In the closing minutes of the Bible Class at my home church last Sunday the group began discussing the doctrine of predestination. My younger brother asked if I would send him something he could present to the class this coming Sunday.
First of all, I don’t know why people take a doctrine intended for our comfort in regard to our salvation and turn it into a discussion leading to confusion and uncertainty. Perhaps it has something to do with the followers of the reformed theologian John Calvin who taught a double predestination. If some were chosen for salvation, then it stands to reason that others were chosen for damnation. The problem is that scripture does not teach double predestination. The scripture only teaches that God’s purpose in Jesus Christ is to reveal his plan for the unification of heaven and earth through Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-10).
God’s will is that all come to the faith and the knowledge of God in Christ. Therefore, if we trust in Christ we can be assured that we are chosen by God from before the foundation of the world for salvation. It has nothing to do with God foreseeing that we will respond to the gospel. It has nothing to with any merit or virtue in us. As Edward Kohler wrote in his Summary of Christian Doctrine, “If any person is turned to God in conversion, this is solely and exclusively the work of the Holy Spirit; but if any person remains unconverted, it is solely and exclusively his own fault. Beyond this we must not try to reason.”
St. Paul writes, “if you believe in your heart and confess with your lips that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9).
Therefore, the doctrine of predestination is intended only to assure the believer that he/she is chosen by God through His grace in Christ for eternal life. We cannot discuss predestination in regard to those who don’t believe, because we don’t know who truly trusts in Christ as Savior.