First, a few givens:
- Salvation is of God . . . it is His work of grace through faith . . . a gift to us that we in no way deserve. In fact, on the contrary, we all deserve God's judgment and wrath. This is a Biblical fact that is held by regenerate Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike. (the whole Bible!)
- God does elect and predestine. The Bible clearly states this and both the Calvinist and the non must believe this as well. (It is the basis of His election that is debated as there are different definitions of the word "foreknowledge".) (Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:3-14)
- It is God's desire for none to perish but for all men to be saved, know the truth and repent. (I Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Ezekiel 18:23)
The things that strike me about this verse:
- our BELIEF in Him has been granted to us (it doesn't say our salvation, or our ability to choose Him, it says our actual belief)
- it has been granted to us for Christ's sake - - NOT ours! (I take to mean His name sake . .. His glory and renown and his purpose)
- it has also been granted to us to suffer (again this is for His sake)
Alrighty then, well if this is true, where is choice? Arguably you could say that God has granted us the possibility for belief. But Paul is writing to believers telling them that their belief in Him was granted to them (it doesn't say the possibility of it).
Interesting!!! - - don't want to get too long so . . . .
more to come:
- a closer look at the word "granted" and a look at where else it is used in the Bible,
- thoughts on reconciling God's expressed desire that none should perish with His election of some for salvation (and, logically following, His election of others for judgment)
- thoughts on how the above can fit with who God is (His attributes and character as revealed to us in Scripture)
- thoughts on the word "foreknowledge"
- personal testimony