Presbyterians should always maintain that “who is saved” is decided solely by God. This is basic theology: God is free to give salvation to whomever God chooses. We are saved only and solely by God’s gracious choosing.
We acknowledge that salvation belongs to God. Jesus commands us not to “judge” on these matters (Matt. 7:1). So, we ourselves do not know [and cannot ultimately predict] who will be saved. At the same time there are other theological perspectives to keep in mind.
First, salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:10; 3:15; 1 Thess. 5:9). This is the basic message of the whole gospel. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). As Presbyterians we proclaim vigorously and persuasively that we come to salvation through Jesus, who was sent to save the world (John 3:16) and bring salvation to all (Luke 3:6,Titus 2:11).
Secondly, since God is free to give salvation to whomever God chooses, we do not know how God chooses to do so for those who have never heard the gospel, rejected it, or follow another faith. We cannot demand that that either God must or must not save any persons.
Thirdly, the wind of God’s Spirit “blows where it chooses” (John 3:8). We cannot know with whom and in whom God’s Spirit is at work. Presbyterians preach the Gospel of Christ for salvation calling people to faith in Jesus, while acknowledging God is free to work in ways we cannot know or fully understand. We ultimately believe that God “desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).
To read more, check out Don McKim’s book: Presbyterian Questions, Presbyterian Answers. © 2003, 2017 Donald K. McKim. Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.