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  • Predestination

    I've been thinking quite a lot about the doctrine of predestination lately, and I'm not 100% sure I understand it properly.

    Obviously, God knows who will be saved and who will not, because He has total foreknowledge. Does this then mean that God only gives his grace to those who He knows would accept Him?

    So this would mean that not everyone does get the choice to accept God. Not because they are less deserving than the elect, but because He does not give them His grace since he knows they will reject Him anyway?

    Or is it nothing to do with the choices we would make, but rather for whatever reason God favours some over others?

    Does this also mean that Jesus' suffering for our atonement was only meant to suffice for the elect?

    Thanks for any help, I'm really struggling to get my head round this issue...
    "I could not but smile out to God in praises,
    in assurance of victory,
    because God would by things that are not,
    bring to naught things that are.
    Of which I had great assurance, and God did it"
    - Oliver Cromwell

  • #2
    Originally posted by Rhyfelwr View Post
    I've been thinking quite a lot about the doctrine of predestination lately, and I'm not 100% sure I understand it properly.

    Obviously, God knows who will be saved and who will not, because He has total foreknowledge. Does this then mean that God only gives his grace to those who He knows would accept Him?
    Yes, God has foreknowledge of who will accept Him, but grace is not something that is reserved, per se, for the elect. God's grace is available to everyone, and He gives it to those who reach out and accept it. God's grace is enacted in a person's life only after that person makes a willful decision to receive it, so the answer to your question is yes...God gives His grace to those whom He had foreknowledge of, that is, those who accept it.

    God's grace is available to everyone....what that person decides to do with it will define his spiritual destiny.

    So this would mean that not everyone does get the choice to accept God.
    No. Everyone is given the choice. If this were not true, then God could not rightfully punish someone for rejecting Him.

    Not because they are less deserving than the elect, but because He does not give them His grace since he knows they will reject Him anyway?
    Grace is not given to a person until that person reaches out and accepts it. God does know in advance who will and who won't accept His grace, but the reason God doesn't give them His grace has nothing to do with His foreknowledge, but their rejection.

    Or is it nothing to do with the choices we would make, but rather for whatever reason God favours some over others?
    It has nothing to do with God's favor.

    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.

    God does know beforehand who will and won't accept His grace, and I have heard many testimonies that indicate that God uses the circumstances in their lives to navigate them towards Him. Some people will never accept God's grace, no matter what happens in their lives.....for these people, God's grace is nullified.

    Does this also mean that Jesus' suffering for our atonement was only meant to suffice for the elect?
    I believe that the elect are those people chosen by God....not in a Calvinistic sense, but in the sense that these are the people who, by free will, accepted God's grace so that, by predestination, God elected them as children.

    Rom. 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    In a nutshell, God knew beforehand who would accept and reject Him, and it is those people whom God predestined to be His children. Christ's atoning sacrifice is available for everyone who is willing to receive it, but it only suffices for those who have accepted it. For those who die without Christ, the sacrifice is of no effect.

    Thanks for any help, I'm really struggling to get my head round this issue...
    I hope I helped some.

    Comment


    • #3
      God offers salvation to all creation, but yes, He knows who will and who will not be saved. But His heart desires us all to be saved


      Matt 25:41
      41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
      KJV

      Heb 2:3
      3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
      KJV

      Deut 30:19
      19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
      KJV

      Matt 23:37
      37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
      KJV

      John 1:6-13
      6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
      7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
      8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
      9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
      10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
      11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
      12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
      13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
      KJV

      John 1:29
      29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
      KJV

      John 3:18-21
      18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
      19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
      20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
      21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
      KJV

      John 6:51
      51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
      KJV

      John 12:32
      32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
      KJV

      Acts 7:51
      51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
      KJV

      Rom 10:11-13
      11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
      12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
      13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved .
      KJV

      Mark 16:16
      16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
      KJV

      Titus 2:11
      11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men ,
      KJV

      1 Tim 2:5-6
      5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
      6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
      KJV

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rhyfelwr View Post
        I've been thinking quite a lot about the doctrine of predestination lately, and I'm not 100% sure I understand it properly.

        Obviously, God knows who will be saved and who will not, because He has total foreknowledge. Does this then mean that God only gives his grace to those who He knows would accept Him?

