Mat 7:13 KJV – 13
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Rom 8:28-31 KJV – 28
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. 29 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. 30 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. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?
Yogi Berra said “If you come to a fork in the road; take it”. Yogi was full of these sort of sayings, which are very funny, in part, because there is an element of truth to them, and because they are open ended.
Romans 8 is a fork in the road. It has been used to support the notion that the final end of every individual has be determined beforehand. Some to the left hand, some to the right. But Romans 8 is not to do with predetermination. It is 100% about choice. It is about walking in the flesh, or in the Spirit. That is the fork in the road. Romans 8 begins like this:
Rom 8:1 KJV – 1
[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The ONLY thing that is predetermined is that you will come to the fork, and there will be two ways to walk from that point. But which of the two any individual chooses is not by any means predetermined. It is 100% a matter of choice. The end of either choice is set. It is already determined. But let no man, woman or child believe that they have no choice in the matter, as to which way they choose…the way of faith, or the way that seems right to humanity.
As an example, consider the man Cain. In his first letter, John writes about the two paths, and writes about someone who chose the wrong path:
1Jo 3:10-13 KJV –
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
To say that Cain was “of that wicked one”, could be construed as a predetermined condition…as if he was born to it, and had no choice in the matter. But what are the facts? When Cain saw that his offering of works was not accepted with God, and his brother’s offering of faith was, God saw Cain’s anger about this, and said , “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” The answer, of course, is yes. John, writing many years after Cain has ended his course, writes that he was “of that wicked one”. It is a postmortem. It is an observation made, long after the opportunity of choice has passed, of the choice that was made. But clearly, Cain had every opportunity, so long as he drew breath, to change his direction.
Romans 8 is about just that. While you and I draw breath, we have the right to choose the path we take.
Another saying of Jesus’ that is misconstrued is:
Mat 22:14 KJV – 14
“For many are called, but few [are] chosen.”
This too may seem arbitrary and discriminatory. But again, the facts are, being chosen is completely a consequence of answering the call. Not everyone invited to a feast decides to go. But everyone invited can, if he of she wants to.