Straight Talk about Predestination, Part 3
- Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Let me wrap this up with three conclusions about the doctrine of predestination.
1. This doctrine is true because it is biblical.
Romans 9:19-29 doesn’t use the word, but it does contain the doctrine. Some people are vessels of wrath; others are vessels of mercy. Some are chosen; others are not. God shows justice to all, saving mercy to some. The fact that we don’t fully understand this doesn’t change the truth. We would do better to simply say, “The Bible says it, I don’t understand it, but I still believe it.” In that sense predestination fits into the same category as the Trinity. We wouldn’t have thought of it ourselves, but the Bible teaches it, therefore it must be true.
2. This doctrine humbles us because it exalts God as the author of our salvation.
In the final analysis, this is why some people fight so strongly against predestination. They don’t like any doctrine that gives all the glory of God and none to us. But that’s precisely why predestination must be true. It teaches us that salvation is of the Lord. It is a work of God from first till last. It starts with him and ends with him. If predestination is true, it means that we can never claim any credit for our salvation. We don’t even get credit for seeking the Lord because he sought us before we sought him. Harry Ironside told of a prayer meeting where a man gave a stirring testimony of God’s grace in his life. Afterwards someone came up to him and said, “My brother, that was a fine testimony you gave. You talked a lot about God, but you didn’t mention your own part in salvation.” The man thought for a moment and then said, “You’re right. I did leave that out. My part was to run away from God as fast as I could, and God’s part was to run after me until he caught me.” So it is with all of us. We do the running away. God does the catching. We’re in charge of being lost. God is in charge of saving us.
3. This doctrine preserves human freedom because each person must still personally respond to Jesus Christ.
Someone may say, “Why should I bother responding? If I’m predestined, God will save me when he’s ready.” Not so fast, Bubba. The Bible says that God saves those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. No one is saved without faith in Christ. God has the first move, but the next move is up to you. Henry Ward Beecher used to say that the elect were the “Whosoever wills” and the non-elect were the “Whosoever won’ts.” If you are wondering whether God has predestined you to salvation, just answer this question: Have you ever placed your faith in Jesus Christ—and in him alone—for your salvation? If the answer is yes, then I’ve got good news, you’re predestined for heaven. But what if the answer is no. Or what if you’re not sure? One reason God has delayed his punishment is to give you more time to be saved. The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish but wants all people to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Think about that. God wants you in heaven. He even paid the price of admission—the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ. If you go to hell, it won’t be God’s fault. He’s done everything necessary to make sure you go to heaven. Don’t worry about predestination. Make sure you know Jesus. That’s the issue that determines your eternal destiny.
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