        So this would mean that not everyone does get the choice to accept God. Not because they are less deserving than the elect, but because He does not give them His grace since he knows they will reject Him anyway?

        Or is it nothing to do with the choices we would make, but rather for whatever reason God favours some over others?

        Does this also mean that Jesus' suffering for our atonement was only meant to suffice for the elect?

        Thanks for any help, I'm really struggling to get my head round this issue...
        The question has been debated for at least 1700 years (since Augustine of Hippo if not before) so you are not likely to get your problem solved here :-))))

        However Paul said that 'He has chosen us in Him before the world began' (Ephesians 1.4) It is also the basis of Pauls' argument in Romans 9-11 (which see). And Jesus made clear that those whom the Father gave Him would come to Him (John 6.37, 40) for only those whom the Father drew would come (John 6.44).

        There are in fact two strains running through Scripture. On the one side is that all happens in accordance with God's specific purpose, on the other is God's free offer to mankind.

        As we approach the gate of salvation we see, 'Whosoever will may come'. When we get through it and look back we see, 'Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.'

        If there were not these two paradoxical viewpoints in the Bible we would not have had 1700 years of arguments which are still going on.

        You will do well to hold both viewpoints in tension, for Scripture teaches both. Reject either and you will lose great blessing.

        Christ's atonement was for all but it was on behalf of many. That is the paradox of Scripture.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Rhyfelwr View Post
          So this would mean that not everyone does get the choice to accept God. Not because they are less deserving than the elect, but because He does not give them His grace since he knows they will reject Him anyway?

          Does this also mean that Jesus' suffering for our atonement was only meant to suffice for the elect?
          You are going to get two answers. Yes and No

          You are correct that God has foreknowledge, therefore He knows who will and won't be saved. The question is: Does HE choose or do WE choose?

          Someone already referenced Romans 8:29, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren"

          Let's break this down....God foreknew who would be saved, therefore He predestined those He knew would be saved with a plan for their life - to conform to Christ. Foreknowledge and predestination are two different things.

          One final note - if God chose beforehand all who would and would not be saved, that would certainly cause us to question the goodness of God.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sold Out View Post
            You are going to get two answers. Yes and No

            You are correct that God has foreknowledge, therefore He knows who will and won't be saved. The question is: Does HE choose or do WE choose?

            Someone already referenced Romans 8:29, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren"

            Let's break this down....God foreknew who would be saved, therefore He predestined those He knew would be saved with a plan for their life - to conform to Christ. Foreknowledge and predestination are two different things.

            One final note - if God chose beforehand all who would and would not be saved, that would certainly cause us to question the goodness of God.
            You must spread some reputation around before giving it to Sold Out again

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by petepet View Post
              However Paul said that 'He has chosen us in Him before the world began' (Ephesians 1.4) It is also the basis of Pauls' argument in Romans 9-11 (which see).
              Absolutely. Remember the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22? At the end of this parable, the Lord Jesus Christ says:

              v. 14: For many are called, but few are chosen

              He also says this at the end of the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Now, while I understand that these parables directly address Israel's rejection of Christ as Messiah, I still believe that these words apply, and correlate well with Paul's sentiments.
              The Lord chose us before the world began, but whom did He choose? He chose those who would accept His free gift of grace, and it was those whom He foreknew. He didn't choose us because He favored us....He favors us because He chose us.

              Jer. 1:5 Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you as a prophet to the nations

              God knew who would and wouldn't accept His sacrifice even before they were born, and it is these that He chose before the world began.


              Many are called to receive Christ's gift of grace, but few are chosen to be glorified in the Kingdom.....Those who are chosen are those whom Christ pre-destined.

              And Jesus made clear that those whom the Father gave Him would come to Him (John 6.37, 40) for only those whom the Father drew would come (John 6.44).
              The Father draws those who were chosen before the world began, based on His foreknowledge of who will and won't accept the grace of God.

              There are in fact two strains running through Scripture. On the one side is that all happens in accordance with God's specific purpose, on the other is God's free offer to mankind.
              I really think that it has to do with God's sovereignty as as it relates to man's free will.

              As we approach the gate of salvation we see, 'Whosoever will may come'. When we get through it and look back we see, 'Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.'

