What or who is predestined?
There’s a rather important issue of predestination presented throughout Scripture. But, what does that mean actually? Does predestination mean I have no real choice because everything is set by God beforehand? This is a massive topic, but to lay a foundation let’s consider some of what the Bible teaches.
First, to set the scene here’s a story. A group of theologians were discussing the tension between predestination and free will. Things became so heated that the group broke up into two opposing factions. But one man, not knowing which to join, stood for a moment trying to decide. Finally, he went to the predestination group. “Who sent you here?” one of them asked. He replied, “No one sent me, I came of my own free will.” “Free will!” they exclaimed angrily. “You can’t join us! You belong with the other group!”
So, he followed their orders and went to the other group. One of them asked him, “When did you decide to join us?” The man replied, “Well, I didn’t really decide—I was sent here.” “Sent here!” they shouted. “You can’t join us unless you have decided by your own free will!”
Ephesians 1.5, 11 mention predestination, some believe that predestination means God, in His Sovereignty at the beginning of time chose who would be saved and go to heaven, therefore, implying that God also chose who wouldn’t be saved and not get to heaven. However, the Bible teaches that all people were unconditionally bought with a price, when Jesus died on that cross, because ‘this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’ 1 Timothy 2.3-5).
So, if predestination is taken to mean that God in His Sovereignty, made decision who would be saved and who wouldn’t, it leaves us with a problem for many other Scriptures which would need reinterpreted. Such as that one above and John 3.16, which clearly says ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’
Ephesians 1.5, 11 refer to the fact that it was the adoption into God’s family, to become a child of the living God, through Jesus Christ that was God’s predestined plan, for whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Then in verses 11 and 13, we find more details highlighting, ‘it is our inheritance in Christ Jesus that was predestined’, for those who trusted, ‘after they heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation, would believe and therefore are sealed with the promise’.
Our predestined inheritance is unconditionally ours when we hear about Jesus and choose to believe in Him. So, the Bible is clear, there is a freedom of choice to believe and put our trust in Jesus and then enter into the promise of our inheritance, which is God’s predestined plan for our eternal salvation in heaven.
In an attempt to reconcile the seemingly contradictory beliefs of God’s Sovereignty and man’s free will, someone once wrote this: An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it.
This gives us a faint picture of God’s Sovereignty, in which He has a destination planned and nothing will change the end destination.
However, on board the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. Each one is completely free to move about as they will.
They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, or talk … as they please …but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predestined port.
The free will of the people, and simultaneously, God’s Sovereignty do not conflict. The mighty plan of God’s Sovereign design keeps its steady course throughout history, with our free will intact and God’s Sovereignty secure as His predestined plan continues. Those who choose to believe in Jesus reaching the destiny God predestined in advance.
It’s that simple, God has given us a free will to choose Him or to reject Him. Our free will and His Sovereignty work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8.28-30).
Father, let us affirm the Scriptures as truth, and let us not deny Your Sovereignty even though You have given us free will, and we thank You for the sacrifice of Jesus that bought salvation for all, so we pray for the grace to receive our predestined inheritance. In the Name of Jesus Christ, we humbly declare, our God is good and we can trust in You. Amen.
Peace to You all, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.