Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. – 2 Timothy 1:10-11
A debate that has existed for centuries and will never be settled this side of eternity concerns God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. Many believe that they cannot be resolved and therefore seek to totally eradicate one position or the other for the sake of preserving a personal theological position. Often these debates appear harmful to the cause of Christ and painful to those who enter them.
God is sovereign or He is not God. Omnipotence is a necessary attribute of deity. Man is responsible for his sin or his punishment would be unjust. Hell is a just punishment for sinful disobedience of God’s righteous standard. As Paul clearly states in his epistle to Timothy, God saves and calls according to His own purpose and grace granted in Christ Jesus from all eternity; yet, it is man’s unbelief that keeps Him from the Father.
Meanwhile, billions enter a Christless eternity while the church argues over who is at fault. The devil does love his ability to distract! Get on with the mission!
No man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men: neither is there any other thing which keeps us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief. – John Calvin