Monday, May 24, 2010

Predestination / Free Will (6a)

First: Predestination

Refers to God’s determining before there was time where people would spend eternity! This either applies absolutely (certainly) to individuals as Calvinists claim or conditionally to groups of people known as believers and unbelievers as Arminians claim. In other words, one group claims that God predestines individuals unto salvation or damnation, while the other group claims that God predestines groups of people (believers and unbelievers) unto salvation or damnation, and then it's up to the individuals to determine what group they'll fall into. Predestination falls under the category of God’s Sovereignty. Election and Reprobation fall under the category of Predestination.

Second: Unconditional Election

• God chose to save some people based on nothing to do with them.
• God the Father graciously chose and predestined some sinners to salvation. His choice was in no way conditioned upon foreseen good or merit or belief or faith of the chosen ones.
• Unconditional Election refers to:
o Individuals, not a particular nation.
o Salvation and service. (We are saved to serve God.)
o Unto faith, not based on faith.

• Scripture:
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:6-9)
“The word of the LORD came to me, saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’” (Matthew 11:25-27)
“He replied, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.’” (Matthew 13:11)
“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15)
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” (John 5:21)
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30)
“Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’” (Romans 9:10-13)
“God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me’? And what was God’s answer to him? ‘I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened.” (Romans 11:2-7)
“But when God, who set me apart from birth [or my mother’s womb] and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man…” (Galatians 1:15-16)
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)
“So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.” (2 Timothy 1:8-11)
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7)
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout … Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (1 Peter 1:1-2)
“Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:7-9)
“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world [or written from the creation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain].” (Revelation 13:8)

• Additional Scripture: Psalm 33:11-12;65:4; Isaiah 65:1; Amos 3:2; Haggai 2:23; Matthew 22:14;24:22-24; Mark 13:20-22; Luke 10:21-22;18:7; 1 Corinthians 1:26-30; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2 Timothy 2:10,19-21; 2 Peter 1:3; Revelation 17:8
• The Calvinist considers election in light of two critical theological elements:
o Total Depravity – None will choose God, so God couldn’t have foreseen any choosing Him.
o The Covenant of Redemption made before time between the Father, Son, and Spirit.
• The Calvinist notes that ELECTION SAVES NOBODY. Rather, election by God the Father marks a people to be saved by the work of the Son and Holy Spirit. Election is a merciful act of God; God is not obligated to save anyone.
• Election is a condition for faith.

The Reformed View: God elects based on nothing in man

“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 to be adopted as his sons 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. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:4-12)

• Conclusion: God chose some people to save as vessels of mercy and left others in their sinful state as vessels of wrath. He was not obligated to save anyone.

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