In November I taught a three-week series yesterday called “You Asked for It” at Oak Tree Community Church. We asked our congregation to submit questions that they wanted me to answer during the series. Their questions could be about a Bible passage they don’t understand, a Biblical topic they want more information about, or something in the culture they wonder if the Bible addresses.
However, there were several questions I couldn’t get to during the services, so I’m posting answers here. I wondered if this one would come in, and I was not disappointed. And I like the method, too. Today’s question consists of a single word:
Now, I assume the questioner wants to know what the Bible says about predestination in relation to salvation, i.e., is free will involved in salvation or is it all from God? However, when we search the Scriptures, we find that “predestination,” which simply means “to predetermine or pre-plan,” is not used for salvation at all. It is, in fact applied in only three ways. (I’ve underlined our word in the following passages.)
God’s plan for Jesus’ death – God had planned Jesus’ death for sin long before it ever happened.
“For indeed both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do as much as your power and your plan had decided beforehand would happen.” Acts 4:27-28
God’s plan for those who believe – God’s goal for every Christian is to make us 100% perfect just like Jesus. Even though it seems slow-going now, God has promised that it will indeed happen. One of the steps in doing so was to legally adopt us into his family, something else that he decided upon long ago.
“And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30
“He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will” Ephesians 1:5
“In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, would be to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12
God’s plan for the church age – God’s plan regarding the Church was completely unknown in the Old Testament. This new plan wasn’t revealed until God gave it to Paul, who wrote it down for us.
“Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing. Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood it. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-8
I’ll tackle the chosen vs. free will salvation question in another post.
If you still have questions, we’re still taking them. Just comment below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.