A question that often pops up when we talk about predestination is, “You say that God predestines who will go to heaven. So that must mean that God must predestine people to hell as well.”
I answered this to some degree on my last blog. In a sense, I suppose you could say that he predestines people to hell. That is, he says, “My plan is to give you justice for your sins.” But as I said, he then waits to see if you will do anything to change his mind. That if on your own, without his intervention, you will start to seek him. And the thing is no one ever does.
So ultimately, what I believe is this: People go to hell by their own choice, and to heaven by God’s.
God has given us free will. We can choose to follow him or to not follow him. Yet left to our own devices, without any intervention on God’s part, all of us rebel against God, and all of us go our own way. There is no exception. It is, ultimately, the story of humanity.
So God had to make a choice. He could do nothing and let all perish, or do something and save some. God chose to do the latter. That’s why Paul says,
It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.” (29)
Sodom and Gomorrah through their own free will chose to rebel against God. And God chose not to show mercy to them, but rather to give them what they deserved: judgment leading to death.
Israel also chose through their free will to rebel against God. But God chose to show mercy to them and gave them what they didn’t deserve: grace leading to life.
What was the difference between the two (I suppose, technically three)? Nothing. Except for one thing. God’s election.
And again, that’s the wonder of it all. We were no better than anyone else. Yet God chose to save us.
So yes, we are saved because God chose to intervene in our lives. But if we go to hell, we have no one to blame but ourselves.