Individually Choosing the Destiny of Eternal Life
AT ALL times Jehovah’s attributes of wisdom, love and power square with his justice. His love provided the ransom sacrifice of his Son so that he could be righteous in “declaring righteous the man that has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:26, NW) Since he is never partial he would not arbitrarily bestow everlasting life on some regardless of their course of action and deny it to others regardless of their course.—Deut. 10:17; 2 Chron. 19:7, AT; Rom. 2:11; 6:23, NW.*
Yet such an arbitrary course of action those attribute to Jehovah who hold to the teaching of predestination, quoting Paul at Romans 8:29, 30, which states: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, . . . Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called.” According to them Jehovah predestinates the destiny of individuals without regard to their faith and works.
But, in view of the plain testimony of the rest of the Scriptures showing that individuals may, yes, must choose life or death for themselves, we are forced to the conclusion that, since the Bible does not contradict itself, Paul was here referring to a class and not to individuals. For example, note how plainly Moses put the choice of life or death up to the Israelites: “I have put life and death before you, the blessing and the malediction, and you must choose life in order that you may keep alive, you and your offspring, by loving Jehovah your God, by listening to his voice and by sticking to him, for he is your life and the length of your days.” (Deut. 30:19, 20, NW) Joshua put the same issue before the Israelites, and Ezekiel did so time and again.—Josh. 24:15; Ezek. 3:27; 18:23, 31, 32; 33:7, 11-15, AT.
But does not the apostle Paul state that some were chosen before the foundation of the world to be in union with Christ Jesus? (Eph. 1:4, 5, NW) True, but to what world was he referring? Not to the world of Adam’s day, because that would mean that God provided for mankind’s redemption before Adam had sinned, making Adam’s testing a mockery. No, but before the foundation of the new world, which foundation was laid by presenting the merit of the slain Lamb of God, as Revelation 13:8 clearly shows. It was before the foundation of this new world was laid that Jehovah purposed others should be sharers with the Christ.—Gal. 3:29.
Those who teach predestination hold that once a person has been “effectually” called, justified, sanctified and has come into a condition of grace he cannot fall away. But that is not what the Scriptures teach. Paul was apprehensive lest after having preached to others he should fall away. (1 Cor. 9:27) Faithfulness and endurance to the end are required if we would gain salvation. (Matt. 24:13; Rev. 2:10) He shows that after some had been cleansed by the blood of Christ, had become partakers of the holy spirit and been sanctified they could sin willfully and fall away. (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29) However, let none think that salvation comes solely by their own efforts, for the basis of it all is Jehovah’s undeserved kindness.—Rom. 11:6; Eph. 2:8, 9; 2 Tim. 1:9, NW.
Yes, the Bible shows God to be just, wise and loving in arranging for man to gain life. Rejecting predestination, let us individually choose now the destiny of eternal life.
For details see The Watchtower, May 15, 1953.