Predestination continued ….

Predestination, is the Christian doctrine that God has eternally chosen those whom he intends to save. Predestination has been especially associated with John Calvin and the Reformed tradition.

This is a continuation from my post yesterday. It’s taken from a sermon given by our Pastor, my husband, explaining this difficult word.

This (coming to saving faith) will happen because of a call to faith, a call from the words of Scripture, the words of the Gospel, the Good News that Christ bore their punishment and they could then experience eternal joy. And the Holy Spirit, God Himself, opens the hearts of those who are predestined to believe the Gospel, to know that Christ did indeed die for them and that He was raised for them. What a wonderful thing it is to have God bring us to such understanding! If you have faith in Christ, you didn’t do it on your own, you didn’t work it out by yourself– no indeed, you received it from God and in receiving it you were justified, made right with God, no longer estranged, but now embraced as an adopted child and heir.

Even more than that, you have been glorified. In a tiny little way, we experience the glory that will be ours in heaven when we come into contact with God, when we experience His grace, when we feel His presence, whe we trust in Christ alone. What a glory that is, but that will pale in comparison to what God has waiting for us in eternity. Many have gone before us, but there is still room for us and for all those whom He is calling today around the world, and for those whom He has predestined before Christ’s return. What a wonderful and awesome thing to be chosen by the living God for eternal life.

For more on salvation see:

Predestination?

The True Cost of Salvation

Saved by Grace

A Poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote this poem in 1944. It is a comfort that in our need, God comes to us, whether that need is sickness, hunger, or sin.

People go to God when they’re in need,
plead for help, pray for blessings and bread,
for rescue from their sickness, guilt, and death.
So do they all. All of them, Christians and heathens.

People go to God when God’s in need,
find God poor, reviled, without shelter or bread,
see God devoured by sin, weakness, and death.
Christians stand by God in God’s own pain.

God goes to all people in their need,
fills body and soul with God’s own bread,
goes for Christians and heathens to Calvary’s death
and forgives them both.

For more on Dietrich Bonhoeffer see these posts:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Hope

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Prayer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on God’s Victory

Dietrich Bonhoeffer– Facing Life’s Challenges Like Christ

“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. ‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared’ (Luther).”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer see:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Optimism

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Faith

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Times of Uncertainty

 

 

 

Grade Yourself #3

I’ve been thinking a lot this month about grading yourself honestly on how you are doing spiritually — is it possible (see Grade Yourself)  and who/what should you compare yourself to in assigning a grade (see  Grade Yourself #2 ).  I concluded with input from a friend, that each of us should be “graded” against ourselves.  How have we matured in our relationship with God, our good works, our understanding of Scripture over the past weeks, months or years.

Recently I did another spiritual exercise that had to do with imagining my own death.  How would I want to be remembered?  What would I expect to be said in my eulogy.    What are my life goals and have I met them?  This too, is a kind of “grading” or evaluating.  Of course, it is my faith and not my works that save me, but will I feel at all  worthy to hear these words?

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'”  Matthew 25:23

I thought hard about this.  Looking back on my life, trying to grade myself, I would consider three things.  The first is my life verse(actually it’s two verses):

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Second is my personal mission statement What’s My Mission?:

“”To keep in mind that I am a pilgrim on a journey to draw closer to God’;  to recognize and respect this pilgrim quality in others and use my God given talents, insights, and resources to encourage them;  to enjoy the life, friends, family and work with which I have been blessed and to be a peaceful and harmonious influence in all of these places.”

Finally, my core values (L. A. T. C. H. On To Your Core Values):

  • Learning
  • Attentiveness
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Honesty

These are the things I would use to “grade” my life–this is what I would use to see if I had worked toward being the kind of servant God created me to be.

If you haven’t done any exercises like these, I would encourage you to do so.  Knowing what you’re aiming for will help you persevere.  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”

 

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Hope #2

“Life in a prison cell may well be compared to Advent;  one waits, hopes, and does this, that or the other–things that are of no real consequence–the door is shut, and can only be opened from the outside.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer see:

How to Study(according to Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Times of Uncertainty

A Quote on the Christian Life by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Hope

“Good Friday and Easter free us to think about the things far beyond our personal fate;  about the ultimate meaning of life, suffering and events;  and we lay hold of a great hope.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes see:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christian Freedom

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Death

A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Optimism

Today many people I speak with are pessimistic about the future of our country and the church.  However, if God is in control, we can remain optimistic.  Here’s what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:

“The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.”

For more Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes see these posts:

Loyal to the End — A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Community of Saints

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Need for Repentance

 

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Fruit of the Spirit

“Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer see these posts:

A Quote from Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Brotherly Love (Philia)

Blessed Are the Merciful by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Baptism

Since we’ve been on the topic of baptism, here’s what Dietrich Bonhoeffer had to say:

“Baptism is not an offer made by man to God, but an offer made by Christ to man. It is grounded solely on the will of Jesus Christ, as expressed in his gracious call. Baptism is essentially passive-being baptized, suffering the call of Christ. In baptism man becomes Christ’s own possession. When the name of Christ is spoken over the candidate, he becomes a partaker in this Name, and is baptized “into Jesus Christ”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer see these posts:

A Quote on the Christian Life by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Praying For One Another

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Time

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Times of Uncertainty

“May God in His mercy lead us through these times; but above all, may He lead us to Himself.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer go to these posts:

Loyal to the End — A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Staying On Course–Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Need for Repentance