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Predestination (Part 2)

By bro Alvin Lin

What did God predestine?

Having established that God’s foreknowledge does not interfere with human free will, the next question that we need to consider is what God predestined or predetermined. To answer this, let us consider the verses where the Greek word "proorizō" appears.

Act 4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

From the context of the verse, we see that God had predestined the crucifixion of Christ, who was "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:8).

1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

From the context of the verse, we see that God had predestined the gospel plan of salvation, which had been "kept secret since the world began" (Rom 16:25).

Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Eph 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:

From the context of these verses, we see that God had predestined salvation to be in Christ, having "chosen us in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:4). Remember our earlier definition of predestination, which is to mark out a boundary beforehand? So, the boundary of salvation is in Christ, where "all spiritual blessings" are found (Eph 1:3), and to be saved, we must be "baptized into Christ" (Gal 3:26-27).

Rom 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.

Rom 8:30 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.

From the context of these verses, we see that God had predestined blessings for the saved. He foreknew those that love Him (Rom 8:28), He predestined salvation in Christ (Eph 1:5), called them through His gospel (2:14), justified them in their obedience to the gospel (1Co 6:11), and will glorify them when Christ returns (Rom 8:17).

What did God not predestine?

From the above, we see that God had predestined or predetermined the entire scheme of redemption, and this is a common thread that runs through the Bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament. It was set in motion when man first sinned in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:15), with the promises continuing through faithful men of God such as Abraham (Gen 22:18), Jacob (Ge 49:10), Moses (Deu 18:18-19), David (2Sa 7:12-16), as well as numerous prophecies made by the prophets of old "from Samuel and those that follow after" (Act 3:24). At this point, it would be instructive to discuss some erroneous views of predestination by considering what God did not predestine.

While Christ’s death and His spiritual kingdom (i.e., the church) were predetermined by God, He did not predestine a future millennial kingdom on earth (Joh 18:36).

While the plan of salvation and its boundary (i.e., in Christ) were predetermined by God, He did not predestine the salvation of some and the damnation of others (2Pe 3:9).

While the blessings and eternal abode (i.e., heaven) of the saved were predetermined by God, He did not predestine the choices for good or bad we make in life (Jos 24:15).

While God is always in control of all things and nothing escapes His foreknowledge (Mat 6:31-33), He does not infringe on our free will or influence us directly (Rev 22:17). Nevertheless, He has not left us without guidance, for He has given to us "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2Pe 1:3). Our duty then is to gain "understanding of what the will of the Lord is" (Eph 5:17) so that we can "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work" (Col 1:10). The more we learn from God’s Word, the more we will revere our awesome God, proclaiming together with the apostle Paul, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Rom 11:33).

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