How does election and free will work? How do these two verses below harmonize together?
2 Thessalonians 2:13
13 But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem! She who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing!
Let’s dig deeper into scripture and see what it reveals.
1 Chronicles 17:11-15
11 When your time comes to be with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who is one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He will build a house for Me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. I will not take away My faithful love from him as I took it from the one who was before you. 14 I will appoint him over My house and My kingdom forever, and his throne will be established forever.’” 15 Nathan reported all these words and this entire vision to David.
David wanted to build the temple for the Lord but he shed too much blood (that is in war) so that task was given to his future son Solomon who by the way didn’t exist yet.
1 Kings 5:2-5
2 Solomon sent this message to Hiram: 3 “You know my father David was not able to build a temple for the name of Yahweh his God. This was because of the warfare all around him until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. 4 The Lord my God has now given me rest all around; there is no enemy or crisis. 5 So I plan to build a temple for the name of Yahweh my God, according to what the Lord promised my father David: ‘I will put your son on your throne in your place, and he will build the temple for My name.’
In 1 Chronicles 17 God compares David’s future son (Solomon) with the deceased king Saul in election (pertaining to God’s choice/election) and their decision to believe in God (pertaining to their choice).
God knows before a person is created or born if they are going to believe in Him for salvation. He knows their heart’s decision. God creates a person knowing their decision already-elected for salvation and men’s choice to believe, working together. God didn’t create a robot but wanted the person to decide to truly love Him, real love, not one that’s manipulated. Both king Saul and Solomon before they were born God knew their decision yet the Lord still created them so their fate was already fixed or chosen by God through their choice that only God knew that they were going to make. The Lord didn’t have to look into the future but the moment that He had them in His mind to create them He knew instantaneously their choice or response to God’s Word.
1 Chronicles 10:13-14
13 Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the Lord because he did not keep the Lord’s word. He even consulted a medium for guidance, 14 but he did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
King Saul rejected the Lord by rejecting God’s Word which showed that he never was truly saved. Here is a clear indication that because of his choice to reject the Lord’s invitation through obedience to the Word of God which is a byproduct of saving faith he couldn’t get saved.
1 King 6:11-13
11 The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building—if you walk in My statutes, observe My ordinances, and keep all My commands by walking in them, I will fulfill My promise to you, which I made to your father David. 13 I will live among the Israelites and not abandon My people Israel.”
Why would God give Solomon a choice to obey Him if the Lord prior to the verses above said that He wasn’t going to abandon him? Even though we see God’s choice or election He still gives men a choice.
In 1 Chronicles 17 verse 13 you see God’s election and in the verses above you see God giving Solomon a choice which by the way God knew His choice already. We are seeing election and choice working together. We might not understand all the details how it works with salvation but it doesn’t give us the right to choose one over the other. To choose one over the other puts one in a position to disregard the rest of the scripture and will make the two seem contradictory.
We must not be biased in choosing one over the other as some theologians have done and come up with some unbiblical interpretations. We must harmonize the two concepts as both are taught in scripture.
Anything beyond the harmonizing of these two concepts is plain assertion on who’s right or wrong which stems from pride because they are relying more on their understanding instead of the Holy Spirit’s thus causing division which Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:1-4,21-23