A Case for Predestination by Octavius Winslow
The Bible is very clear about predestination. The followings are some of the passages:
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:16 NKJV);
“Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”(John 17:12 NKJV)
“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6 NKJV)
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. “ (Ephesians 1:11-12 NKJV)
“Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48 NKJV)
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”(Romans 8:29-30 NKJV)
Predestination is NOT luck, chance, fortune, accident, or blind fate.
Predestination means that I must act and do whatever I can and whatever God has put within my reach to find a solution whereas Fate means that I do nothing and leave it to chance.
Predestination is God’s purpose. It is the sovereign purpose of God, by which He ordained and ordered, according to His own will and good pleasure, all things that come to pass.
Predestination is Fatherly, gracious and kind while fate or chance is hard and cruel.
Formerly, I had great difficulty accepting the doctrine of predestination for two main reasons:
- It appears unfair. Why God chooses one person and not the other?
- What about free choice? Doesn’t a person have a free will to choose what he wants to believe?
To overcome the concept of unfairness, I used to have the idea that God chooses a particular person because He foresaw that the person would repent and believe in Christ. So there is nothing unfair about it. But this is incorrect.
Since all of us are so proud and self-righteous, it would not be possible for us to repent and choose Christ. Our hearts are so hard; we would never have sought the Lord.
Divine predestination is a very humbling since it does not depend on our good works or service to God. At the same time it is a very encouraging and blessed doctrine of Scripture. It lays to rest the root of all human boasting. In the light of this truth, the most holy believer sees that there is no difference between him and the vilest sinner but what the mere grace and mercy of God has made.
It is humbling to know that we would never have chosen Christ.
Yet, it is exceedingly comforting to hear our Savior say, “I have chosen you.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ loved us long before we ever loved Him. He loved us even when we were dead in sin. Had He not loved us, we would never have loved Him. Had He not chosen us first, we would never have chosen Him.
The result of God first choosing us is that we are convicted to see our sins and folly and thus are made willing to seek Christ and are given the strength of faith to embrace Him.
It is a Divine mystery why God chooses one person and not the other. But, in a way God has given us the free will to choose Him or nor, as Christ has assured us that: “I will never turn away anyone who comes to Me,” (John 6:37 TEV), “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 NKJV) and “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV)
Now my heart sees that God is sovereign and almighty and He does what He chooses and orders “all things after the counsel of His own will.”
On the question of free will, I see that God has chosen Judas Iscariot; but after following Jesus for three and a half years, he chose by his own free will to betray Jesus. This can be seen from Jesus’ final prayer: “Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition . . .”(John 17:12 NKJV)
We too have the free will to repent and believe in Jesus Christ or not.
I see the practical benefit of the doctrine of predestination. Besides saving us, it enables us to trust Christ more fully in all our afflictions and circumstances. These trials are not by chance but are arranged, or ordained or permitted by God. So we can believe more confidently that:
Christ is in our adversity!
Christ is in our cross!
Christ is in our dilemma!
Christ is in our suffering!
Christ is in our persecution!
Christ is in our sickness!
Yes, Christ is with us, for us, involved in every step we take, and He will give us the strength, support, guidance, patience endurance, inspiration, courage, cheer and comfort we need when we turn to Him.
The secret of peace is trust in God, as “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV) Thus, our heart and mind can be assured and be at peace in every painful situation when we actually trust in predestination.
Having read and reflected on the articles below, I now accept the doctrine of Divine foresight and predestination unreservedly.
THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
by Don Fortner
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Divine providence is the daily, constant, sovereign rule of our God over all things for the accomplishment of His eternal purpose of grace in predestination.
Predestination is the sovereign, eternal, immutable, unalterable purpose of God almighty, by which He ordained and ordered, according to His own will and good pleasure, all things that come to pass in time.
Divine providence is the accomplishment of God’s sovereign will and purpose. Providence is God bringing to pass in time (sovereignly, absolutely, and perfectly) what He purposed in eternity. Predestination is God’s purpose. Providence is God’s execution of His purpose.
