I’ve been in several environment over the last few weeks where the subject of “predestination” has come up in passages we were discussing–causing frustration on the part of some who were interacting with the passages.
And it has dawned on me that the subject–this doctrine–has been taught very poorly, it clashesÂ against eitherÂ our cultural view of man and God or our sheer individualism. Â On top of that we probably all have an inadequateÂ view of God.
For those who are wondering, here are the passages in question (they are by no means the only passages that deal with the doctrine of “predestination”).
Ephesians 1:3—6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (ESV)
Titus 1:1—3 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began 3 and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; (ESV)
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (ESV)
As I’ve reflected on the reaction to these passage two things have dawned on me.
First, we never pray hoping God is not sovereign and in control. Â We pray asking God to intervene, to do something about the situation we are praying about. Â And for the most part, we believe He is able and has the right to intervene and change a situation–whether it is a physical illness, a difficult situation, the heart of a boss or even the heart of someone unsaved.
Second, Scripture consistently reveals God as proactive.
God chose to create everything out of nothing for His good pleasure.
God chose to create man positivelyÂ disposedÂ to Him by making him in the image and likeness of God.
God chose to extend mercy and grace to Adam and Eve, after they sinned, even when they were not looking for Him (actually hiding from Him).
God chose Abraham, a man who could do nothing for Him, to bless him and the rest of humanity through him.
And we could continue in much more detail…but skipping ahead
God continually chose to extend mercy and grace to Israel,Â in spiteÂ of their rebellion, in order to be faithful to His word and to fulfill His plan.
God chose a specific time in which toÂ radicallyÂ change human history (Galatians 4:4).
God chose a poor insignificant young girl to be the human mother of Jesus, the God-Man.
Jesus chose aÂ motleyÂ crew of men to propel His message to the world.
Jesus chose anÂ antagonistÂ to be one of His greatest defenders.
These are just a few of the ways we see in Scripture that God is proactive. Â There are also time when He graciously response to individuals and their needs. But the overarching tone of Scripture is that God is proactive.
I am thankful the God is proactive.
(More in subsequent posts–including a definition of “predestination”)