              If there were not these two paradoxical viewpoints in the Bible we would not have had 1700 years of arguments which are still going on.
              Wouldn't you agree, though, that those who enter the gate of salvation are those who enter the strait gate....the narrow path leading to salvation?

              Mt. 7:13 Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it

              When we enter in by that gate, we look back and see Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. It is precisely because we entered in by that gate that we have been chosen.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sold Out View Post
                Someone already referenced Romans 8:29, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren"

                Let's break this down....God foreknew who would be saved, therefore He predestined those He knew would be saved with a plan for their life - to conform to Christ. Foreknowledge and predestination are two different things.
                Thanks for that, that has really helped put predestination into context for me. I has always wondered if predestination was only really another way of describing foreknowledge.

                But predestination in fact means that God works in your life so that you will accept him. It's not the case that God's grace is only reserved for the elect, but rather he will only work in the lives of the elect so that they will accept his grace, whereas others never would, no matter what.

                So predestination ensures that all those who could accept God in their lifetime, will.

                Have I got it?
                "I could not but smile out to God in praises,
                in assurance of victory,
                because God would by things that are not,
                bring to naught things that are.
                Of which I had great assurance, and God did it"
                - Oliver Cromwell

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Welder4Christ View Post
                  Absolutely. Remember the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22? At the end of this parable, the Lord Jesus Christ says:

                  v. 14: For many are called, but few are chosen

                  He also says this at the end of the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Now, while I understand that these parables directly address Israel's rejection of Christ as Messiah, I still believe that these words apply, and correlate well with Paul's sentiments.
                  The Lord chose us before the world began, but whom did He choose? He chose those who would accept His free gift of grace, and it was those whom He foreknew. He didn't choose us because He favored us....He favors us because He chose us.

                  Jer. 1:5 Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you as a prophet to the nations

                  God knew who would and wouldn't accept His sacrifice even before they were born, and it is these that He chose before the world began.


                  Many are called to receive Christ's gift of grace, but few are chosen to be glorified in the Kingdom.....Those who are chosen are those whom Christ pre-destined.



                  The Father draws those who were chosen before the world began, based on His foreknowledge of who will and won't accept the grace of God.



                  I really think that it has to do with God's sovereignty as as it relates to man's free will.



                  Wouldn't you agree, though, that those who enter the gate of salvation are those who enter the strait gate....the narrow path leading to salvation?

                  Mt. 7:13 Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it

                  When we enter in by that gate, we look back and see Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. It is precisely because we entered in by that gate that we have been chosen.
                  But if before the creation of the world God, as you say, already knew exactly what was going to happen with His creation from start to finish before He even began creation, then He created the lost knowing that they would be damned because of the way in which He had created them. Thus He predestined them to be damned for He did not need to create them. No amount of arguing can avoid that conclusion. Thus you do not escape the problem by taking God's sovereignty from Him. :-))))

                  But the word 'foreknew' is proginosko, not prooida. It does not mean 'knowledge about' beforehand, it means entering into a relationship with someone before hand. And that 'personal foreknowing' preceded the whole train of His saving activity (Romans 8.29).

                  In fact God knew when He created the world that all were destined to be damned. His active 'foreknowing' therefore resulted in a saving of the few out of the many. He chose me, not because He knew that there was something in me that would respond to Him, but in order to work within me through the cross so as to make me respond to Him. No credit goes to me at all. It is all His. And that is what Paul continually points out, for example in Romans 9.18-23. using foreknowledge in its weaker sense is in my view a dodge, and also dishonouring to God, for it suggests that He stood back and watched it happen. And as I have demonstrated above does not avoid the ethical problem.

                  In my view to say 'The Father draws those who were chosen before the world began, based on His foreknowledge of who will and won't accept the grace of God' is to emasculate what Jesus was really saying. What He was saying was that they would accept Him BECAUSE He drew them, and because He had given them to His Son.

                  But if you are happy with your view by all means stick with it. And if it helps, someone all to the good. Sadly I believe it is only half the truth. It misses out on the glorious truth of God's own total loving initiative.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sold Out View Post
                    One final note - if God chose beforehand all who would and would not be saved, that would certainly cause us to question the goodness of God.
                    Why? Is God in some way obliged to save ANY of us?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rhyfelwr View Post
                      Thanks for that, that has really helped put predestination into context for me. I has always wondered if predestination was only really another way of describing foreknowledge.

