God doesn't pick and choose, we do
Another false belief that many people have is that everything is predetermined by God and we cant change anything. God has already chosen the ones to be saved, if you havent been chosen theres
nothing you can do about it. People who believe this will usually quote Romans 8:30 which says;
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
If you just read this verse it does look like God has already chosen those whom He will call. But this verse is just the second part of the message. The previous verse, verse 29 says;
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
The key part here is the beginning of the verse For those whom he foreknew. God knows everything, he is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. God knew us and what we would do before we were born. Jeremiah 1:5 says;
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
God knows us and everything that we are going to do before we are born. He knows the ones who are going to accept Him and those who arent and has plans for those who choose to follow Him. God told Moses in Exodus 9:16;
But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.
God knew Moses and already had a plan for him. Its the same for all believers, God already knows us and already has a plan for us even before we were born. We are predestined because God already knew that we were going to choose to follow Him. Moses told the Israelites before they went into the Promised Land that they had been chosen by God.
Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Deut 10:15 (ESV)
They were the ones God had chosen to represent Him through His promise to Abraham. Moses then told them in Deuteronomy 11: 26-28;
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse, the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.
Later, after they had arrived in the Promised Land Joshua also told the Israelites that they had to make a choice.
Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Josh 24:14-15 (ESV)
Even though God had chosen them to be His people, God still gave them the choice whether or not to follow Him. God also told them the consequences of their choices. As much as God wants us to follow Him, He still leaves the choice to us. Our choice isnt predestined, but the consequences of what we choose are. It is not a hard choice to make. Paul told the Athenians this in Acts 17: 26-27;
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
God has determined when and where we live and for how long. He has also determined that we should seek Him and find Him. But the choice is left to us whether or not to seek Him or to follow Him if we do find Him. We also have a determined amount of time to do this and only God knows how long. If anyone dies before accepting God, its not because they didnt have a chance, or maybe would have if they had more time. God knows our hearts and when or if we will accept Him. No one dies unjustly. Paul says in Romans 1:18-20;
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
God has called everybody to be with him, He has given us the freedom to choose whether or not to answer the call. Gods presence is evident through His creation, everyone can see it, some choose to ignore it and come up with different explanations. Its their choice and they are without excuse. But it is not Gods will that anyone should perish; His offer of salvation is open for anyone.
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Psalms 100:5 (ESV)