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

Predestination — A Difficult Word!

This is an excerpt from a recent sermon my husband gave. I thought it would be helpful in explaining this word that is hard for most of us to grasp.

Now we come to an important and central doctrine of the Church which continues to confound and befuddle people because they think about it incorrectly. We must deal with the question of predestination–God’s election of those who will be saved based not on any deserving traits they have but on His good pleasure.

Before there was time, before there was creation, when there was only the Triume God, He knew that mankind would fall into sin and that sin would set up a barrier between the human and the Divine. He also knew that once this barrier was n place, no one would be saved unless He took the initiative for salvation. Now God could have determined to save everyone, but He did not. We don’t know why, nor should we attempt to find out because the reason is not open to human thought.

But God had created us to love us and for us to love Him and so, while not deigning to save everyone, He chose to save some. Because He is omniscient, in other words, because He knew everything, He knew in advance who would be saved and so He set in motion the entire process which leads to some being predestined to salvation. He chose to predestine some to believe in His saving grace through the work of the Christ in us. And those who are predestined will, without a doubt, come to saving faith in Christ.

To be continued tomorrow……

Predestination?

This is the third in the series about my husband’s series on having a Christian worldview.

For the first two sections see:

Some Scary Statistics

What is my Worldview?

“Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.’  Ephesians 1:3-6

The doctrine of predestination or election is spelled out very clearly in these verses.  Indeed, this doctrine is central to Lutheran understanding of how sinners are made right with God, how we, who are by nature sinful and unclean, can be brought into the presence of a holy God in whom there is no imperfection.  In chapter 2 of Ephesians, Paul writes this to us:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God …”

And yet, throughout the history of the Church, there have been those who taught that our salvation depends, not upon God’s sovereign choice, but at least in part, on our own efforts to be saved.  The idea an be seen in the Roman Catholic teaching that we are to do our best, and God will supply the rest.  For example, if a full glass of water represents a place of salvation and I can only, by my efforts fill it half full — God will supply the other half.

While the 16th century Reformers rejected that idea, another form came into being not long afterwards.  We find this error today called “decision theology.”  It says that we must “make a decision for Christ.”  He is offering us salvation, but we have to say yes to the offer.  I’ve heard it described as a man drowning in a swimming pool and God throws a life preserver to him, but the man must grab it in order to be saved.  It’s a nice analogy, but it’s wrong.  We are already dead in the bottom on the water and only by being lifted out of the pool and resusitated  can we be saved.  It’s too late for us to grab onto anything.

Stay tuned for more ….