Does God predestine some for heaven and others to hell without any choice in the matter? If so, some argue God is not unjust because all are depraved and none would choose God without His help. We would accuse earthly parents of immorality if they showed similar favoritism toward their children. Can we blame one for rejecting a God that claims to be a God of love and freedom but arbitrarily chooses who to save? Christians may rationalize certain behaviors because “God is not always fair.” Bigotry may be defended due to God’s biases.
Jesus knew nothing about a quota on God’s grace. In John’s gospel see what Christ said to the Samaritan woman (4:13-14], to Jews persecuting him (5:24), to disbelieving Jews (8:24, 51), to Martha (11:25-26), to Philip and Andrew (12:25-26), and to the crowd. (12:36, 46) Jesus spoke as if salvation was available to all who desire it. Context may restrict words such as “whoever, anyone, everyone,” but no contextual indicators in the passages above defend God limiting His grace. John 3:16 is one of hundreds of verses that speak of everybody’s freedom to choose or reject a relationship with the Creator. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
A few select passages might seem to contradict God’s universal grace, but a careful study reveals God elected Christ to save the world and not that God elected only certain individuals. Ephesians 1: 4-5 says: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—” God’s predestination act is that of choosing Christ. God predestinates those who choose to believe in Christ. I Peter 1:18-21 confirms Christ was chosen beforehand to save all those who believe.
God does not play favorites. The viewpoint that God chooses only certain individuals for salvation and others have no choice is indefensible exegetically and morally. Christians would admonish one another in Christ, on the grounds of scriptural teaching, if mercy was exercised in such an arbitrary fashion. Some call it sovereign grace but it is clearly arbitrary and contradicts hundreds of passages that declare God “wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim 2:4) God’s grace is not limited to a select few – the elect – at the exclusion of others. God will never force any one to love Him, but God extends His grace to us all.