Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jesus' predestined life

Predestination is a topic many people either disbelieve or refute. Here is the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry's definition of foreordination:
Foreordination is the same as predestination which means that God ordains what will happen in history and in salvation. It means to appoint beforehand. The word 'foreordained" is used in the KJV in 1 Pet 1:20. Source
It's the difference, for example, of God using the circumstances around Esther's situation to make events come out like He wanted, and causing the circumstances of Esther's situation, in order to work His pre-planned purposes. Understanding Foreordination means you see the God of the universe as the cause of everything for His purposes and will, instead of a bystander scrambling to pick up pieces from man's actions in order to work it all out for the good.

See these two of many verses regarding foreordination-

also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11).

to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. (Acts 4:28).

I apologize in advance...but I heard a sermon in which I took notes and forgot to credit the source. I did not make the following up. It's from a sermon I was listening to, but sadly I don't remember who spoke it!

In it, we learn that Jesus did not have a problem with foreordination. We also see clearly that foreordination did not nullify Jesus' will and it did not turn Him into an automaton. Here is the sermon excerpt:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Whenever we find a doctrine to be challenging to us [like predestination] the most helpful question we can ask is: 'What did Jesus think of this? How did it work out in his life?' 
When we ask those questions in connection to God's foreordination and predestination, and search the Scriptures to see how they worked out in Jesus' life, what do we discover?
There never was a man so conscious that his life had been predestined by god as the Lord Jesus Christ. But this did not turn him into a an automaton, or a mere puppet. God's predestination is not biological determinism, nor it is a form of fatalism. 
There was, surely, never a freer man, or one more conscious that his actions were his responsibility than our Lord Jesus Christ. He did not become our Saviour by accident on the one hand or merely as a machine n the other. He was destined to be our Saviour; and to that destiny he freely committed himself. He never saw nor felt any contradiction between God's sovereignty in his life and his own responsibility for his actions., neither should we.

That God had planned His his destiny in advance becomes clear from the very beginning - in the first two chapters of his Gospel Matthew mentions five occasions when Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies when he was too young to have had any choice in the matter.
Matthew 1:22-23

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).

Matthew 2:5-6

5 They told him, "in Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 "'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

Matthew 2:15

15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Matthew 2:17-18

17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Matthew 2:23

23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For me, knowing God is in COMPLETE control is a balm. Understanding that He orchestrates events from before the foundation of the world is a relief. He does not have to play catch-up. He does not have to scramble. He is not surprised.

When you read the genealogies, doesn't it occur to you that God is in control of each and every person meeting and marrying and procreating at the perfect and exact time, so that eventually the line of the Tribe of Judah will produce the Lion? God had to have been behind that since Adam and Eve for the lines to descend in the way He wanted with the bloodlines fulfilling promises and prophecies.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)

If you'd like to learn more about predestination, here is a series by Ligonier. Usually they have a paywall, but not for this series. It's entirely free.

Predestination A Teaching Series by Dr. R.C. Sproul

Here is an essay from Grace To You answering the question: What does the Bible teach about election?



2 comments:

  1. Predestination the way it is presented here is a very troubling doctrine. 1) It removes personal accountability 2) nullifies the omniscience of God 3) Misrepresents his very charector of having love for any and all that would accept him.

    Biblical predestination teaches God's foreknowledge includes man's decisions. God, being omnipotent looked across all of history and in one nanosecond instantly knew everything about everyone that would ever live. People try to deride that by painting the picture of God watching a movie. They present no evidence to the contrary, and it doesn't change the fact that based upon His knowledge he prepared a path for us to walk. It is up to us whether we will choose to walk the path or not. The Bible calls this path ordained good works that we "should walk in" (Eph 2:10). The "should" is dependent upon us. We can decide to walk in them or not.

    Secondly, it nullifies the omniscience of God. RC Sproul (who is an amazing man of God who I respect in everything but this point) would tell you that God did not know the entire human race in advance, that he knew bits and pieces, and that the knowing is akin to Adam knowing his wife, and it really doesn't mean knowing at all, but rather loving. see: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/foreknowledge/.

