PREDESTINATION

 

The morning we are going to be talking about predestination. Predestination is defined as:

 

Previous determination as if by destiny or fate

 

Whether a person believes in God or not, many believe in predestination because they believe certain people are predestined to do certain things. However, for our purpose this morning, we will be examine what the Bible teaches about predestination.

 

There are three basic positions that people say about God and predestination.

 

  1. God has not predetermined anything.
  2. God had predetermined some things.
  3. God has predetermined all things.

 

Anyone who reads the Bible will quickly find out that the first position cannot be true because it will not take you long to see that God predetermine some things. For example:

 

Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

 

1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

 

From these Scriptures, we learn that God had a predetermined plan to save mankind through His Son before the earth was formed because He knew that mankind would fall into sin and would need a plan to be saved.

 

We have eliminated the position that God has not predetermined anything. Now we must choose between him predetermining some things and predetermining all things. Those who hold the Calvinistic view of predestination would say that God has predetermined everything, which is why they teach that some are predestined to be saved, whether they want to be or not, and some predestined to be lost.

 

If this is true, it would mean that we have no choice in being saved or lost because our destiny has been predetermined. If we kill someone, get a sickness, or have a bad car wreck, none of it will be our fault because it is our destiny if God predetermines everything.

 

Joshua said:

 

Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

 

If God predestined everything then Joshua was out his mind because he could not possibly expect these Jews to choose whom they served. If this position is true, we need understand that we are wasting our time at inviting people to obey the gospel, but what did Jesus say:

 

Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 

Did Jesus say come to me those of you who have been predetermined to be saved. No, He said, Come to Me, all you.

 

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

 

Does the verse limit who can take of the water of life. No, it doesnít, because whoever desires it, can have it. What did Jesus tell His disciples to do in the great commission:

 

Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;

 

If God predetermines everything what would be the point it teaching everyone about the Word. It would not matter what you say to them because they are already saved or lost.

 

Those who hold the Calvinistic view of predestination think that Paul teaches their position, yet we find Paul saying:

 

2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;

 

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

 

If Paul believed that God predestined everything, then why did Paul bother with persuading men? Why would he pray for Israel that they might be saved? Paul answers these questions in:

 

Colossians 1:28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

 

Notice he warned and taught every man he came in contact with so that he might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. If Paul believed in the Calvinistic predestination position then he must have been confused when he wrote this letter.

 

Another big problem with this view is that it would mean that God is showing partiality and there no way around that. How could a person say that He is not be partial when He makes one person saved and one lost. Not only does this view violate our free will, it would also cause the Scriptures to be wrong because Peter said:

 

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.35 "But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

 

Paul agrees with Peter because he writes two times that God does not show partiality in Romans 2:11 and Ephesians 6:9. As far as I can tell, it not possible for this view to work without God showing partiality.

 

Let us take a look at two verses by Paul and Peter:

 

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

How in the world can Peter and Paul say that God wants all to come to repentance and wants all men to be saved if salvation is only limited to those who have been predestined to be saved? Verses like these prove that God has not predestined all things and that every person has the choice to be saved or to be lost.

 

Another major problem with this view is that if you are predestined to be saved, then there is no way for you to be lost. One of the favorite verses that people like to use to prove predestination and that you cannot be lost one you are saved is:

 

John 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

 

In this verse, we see that Father gives Jesus those that will come to Him, but the question becomes, how does the Father give people to Jesus? Is by force or by irresistible grace?Later in this chapter, Jesus tells us how the Father does this:

 

John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.45 "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

 

Jesus is teaching us that Father gives people to Him by them hearing the Word of God. That is how they are drawn by the Father because the truth will set you free and as Paul said:

 

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

 

Notice, salvation is available for everyone who believes. In the second part of our verse, Jesus said, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. From this, people will teach that once your saved you cannot be lost, but that is not what Jesus is saying.

 

When Jesus says He will not cast out those who come to Him, He is talking about those who have become His disciples and who choose to stay with Him. No one can force away from Jesus, but we can choose to separate ourselves from Him.

 

This idea is illustrated in Romans 11 where Paul teaches that the unbelieving Jew was cut off from the root, which is referring to Jesus, and the Gentile was allowed to be grafted into that root. However, Paul warns them not to boast about this and warns them that God can remove them from the root once they have been grafted in.

 

Paul says:

 

For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off (Rom. 11:21-22).

