The Arminian position is that Christ’s atonement is sufficient for all but effective only for those who choose to believe. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive…” (1 John 1:9). And “… whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Calvinists believe that God, in His sovereignty, has predestined certain individuals to be saved. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you…” (John 15:16) And “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world…” (Ephesians 1:4)
A. W. Tozer rises above the debate in a chapter on the Sovereignty of God. (2) He suggests our time on earth is like a cruise from New York to London. Passengers are free to move about the boat to eat, sleep, work and play, but all will end up disembarking at the destination at the end of the journey.
A. W. Tozer writes, “Our choice is our own, but the consequences of our choices have already been determined by the sovereign will of God, and from this, there is no appeal.”
The fact is that at birth, we arrive on planet Earth. We travel on “Starship Earth” until our expiration date. While on earth we can choose how to live…all within God’s sovereign permissive will. Daily we and fellow travelers make choices for good or evil. We can choose to make a difference or be indifferent, but the limits of our behavior are on planet earth. Of course, we are instructed and encouraged to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
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(2) A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, Chapter 22, The Sovereignty of God. Link to download entire book, now in the public domain.