In this short, theological essay, John Piper builds a scriptural case that God’s unconditional election unto salvation is compatible with God’s genuine desire and offer for all to be saved. Helping us to make sense of this seemingly paradoxical relationship, Piper wisely holds both truths in tension as he explores the Bible’s teaching on this challenging topic, graciously responds to those who disagree, and motivates us to passionately proclaim the free offer of the gospel to all people.
“God, but in what they say this higher commitment is. What does God will more than saving all? The answer the Arminians give is that human self-determination and the possible resulting love relationship with God are more valuable than saving all people by sovereign, efficacious grace. The answer the Reformed give is that the greater value is the manifestation of the full range of God’s glory in wrath and mercy (Rom. 9:22–23) and the humbling of man so that he enjoys giving all credit to God for his salvation (1 Cor. 1:29).” (Page 39)
“Therefore, God wills (in one sense) to influence the hearts of the ten kings so that they will do what is against his will (in another sense).” (Page 22)
“Therefore, we know it was not the ‘will of God’ that Judas, Herod, the Jewish crowds, Pilate, and the Gentile soldiers disobeyed the moral law of God by sinning in delivering Jesus up to be crucified. But we also know that it was the will of God that this should come to pass. Therefore, we know that God wills in one sense what he does not will in another sense.” (Page 21)
“The paths that beckon us on this mountain are the path of God’s election and the path of God’s will for all people to be saved. Election seems to say that God has a people who are his, and he sees to it that they come to Christ and are saved. But the other path seems to say that God loves everyone and invites everyone to come, and wants them all to be saved.” (Page 10)
“‘ultimate (or decisive) human self-determination.’ By ‘ultimate’ or ‘decisive,’ I mean that, whatever other influences may lead toward a decision, the influence that settles the choice is the human self.” (Page 40)