Does God call us, or do we choose Him for ourselves?
Question: I read in John 6:44 that it is God the Father who calls us to His truth, and that we cannot choose Him unless He draws us to Him. I thought we were free moral agents, able to choose for ourselves, but this verse makes it seem that we don’t have a choice. Do we?
Answer: First, we should understand that it is God’s will for all to receive the genuine opportunity for eternal life (John 3:16–17; 2 Peter 3:9). God will not withhold His offer of salvation from anyone who has ever lived, calling each of us in our own time as it pleases Him (Romans 9:15; 1 Timothy 2:3–5).
Many, however, do not realize that God is not calling everyone now. Were He trying to save all mankind at this time, we would have to call His effort a colossal failure. Indeed, if God were truly trying to save the whole world now, He would succeed! Did God not intend salvation for the countless millions who have died without ever hearing the name of Jesus Christ? Of course He did—Scripture tells us of a future time when all who have lived will hear the true Gospel and receive God’s calling (Ezekiel 37:1–14; Romans 11:26; Revelation 20:5, 11–13). Yet we also read that God calls some as “firstfruits” (James 1:18)—giving them the opportunity to respond to the Gospel even in this evil age.
From the moment Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan rather than obey the instructions of their Creator (Genesis 3), God has allowed mankind to experiment with countless human-devised solutions to the world’s problems. The Bible and secular history amply demonstrate mankind’s abysmal failure at ruling its environment and itself. God is letting us learn, by trial and error, that doing things our way will not bring us the lasting joy, success, and fulfillment we all desire. Even so, in the midst of this sin-sick world, God does call some now to serve Him. Ultimately, all will be called to become members of His Family (Hebrews 2:9–11). God moves those whom He is calling to the body of Christ, which is His Church (1 Corinthians 1:2; 12:13). He brings us to repentance (2 Timothy 2:25–26).
Those who have been called now to repentance and given the Spirit of God have a greater responsibility to overcome sin through the power of that Holy Spirit (Colossians 3:5–10). And once we have been called and placed in the Church that Christ built (Matthew 16:18) through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we continue to be free moral agents. We are still at liberty to disobey the divine will—but the penalty for stubbornly continuing to break God’s law will eventually bring stern and certain punishment (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27–28; Hebrews 10:26–27).
God has called some in every age to be witnesses against the evils and sins of this world (Deuteronomy 8:19–20). Isaiah 59 eloquently testifies to God’s attitude regarding mankind’s rebellious ways of living. Even today, God is calling some to have a part in His final warning to this dying and disobedient world. You have come into contact with the Work that God is doing through His Church today—so, if you sincerely seek the truth of God, and wish to learn more about His plan for your place in His Kingdom, keep studying your Bible and keep perusing what the Living Church of God offers at TomorrowsWorld.org.
Ask God to show you what you should do and what part He wants you to play. If God is calling you now, you are being blessed with the opportunity to be part of the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5–6) and to serve God, reigning under Jesus Christ in the soon-coming Millennium. What an amazing calling!