Nothing in the universe happens by luck, chance, fortune, or accident, or by blind fate. Everything that comes to pass in time was purposed by our God in eternity, and is brought to pass by His wise, adorable, good Providence. Nothing comes to pass in time that God did not purpose in eternity, in sovereign predestination. Nothing comes to pass in time except that which God sovereignly brings to pass in His Providence. And that which God predestinated in eternity and brings to pass in His Providence is for the good of His elect, and the glory of His name. This is clearly and incontrovertibly the teaching of Holy Scripture (Ps. 76:10; Pro. 16:4, 9, 33; 21:1; Dan. 4:34, 35, 37; Isa. 46:9-11; Rom. 11:33-36).
Providence is God’s government of the universe. If we have a proper view of God’s Providence, we will see the hand of God and the heart of God in everything, in all the experiences of our lives. Believers ascribe their sorrows, the judgments of God, and even the cursing of their enemies to the hand of their heavenly Father’s wise and good Providence (Job 1:21; 1 Sam. 3:18; 2 Sam. 16:11-12).
God is not idle. He never needs to rest, recuperate, or regroup! God almighty, our God and heavenly Father, is always at work, governing the world. I have frequently heard preachers and religious leaders speak of sickness, poverty and war, sin, crime and cruelty, famine, earthquakes and death, as things over which God has no control. Nonsense!
God’s Providence is as ‘minute’ as it is ‘mysterious’ (Matt. 10:30). Our God has ordained the number of hairs on the heads of all. Not even a worthless sparrow falls to the ground without His decree. God’s Providence is ‘all inclusive.’ God rules everything, great and small, everywhere, and at all times. Our God is in control of all inanimate matter. He who created all things rules all things.
Nothing in God’s universe breathes or wiggles contrary to God’s decree (Isaiah 46:9-13).
As a wise, skilled pharmacist mixes medicine, our heavenly Father wisely mixes exactly the right measure of bitter things and sweet, to do us good. Too much joy would intoxicate us. Too much misery would drive us to despair. Too much sorrow would crush us. Too much suffering would break our spirits. Too much pleasure would ruin us. Too much defeat would discourage us. Too much success would puff us up. Too much failure would keep us from doing anything. Too much criticism would harden us. Too much praise would exalt us. Our great God knows exactly what we need. His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good! Let Him therefore send and do what He will. By His grace, if we are His, we will face it, bow to it, accept it, and give thanks for it.
God’s Providence is always executed in the ‘wisest manner’ possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the history of the world. But our lack of understanding does not prevent us from believing God. We bow to His will, which is evident in His works of Providence, and say, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”
The God of Providence rules all things well. How we ought to trust Him! Ever remember, our heavenly Father is God all wise, good, and omnipotent. He is too wise to err, too good to do wrong, and too strong to fail.
[Taken from pages 284-287 of Grace Gems Collection 2001. It can be downloaded FREE from http://www.gracegems.org/bookstore.htm]
by Octavius Winslow
There are no guesses, conjectures, or contingencies with God as to the future. Not only does He know all, but He has fixed, appointed, and ordered “all things after the counsel of His own will.”
It would seem impossible to form any correct idea of God, disassociated from the idea of predestination. The sole basis of predestination is the ‘practical’ belief that God is eternal and infinite in and over all.
Predestination is God’s predetermined appointment and fore arrangement of all things beforehand, according to His divine and supreme will.
God prearranges, predetermines, and supremely rules in all the concerns of our world. He fixes a constellation in the heavens, guides the gyrations of a bird in the air, directs the falling of an autumn leaf in the pathless desert, and conveys the seed, borne upon the wind, to the spot where it should fall.
In predestination we see the everlasting love of God to, and His most free choice of, His people, to be His special and peculiar treasure. What doctrine is more emptying, humbling, and therefore sanctifying, than predestination? It lays the axe at the root of all human boasting. In the light of this truth, the most holy believer sees that there is no difference between him and the vilest sinner that crawls the earth, but what the mere grace of God has made.
