Category: Salvation, Word: PREDESTINATION
December 25, 2015 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)
DEFINITION: Predestination means that God has marked out ahead of time or predetermined certain things that shall come to pass. In particular, God has marked out certain persons for salvation or service. Such individuals are called in Scripture the elect or chosen.
This concept—troubling to many, a comfort for others—remains at the center of much debate among sincere Christians, particularly in reference to the idea that God predetermines some for salvation. On the one hand, everyone who takes the Bible seriously “believes in” predestination in some way, for the texts cannot be avoided. In any event one of the best known designations of the Old Testament people of God (Israel) was “the chosen people.” On the other hand, devout Bible students have sharply disagreed about the basis of predestination.
Some devout Christians believe that predestination is simply God’s foreknowledge at work. Because God knows all things ahead of time He knows who will respond freely in faith to the gospel. These are His elect. This perspective is often identified by the label Arminianism, and it emphasizes human free will. As an example, among English-speaking Christians, spiritual descendants of John Wesley (Methodist, holiness, and Pentecostal groups in particular) have been likely to understand predestination along these lines.
Others, equally devout, believe that human sin has so disabled everyone that no one would ever believe in Christ unless God first chose them to be recipients of salvation. God graciously selected some (but not all) to become His children. Those whom He has chosen ultimately will respond to the gospel in faith. This point of view goes by the label Calvinism or Reformed theology, and it emphasizes God’s sovereignty in salvation. Spiritual descendants of Martin Luther and John Calvin (Lutheran and Presbyterian groups, for example) emphasize this perspective. (Some early English-speaking Baptists were Arminian and some were Calvinist, and even today some Baptists espouse one view; some the other view; and still others are undecided.)
The verb translated “predestine” occurs in six New Testament verses: Acts 43:28; Romans 8:29-30; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:5, 11. What is striking in examining these passages is their emphasis on God’s initiative predetermining to accomplish His purposes through Jesus Christ. Also, in the majority of instances, it is persons who are predestined.
The passages that use the language of predestination state its source as God’s power and will (Acts 4:28) or His pleasure and will (Eph. 1:5, 11). The outcome for those who have been predestined is conformity to Christ’s image (Rom. 8:29); their glory (Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 2:7); and praise to God’s glory (Eph 1:11-12). Remembering this objective would help make this topic less divisive. We should focus instead on God’s grace in choosing persons for salvation.
REFLECTION: How much do you agree that “Everyone who takes the Bible seriously ‘believes in’ predestination?” To what extent have you been exposed to teaching on predestination?
PRAYER: Dear Father, Your Word teaches that You have chosen persons for salvation. Help me to focus on what I do understand about it rather than what I don’t. Without Your help, I will never be conformed to Christ’s image or reach final glory. I want to love You and Your ways so much that I bring praise to Your glory, now and forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.