What The Bible Teaches About Predestination
Ephesians 1:5 “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”
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:”
Hello readers, today I am going to be talking about predestination. The Bible clearly teaches that we who have believed and trusted in Jesus Christ are predestinated in Christ. I have a predestination in Christ, because I am saved. I’m not guessing my destination, and my destination isn’t changing. For everyone reading this blog, if you are saved you have a predestination, and if you are unsaved you have a predestination. But they’re two very different destinations! As wide apart as heaven and hell in fact.
Only God can predestine things, because he is God. You can’t control destiny. But God can and does. But I believe there is some really unbalanced teaching on predestination out there, where people cannot balance the sovereignty of God and the free will of man out Biblically. And people of this world also have ideas about destiny, which are also totally unbiblical.
But there’s some really strong views on predestination in Christendom, for instance some people believe God predestinates some people to be saved and some to go to hell, taking man’s volition out of the picture entirely.
I do not share this view, because it is clear from the Bible that one of the key aspects of man is the volition that God gave him… free will. If you do not have free will, then you are just like an animal, like a robot, a slave to a nature you have been given and who’s decisions are made by God for you or by chemicals in your brain. In other words, the only one not making decisions for yourself is you seeing as you’re a prisoner of predestination.
Many people cannot reconcile “sovereign grace” and “free will” but why not just let the Bible speak? Clearly God is sovereign, but clearly man also has free will. So where do those two meet? But one of the (many) reasons we know that there is a God is because of our free will. Without free will there can be no just establishment of guilt and judgment. Adam and Eve were in a perfect setting yet they weren’t locked into God’s grace, he gave them a command that they could have obeyed… or not. And they chose not to. Free will was given to man by God. I’ve heard evolution try explain free will, but it cannot, true free will can only come from God. Without God you have no free will.
I mean, this lack of true free will is why people excuse their sin. How many of you have heard “I was born that way”. And that’s true, if you are born a certain way, how can you help it? Does being “born that way” legitimize our sin? I mean, I for instance was born with an inclination to lie and hate and lust… and if I didn’t have free will, how could I say no? So why judge me for what I cannot but do? You see, the reason we condemn sin is because people don’t have to. And we expect them not to and hope they don’t. I hope an angry person doesn’t murder me in the street. I expect them with their free will to be able to govern their angry tendencies rather than being controlled by blind rage.
But granted, to a degree, before you get saved, your free will is limited. Because the Bible teaches that we are born in slavery to sin. And the fact is that people sin because they really cannot say no to sin. They don’t control their sin, though they try to, it controls them. So how can we condemn people who sin when they can only sin?
Because the Bible teaches that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Humanity has been given grace and light from God. And so there is a way that has been made so that you can say no to sin. God lets us choose to believe in that light, and after we have believed, to walk in that light. What you do with Jesus Christ personally determines where every single person spends eternity. Because all who are in Christ will be gathered, and all who aren’t will be also. Our eternity all hinges on what we do with Jesus Christ.
And you see, what really sends you to hell is not so much your sin as it is rejection of Jesus Christ. If you were dead in sins, and we all were and are… but God gave us light in the person of Jesus Christ, his Son, then you have been given a true opportunity to be made free. So now your responsibility is will you believe on him or will you live a life disputing, denying and disobeying him? Many choose the latter. But many choose the former also!
Who is truly free? A born again Christian. As Christians we are born free. When you are born again, having believed on Jesus Christ, you have a second birth, a spiritual birth. And that person in you who is born is free from the law of sin and death, that person is truly free. And so a true Christian is the only person who has true freedom. True freedom in life is being able to serve righteousness. Not because God is forcing you to, but because you choose to out of love for his Son, who set you free.
But now, if you are not saved, you do not have an excuse anymore. Because yes you can’t save yourself, but God made a way for you to be saved, and God has given you the capacity to believe in Jesus Christ. It’s not something you cannot do or he disallows you from doing, it’s something that will is on your head, and will be on your head at judgement.
So with that foundation in place, and while predestination can be a tricky subject, it’s actually pretty simple too. I think the key is this phrase “in Christ” which is all through this book of Ephesians. Because “in Christ” we are predestinated to redemption and heaven and glory, but if you’re not in Christ, you have a different predestination. We all have a pre-destination. That’s why we say that you will go to hell if you die lost, because that is the predestination God has made for rejecting his Son. Noone has ever rejected Jesus Christ and ended up a different destination. And you’re not going to evade God’s divinely decreed destination for disobedience to the gospel.
But let’s get some definitions sorted. From the Webster’s 1828 dictionary the word “predestine” means “to decree beforehand; to foreordain”. And further to that, the word “predestination” means “The act of decreeing or foreordaining events; the decree of God by which he hath, from eternity, unchangeably appointed or determined whatever comes to pass. It is used particularly in theology to denote the preordination of men to everlasting happiness or misery.”
I think if you read Ephesians 1 and just read what it says and let the Bible speak, it’s pretty obvious what the Bible is saying here. How God saves man is through Jesus Christ. And God didn’t come up with that as a plan B or in reaction to “the fall” in the garden of Eden, and he then went along trying to figure out how to redeem humanity. No, God knew what was going to happen, and God knew what he was going to do.