One blessing accruing from the doctrine of predestination is the sweet and holy submission into which it brings the mind under all afflictive dispensations. Each step of his pilgrimage, and each incident of his history, the believer sees appointed in the everlasting covenant of grace. He recognizes the ‘discipline’ of the covenant to be as much a part of the original plan as any positive mercy that it contains. That all the hairs of his head are numbered; that affliction springs not out of the earth, and therefore is not the result of accident or chance, but is in harmony with God’s purposes of love; and, thus ordained and permitted, must work together for good.
The radiance which predestination reflects upon the entire history of the child of God, and the calm repose which it diffuses over the mind in all the perplexing, painful, and mysterious events of that history, can only be understood by those whose hearts have fully received this doctrine. Whatever betides him; inexplicable in its character, enshrouded in the deepest gloom, as may be the circumstance; the believer in this truth can ‘stand still,’ and, calmly surveying the scene, exclaim: “This also comes forth from the Lord of Hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
He who works all things after the counsel of His own will has done it, and I am satisfied that it is well done!”
[Taken from pages 171-173 of Grace Gems Collection 2001. It can be downloaded FREE from http://www.gracegems.org/bookstore.htm]
WHO CHOSE WHO?
by Don Fortner
“The decision is yours… Now it is all up to you… God has done all He can to save, the rest is up to you… You must choose Christ for yourself… You must make the final decision.” How often we have all heard statements like those from the pulpit. I want to raise a question regarding this matter of eternal salvation: WHOSE CHOICE IS IT? Our Lord Jesus Christ has answered the question very plainly—“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you,” John 15:16.
Divine election is a very humbling, and at the same time it is a very encouraging and blessed doctrine of Scripture.
It is humbling to know that we would never have chosen Christ. Our needs were so many, our hearts were so hard, that we would never have sought the Lord.
Yet, it is exceedingly comforting to hear our Savior say, “I have chosen you.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ loved us long before we ever loved Him. He loved us even when we were dead in sin. Had He not loved us, we would never have loved Him. Had He not chosen us, we would never have chosen Him.
Language could not be clearer. Our Savior tells us that man, by nature, will never choose Christ. It is true, in one sense, that every believer chooses Christ. This is the result, however, not the cause, of Christ’s choosing him.
The natural ear is so deaf that it cannot hear.
The natural eye is so blind that it cannot see.
The natural heart is so hard that it cannot feel.
Man sees no beauty in Christ.
He feels no need of Christ.
He has no desire for Christ.
Only after God by almighty grace opens the blind eye, unstops the deaf ear, quickens the dead heart, and gives strength to the withered hand is the sinner made willing to seek Christ and given the strength of faith to embrace Him.
All who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in time, were chosen by God in eternal love; and that choice of them secures their faith and holiness in Christ.
What does election mean? Accurate statements on this doctrine are essential. No doctrine in the Bible has suffered so much damage from the erroneous views of its foes and the inaccurate statements of its friends.
Election may be defined this way: God has been pleased from all eternity to choose certain men and women, whom He has determined to save by the righteousness and shed blood of Christ. None are finally saved except those whom He has chosen. Therefore, the Word of God calls His people “the elect.” And the choice, or the appointment of them to eternal life, is called “the election of God.”
All those whom God was pleased to choose in eternity were redeemed by Christ at Calvary. All who were chosen and redeemed are (in due season) called to salvation and eternal life by the Holy Spirit.
He convinces them of sin.
He leads them to Christ.
He works repentance and faith in them.
He keeps them by His grace from falling entirely away.
He brings them all safely to eternal glory.
In short, election is the first link in the chain of salvation, of which eternal glory is the end. All who are redeemed, justified, called, born again, and brought to faith in Christ are elect. The primary and original cause of the saint’s being what he is, is God’s eternal election.
