God’s election of a predestined group


St Paul Cathedral, London UK

The debate about Calvinism vs Arminianism sometimes center around the issue of predestination.  Everyone believes that God does predestine, but to what extent are we predestined to?  God has predestined that Christ should live within the believer in order to be saved, but the question is: Does God predestine a certain chosen or elected smaller remnant of people to be saved?  Scripture seems to point to this.

Certainly Israel was chosen, as the Apostle Paul points out here in Romans 8:28-30,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Rom. 8:28-30, NIV)

Calvinists would say that predestination is explicit in this passage of scripture, however, Arminians would interpret this verse to imply that God’s prevenient grace is universally offered to all people, regardless of whether or not they’ve heard the gospel. In a way, this grace also renders the person “neutral” so that they can decide themselves whether to accept or reject Christ (see Monergism).

In the Old Testament, Paul quoted Moses and makes it clear that only a remnant will be saved to continue on as the surviving and true Israel,

“For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children…” (Rom. 9:6-8)

Furthermore, the argument of whether God is truly merciful or not is clear in the Old Testament. Paul quotes Moses from Exodus 33:19,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Rom 9:14)

This begs us to wonder: “What if my son or daughter, brother or sister, is neither predestined or called by God?”  Ouch.  A loving father, mother, sibling or spouse, would feel a deep heart-ache if they knew that their loved one was not predestined to be with the Lord on the Last Day.

Another question might be: What about all the other millions of people around the world who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus?  Are they not predestined to be saved?

I still have unanswered questions, but for me, come what may, I still believe that God is a sovereign God and will place my bets on God’s mercy, grace and love.



4 thoughts on “God’s election of a predestined group

  1. Hi Kevin. This seems to be an age old conversation. I believe that we are all predestined to be a part of God’s family but have the freedom to choose God or not.

    Sometimes it helps to read scripture in several other versions in order to get a full picture of what is being said. I tend to like The Message. So here are your verses in that version.
    “Romans 9:6-9The Message (MSG)
    6-9 Don’t suppose for a moment, though, that God’s Word has malfunctioned in some way or other. The problem goes back a long way. From the outset, not all Israelites of the flesh were Israelites of the spirit. It wasn’t Abraham’s sperm that gave identity here, but God’s promise. Remember how it was put: “Your family will be defined by Isaac”? That means that Israelite identity was never racially determined by sexual transmission, but it was God-determined by promise. Remember that promise, “When I come back next year at this time, Sarah will have a son”.

    You might enjoy this web site that I just came across. https://www.bible.com/videos


  2. I always wonder why Christians allows something that they do not, and cannot possibly, understand divides God’s Kingdom. What if it is a precise predestination? Does that mean that those “predestined” have this figurative “license to kill”? Does it mean those people can do whatever they want and because they are predestined there is no consequence? Look what good that has done for Israel. That leads to the next point, HOW do one knows IF they are predestined? If WE can’t,then what’s the point in defining it other than there is an “academic purpose”?
    What if it is a general “predestination” which requires some sort of human input and effort? Does it lesson the “selection”?
    I know people have used this to even determine if someone is a “true Christian”.
    All these go on while non-believers are ignored and left confused.


    1. I agree. Predestination should never be used to question one’s genuine faith. Theology is only meant to help us make sense of how we understand God. I still do not understand and will never fully understand. I just ask questions and wonder about things theological. But it’s too bad churches are divided over some issues.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s