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The Purpose Of Predestination


If the objective of this tract were simply 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? Importance is not based upon frequent occurrence. Neither does a subject have to be mentioned a specific number of times to be accepted as divinely inspired. Paul said, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

Even if predestinate or predestinated were mentioned only once in the Bible, it would be just as inspired and we should be just as challenged to understand it. 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, had not Christ atoned for our sins and become our advocate? No, my friends, the fact that predestination is taught by only a few scriptures does not justify the neglect of this important subject. What it does is simplify our study and help us to focus upon it more easily. Since predestination is taught in the Bible, we should be willing to study the scriptures as we endeavor to understand its purpose in God's plan.

A God Of Purpose

At this point we need to recognize the fact that God has a purpose for the things He does. We need to understand that God does not just randomly and haphazardly do things. As a God of purpose, He plans the smallest of details. 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. He did not create vegetation before there was light. Plants live by a process called photosynthesis, and it takes light for the process to work. God did not create vegetation and then say, "oops, I forgot it takes light for them to live." God made light before the plants so they could grow, and He made the plants before the animals so they would have something to eat. Then on the following day, He divided the light and darkness so there would be day and night. Why? So the animals, birds and creeping things would have time for rest which is necessary for their survival. Therefore in the order of creation there was purpose behind everything God did.

Since God evidentially had a purpose in the order of creation, then it follows that He had a purpose in predestination, for it is also His work. The fact is, predestination cannot be separated from the purpose of God according to Ephesians 1:11. Paul said, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." The purpose of God is clearly under consideration here. Paul informs us that we have obtained a spiritual inheritance because God has predestinated it. It is a vital part of the counsel or purpose of His perfect will. God wants us to understand that there is a purpose being accomplished as He sovereignly works in our lives. His plans were determined before the world was created, because God knew that after He created humanity, all would fall into sin. If He had not devised a plan, all mankind would have been hopelessly lost. His plan was perfect; God sent His Son into this world to live without sin and at last die for ours. All that He purposed for the salvation of His elect people was accomplished. Realizing that He is a God of purpose, let us try to understand the holy purpose of predestination. May the Holy Spirit as our Teacher (John 14:26) make this purpose clear that we may rejoice in it.

Predestinated To Be Adopted

First, in predestination God purposed that the elect be adopted into His family. As we carefully study Ephesians 1:5, we note this purpose plainly stated. It says, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Those whom God has chosen (Ephesians 1:4), are predestinated and adopted. They were chosen by God before the foundation of the world. They are elsewhere called God's "elect" (Romans 8:33). Chosen by God the Father, in Christ Jesus our Lord, they are predestinated to be "adopted" into the family of God. Jesus adopts us into the family of God according to His will and purpose; not ours. It is very important for us to understand and remember this fact.

Some may wonder why this adoption needed to take place at all. The answer is simple; we were all in Adam'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 as sinners, 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 else had to save us if we were to be saved. When our heavenly Father chose us and Christ adopted us into His family, all our indebtedness in sin was assumed by Christ and His righteousness was imputed to us. All our sin debt was paid by Christ when He died on the cross (Romans 5:21), and we became joint-heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17). Think of it; if this purpose of predestination were not accomplished, we would still be in our sins and would not be a part of the great family of God. Now we are saved by His grace and are the children of God.

Predestinated to Christ's Image

Second, in predestination God purposed to restore all that we lost in sin. So predestination not only "corrects" the problem of sin, but will actually "restore" us to the condition of man before sin. Paul wrote in Romans 8:29 "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." Notice that he makes reference to the "image" of Christ, the Son of God. As His highest earthly creation, God gave man authority and dominion over all other creatures. He also made us in His "image" and "likeness," according to Genesis 1:26. The "image" and "likeness" indicate that more than a mere resemblance is involved here. God must have created man very much like Himself, and we shall no doubt marvel at the similarities when we look upon Him in heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12). It also suggests that His "perfection of nature" was shared with man. After all, God is without sin, and man was created sinless too.

Because Adam fell and became a sinner, all his posterity were afflicted with his sinful nature (Romans 5:12). 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 break God's holy laws, we commit another sin (1 John 3:4). Since mankind lost his sinless state in Adam's fall, none of us has ever known what it feels like to be free from sin. All of our lives we have been sinners. We have never experienced what Adam felt before sin entered this world and into his being. However, the wonderful state of perfection will be regained because God predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son. Jesus will come again and raise us from the dead, and our vile bodies shall be changed into His likeness (Philippians 3:21). How else could this glorious state ever be regained? None of us has the know-how or the power to bring it to pass. We are totally and absolutely dependent on God 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. Won't it be wonderful when the weaknesses and imperfections of the sinful flesh will give way to the sinless perfection of our Lord? Someday "we shall be like Him" again (1 John 3:3).

Predestinated To Be Glorified

Third, in predestination God purposed that the pinnacle of all blessings shall be enjoyed. We shall actually enjoy greater blessings than Adam experienced in the beginning. In Romans 8:30 Paul said, "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." Keep in mind that God predestinated in eternity past, but in time those whom He predestinated are called (effectually by the irresistible grace of the Holy Spirit), and justified (washed in the blood of Christ and made as holy as if sin never occurred). Called of God and justified, we shall be glorified. That blissful state will surpass all the blessings and privileges previously mentioned. Not only will we be like Jesus, but we will also live glorified in heaven forever. The interesting thing is that predestination is one of the initial steps that began the process. Step by step the process continues until at last we enjoy a glorified body as we gather around the throne of God in heaven. There we shall experience the exhilarating ecstasy of His eternal presence.

God predestinated it all to happen in the course of time. We have experienced much of His grace already, but the final step and greatest benefits will be enjoyed in eternity to come. Those who were predestinated will finally be glorified. God speaks of the glorification of His saints as though it has already occurred; it is that sure and certain. We can be sure of it because He has predestinated it. All God has purposed in predestination, He will perform, even our glorification.


As we considered the purpose of predestination, we have examined all the scriptures that mention predestinate or predestinated. None of them has taught anything negative or unpleasant; all of them are positive and beneficial. Those who try to make this doctrine distasteful, usually do so to discourage others from believing it. We should never allow such people to deter us from loving and rejoicing in the truth of God's word. Predestination, as God ordained it, is a wonderful and beautiful truth, filling the hearts of the saved with hope. In the scriptures we have studied, it is easy to conclude that God's only purpose in predestination was for the eternal blessing of His people. Those who are saved by grace will be conformed to the image of Jesus and glorified in heaven forever. All that God purposed by predestination will then become our everlasting reality.

If you are blessed by the Holy Spirit to understand these truths as they are proclaimed in the Bible, then share them with others to the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. If you have not seen them clearly as yet, pray for insight and study the Scriptures 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 God. Those of us who hold these truths in our hearts should glorify God by our words and deeds. Paul taught that we should glorify Him in our bodies and in our spirits (1 Corinthians 6:20). Every day should be an occasion to praise and serve our loving and gracious Lord. Are you willing to do so? Think about what He purposed in predestination and search your heart for ways to glorify Him until He comes to glorify you in heaven.

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This page last updated on June 17, 2014