righteous, them he glorified.” There is also a helpful footnote in the Aramaic English New Testament regarding being called, used this way which is the same way it is used in Matthew 22:14 “For many are those that are called, and few are chosen.”
Note from AENT: “Also “have chosen.” A person who is “called” must choose to follow. To put the onus of being “chosen” solely upon Mashiyach [Messiah] is false religion. True faith demands voluntary discipleship and sanctification according to the Word of YHWH [God]. Therefore, each soul also has the choice and responsibility of choosing to be chosen. Jews are YHWH’s “chosen people” – however, He has most certainly “un-chosen” Jews who wage war against Torah, YHWH and His Mashiyach.”
It becomes confusing to try to rectify Matthew 22:14 (“For many are those that are called, and few are chosen.”) and “predestined” as Calvinism teaches it, but I believe I understand it now. The predestined are those such as Martin Luther, the Wesley brothers – John and Charles, Alexander Peden, and many others who have dedicated their lives to Messiah and helping His followers understand His teachings. For example, look at the Reformation of the 16th century and even the Medieval times leading up to it. Before Martin Luther appeared on the scene, St. Francis of Assisi, the Waldensians, John Hus, and John Wycliffe, to name just a few, were doing their parts. God gave each of them a certain part to play, He predestined them, giving them certain things to accomplish for His truth, no one person did it all.
But it is not all people who are predestined to do these notable things and that leaves plenty of room for the rest of us “whoevers” to choose Messiah also!