I’m always fascinated when I encounter something that helps to refocus my perception. I’m not saying that I’m willy-nilly in my beliefs. Quite the contrary. Yet, I’m continually growing in my faith and my limited understanding is slowly expanding.
Granted, my focus has been on victims of natural disasters and on the homeless (I prefer to consider them as outdoor friends), but the world is much larger than my myopic view. We live in a world with immeasurable complexity, yet I tend to reduce it to black and white. Through the lens of the Bible, there are the saved and the unsaved, the ultimate black and white comparison, but oftentimes I find myself usurping the Judge’s Seat.
I’ll admit that I can only consider one idea or issue at a time. I’m aware that John 3:16 tells us that Jesus came because God loves the world (or more specifically, mankind), but I am also aware that John 3:17 states that the world might be saved through him (emphasis added). That implies that not all will be saved.
I believe in the doctrine of election as evidenced in John 15:16, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, and Revelation 13:8 (just to name a few verses). I also believe in free will as evidenced in the Garden which Paul points out in Romans 5:12. Two apparent paradoxical truths that are difficult to hold simultaneously. It’s like a difficult calculus problem that has to be addressed in parts before the answer can be derived.
The point is that God alone determines who goes to heaven without compromising our free will, and we need to be faithful to what He has charged us with: to be faithful in proclaiming the Gospel.
It’s not up to us to decide if the homeless, or the Muslim, or the postmodern, or our neighbor across the street is grafted in. Our job is simply to proclaim the Good News.