Ephesians 1:5 – having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
I mentioned in a previous post that I am challenging myself to memorize chapters in the Bible. I just finished memorizing Ephesians chapter 1 and I was drawn by the fact that Paul uses a form of the word predestined several times. So while I was memorizing the chapter, of course I was meditating and wondering about predestination.
According to COBUILD Advanced Dictionary, “If you say that something was predestined, you mean that it could not have been prevented or changed because it had already been decided by a power such as God or fate.”
The doctrine of predestination, a major tenet of Calvinism has been around for hundreds of years and many theologians have supported this doctrine probably using Ephesians 1.
Basically Calvinism is the doctrine that believers are predestined to salvation, meaning that we don’t choose God, but He chooses us to grant us salvation, and no others can or will be saved. I have a few problems with this based on the same chapter in Ephesians and many others.
The first viewpoint of salvation is the one that Jesus Himself gives to Nicodemus in John 3:16-17-“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
So my counterpoint to Calvinism would start here. God so loved the whole entire world that He sent Jesus that “whoever” believes in Him might be saved. Using the definition of predestination, one could easily say, and I do because I believe it is supported by scripture, that God predetermined before the foundation of the world that whoever believes in His Son Jesus could be saved. Whoever!! The only requirement that He placed on who would be saved is that they believe, and if they believed, then accordingly, they shall be saved! This doesn’t limit salvation to only a select few people, it makes salvation easy to acquire for all and thereby easy to achieve. That sounds like a loving Heavenly Father!
Another point I would like to make about predestination is that I agree with the theory and truth of the matter that God has predestined some things and they may be challenged, but they will not be stopped. Let’s look at Ephesians 1.
Ephesians 1:4 -just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,”
This is a verse that supports the truth of predestination. God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. He is all-knowing and He is sovereign so I don’t think He is ever surprised when someone gets saved, but I don’t believe for one second that He chose me and not my neighbor, even if my neighbor dies and spends eternity in hell. And another point in this verse is that God’s plan for our salvation was in His heart before Adam was created. He didn’t make Adam or Eve sin, He knew they would and provided a plan! It was predetermined and nothing would stop it!!
This verse is also saying that before the foundation of the world He decided or predestined that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Not that we would be specifically chosen to salvation but that He decided that we would be in Him and we would be holy and without blame. No sins hindering our relationship when we stand before Him! What a wonderful thing He decided before He ever formed Adam in the Garden.
Holiness is mentioned in other places in His word, when He commands, “Be ye holy!” Why, because that’s what He decided beforehand that we would be when we are in Christ!
It’s amazing to me how well thought out the plan of salvation is. After a few decades of the being in Christ I am still learning of the wonders of His love He packed into the plan of salvation. For centuries we have packaged salvation through the acts of consequences: If you receive Him you go to heaven; if you don’t you go to hell. And this is certainly truth! But God has predetermined beforehand so much for us through our relationship with Him that far outweighs avoiding hell and some day being in heaven. He has afforded us Him! Wonderful Jesus!