What does the Word of God teach about election? God’s election of men to salvation is gracious and free, absolute and sovereign. It is an unconditional act of sovereign mercy. He did not choose us because He foresaw that we would repent and believe on Christ. Our repentance and faith is the result of God’s election, not the cause of it (John 10:16, 26; 15:16; Acts 13:48). God’s election is personal: He chose not a mass of nameless faces, but individual sinners, calling them His sons and daughters. This election of grace is also eternal and immutable (Eph. 1:4). When the triune Godhead existed alone in glorious self-sufficiency, we were chosen in covenant mercy. God chose us because of His eternal love and sovereign pleasure, simply because He would be gracious. We were chosen in Christ Jesus.
Behold God’s strange choice! He chose not the noble, but the common. He chose not the wise, but the foolish. He chose not the righteous, but the wicked. He chose us, “that no flesh should glory in His presence… that according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:29,31). Let all who are born again confess, “By the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Cor. s15:10).
Let us sing of electing love:
“Tis not that I did choose Thee,
For, Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse Thee,
But Thou hast chosen me.
“My heart owns none before Thee;
For thy rich grace I thirst;
This knowing, if I love Thee,s
Thou must have loved me first.”—Josiah Conder
[Taken from pages 56-59 of Grace Gems Collection 2000. It can be downloaded FREE from http://www.gracegems.org/bookstore.htm]
PURPOSE And PROVIDENCE!
from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“THE HAIRS OF YOUR HEAD NUMBERED”
Everything is in the Divine purpose, and has been ordered by Divine wisdom. All the events of your life—the greater, certainly; and the smaller, with equal certainty.
It is impossible to draw a line in Providence and say this is arranged by Providence and that is not. God’s Providence takes everything in its sweep—all that happens.
Divine Providence determines not only the movement of a star, but the blowing of a grain of dust along the public road.
God’s Providence knows nothing of things so little as to be beneath its notice, nothing of things so great as to be beyond its control.
Nothing is too little or too great for God to rule and overrule. All that a man undergoes is also ordained of Heaven.
when we would be born;
where we would be born;
who our parents would be;
what our lot in infancy would be;
what our path in youth would be; and
what our position in manhood would be.
From the first to the last it has all happened according to the Divine purpose, and ordained by the Divine will.
Not only the man but all that concerns the man, is foreordained of the Lord—“The very hairs of your head,” that is to say, all that has anything to do with you, which comes into any kind of contact with you and is in any sense part and parcel of yourself, is under the Divine foresight and predestination.
You shall neither die before your time, nor live beyond it. All that concerns you, from first to last, all that is of you and in you and around you, is in the Divine purpose.
Fate is hard and cruel, but predestination is fatherly and wise and kind.
When we see that all things are arranged by Him who orders all things according to the counsel of His own will, then we bow our heads and worship.
Our happiness lies very much in our complete submission to the Lord our God. Oh, it is a blessed thing when we know that God is ordering all the events of Providence. Then we dissolve our own will into the sweetness of His will and our sorrow is at an end!
Since even the very hairs of our head are all numbered; since everything is really ordained by the Most High concerning His people, let us rejoice in the Divine appointment, and take all as it comes, and praise His name, whether our allotment is rough or smooth, bitter or sweet.
Let us cheerfully say, “If the Lord wills it then we will it, too. If He has purposed it, even so let it be, since all things work together for good to those who love God, even to those who are called according to His purpose.”
[Taken from pages 102-104 of Grace Gems Collection 2001. It can be downloaded FREE from http://www.gracegems.org/bookstore.htm]
by Don Fortner
“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4
This blessed, glorious, doctrine of election is one of the most delightful doctrines of the gospel.
What does the Word of God teach about election?
Election is “in Christ.”
Election is “unto salvation.”
Election is an act of God’s pure, absolute, sovereignty.
Election took place in eternity.
Election’s source and cause is God’s eternal love for His people.
Election is an act of free, unconditional grace.
Election is God’s personal choice of specific sinners to eternal life in Christ.
Election is irreversible.
Election is effectual.
Election is distinguishing (Isa. 43:1-4).
Election is the cause of all blessedness.
Who are the elect?
The elect are people who hear and receive the Gospel.
The elect are those who are called by the effectual, irresistible power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
The elect are those who follow Christ. Chosen sinners, when saved by the grace of God, are made disciples, followers of Christ, voluntary servants of King Jesus.
