[Papercut Press] 2000-09-05 - Predestination

Ephesians 1:5,6 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

"I have been reading a fair amount of Schaeffer and Lewis as they address predestination. This has been a particularly difficult subject for me as my thought process leads me to the following, If some are predestined to salvation logic says that others are also predestined to damnation. If you feel that despite your efforts to get close to God you are unable to do so, your logical conclusion is that you fall into the latter. If this is so, then logic would also dictate that you do all that your heart desires while on this earth and certainly you are not bound by any moral code whatsoever; therefore, there are no limits to fulfilling your desires."

This hot topic of predestination. A lot of people don't like it, but you have to play a lot of games with the Bible to avoid it. Passages like Romans 8:29,30; 9:14-29; Ephesians 1:1-14 all lend themselves toward the doctrine of predestination. Lots of people don't like it, and one of the reasons people don't like predestination is the very reason you bring up.

That reason is that some people feel that it gives license to sin. However, this is clearly a misunderstanding of the application of predestination. Coming to faith in Christ through repentance and faith means that new desires and a new heart are now at work in the believer. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Regardless of the truth of the doctrine of predestination or its untruth, coming to Christ is never an excuse to indulge in sin. Christians are marked by spiritual growth (2 Peter 3:18), and they are vessels of honor (2 Timothy 2:21), just to name two traits of being a Christian. They are as Christ said, the "salt of the earth." (Matthew 5:13)

In your note you say the following, "If you feel that despite your efforts to get close to God you are unable to do so … " One promise in Scripture is found in Matthew 7:7, "Seek and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you." This promise would encourage anyone who is seeking, but not seeming to find God, to continue to seek. To give up and conclude that because I don't feel close to God through my seeking, and therefore I must be going to damnation, is to deny the promise of this verse. This passage, others like it, and many Biblical examples encourage us to seek with our whole heart.

If you feel that you have begun to seek God and do not currently feel that He is drawing close to you as you seek, this is no reason to give up seeking. After all, our feelings are very suspect to begin with. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us in Jeremiah 17:9 that our hearts are, "more deceitful than all else." In other words, we can't even trust our own hearts to lead us in the right path. This is why the Christian and the seeker, both try to learn from God what is pleasing to Him, and then follow it. This is also a reason not to trust our feelings when we don't feel close to God. We must trust His promises, and His promise to us is that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

We might take a page from Joseph in Genesis 37:18-36. I am sure that Joseph did not feel particularly close to God when his brothers sold him to Midianite traders and he wound up in Egypt. But God's plan was to prosper Joseph in Egypt and to use him and his position in Egypt to save his family during years of famine. Joseph did not land in Egypt and say, "Well, I guess I am not part of God's people like I thought I was, I will serve the gods of this nation, visit the temple prostitutes, and forsake my God, because I feel like He has forsaken me." Rather, he remained faithful to His Lord, even when it landed him in jail. Eventually, he realized that all of this was God's plan and that God had been with him the entire time. (Genesis 45:7,8)

Let us also, when we don't feel close to God, as days like these will come, hold firmly to God's promises and trust Him fully.

Soli Deo Gloria,