    This is tremendous mental gymnastic to try to explain away God's omniscience (literally Knowing-All), because if he was totally omniscient, it would be impossible to not know the choices you and I would make when he predestined us. So therefore our choices where present in his mind when he foreknew and predestined us. Not the opposite as the article states.

    Lastly, It denies the unconditional love of God and his universal offer of salvation. There is not a man, women, or child among us that has any less potential to be saved. God loved "the whole world" John 3:16. He loved us when we were in our sins contrary to him Romans 5:6-8. God's love is for all mankind, not just those he elects.

    God has given man control of their lives. We can use that control to glorify him, or we can use it to deny him even to the point of inviting eternal judgement upon ourselves. The proof of this is 2 Peter 3:9 - God is "Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance". This begs the question, if God wants all to come to repentance...why don't we? If God's will is that none Perish, why would they? Is God unable to accomplish His will, or have we misrepresented Him with this doctrine.

    Man's choices are not in control, God is. But he honors our choices as freewill agents. When I give my children choices, it doesn't mean they are in control, I am. God gave Adam and Eve a choice in the Garden, and he knew the outcome of the choice but gave it anyway. In the same manner he now gives all mankind a choice. Accept his free gift of salvation, purchased by Christ on the cross, and go on to choose to walk in the newness of life; or reject his newness of life or his salvation altogether. The choice is ours.

    Jesus is an example of a man (though he was God) completely surrendering his will to God. He separated himself often. In the Garden he was wrestling with God's plan and prayed that the cup would pass from him, "nevertheless Thy will not mine..." Because he was completely surrendered and one with God then everything that was written about him was true.

    We are not God, but Jesus surrendered his will completely to God as we should, and can (for the most part). It is in that complete surrender we find power for living. (Rom 6:4-5, I Cor 6:14, Philp 3:10, 2 Cor 4:11-14, Eph 2:5, Rom 6:12).

    God Bless,
    Rob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rob,

      Thanks for your comment. I'd like to respond to some of your points.

      You said predestination removes personal accountability. No. Man is still accountable for his sin. Romans 1:32


      You said that predestination nullifies the omniscience of God. No. It points to it. Ephesians 1:4

      You said predestination Misrepresents his very charector of having love for any and all that would accept him. No. His love meant that He predestined some, rather than execute all. Ephesians 1:5-6.

      God's offer of salvation, er, His CHOICE to elect some to salvation, was not universal, but particular. Not a drop of Jesus blood shed on the cross was wasted. It covered exactly the people God foreknew and predestined to salvation.

      Sproul's essay actually says the opposite of how you interpreted it. Sproul said No, God did NOT look down the hallways of time and accept those who accept Him. He chose whom he willed before the foundation of the world. Please read it again, carefully. It supports predestination, wrath, and the love and sovereignty of God.

      Barnes Notes explains the 2 Peter verse:
      Not willing that any should perish - That is, He does not desire it or wish it. His nature is benevolent, and He sincerely desires the eternal happiness of all, and His patience toward sinners "proves" that He is willing that they should be saved. If He were not willing, it would be easy for Him to cut them off, and exclude them from hope immediately. This passage, however, should not be adduced to prove:

      (1) that sinners never will in fact perish; because:

      (a) the passage does not refer to what God will do as the final Judge of mankind, but to what are His feelings and desires now toward men.

      ---end Barnes.

      It also means that God is not willing that any of His chosen should perish, which none will. John 10:28.

      We are dead in sin, (Eph 2:1) there is no part of us that can reach God with our will to 'accept' Him. So He draws us. He knows which ones to draw because He set them apart before the foundation of the world.God did not react to our choice, but he chose us.

      God does love all, but He is also angry with the wicked every day. Psalm 7:11. His love does not mean all will be saved, though. Matthew 25:46. He is Holy Holy Holy, too. His holiness means that some will be eternally punished. This was also predestined.

      We can't reconcile man's accountability with God's pre-ordained sovereignty in our own minds, they seem mutually exclusive to us. But they are reconciled in God's mind, and that's all that matters. We are accountable for our sins, He predestined some to salvation and some to perdition. Rom 9:22. They both are facts. Blessings.

      Delete

"And they crossed on dry ground...

We know about Moses. We love him. We know of his his foibles, his sins, and his great faith. Moses is in the Hebrews Hall of Fame Faith and...