The elect are a people who are committed to Christ and the Gospel of His grace.
The elect experience repentance and conversion by the power of His grace. They turn from their idols to serve the living God.
[Taken from pages 245-246 of Grace Gems Collection 2000. It can be downloaded FREE from http://www.gracegems.org/bookstore.htm]
THE DEITY OF CHANCE?
MacDuff, “A Chapter in Providence and Grace”
God’s providence extends to all the minute and trifling occurrences of life. Have nothing to do with the heathen deity of CHANCE.
He who wheels the planets in their courses, marks the sparrow’s fall.
Events, often apparently trivial and unimportant; what the world calls ‘accidents,’ form really and truly the mighty levers of life, altering and revolutionizing our whole future.
Let us rejoice in the simple but sublime assurance that all that happens is ordered for us. It is for us to know, and to rejoice in the knowledge, that every event is in the hands of the Savior who died for us, and who has given us this mightiest proof and pledge of dying love, that all things—even the most mysterious—are working together for our good.
[Taken from page 73 of Grace Gems Collection 2003. It can be downloaded FREE from http://www.gracegems.org/bookstore.htm]
GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL REIGN
Octavius Winslow, The Lord’s Prayer
This world is not.…
a kingdom without a throne,
a throne without a sovereign,
or a sovereign without a scepter.
By no blind accident are the affairs of this planet governed.
God is in the history of the world.…
its present, and
its yet unshapen future.
The statesman and the politician may not recognize this fact; but it is so.
God rules the kingdom of providence.
His hand is moving and controlling all events and circumstances, national and social, public and private; giving birth, and shape, and tint to those phenomena in the history of nations, and to those affairs in the history of individuals, which to human perception are often enshrouded in mystery so dreadful and profound.
Let this view of God’s providential reign hush all murmurings at our lot, making us content with such things as we have, assured that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Let it bow our soul in meek submission to His sovereign will, in view of those painful and inexplicable events which sometimes cast the darkest shade upon our sunniest landscape, and dash from our lips their sweetest cup of joy.
Let it incite our gratitude for the blessings loaned us so long, though now removed; and for the blessings which still remain to soothe, and gladden, and cheer us onward.
Let it strengthen our faith in the Divine assurance that our daily bread shall be given us, our path shielded amid encircling evil, and our soul, guided by His counsel and kept by His power, eventually and safely conducted home to glory.
“Yes, Lord, the kingdom of providence is Yours, and I would see Your hand, and trace Your wisdom, and taste Your goodness in all the shaping and tinting of my whole history. I would deal alone with You in all the lights and shadows of my daily life. Those lights and shadows are of Your penciling, O Lord. If joy thrills my heart, it is of Your inspiration. If sorrow breaks it, it is of Your sending. Teach me that I have, in all things, to do only with You.”
[Taken from pages 178-179 of Grace Gems Collection 2003. It can be downloaded FREE from http://www.gracegems.org/bookstore.htm]
“CHANCE,” “LUCK,” OR “ACCIDENT”
J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858
“Aren’t five sparrows sold for two assaria? Not one of them is forgotten by God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7
Nothing whatever, whether great or small, can happen to a believer, without God’s ordering and permission.
There is no such thing as “chance,” “luck,” or “accident” in the Christian’s journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God.
And all things are “working together” for the believer’s good.
Let us seek to have an abiding sense of God’s hand in all that befalls us. Let us strive to realize that a Father’s hand is measuring out our daily portion, and that our steps are ordered by Him.
A daily practical faith of this kind, is one grand secret of happiness, and a mighty antidote against murmuring and discontent. We should try to feel in the day of trial and disappointment, that all is right and all is well done.
We should try to feel on the bed of sickness that there must be a “needs be.” We should say to ourselves, “God could keep away from me these things if He thought fit. But He does not do so, and therefore they must be for my advantage. I will lie still, and bear them patiently. What pleases God shall please me.”
[Taken from pages 239-240 of Grace Gems Collection 2003. It can be downloaded FREE from http://www.gracegems.org/bookstore.htm]