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The Purposes Of Predestination

Scripture: Ephesians 1:7-12; Text: Ephesians 1:11

If the objective of this study was to establish that predestination is taught in the Bible, Romans 8:29 & 30 and Ephesians 1:5 & 11 could be cited. Some might point out that predestination is not mentioned very many times in the Bible. What does that have to do with its importance? When Paul said that things written before our time, were for our learning, he did not say that it must be mentioned a certain number of times to be believed (Romans 15:4). Importance is not based upon frequence of mention. Neither does a subject have to be mentioned many times to be accepted as divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If predestination was mentioned only once in the Bible, it would be just as inspired and we should be just as challenged to learn what it means.

After all, the word "atonement" is used only once in the New Testament, in Romans 5:11. Christ is called our "Advocate" only once in the entire Bible (1 John 2:1). Yet where would we be without Christ filling these vital positions? No, my friends, the fact that predestination is used only a few times in the scriptures, does not justify our negligence of this important subject. What it does is simplify our study and help us to focus more clearly upon it. Therefore, we are going beyond the fact that predestination is found in the Bible, we will endeavor to understand its purposes (plural).

At this point we need to establish another fact. We must realize that God is a God of purpose. He does not just randomly and haphazardly do things. There are purposes behind what He does. This fact should be evident from the account of creation recorded in Genesis, chapter one. Notice that on the first day, God created light. Later on the third day He created vegetation. What is the point? It is this, God did not create vegetation and then say "oops" I forgot it takes light for photosynthesis to work. On the next day after He created vegetation, He divided the light and darkness so there would be day and night. Why? So that the animals, birds and creeping things would have time for rest. It was necessary for their survival. In the order of creation there was purpose. God made the light before the plants so they could grow and He made the plants before the animals so they would have something to eat. Indeed, we should echo the words of Genensis 1:31, "it was very good."

As we see God's purposes in the created world, let us also recognize that He has purposes in predestination, for that is His work too. In fact, predestination cannot be separated from the purposes of God according to our text. Paul reminds us of our spiritual inheritance and declares that it comes to us because God predestinated us. All this was done according to the "purpose" of God, Who has power to work and bring about the purposes of His will. As we take time to study predestination in the Bible, the Holy Spirit can reveal to us God's purposes. After all, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would not only comfort us, but teach us also (John 14:26). I would not presume to say what the Spirit will teach you, but I will share what He has taught me. There are three purposes we shall look at now.

First, in predestination God purposed that the elect be adopted into His family. As we study carefully Ephesians 1:5, we note this purpose plainly stated. The "elect" are those whom God has chosen before the foundation of the world. They were chosen by God the Father, in Christ Jesus our Lord, according to Ephesian 1:4. Those same people were then "adopted" into the family of God. In the adoptions of men, the child does not do the adopting, the parent (to be) adopts the child. Here Jesus is shown to adopt "the elect" into the family of God, according to His will and purpose; not ours. It is very important for us to remember this truth.

Some may wonder why this adoption needed to take place at all. The answer is that we were in Adams's fallen family. In the family of fallen humanity, there was spiritual poverty and sin. Left there, all of us would have been eternally banished from the presence of God. Something had to be done and we were in no condition to do anything about it. According to the scriptures, all of us had sinned (Romans 3:23) and sin brought death (James 1:15). Because we were dead (not physically but spiritually) we could not solve the problem. Someone had to do that for us and that someone was God, through Jesus Christ. When our heavenly Father chose us and Christ adopted us into His family, all our indebtedness became His responsibility and all His possessions became ours. That is the way adoptions were during Bible times (as I understand it). All our sin debtedness was paid for by Christ on the cross (Romans 5:21), and all the riches of His righteousness and glory became ours as joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). Think of it, if this purpose of predestination was not accomplished, we would still be in our sins and would not be a part of the great family of God.

Second, in predestination God purposed that we be restored to all we lost in the fall. Keep in mind that God created us good and without sin. He made us in His "image" and "likeness" according to Genesis 1:26. The Trinity jointly created us and gave us dominion over all the created world. God gave this authority to His highest earthly creation. (Angels are created by God and they are higher than mortals, according to Psalm 8:5. As such we were given more than just dominion, He also gave us His image and likeness. It means that our appearence is somewhat like His. Because when God condemned idolatry as the worship of graven images, the people had made images in the form of some creature (Exodus 20:4). So evidentally, God made us to look very much like Him, and we see the similarities when we look upon Him in heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12). But there seems to be more than a resemblance in appearence involved here. The image and likeness also suggests that His "nature" was also shared with man (to a degree). After all, God was without sin and man was created sinless too.