                      But predestination in fact means that God works in your life so that you will accept him. It's not the case that God's grace is only reserved for the elect, but rather he will only work in the lives of the elect so that they will accept his grace, whereas others never would, no matter what.

                      So predestination ensures that all those who could accept God in their lifetime, will.

                      Have I got it?
                      In a word - yes! He is the Good Shepherd who will seek out ALL His sheep! NONE of them will be lost! There are many verses in Jesus' sayings in John's gospel (chs 6 and 10 in particular) that bear this great truth out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 9Marksfan View Post
                        Why? Is God in some way obliged to save ANY of us?
                        Absolutely not (obligated)....but why would a good God sentence one of his creation to eternal hell without that person even having a choice in the matter? Does that not also interfere with free will? Just something to think about.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 9Marksfan View Post
                          Why? Is God in some way obliged to save ANY of us?
                          I don't think it was being said that God has to save any of us.

                          But total predestination (i.e., no free will) begs the question: If salvation of the individual is entirely up to God and not the individual, and people who become saved only do so because God made them become saved... why doesn't He just make everyone become saved?

                          The best analogy to be given is a Puppeteer with puppets. The Puppeteer has complete control over the actions of the two puppets. He makes one puppet talk and say "I'll do whatever you want, Puppeteer." He makes the other puppet say "I'll never do whatever you want, Puppeteer." But then the Puppeteer is still controlling both of them. Would it seem a little odd for the Puppeteer to throw the 'bad' puppet into the trash can for 'disobeying' Him, if it was He who made the puppet disobey to begin with?

                          The idea of total predestination necessarily causes the questioning of God's justice, if total predestination means it was God who caused all people to sin and yet He only chooses some to redeem from that sin. (Not to mention that: predestination means, in essence, God was the cause of sin, rather than just having the foreknowledge of it.)
                          Last edited by markedward; Sep 22nd 2008, 03:17 PM. Reason: [Numerous typos.]
                          To This Day

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I know that this is a contentious and complex issue. I have come to believe that the doctrine of pre-destination, in the sense that God fully and sufficiently causes some to be saved and some to be lost, is not supported by the Scriptures. Of course there are many texts that seem to support that position. And I submit that each can be refuted, although this requires a complex argument in most, if not all, cases.

                            I would like to say something about Romans 9, though. This is a favourite text used to support pre-destination of individuals to salvation or to loss. I suggest it is doing nothing of the sort. In Romans 9, Paul is talking about Israel, and when he talks about "election" and the right of the potter to make vessels fitted for destruction, he is still talking about Israel. And not, directly at least, in relation to matters of eternal life, but in respect to God using Israel as part of his plan of redemption, just like he used Pharoah.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just noticed you're a fellow Scotsman marksfan. And to think you thought I was Welsh! I suppose its my own fault for using the Brythonic word for 'infantry' as my username.

                              Anyway, should we presume God has total sovereignty over our fates? Because he did gift us with free will. Although in a sense we have lost that since we are born as slaves to sin.



                              From my understanding, God does not predestine any to hell (although I'm new to studying these tough issues so correct me if I'm wrong). Because, there are two kinds of people when considering predestination:

                              1. Those with the potential to follow God
                              2. Those who would never accept Him

                              While God does foresee the damnation of those in the second category, He does not actively ensure that its what they get. They reject Him, and they are allowed to do this, through free will.

                              However, He does predestine those in category one to Heaven. Because it is possible or even likely that without God's guidance those in category one might never accept Him in a lifetime on this earth. However, God works in the lives of these people to ensure that they do accept Him, therefore they are predestined for Heaven.

                              Or am I creating an issue with God's sovereignty, especially in the second paragraph above? Although God was sovereign in granting humanity free will, it was a gift from him.
                              "I could not but smile out to God in praises,
                              in assurance of victory,
                              because God would by things that are not,
                              bring to naught things that are.
                              Of which I had great assurance, and God did it"
                              - Oliver Cromwell

                              Comment

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