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by Curtis Pugh

                        Almost every religious group claims to believe in salvation by grace, but few teach how God saves sinners.  Bible words such as “foreknown,” “elected,” “chosen,” “predestinated,” “called,” “justified,” and “glorified” describe some of the things God does in saving sinners.  The word predestination is in the Bible so if you believe the Bible you must believe in predestination.  Twice the word appears as “did predestinate” and twice as “predestinated” -  always in the past tense.  Being in the past tense means that it is already accomplished.  God is not predestinating people now.  He finished that work in the past – in fact, before the world was created.  Here are the first two places this word is used in your Bible: “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.  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” (Romans 8:29, 30). 

                        Notice five things that are clear in these two verses : (1). God foreknows persons.  This does not mean that He just knows about them.  He does know about them and all persons and things, but that is His omniscience.  Knowing things about people beforehand is not “foreknowledge.”  In the first verse quoted above it is clear that God foreknows individuals.  The Bible says whom he did foreknow.”  God gives us a very specific instance of foreknowledge in Jeremiah 1:4, 5 which says: “Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”  God knew Jeremiah and all His chosen ones before they were conceived.  The Bible says, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).  In a special way, “...The Lord knoweth them that are his...” (2 Timothy 2:19).  In contrast, there are some religious people to whom the Lord will say, “...I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).  (2). Those whom God “foreknew” He “did predestinate” to be like Jesus Christ.  This conformation begins here on earth and will be completed when His chosen ones see Him for the Bible says, “we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).  (3). After they are born naturally and reach maturity those whom God predestinated He then calls.  Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).  While the general call goes out to all who hear the gospel, there is an effective call by which the Father draws His chosen ones to Christ.  God does not force men to come to Christ, although He could do so.  Rather God changes the wills of His chosen ones, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).  (4). The next thing listed in the verses above is this: God justifies His chosen or elect individuals.  There are three important things to remember about justification which is being declared to be righteous in God's eyes.  First of all justification is all of grace, requiring no works on the sinner's part for the Bible says, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).  Second: sinners are justified by the faith which God gives for Bible says, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28).  That sinners are saved by the faith that God gives is clearly stated in Ephesians 2:8  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”  Third, God's children are justified by the blood of Christ – His finished work – for the Bible says, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9).  (5). Next in Romans 8:29 & 30 as quoted above we learn that God's chosen ones are glorified in that He speaks of them as already inhabiting their new bodies and fully conformed to the image of Christ.  The things God says are true will be done: “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:9).  The Bible speaks of “...God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17).  It is that sure.  God is in absolute control.

                        Next read the two places where the word “predestinated” appears: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”  “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” (Ephesians 1:4, 5 & 11).  Take note of two very important truths taught in these verses: (1). God chose (past tense) in Christ those individuals whom He predestinated (past tense) “before the foundation of the world.”  God is completely in control of all things.  His choices were not based on the creature's past or future good works.  This is made clear by the following verses which speak of God choosing Jacob and refusing Esau: “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (Romans 9:11-13).  God's choice of whom He would save was “not of works.”  It was according to “the purpose of God according to election.”  Again the Bible says, “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”  “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth (Romans 9:15, 16 & 18).  (2). Notice next that God is sovereign, i.e. God does as He pleases without constraint or influence from sources outside Himself.  Only if that is the case can it be said that God acts “according to the good pleasure of his will” and that He “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”  His will is always done.  He is in control.

                        The Bible teaches that God is in absolute control of all things – both good and bad.  Those who sinned by killing Christ did God's will.  Christ, “...being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).  And again, “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27, 28). The doctrine of  God's “counsel,” “determinate counsel” or “predestination” is true because God is in control of every detail of life: He saves whom He wants to save when He wants.  “...I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:9-10).  “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11). About God it was said, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:35).  “And our God is in the heavens, All that He hath pleased He hath done (Psalm 115:3).   All that Jehovah pleased He hath done, In the heavens and in earth, In the seas and all deep places” (Psalm 135:6).   “For Jehovah of Hosts hath purposed, And who doth make void? And His hand that is stretched out, Who doth turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27).  “Declaring from the beginning the latter end, And from of old that which hath not been done, Saying, ‘My counsel doth stand, And all My delight I do'”(Isaiah 46:10).  Because God is in absolute control of all things, Jesus could and did say,  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day (John 6:37 & 39).  God is in control of and is the cause of all physical evil such as storms, earthquakes, etc., for the Bible says, “...shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6).  Jesus said His followers should rejoice because their “names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).  About others it is said  “...whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (Revelation 17:8).   Is your name written in the book of life from the foundation of the world?  Only predestination could have arranged this.  If you believe the Bible, you must believe in predestination.



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