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The Doctrine Of Predestination

There are some people who dislike the word predestination and have become enemies of this doctrine of grace. Such individuals would probably refuse to read this lesson because of its title. Perhaps if they understood more about this doctrine, many would have a different feeling. Unfortunately, some of them have never taken the time to search the Scriptures which deal with the words predestinate or predestinated. In fact, many may not even know that these words are a part of Holy Scripture and are not the imaginations of the minds of men, Every truth which is set forth in Scripture should be diligently studied (2 Timothy 2:5). We should never allow preconceived ideas to prevent an open-minded study of the Word of God, for preformed ideas may be the result of misinformation. Those who close their minds and refuse to search the Scripture as in John 5:39, may deprive themselves of truths which otherwise would have blessed their hearts. Such a loss has been incurred by many who have refused to read and study the Bible with regard to this doctrine. They have not only denied themselves the joy and benefit of such knowledge but have also deprived God of the glory which this doctrine gives Him, for it declares the sovereignty of God.

Although Primitive Baptists and others who believe this doctrine are definitely in the minority, we should not allow this to cause us to abandon it. If a majority is all that is necessary to establish the will of God and truth, then sinful carnality would become the standard, since multitudes walk in the "broad way" which leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). We should all realize that truth and righteousness cannot be dictated by public opinion; but only by the will of God as set forth in Scriptures.

Predestination becomes an important subject by virtue of the fact that the words predestinate and predestinated are biblical words. Predestinate is found in Romans 8:29 and 30. Predestinated is used in Ephesians 1:5 and 11. Since they have a place in divine revelation, we cannot ignore them. Since God deemed them important enough to occupy a place in the holy record of the Bible, we should consider them important enough to warrant a diligent study so that we may understand the message God conveys by them.

The word Predestination has reference to that which is determined or ordained beforehand. In the Bible the words predestinate and predestinated both deal specifically with the sovereign act of God whereby He planned or settled beforehand. His plan is far superior to that of man, for we often work out the intricate details of our planned events only to have them be interrupted and fail. With predestination there is a plan which is decreed (ordered or settled by authority) and there is no way possible for it to fail, since it is guaranteed by the sovereign powers of an omnipotent God. More specifically, predestination is the act of God whereby He predetermined the final destiny of His people.

While many falsely believe that predestination deals with things and events, the Scriptures inform us that it deals specifically with people. The four Scriptures which were previously mentioned in Romans and Ephesians all have reference to people, not things. The use of pronouns like whom, them, and us all declare plainly that people are predestinated. This is noteworthy since some who oppose this doctrine do so because they dislike the idea that predestination determines all events which transpire in time. They cannot believe that the holy God would predestinate such things as crime and sin. I join with them in denying such an idea. I am certain that God knows all events before they transpire, for He is an omniscient Being; however, He does not predestinate or cause them to happen. Predestination deals with God's direct involvement in saving His people so that they will be conformed to Jesus in heaven, and this He does because He is an omnipotent Being. Once you understand that predestination is involved in the salvation of people, you may also wonder how such a blessed doctrine could ever be spoken of in a despicable way. It is indeed beautiful, when seen in the light of divine truth.

Another mistaken idea which some people have about this doctrine is that God has decreed that certain souls will be saved and others lost. Such an idea is only half right, for God does not predestinate anyone to be lost. Predestination is a positive teaching having to do only with salvation, not damnation. People are lost because of sin, and apart from grace none would be saved. By our own efforts, all humanity is doomed and hopelessly lost, for all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), Therefore, the only hope of salvation for any of us is by the grace of God, and predestination is one scene in the panorama of grace.

Remember that this doctrine is but one link in the chain of grace by which God has eternally bound us to Himself. It denies the works of man as a means of securing salvation and openly exalts the works of God's grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore let us stand firmly for the doctrine of predestination and those doctrines to which it is inseparably bound: election, effectual call, justification, and glorification. Notice in Romans 8:29-30, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the-firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." God foreknew a people as His own (the elect). He called and justified them, and their glorification is as certain as if already performed. Notice that those embraced in this work of grace are predestinated to be changed and conformed to the image of the glorious Son of God - Jesus! It is predestination which guarantees that we shall be changed from the imperfections of our present being to become like Jesus (Philippians 3:21). God predetermined that the elect will be adopted into the divine family, made partakers of an eternal inheritance, and at last be made like Jesus as they reach their destination of heaven. Such blessed hopes of the soul should make us cherish this doctrine and teach it to others so that God's people everywhere may rejoice. May God's name be glorified for the wonderful things which He has done!

Look closely at what Paul wrote to the Ephesian saints about predestination. He said, "...Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will..." (Ephesians 1:5). The pronoun us refers to those chosen (the elect) which are mentioned in the previous verse and to those "accepted in the beloved," who have redemption (verses 6-7). God predestinated people to be adopted into the family of God by Jesus Christ. They shall be heirs and shall obtain an inheritance, being predestinated (Ephesians 1:11). We can only imagine the beauty and blessedness of the inheritance which we will someday receive because of God's work of predestination.

Predestination affects the saved in a variety of ways, but since it is an act of God it also helps us gain a greater understanding of God. Predestination teaches us that God does things with a purpose and "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Ephesians 1:11). Predestination is therefore both the "work" and the "will" of God (Ephesians 1:5). It is in no way dependent on the work or will of depraved man, for if it rested in any measure upon the frail will of fallen man, then it most certainly would fail. I certainly would not want my eternal destiny to rest upon a chance or a possibility; therefore, I rejoice to know that all chance has been replaced by divine certainty. The surety of God is embraced in predestination.

It is God's will for all the elect to be made like Jesus and live with Him in glory; therefore, God has worked all that is necessary to assure our possession of such an eternal state, and predestination is an irreplaceable part of that which God has done for our salvation from sin.

Such blessings of God and gracious works as expressed by the doctrine of predestination should cause us to live in awe and reverence before God. Bowing humbly and gratefully before Him, let us live for His glory and testify to this wonderful doctrine of predestination.

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This page last updated on June 17, 2014