Question: If God has chosen those who will be saved (which is His right, and the Scriptures seem to say He did) then how can a commitment to Christ be free/voluntary? Wouldn’t this diminish our roles as witnesses, and the urgency that Kirk Kameron and Ray Comfort stress?
Jesus stressed the urgency of witnessing:
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full… (Luke 14:23).
The apostle Paul spread the gospel with a sense of urgency, knowing that God’s plan for people hearing and responding to the good news required messengers being sent:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? (Rom. 10:14-15)
In fact, the timing of the “end of the age” and the Return of Jesus Christ hinges upon the Church completing the Great Commission:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matt. 24:14).
So how does this sense of urgency square with the Bible’s teaching on election?
First, we need to humbly realize that the Church over the centuries has wrestled over what “election” and being “chosen” actually mean. This article will not settle that debate; and many will disagree with me. All I can do is share my understanding of God’s Word on the matter, and trust the Holy Spirit to bring glory to the Father.
There is a certain tension (not contradiction) in Scripture regarding election:
1. God’s Desire: 1 Tim. 2:4 [God] wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
2. God’s Choice: 2 Th. 2:13 … from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
Notice, this does not tell us who God chooses to be saved, but how a person is saved: through the agency of the Holy Spirit and believing God’s Word.
In similar fashion, Ephesians 1:4-5, 11-13 teaches that it was the apostles who were specifically predestined to be adopted as Gods sons and chosen to be His apostles (1-12), but that we who follow were “included in Christ” when we believed the gospel (13).
A careful reading of Scripture demonstrates that God does not predestine all who will be saved and all who will go to hell. He has predestined certain individuals for salvation (the apostles), but the rest of us are saved when we believe the gospel, and this is made possible through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
And this is precisely why there is such an urgency to share the gospel with those who are not saved.