The Study of God
Bringing Truths from Different Books of the Bible into Focus, Perspective, and Understanding.
"In Him [Christ] 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory." Ephesians 1:11-12
The Predestination of God
The Predestination of God
A. A Definition of Predestination: That activity of God whereby He arranges circumstances, events, and activities to achieve His desired purposes without Himself being responsible for moral evil.
B. Instances of Predestination. In each of the six uses of predestined in the New Testament, the Greek word is proorizo (4309). Friberg Analytical Lexicon of the New Testament gives this definition: decide on beforehand, determine in advance.
1. God predestined that Jesus would be crucified (Acts 4:27-28). Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel of their own volition put Jesus, God’s anointed King to death. This most savage crime in all history, the assassination of God, was, nevertheless preordained by God to occur. It was God’s counsel and His hand that predestined it. In God’s wisdom Christ’s crucifixion provided for the greatest good for all of mankind who will believe, yet God will hold the perpetrators responsible.
2. God predestined that those people whom He foreknew would surely become conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus (Romans 8:29).
3. Those same individuals God predestined, He also called, justified (Romans 8:30), and, in the timeless activity of God, glorified (though for us humans that glorification awaits a future fulfillment in time-space-matter).
a. Notice it is not said that God foreknows facts about people (for example, that they would eventually trust in Jesus), but rather He knows certain people as His own from eternity past.
b. Those with whom God knew intimately as His own from eternity past, He preordained would eventually become like Jesus. Never is there said to be any merit on the part of those whom God predestines to be like Jesus.
4. From eternity past God predestined His hidden wisdom to eventuate for the glory of those who would believe in Him and His Son (1 Corinthians 2:6-8).
5. God lovingly predestined us believers in Jesus to be adopted as His sons (Ephesians 1:3-6).
a. Sonship with God is the closest relationship a human being can have with God. This special relationship is seen to be a prodigious blessing (Eph. 1:3).
b. God’s adoption of us believers is in accordance with His choice of us (Eph. 1:3).
c. God chose us in Jesus before the creation of the world (Eph. 1:4).
d. His choice of us was with the purpose and inevitable result that we would one day be holy and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:4).
e. His predestination of us to adoption as sons was done out of love for us (Eph. 1:4-5).
f. His predestination of us was done out of kindness, out of the deliberate exercise of His will; designed to serve as a mechanism to attribute praise to God’s glorious grace which He extended to us through Jesus, whom God dearly loves (Eph. 1:5-6). Again there is no hint that God’s predestination of certain humans had anything to do with their particular merit or worth, other than being a human being as opposed to say, a horse or an angel.
6. In Jesus, the most important person within and without the universe, we believers in Him have obtained an inheritance through God’s predestination, fulfilling His purpose (Ephesians 1:9-11).
a. Observe that God predestines these believers to obtain their inheritance from God according to God’s purpose, not man’s.
b. Observe also that God orchestrates all things after the counsel of His will. That means that, though God’s predestination, in most cases, relates to believers in Christ, in order for God to accomplish his selected purposes, God orchestrates everything.
c. At the same time, never is God held liable for human sin. All men are responsible for their own activities.
C. Countering Some Arguments against Predestination
1. Some would argue that predestination violates man’s free will. Frankly, the Bible does not portray fallen man as having a free will. The freest will man ever had was in the Garden of Eden, and even there, man chose against His creator! When Satan tempted man, man freely chose to violate God’s commands. Man has never been free since then. Fallen man is pictured as
a. Dead in his sins (Eph. 2:1);
b. Dominated by the world (Eph. 2:2);
c. Energized by Satan (Eph. 2:2);
d. And consumed by the lusts of his flesh (Eph. 2:3). How free is that? Fallen man is not free, but he is responsible.
2. Predestination makes God responsible for sin. Most certainly not. God is light, and in Him there is no darkness whatever. God so orchestrates matters that men do whatever they wish, but God does what He has preordained (Acts 4:27-28).
3. Predestination is not fair. That argument is the argument of a vain, self-centered creature.
a. A man who builds something from wood has the right to build it any way he pleases. The wood cannot argue that it should have been built into a piano instead of an outhouse. The wood has no jurisdiction in the matter. Similarly, man cannot argue with his Creator that the Creator is unfair (Rom. 9:20-21). God cannot be charged with injustice! He has the right to raise up a Pharaoh or a Hitler or a Stalin to destroy him and demonstrate His great power (Rom. 9:14-17). God has the right to extend mercy to whomever He wishes and He has the right harden the hearts of whomever He wishes (Rom. 9:18).
b. Frankly, if it is fairness that we want, we should all find ourselves in hell! That is fairness, and that is what each of us deserves! Now if it is mercy and grace that we desire, then we had best trust in Jesus, God’s only provision for salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5).
c. If God had not predestined some to become like Jesus (Rom. 8:29-30), none would. Unless God moves on man’s behalf, beginning with foreknowledge (knowing man intimately from eternity past) and predestination, none would ever trust in Jesus!
d. The truth of the matter is that every man, woman and child does what he wishes to do. How can a man charge God with unfairness when the man is doing exactly that wish he wishes to do? Blaming someone else for one’s own actions is the tell-tale self-justification of sinners caught red-handed. That ploy is patently false, and it never wins out in God’s court of law (Gen. 3:11-13).
Prepared by James T. Bartsch
Published Online by WordExplain.com
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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
WordExplain by James T. Bartsch
(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Used by Permission.)
Updated August 21, 2015
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