In pastoring I occasionally meet individuals who are plagued with the haunting thought, “If God has predestined people, has He chosen me to go to hell?” The very thought that one is damned and nothing can be done about it can be very tortuous. To some, this clashes with the idea that God is loving and good.
I believe the answer to whether one is damned or not, even before they are born, can be found in the most famous passage of Holy Scripture, John 3:16, and the verses following it.
The first phrase, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” clearly shows that that the Almighty loves everyone and, because He is holy, He has made provision for our salvation. The balance of the verse declares we are to fully trust in that provision so we will not spiritually perish, that is, be damned.
In verse 18, it is written, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Note that one who does not believe is “condemned already.” Apparently everyone is consigned to hell until they are confronted by Christ’s Spirit (see John 1:9) and remain that way unless they commit to Christ.
If one commits to Christ, they are placed on a path of spiritual development through Christ Himself. Before we were ever created, God knew who would trust in Christ and “hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Ephesians 1:4
Simply illustrated, at my address in Cambridge, Maryland, there is no road that will take me directly to Ocean City (OC). However, probably long before I was born, the State Highway Administration made US 50 to OC.
If I drive to US 50 I have a choice of east or westbound. East will get me to OC, but let us say before I knew that, I was going west. Traveling west I see a billboard for OC, but it says I must head east. I then find the nearest place to turn, reverse my direction and then head east.
Let us say I do not think the sign is true. Then I am already heading, predestined, in the wrong direction. If I instead turn and head east, the path I take is predestined for OC.
However, I must make that choice. Throughout much of the Holy Bible we see man must choose to commit to God. Before then, man is going, predestined, in the wrong direction. If you are going in the wrong direction, turn completely to Jesus, Who is that heavenly way.