Can you believe in one and believe in the other too? I believe so. They actually both work together for the glory of God. One is God’s calling and empowerment, and the other is our choice and will-power. The Bible says:
“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. 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” (Romans 8:29-30).
Again, Jesus says to His disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16). Unto those who He receives into heavenly dwelling, Jesus also pronounces: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…” (Matt 25:34).
It is a mystery of His grace and justice, that some are called and empowered and shown great mercy…while some have only a frightening expectation. Jesus said concerning His disciples that no one can come to Him, unless the Father draws them (John 6:44). God, who knows all things, knew before hand those who would truly receive Him and love Him and do His will… Regardless, our free-will was not forsaken the day we were chosen.
Paul wrote to the Philippians, saying: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil 2:12-13). We see here that we are to work, with our own will, the work that God has begun in us through His grace! Together, we join in the good work that God started by choosing, by abiding, by obeying, by submitting, by forsaking, by enduring…and by resting and trusting – “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).
The grace of God towards us gives us confidence to walk by faith, trusting in His ability to save to the utmost (Heb 7:25)! By our faith, which is alive in obedience (Jam 2:14-26), we received the Spirit of Christ (John 14:23), the Spirit of Sonship, by which we are sealed in God (Eph 1:13, 2 Cor 1:22, Rom 8:15-16). Being sealed doesn’t mean that we have lost our free-will nor our humanity… Christ, the One who redeemed us and who we are to imitate, is the best example of One who was chosen and appointed of God, but who freely gave Himself, submitting to God in obedience, and thereby earning a name above every name (John 10:18, Phil 2:8-11)!
Even as we abide in the confidence of our sonship, we should, as Paul did before us “…keep under [our] body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when [we] have preached to others, [we, ourselves] should be a castaway” (1 Cor 9:27). By this, Paul is warning us that we can miss road, after beginning in grace and power (see also Galatians 3:1-3). God forbid! Jesus also warned that those who abused their liberty and authority in Him, will be counted with the unbelievers (Luke 12:45-46).
We must constantly resist pride and complacency in our walk with God. We will continually wrestle against principalities and powers (Eph 6:12), and it is therefore needful for us to be well-guarded, well trained in the Word and diligent in service, that we may take hold of that which has been prepared for us. We have reason to have holy fear, being warned: “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee” (Rom 11:21).
We run the race with many. We may see others falter or fall altogether away from the path of righteousness. We look not on them, but fix our eyes on Christ, the Authour and Finisher of our Faith (Heb 12:2). And we prove ourselves true by our endurance (Acts 14:22, Heb 6:4-6, Luke 21:19), as God works with us making all grace to abound towards us (2 Cor 9:8).
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14).
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