The verse you are referring to is Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  The word ‘called’ literally means ‘invited’.  The Lord, by His wondrous grace invited us to Himself according to His purpose.  We read in Ephesians 1:11, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”  We also read in2 Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

These precious verses assure us that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for His children.  Our coming to Him in faith was not an act of random choice; it was by the sovereign hand of God, who has a distinct purpose in calling us, predestinating us, and saving us.  Returning to Romans, we read in Romans 8:29-31, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”  What a powerful statement: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”  The purpose of God cannot be defeated.  No matter what the world or Satan may do to conquer God’s plan, it will not work!  Eight times in this portion do we read the word, “He”.  The work is the Lord’s.  He does the calling; He does the saving…all according to His perfect purpose.  He foreknew.  He predestinated.  He called.  He justified.  He glorified.

Let’s consider the words of the Lord Jesus in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…”  Why is it that no one can come to the Lord without the intervention of the Father?  Because there is absolutely nothing in a person that will respond to the Lord’s loving call of salvation.  Isaiah 55:6 instructs us, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found…”  Yet, the truth of man’s absolute sinful condition is revealed in Romans 3:11 which says, “…there is none that seeketh after God.”  Knowing that, we realize that if the Lord did not call us, if He did not draw us, if He did not elect or choose us…no one would ever be saved!  The words of the Lord Jesus in John 15:16 make this so clear, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…”

So, what do we do with this truth?

  • Does this mean that Jesus did not die for everyone? No, in fact Jesus DID die for everyone as we read in 1 Timothy 2:6 that He”…gave himself a ransom for all…”
  • Does this mean that we are not responsible before God to believe the Gospel? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. Acts 20:21 tells us that the Lord requires of us, “…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • Does this mean that if I’m not saved, that it is the Lord’s fault for not choosing me? Again, no, this is not true. Let’s look carefully at the Lord’s words in John 5:40, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” And again in Luke 13:34, “…how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” Notice in both of these verses, the Lord did not say these people COULD not come to Him. He said they WOULD not come. The Lord did nothing to hinder them coming to Him.
  • Can anyone be saved that desires salvation? Absolutely YES! Revelation 22:17 is a gracious and loving invitation to all. It says, “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

God is sovereign in His election and man is responsible to come to the Lord. Both of these are taught in the scriptures. Both are true. We should not try to choose either truth and reject the other. (176.8)