Monday, September 7, 2009
Predestination: A Doctrine of Radical Comfort.
One of the most comforting doctrines, when rightly understood and taught, in scripture is predestination. On the outset this can sound harsh and unfair of God to predestine to salvation those who believe. It is assumed that if there is predestination to eternal life therefore those who are damned are predestined to be so. That is reaching around scripture and connecting the dots behind it in order to find explanations which God has not given to us.
Acts 13:47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,
“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
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. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. ESV
We see in the above scripture that those who heard the message from St Paul and St Barnabas rejoiced to hear this and some were appointed to eternal life. This is a wonderful truth that God does all the saving and does not leave anything to chance in a decision we have to make or a full understanding we must grasp. It is a total gifting of salvation and all that is needed to receive this gift and trust in it. No need for personal inward gazing to determine if all the ducks are lined up or whether one was sufficiently sincere.
Then we see the effect an unbelieving heart has. It will not only disregard the preaching of salvation but will in response persecute those bearing the good news. We by nature wish to be our own Savior. That is the result of the fall upwards toward trying to be God. This manifests itself in the church by disbelieving the clear promises of God. It also is seen when one is not satisfied with the answers God has chosen to give and ventures off trying to peer into that which God has hidden from view.
We have his written word which gives us plenty to contemplate. This word gives us plenty with which to keep us occupied and presents to us and brings to us salvation. This word reveals God to us in the person of Jesus who after living perfectly for us bore all the sins of humanity to the cross rising on the third day for us. Radical!
In the Name of Jesus. †