So predestination not only "corrects" the problem of sin, but actually "restores" us to the condition of man before sin. None of us have ever known what it feels like to be free from sin. All of our lives we have been sinners. Because Adam fell and became a sinner, all his posterity were afflicted with his sinful nature. That does not mean we can blame it all on him. It is true that our sinful nature came from him, but our sinful actions have been our own doing. We sin whenever we give in to our lust (James 1:14) and every time we sin we are breaking God's laws (1 John 3:4). We have never experienced what Adam felt before sin entered this world and into his being. One of God's purposes in predestination is that we will one day know that feeling. We will be given the glorious image of Christ. Jesus will come again and raise us from the dead and our vile bodies shall be changed into His likeness (Philippians 3:21). Won't it be wonderful when the weaknesses and imperfections of the sinful flesh will give way to the sinless perfection of our Lord?

That wonderful state lost to sin, will be regained because God predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). How else will this glorious estate ever be achieved? None of us have the know-how or the power to bring it to pass. We are totally and absolutely dependant on the God of all grace, for the enjoyment of this blessing. Predestination is then God's word of guarantee that this lost estate shall be eternally enjoyed by the saved.

Third, in predestination God purposed that the pennicle of all blessings shall be enjoyed. We shall actually enjoy a better state than man enjoyed in the beginning. It reaches beyond all privileges previously mentioned, for we will experience the glories of heaven forever. Paul not only informed us that we will be like Jesus, but that we will be glorified also (Romans 8:30). The interesting thing is that predestination is part of the initial steps that began the process of salvation. Step by step the process continues and higher and highter we are elevated until at last we shall be gathered around the throne of God in heaven. There we shall experience the exhilarating esctasy of His eternal glory.

Romans 8:30 begins with the idea of predestination. God would have us to understand that He predestinated the people He chose according to Epshesians 1:4. This took place before the world was created because God saw the end of time from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He knew that after He created humanity, they would all fall into sin. If He did not devise a plan, all would be hopelessly lost. His plan was perfect, for He would send His Son into this world to live without sin and at last die for ours. He predestinated it all to happen in the course of time. Keep in mind that God predestinated in eternity past, but in time those He predestinated are called (effectually by the irresistible grace of the Holy Spirit). Those whom He called are justified (washed in the blood of Christ and made as holy as if sin never occurred). All this we experience in time, but the final step will be enjoyed in eternity to come. Those who were justified are finally glorified (gathered in heaven where we shall ever bask in the glory of His presence). God speaks of the glorification of His saints as though it has already occurred, because it is that sure and certain. How can He be that certain? Because He has predestinated it. This is the grandest purpose of predestination.

In conclusion, let me remind you that God has purposes embraced in predestination, and all of them are good. We have considered all verses that mention predestinate or predestinated and none of them has taught anything negative and ugly. Those who try to make this doctrine negative and repulsive, are people whose only purpose is to discourage others from believing it. We should never allow people to deter us from loving and rejoicing in the word of God. Predestination as God revealed it is a positive and beautiful truth, filling the hearts of the saved with hope. Those purposes of God that have been mentioned are only designed to bless. One day by His grace, we will be able to understand more of His eternal purposes. We will have eternity to learn of them. For now, remember these holy purposes: (1.) God has predestinated that we be adopted and brought into His family, making us His dear children. (2.) He predestinated that by His grace we shall be conformed to the image of His perfect Son, Jesus Christ. (3.) He predestinated all that is necessary to give us an entrance into His presence in heaven, where we may fellowship with Him and be glorified. All these are God's purposes in predestination.

If you are blessed by the Holy Spirit to understand these truths proclaimed in the Bible, share them with others to the glory of God and His Son our Saviour. If you have not seen them clearly as yet, pray for insight and study more intensely. The ultimate objective of such knowledge is to glorify God for His goodness and grace to man. These teachings are divinely designed to focus our attention on God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In believing these truths, there is no room for man to glory, for all glory belongs to Him. Those of us who hold these truths in our hearts, should glorify God by the lives we live. Paul said to glorify Him in your body and by your spirit (1 Corinthians 6:20). Every day should be an occasion to praise and serve Him. Are you willing to do so? Think about His purposes in predestination and think about how you may glorify Him until He comes to glorify you in heaven. "Glory to God in the highest!"

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014