 

Also, Jesus compares Himself to a vine in John 15 and specifically says:

 

If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burnedĒ (Jn. 15:6).

 

While we should take great comfort in knowing that Jesus will not cast us out or cut us off while we faithfully follow Him, we should not be fooled into believing the false doctrine once saved always saved. In fact, throughout the New Testament, we are warned about turning away from God and falling from His grace. For example:

 

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience

 

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;

 

2 Peter 3:17 beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

 

Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Verses like these prove that once you are saved that you can become lost because you can choose to stop following God and your sins will separate you from Him.

 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

We have only examined a few of the verses that prove that once saved always saved is false, but for times sake I want to show one more that will drive the point home.

 

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

 

The writer is talking about those who were Christians, and he lets us know that if they fall away, which means that they can fall away, itís like they are putting Jesus back on that cross and putting Him in open shame. So, donít let anyone ever convince you that God has predetermined everything because if that is true, we might as well through our Bibles away and just wait and see if we are going to be lost or saved.

 

We have ruled out two of the positions that people hold when it comes predestination and God. It is not true that God has not predetermined anything or that He has predetermined everything. That leaves us with the position that God has predetermined some things. As you will see, this is the Biblical view of predestination.

 

For example, we read in:

 

1 Peter 1:20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

 

This teaches us that God predetermined before the foundation of the world who He would use to redeem mankind, and as you read through the OT and the NT you can see how that God help bring about His plan in various ways. Sometimes he accomplished this through His providence as with Joseph becoming 2nd in command to save the lineage of Christ from starvation. Other times He might use miracles to bring about something He has predetermine like the plagues and parting of the red sea, which allowed the children of Israel to escape their Egyptians bondage. Sometimes God reveals the future because He knows what going to happen. For example, a man of God went to Northern kingdom and told King Jeroboam:

 

1 Kings 13:2 Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be burned on you.'

 

About 200 years later this prophecy came to pass in:

 

2 Kings 23:15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down; and he burned the high place and crushed it to powder, and burned the wooden image.16 As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs that were there on the mountain. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar, and defiled it according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.

 

Nothing in Scripture mentions that God told anyone to name this king Josiah. In fact, his father had not followed God and was an unrighteous king, but since God is omniscient he knew that Josiah would be the man that fulfilled this prophecy.

 

While it is hard sometimes for us to discern between what God predetermined to happen, and what He knows is going to happen, we do know that Jesus was predestined to be our Savior and God knew the events that would take place surrounding His birth, life, and death on the cross, but God in no way has caused anyone to be good or bad, or to be lost or saved.

 

He has however, used His foreknowledge of people and how they would react to certain circumstances to bring about His predetermined plans. For example:

He knew how Pharaoh would react to the ten plagues. He did not cause Pharaoh to act the way He did, but He knew that the plagues would harden his heart. Pharaoh had the freedom to act in a more rational way, but his arrogance would not allow him to, so God played off his pride.

The same thing could be said about Judas. No one forced Judas to betray Jesus, but Jesus knew before it every happened that he would betray Him. While Judas fulfilled the Scripture about Jesus being betrayed, this was accomplished by Godís foreknowledge of Judasís actions and not by overriding Judasís free will. Unlike some today, Judas did not blame Satan for his mistake. Instead, he said:

Matthew 27:4 "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood."

He sinned by his own free will, yet what he did was prophesied. The same idea can be seen when Peter was preaching to those that was gathered on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:23 "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;

God knew beforehand how the Jews would react to Jesus and His message, and He knew that these wicked men would have Jesus arrested, tried, and put to death. Even though God predestined Jesus to die for us, He did force the men to do what they did, but He knew that they would.

 

More examples could be given, but these are enough to give us a better understanding of what the Bible teaches about predestination.

 

We have learned that God does predestine some things, but He does not predestine everything. Those things He does predestine, He does not violate our free will, but He does use His foreknowledge of events and people to bring about His predetermined plans.

 

As we close out this lesson, I want you to understand that God has predetermined before the foundation our world that we could be saved through His Son, but it is up to you to choose to accept what God has made possible for you through His son. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and you are ready to repent and confess Jesus as your Lord, then why not come forward and be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins so that you can become a child of God.

 

Parts of this sermon were adapted from articles on the subject by Gary Summers and Wayne Jackson.