Are We Chosen?
Are We Chosen?
“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created.” James 1:18
These kinds of verses in the bible confuse people. Some people will use verses like this to claim that no one has free will and that God determined before all time who would be saved and who wouldn’t be saved.
In the greek “He chose to” actually says, “βουληθεὶς” (boulētheis). It means “Having willed”. This form of the word shows up one time in the new testament, it’s right here in James 1:18. James is the only one that uses this form of the word in the New Testament.
Why Did James Use ‘βουληθεὶς’?
I don’t think when James wrote this verse he was talking about each individual person as being chosen by God to be ‘saved’. I think this verse is saying that God willed all of history together to achieve his bigger plan. That bigger plan was to save humans from their sins. God willed event after event every step of history in every way to achieve his bigger plan.
But Does God Choose People?
This is a hard question to answer and to answer correctly. I know two things for sure are true. First, God gives us free will. Second, God is outside of time. He is looking at all of time, the future to him is a memory and he already knows by his all-knowing knowledge who will follow him and his ways and who will reject him and his ways.
Predestination & Foreknew
There are verses that talk about predestination. Like Romans 8:29 “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.”.
The word “predestined” shows up 4 times in the New Testament of the NIV Bible. In greek, this word is “προώρισεν” (proōrisen). In other translations, you may see it say, “To determine before” or “To ordained before”. It’s obvious that God determined before the beginning of time for us to be “conformed to the image of his son”, but to say God sat down and thought of each person that he will not save and will save, but his own divine choice just doesn’t line up completely with the love of God. I think God just simply knew before time began who exactly would and wouldn’t follow him.
Now it’s so easy for us to say, “See God chose who would be saved before he even created the world.” We miss these four words though, “For those God foreknew”. In greek, it says, “προέγνω” (proegnō). This form of the word shows up two times in the New Testament.
Both these words are classified as verbs in greek. What is a verb? A verb is an action we take. So what action did God take? God stepped outside of time and space and looked at history from beginning to end, seeing who will turn to him and who will not turn to him. Once he collected this information He created a customized plan for each one of his followers. He gave each one of us a mission, a task and a free will to follow him and his will for our lives or to follow our own will for our own lives.
God Size Mission
It’s like having been given a job. I was a manager for Walmart. My boss gave me a role to play in the company. I was given the role of Support Manager. My boss had things I needed to get done every day. I was performing a role for the company to achieve a bigger mission for Home Office, by achieving my small mission for myself and my boss. Now, I had the free will to get the job done the way I wanted to get the job done, and sometimes my boss would tell me to change the way I do things to get it done better. That is somewhat how God is playing out creation.
God gave a task to a guy named Noah to build an ark. Noah in his freewill built an ark with his own hands, time, skills, and his own brain. Noah wasn’t some computer that God programmed into doing this task. God gave Noah a task and Noah did the task to the best of his ability and thank God he achieved it. Noah’s boat-building years helped save the human race from a global flood.
If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, then God has a task for you to complete. You’re not here just for yourself and your own glory. It’s so easy to think that we are just here for our own self. That’s not true. We’re here to achieve a ‘God Size Mission’. I call it a ‘God Size Mission’ because you can only do it with God’s help.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
What did God call you to do? You know what you’re here to do. It’s weighing on your heart. Stop sitting around waiting for Jesus to return. Stop sitting around waiting for your kids to graduate. Stop sitting around making excuses. Stop sitting around. God made you for a special plan. He put something big in your heart and as you’re reading this, you can feel it. It is that tugging in your chest. Go Achieve Your “God Size Mission”.