Download PDF – Predestination
The subject and doctrine of predestination is little known and even less understood among many of Gods people today. While the word “predestination” is found in Gods word, many have never noticed it being there. And to many who have read it, predestination is almost always assumed fatalistically. That is to say that all things happen by fate and that all events in time are absolute and are determined by God to happen. So then the old saying, “what will be, will be” brings on a renewed justification for all our actions whether good or bad.
WHAT PREDESTINATION ISN’T:
To advocate that all things past, present, and future happen as a cause of fate is a gross misinterpretation of God’s word and of the doctrine of predestination. It is true enough that God is all knowing. Nothing ever happens in our lives that God does not know about or did not know about before we did it. God has known all things from the foundation of the world; this is an attribute of God. Isaiah 46: 9-10 states, “Remember, the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure”. Simply put, God sees all things and he has all power to do as he pleases!
God does as He pleases in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand or say unto him, what doest thou. To interpret the thought that God does all his pleasure to mean that God is pleased with all things is error. God is not pleased with us when we sin against him. He is not the author of sin nor does he predestinate sin in our lives. To establish this point we would like to look at a few scriptures found in God’s word:
Jeremiah 7:31, “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart”. It is plain to see that the children of Israel were doing things against Gods desire. He saw what they were doing, but was not pleased in it. It would be hard to conclude that God had predetermined for them to do such wicked acts.
1 Corinthians 10:5, “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness”. If predestination of all events in time were true, then would it not stand to reason that God would be pleased with what he predetermined for them to do? It would not make since to predetermine an event or action and then not be pleased in that action. Here we see that God was not pleased with the conduct of Israel.
Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous”. We will ask the obvious question, how
can we be disobedient to God if God predetermines all events and actions in time? Adam would not have been disobedient to God in the fall, but rather obedient in performing the very act that God had predetermined he would do.
God does not predetermine for his children to sin. The foreknowledge of God and predestination are two separate things. Just because God saw (or had foreknowledge) the fall in Adam does not suggest that he caused it. God knows the very hairs on your head, he knows what we are thinking even before we think it. God has all power and has known every step you have taken in your life from before the foundation of the world, but God’s knowledge does not mean that He predestinated the steps that you took which were contrary to his will.
Even this thought would crumble the sovereignty of God. Isaiah 14:24 states, “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand”. To take the stand that this verse implies “all things that happen in this life” is to render God powerless in his providence. If God saw that you were going to be in a car wreck and lose your life, this verse, if not rightly divided, would imply that God is powerless to change the events since he has already thought them in his mind. I don’t believe God is powerless over our lives. I believe that he is sovereign and that God can and does change events in this time by his providence.
WHAT PREDESTINATION IS:
The word “Predestinate” in any form is found four times in the Apostle Paul’s writings. Twice it is used in his letter to the Ephesians and twice in the book of Romans. But before we look into how this word is used it will be of benefit to first understand what the word means. Predestinate is really two words put together, “pre” and “destination”.
PRE: The prefix “pre” obviously means “before”. If something is done in a premeditated manner, it has been previously considered or meditated on.
DESTINATION: The noun “destination” means “the place to which a person or thing travels or is sent”.
The word predestination is derived from the Greek “Prooridzo”. The “PRO” meaning “before” and the word “Horidzo” from which we get our word “horizon” meaning “to mark out the boundaries or limits”.
In both definitions then we see what the term “predestination” means. It is a marking out before hand the place to which a person is sent. Predestination in God’s word never implies the acts of man and his deeds, but rather what God has done for them. Predestination is the cause of salvation. It is not an attribute of God but a decree of God, an act of his mercy and grace. In each place where we see the word used it is speaking of the people and not their deeds (Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 1:5,11).
Predestination only applies to those whom will be in heaven one day with the Lord. It does not apply to hell. God did not predestinate someone to hell; we did that on our own by our disobedience to God in the fall in Adam.
WHAT ACCOMPANIES PREDESTINATION:
Predestination is not a stand-alone doctrine. One cannot simply look at predestination without seeing God’s foreknowledge and election. These doctrines go hand in hand and are inseparable from each other. The foreknowledge that is spoken of here is more than just an intellectual knowledge, but also means to “specially consider”.
First let us show the relationship between election and foreknowledge: 1Peter 1:1-2 states, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” Notice the bond that elect and foreknowledge have! Peter is speaking to a people that are the elect of God, which is in agreement to the special consideration that God had toward them. What was that special consideration? Was it not his great love wherewith he loved us!
God elected a people; that is he chose a people. Did he choose a people because of their good deeds? No! He chose a people because he had a love for them (foreknowledge). It was a love that had no merits upon man but was only by His sovereign grace! The bible is clear that God elected a people according to his own will and purpose. 2Tim.1: 9 states, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”. Not only does this verse tell us why he saved us but it also tells us when!
We see then that God elected a people that he foreknew (loved). Without the doctrine of predestination that would still leave the children of God “hanging”. If he loved a people and then elected a people, what did he elect them to? This is where the sweet doctrine of predestination steps in and gives comfort and hope to the depraved child of God.
Let us look first at the relationship between election and predestination. Ephesians 1:4-5 states, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”. Here we see election and predestination knit together. Are we holy and without blame now? I’m certainly not! When I see myself I see nothing holy, and I am full of blame for my sins. But God elected a people before the foundation of the world, and those people were taken out (marked out) of the family of Adam and placed by adoption into the family of God. And when the child of God reaches that predetermined destination by the sovereign grace of God, he will at that time be holy and without blame before him in love! How can God do this? By Jesus Christ! It was his death on Calvary that paid the adoption price. His blood was the only sacrifice that could atone for the sins of those he foreknew and loved before the foundation of the world.
Now let us see the relationship between foreknowledge and predestination. Romans 8:29-30 states, “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”. Here we see that foreknowledge and predestination form a tight bond! Notice the word “whom”. This is talking about the people he knew, not there deeds. I will ask the same question as before; are we conformed to the image of his Son? Again, No! But his word tells me that all those whom he foreknew (loved) he also did predestinate. And one day the child of God will be glorified, conformed to the image of his Son.
THE RIGHT VIEW OF PREDESTINATION:
Paul said in Ephesians 1:11, “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 doctrine of predestination begins to shine and sparkle like a well- crafted diamond when one first sees his total depravity. The bible is clear and my heart resonates with Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”.
Predestination is according (in agreement with) the counsel of his own will. God did not come to us to seek our counsel; neither did he need to counsel with us concerning salvation. Isaiah 40:14, “With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?”
The “all things” of Ephesians 1:11 that are under consideration are the same all things found in Romans 8:29-30. They are the all things concerning eternal salvation. Predestination is a part of the “all things”! When I view the majesty of an all sovereign all knowing God, I marvel at his everlasting love, mercy and grace. The Father sent his Son to die a death of substitution, securing the destiny of all those for whom loved before the foundation of the world!