Predestination and the Bible

20 February 2011

Predestination is a subject that receives a lot of criticism from people who should know better. They are supposedly Christians, and say they believe the Bible, but there are certain parts of it they condemn like the plague. I am thankful the medical profession does not slander their findings as roughly as some Christians slander their book. Predestination is a biblical term, used in scripture to describe the Holy work of a sovereign God. Surely, it should be believed, respected, and embraced by every person who claims to love God, and His Holy Word.

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Predestination and the Bible

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The biblical words, "predestinate", and "predestinated" are both translated from the original Greek: proorizo. By observing this term from the original language, we are able to transcend the bounds of the various versions of the Bible, some of which have either omitted this word altogether, or toned it down to fit their particular theology. The word proorizo is found in the original language six times: Ephesians 1:5, 11; Romans 8:29, 30; Acts 4:28; 1 Cor. 2:7. Once should be enough for those who respect God's word. But by the design of God's infinite wisdom, it is used six times to teach us what it means.

Predestination is not that difficult to comprehend. It is just difficult for us to accept. Yet, how can we say we have accepted Jesus if we have not accepted His Bible? The word simply means that God has predetermined for something to take place. What is wrong with that? Surely, this defines God with greater respect, and reverence, than that of a God who plans nothing, knows nothing about the future, and is waiting for man to determine the final outcome.

In Romans 8:29 it means that God foreknew His people (God is omniscient) and predetermined for them to be conformed to the spotless image of Jesus. That is salvation in perfection. Surely, for sinners, this is good news. Why would people object to this? In the next verse we read that tGod is going to call these very same people (regenerate them), that He is going to justify them upon the cross, and then glorify them one day in heaven. Why would anyone, especially a sinner, find this offensive? Again, this is good news to sinners. No wonder God has published it for all to read. To me, it reads like the boy delivering the paper: "Extra! Extra! Read all about it! God made plans, in advance, to save His people from their sins!" Surely, all of the elect should rejoice in this.

In the book of Ephesians we read that God's people were predetermined to be adopted from the sinful family of Adam, into God's eternal family, and that their inheritance in glory was likewise predetermined by a loving Father. So far, I haven't read anything bad about predestination. It is all good for sinners. So, what is the problem?

Some argue that this doctrine is false because John Calvin taught it, and John Calvin did some bad things. So, if you teach this, or believe it, you are immediately labeled not as a Biblicist, but as a Calvinist. I will not take up for John Calvin, but I will take up for John the Baptist, Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as all of the other inspired writers of the Bible who believed this doctrine, and wrote about it. Predestination was taught by the Holy apostles, and recorded in God's word before John Calvin was born. The argument should not be whether or not John Calvin taught it, but rather that God has taught it. If the devil quoted something that God said (and he has) we shouldn't throw away truth. But we should be careful how it is used, or rather, misused, and be careful what might be attached that is not accurate. Men who teach the true doctrines of election, predestination, and the sovereignty of God are labeled Calvinists by those who are either ignorant of God's word, or whose theology differs from scripture. For the most part, these men fear the truth. And the ignorant assume that if we believe in predestination, we must also believe that God predetermines everything, from the murder of the innocent, to the stumping of our toes. The church has never believed this. Though the Bible does teach us that God is sovereign over all things, that nothing can happen without His omniscient knowledge, it also teaches that God is not the author of sin (See James 1:13,14). Therefore, He can not possibly predestinate evil. Concerning strict Calvinism, this is one principle where Calvin erred. He taught that God predestinated Adam to sin in the garden which is not a biblical truth. Adam acted on his own.

Let's be honest. The real problem is not with John Calvin. It is with religious professors who do not like the idea that God is sovereign in the salvation of sinners. Predestinations dethrones men and places Christ Jesus as the only savior of sinners. If they preach predestination in all of its fullness, they may well lose their pastorate, their salary, and all the other accolades they love so much…so much more than truth.

Simply put, predestination means that God predetermined to save His people from their sins, from the wrath to come, and He did it. That is good news for a bankrupt, guilty sinner who has nothing in his hand to bring, but simply to the cross he clings.

-NMP