So how do we get blessed, and chosen, and adopted, and accepted, and redeemed, and forgiven, and gathered, and inheritance etc etc? See all these are wonderful things. They’re spiritual blessings extended to us, but found only in Christ. Note all the “in him” and “in whom” all through this chapter. If you are not in Christ, you have none of these things. Not because God created you not to, but because you reject Jesus Christ. Remember, God’s plan and purposes prevail over yours. See, he’s working things according to his plan and purpose, and if you don’t get in line with him, there’s going to be a loser, and it’s not going to be him.
And before we were born, God had already decided to bestow all these wonderful blessed things on us. I mean, Epheisans is basically just welcome to life in Christ dear Christian. Look at the table that has been spread before you. Oh, all for me? For me? And it wasn’t because of who we are, it was because of his Son Jesus Christ “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.
If you want spiritual blessings, they’re in Christ. He is the elect of God, and if you believe in him, you join an “elect” group of people to have lived. They are elected by their faith in Jesus Christ, because the election are those people who are saved by the grace of God through faith. Remember, it is the election of grace, not of works. And this is all because of God’s predestination power. I am elect through Christ, and as one of the elect, I’ve got something coming to me, the holy Spirit was just the start of my salvation… and that’s because I chose to believe the gospel. God gave me the grace to do so, and I did.
Note: the elect aren’t God’s “special choice” where you just hit or miss in the lottery, the elect are God’s special choice IN CHRIST. And God predestinated that. You cannot change what he has decided. That’s why the way of salvation is unchanging. It was always going to be Christ, it was always Christ, it always will be Christ. So why not believe in Christ? How are you going to change destiny or make a different destiny?
So you’re not going to be cop out on some lame predestination excuse that God never called you or wanted you and didn’t offer you salvation. He is not respecter of persons. He’s not bias and unfair and unequal. As has been said, all ground is level at the cross. And he’s offered you Christ as much as the next guy. He’s calling you in Christ, that’s what the Holy Spirit does, calls men and women to Jesus Christ. And when you go to hell, that will be on you, not on God.
So we know that whoever you are, you are already predestinated. It’s not God has created you for hell. It’s not he’s chose you to hell. But he’s chosen that if you reject his Son to send you to hell. There’s nothing more he can do for you, he’s already done the most he could. Jesus wasn’t part payment, he was full payment. So God is more than right and just in doing so. And note, he didn’t have to save you, but because he loves you and would rather show mercy and longsuffering toward you than judgment and wrath upon you, he offers you salvation first. Salvation first, wrath second. And what you do with Christ hasn’t been predestined, because you can repent and change your whole eternal picture right now… but what has been predestined is that if you reject Christ you go to hell, but if you trust him you go to heaven.
So all of our destinies are predestined. It is written. Not in the stars. But by God. And people talk about destiny, destiny, destiny. Your destiny isn’t in the stars. Your destiny hasn’t been written by some mystical divine entity. Your destiny simply is hell without Christ, or heaven with Christ. That’s it. Sorry if that’s not as fuzzy as you want it to be, but God has made it really clear.
Bear in mind, the context of this letter is to people who “also trusted”. There were some who trusted first, and then there were more that trusted after. And now they’re just starting a journey of discovering who Christ truly is, how he relates to their practical lives here and now, what’s he’s done for them, what he’s doing for them and what he will do for them. And that’s not subject to change… God has already foreordained… God has already prestinated the future of his Son Jesus Christ. You can be part of that or not… maybe you want to determine your own destiny? Sorry, God determines destiny. You can’t rewrite the destiny for an unrepentant sinner… they all go to hell.
The only other place “predestinated” is mentioned in the Bible is in Romans 8, a wonderful chapter in the Bible, because we know that all things work together for good for those that trust Christ. How can we know that things will work together for good? Because God’s plan and God’s purpose and God’s predestination will prevail. Simple. You see, God is not making things up on the fly, our salvation is already mapped out, all that’s up to us is will we trust in Jesus Christ? Because if you aren’t in Christ, you are quite literally on the outs.
So predestination isn’t this concept of God making people to go to hell. That’s not how God works. Hell wasn’t even created for humans, it was made for the devil and his angels. Death and hell wasn’t his will for man in creating man. “His image” was the plan, not hell. That’s why God has gone to such lengths to redeem men… all men. Jesus died for the people that won’t believe him as much as those that will. Just because God knows what you will do, doesn’t mean he makes you do it. That’s not a strange concept, for instance in Deuteronomy 24:16 “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”
So I hope this shed lights on the predestination issue. I think it’s a wonderful doctrine because I know with confidence that God’s got it sorted. In our lives his plan and purpose can seem pretty murky, but I’m not wondering about my destination because I’ve got predestination… hence, seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Hey, I’m not in heaven yet, but I am in heaven! Because I’m predestinated. Not because God loves me more than you, but because I believe in Jesus Christ, which you are equally as capable of as I was. The grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men, and Jesus Christ has lighted every man that has come into the world. So please believe on him, you are without excuse, God has literally moved heaven and earth to save you, and he’s got the whole thing sorted, he always had, just trust in his Son Jesus Christ, and we all are capable of that.
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Joseph View All →
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
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