Predestination, Free Will or Both?
I was raised Pentecostal with the belief that once saved by free will that there is the possibility of backsliding or losing your salvation. Over the past 10 years the Lord has really opened my understanding to scriptures that have made me take a second look at this belief. A few years back the Lord showed me that faith is always expressed with obedience. For example, Noah heard from God, moved with fear, and built the ark. So faith came by hearing, and the hearing came from the Word of God. In other words, Noah heard from God, believed God and obeyed God. The basic equation of faith. So with that in mind, I then understand that according to Ephesians 2 that I am saved by grace through faith, and not of works lest I should boast. I was drawn by the Spirit, convicted of sin, presented by the Spirit Christ's finish work on Calvary, and surrendered my will to Him. So to my understanding, I couldn't accept Christ except I heard by the Word of God(drawing of the Spirit), which produced faith in me to believe on his name. And then, demonstrated that faith by trusting in Him with all that is in me. So for me my salvation is not maintained by works, but by faith which is expressed in my choosing to obey. So not too long ago I seen something in the story of Peters denial that I had never seen before. It was that Christ (a)had foreknowledge of Peter's denial(b)Had prayed for Peter beforehand(c)said Peter would be converted. As we all know Peter fulfilled this prophesy to the T. So, that makes me wonder if according to God's foreknowledge that he knows all my mistakes and has already accounted for them in his plan for my life. The bible says in Hebrews 12 that Jesus is the author and finisher of our salvation. Philippians 1:6 says that he who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. I believe that God is His own Word so this parable could apply to him as well as us. Luke 14:28 says what man who desires to build a tower doesn't sit down first and count the cost to see if he has enough money to finish what he has started? So if he starts building us when we get saved has he already counted the cost to make sure he can complete in us what he has started?
I don't believe in Calvinism by any stretch. Mainly bc the bible teaches that it is God's will that all should come to repentance. If I understand Calvinism right, there is an elect or select people that are predestined to be saved and no matter what they will be saved. And by the same principle there are people destined for hell no matter what. This is all based on the belief that God's sovereign will, will be done. But if that is so, then all mankind down through the ages will be saved in light of 2 Peter 3:9. Obviously that is not the case because the bible plainly teaches that whoever rejects Christ will spend eternity in the lake of fire. So free will plays a part. So my bottom line question which hinges on Romans 8:29&30 that says whom he did foreknow, he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son....whom he did predestine he called, who he called he justified, who he justified he glorified. In my estimation, God's call to salvation is to all, but only some will answer. According to God's foreknowledge he has predestined those who heed the call. So is that how predestination and free will work together? All thoughts are welcome!
Sorry in advance for the poor grammar.
On a side note about willfully acting in sin. I wouldn't say that willfully engaging in sin means a person is not saved. I do agree that the true believer will not continue in sin but will repent if he or she falls. That is the work of sanctification by the Spirit. But thats my best understanding