Monday, August 18, 2014

Predestined to Hell?

Like many people, I was surprised to hear of Robin Williams committing suicide last Monday. Minus the profanity, I enjoyed Robin’s comic talents especially in the movie “Good Morning, Vietnam” and the parody of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in his first album “Reality...What a Concept.” It’s sad this actor/comedian who made millions laugh gave up his battle with depression by taking his own life.

This past Thursday I read a WorldNetDaily article about Robin Williams accepting Jesus Christ while in rehab. One man responded to the article with this comment: “God chooses who is to be saved and then opens their hearts to receive the message.” I attempted to correct this man of his belief in predestination, a doctrine popularized by 16th century theologian John Calvin. One dictionary defines predestination as “the act of God foreordaining every event from eternity.” 

A passage often cited by Calvinists can be found in Romans 8:29-30:

"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."

God is omniscient and inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15). Although God knows in advance who will reject Him, He still gives everybody the option of receiving eternal life. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” 

Because man was made a free moral agent, sometimes we make unwise choices. If someone died in a car accident because he was speeding or ran a red light, was that the will of God? No. The dead man simply made a foolish decision of his own free will.

If God predestined certain individuals to hell, then why bother witnessing since some people are supposedly “doomed from the womb?” On the contrary, God doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus commanded us in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to EVERY creature.” Acts 17:30 says that God “...commands ALL MEN everywhere to repent.” 

So if you’re not in right standing with the Lord, you can still choose to receive the free gift of salvation and spend eternity in heaven. You are not predestined to hell.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” - Matthew 22:14

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