#WCSK Episode 2.6b: Predestination, Election, Guilt, Sin and Reprobation

Picking up from last week …

What predestination does

Predestination gives us comfort.

God’s predestination of all things, and specifically His election of those to be saved, is a comfort to believers. Again, Romans 8:29-30 says:

“For those whom [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

These verses are immediately preceded by Paul writing that God works in all things for the good of those who love Him (v. 28). So before time began, God was working in all things for the good of those who love Him. In the future, God will work for the good of those who love Him. So then, Paul reasons, because God’s predestination spans all of eternity, He also works in the present for the good of those who love Him. So present circumstances, present adversity, and present struggles all fall under the reign of a sovereign God Who is actively working for the good of the elect.

Predestination motivates our praise and worship of The Lord while crushing spiritual pride over “chosenness.”

Ephesians 1:5-6 says, “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” (emphasis added). In other words, cognizant that our election is an act of free, loving grace, believers are compelled to praise God for what He has done for us. In the same light, in I Thessalonians 1:2, Paul writes to the church and says, “We give thanks to God always for all of you” and qualifies one reason for the thanks as God’s “choice of you” (v. 4). Paul reiterates the same sentiment in II Thessalonians 2:13: “We should always give thanks to God … because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation.”

As mentioned in the beginning, the agent of predestination is God, so there is absolutely no room for anyone to boast. A person alone cannot achieve salvation because election is independent of the individual. Salvation is only possible with God. Predestination, therefore, eliminates any sense of worth or merit that anyone may feel. Spiritual pride makes its subscribers think they’re better than everyone else, leading to arrogance, oppression, and condemnation. Predestination leads to humility, to liberation, and ultimately, to salvation.

Predestination animates your purpose in life: to glorify God by your endurance for the elect.

Essentially, predestination compels you to seek and reach out to others because there are many, many people who have been chosen before the foundation of the world but haven’t heard the gospel call yet. Remember the golden chain of salvation:

foreknowledge -> predestination -> calling -> justification -> glorification

As mentioned before, calling entails the external call (preaching of the gospel) and the internal call (God compelling you to respond in faith). And what is the natural event that precedes faith? “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ” (emphasis added; Romans 10:17). This highlights the pressing need for evangelism because many chosen elect have yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Evangelism is a vehicle by which God’s purposes materialize in the natural world. God uses evangelism as a vehicle to bring others to Himself, and without participation in this, some people will not be saved:

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.[1]

Of course, the necessity for evangelism does not suggest that a lack of evangelism will override God’s sovereignty. It does remind us, however, that God is intimately involved in the real world and frequently uses natural means to execute His sovereign will. It also suggests that Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross was a purposeful act to make certain the salvation of God’s elect—He endured the Cross for the sake of those predestined before the foundation of the world. Accordingly, Paul writes in II Timothy 2:10, “I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” We, as believers, don’t endure for our sakes. We endure for the sake of the elect and for our actions to serve as a testimony to others. Our story and how we respond should be a source of encouragement, inspiration, and empowerment to God’s chosen people.

Predestination unburdens you from feelings of guilt …

Prayer Lord's Prayer ACTS God's Will How to Pray Communion Lord's Supper Passover Predestination Election Salvation Guilt Sin Reprobation

Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal

 

[1] Romans 10:14-17

[2] And this helps explain why, in this day and age, making anyone feel guilty about anything is a path seldom taken: because guilt diminishes self-esteem, leads to animosity, and drives people away. Making someone feel good about something—even if it’s wrong—boosts self-esteem and retains people.

[3] Psalm 130:3

[4] For example, see Zechariah 3:1-5

[5] James 4:7

[6] I John 1:9

[7] I Timothy 1:15

[8] See Matthew 18:25 where Jesus talked about forgiveness and the utter inability of a debtor to pay his debts.

[9] I John 1:9

[10] R.C. Sproul, What Can I Do With My Guilt? (Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2011), 47.

[11] Romans 8:33-39

[12] I Corinthians 10:12

[13] R.C. Sproul, Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? (Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2010), Loc 328, Kindle.

[14] See John 17:6-12 (the high priestly prayer) and those for whom Jesus prays: the elect; those whom God gave to Jesus.

[15] This is what Calvinists call limited atonement. Hence, The Lord is the One who saves. The Lord is not One who simply enables human beings to save themselves by faith.

[16] John 19:30

[17] Philippians 2:12

[18] Matthew 7:21-23

[19] Jeremiah 17:9

[20] II Timothy 2:12

[21] Matthew 12:47-50

[22] See also Galatians 5:22-23, the fruits of the Spirit.

[23] Romans 8:14-17, 12:2; II Corinthians 1:21-22, 3:18, 5:1-5, 17

[24] James 2:26

[25] James 1:25

[26] James 1:17. Always be aware that works come from faith and that no one is justified by works of the Law (Luke 18:18-30; Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:11). Many people, in fact, do good things, but this doesn’t come from faith. Hence, the works by themselves have no lasting value. Civic virtue results from what Jonathan Edwards called an “enlightened self-interest.”

[27] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 684

[28] II Peter 3:9

[29] I Timothy 2:4

[30] Ezekiel 33:11

[31] Romans 1:28

[32] Romans 1:24, 9:17-22, 11:7; II Timothy 3:8; I Peter 2:8; Revelation 13:7-8, 17:8

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