Have you ever heard of predestination? Unless you’re a part of a denomination that teaches it, you probably have 1) never heard of it or, 2) heard very negative and scary things about it.
Along with several other orders of faith, as Primitive Baptists, we believe in predestination. But what is predestination? Combined with the concept of election (God’s choosing), predestination is a doctrine found in the Bible that reveals to us that before He created the world, God chose a large number of people based upon His love for them and set their destiny to be carried home with Him for eternity after the destruction of the Universe. The word itself is very appropriate to convey this thought: Pre (before time) destinate (set the destiny).
Before sharing some reasons why you should believe in predestination, it is important to clarify that the Bible uses this word in reference to the eternal salvation of God’s children and not in reference to every day occurrences. That concept, known as fatalism or determinism, is common in Asian religions and is not taught in the Bible. While the Bible presents God as a sovereign, omnipotent ruler having full knowledge of every event which will ever take place and every motive behind those events, God is not the cause behind all the events of our world. He is a sovereign King and does intervene in acts of providence, judgment, deliverance, etc., at His choosing, but He has not predestinated all the events of human history. Also, events either happen because He causes or suffers them to be – but this is also not within the sphere of what the Bible discusses when it uses the word “Predestinated.” Scripture limits the use of this strong term to the deliverance of God’s chosen people.
It is also crucial to note that predestination only applies to the chosen. The Bible never states that those not saved were predestinated to Hell. Quite the contrary! In fact, the sin of Adam plunged the entire race of man into a state of death in sin. We are all worthy of eternal condemnation based upon our own works. Frankly, we’ve earned it. Predestination is one of the phases in the deliverance of God’s chosen people from our horrid and wretched state.
So, why should I believe in this doctrine?
1) Because it is biblical. Every believer should embrace what is taught in the Bible whether in matters of lifestyle, marriage, the origin of the universe and life on earth, and especially in salvation. Jesus taught that those whom He came to save were “given to Him” of His Father (John 6:36, 17:2-3). Paul taught election and predestination very clearly in Ephesians chapter 1 and Romans chapter 8. If you believe in Christ, you should believe the Bible. If you believe the Bible, you should believe in predestination.
2) Because it explains the object of Jesus’ redemptive work. Jesus, according to Matthew 1:21, came to save “His people” from their sins. But who are His people? Without election and predestination, the identity of “His people” is unknown making salvation a matter of chance and not a matter of God’s Divine Purpose. Jesus came to give eternal life to “as many as” the Father “had given Him” (John 17:2-3). You may say, “that sounds like God is turning most people away!” Not at all – first, this chosen people are out of every nation, kindred, and tongue and make up a number so great no one man could number them. The Biblical method of eternal deliverance ensures salvation for many times more people than would be saved were it left up to preachers or preaching. Further, without God choosing, redeeming, and quickening us (granting us spiritual life) we would never seek God to begin with. Naturally, we are His enemies and His gospel is folly to us.
3) Because it brings comfort. I can rest easy at night knowing that God has this all figured out. I know that all the Father gave to Him shall come to Him and never be cast out (John 6:37). I know none of these, God’s sheep, shall be stolen from their Good Shepherd (John 10). While I work to teach God’s children to become His disciples (pupils), the burden to save God’s children was placed upon the shoulders of the only one capable of such a task, Christ Jesus, and He finished this work completely (John 19:30).
4) Because it glorifies God! God alone has brought His children eternal deliverance and God alone gets ALL the glory! This glory will not be shared with ministers, disciples, leaders, or even the greatest of evangelists! While we can inform God’s children, only God saves them! His salvation began with election and predestination, was purchased by Jesus’ death on the cross, vitally applied by the Holy Spirit in the new birth, and will be completed in the resurrection (Romans 8:29-30). Salvation is of the Lord!
Convinced yet? If you’re unsure, I invite you to prayerfully consider these things. As the Psalmist wrote, Selah! (Think on these things.)