GOD has an "eternal purpose" in all that He has done. GOD, in absolute sovereignty, carries out this "eternal purpose."
The one theme that runs through the entire Bible is the glory of GOD. Creation, man, CHRIST, salvation, Christians, the Church, etc. all, in fulfillment of GOD's "eternal purpose," will glorify His name.
GOD created man in His own image but man fell and thus separated himself from GOD. Man, as a totally depraved sinner, cannot, in himself, bring glory to GOD's name.
GOD DOES NOT SUFFER DEFEAT! Despite sin, His "eternal purpose" will be accomplished. GOD has made certain that His "eternal purpose" is accomplished. HE HAS PREDESTINATED IT!
To clearly understand what the Scriptures teach about predestination it is necessary to have a definition of the word.
The dictionary states that "predestination" means, "To decree beforehand." It means to predetermine.
A spiritual definition is given in the Scofield Bible which states that "predestination" is, "That effective exercise of the will of GOD by which things before determined by Him are brought to pass."
GOD, before the foundation of the world, predestinated that certain events would come to pass. GOD in His power and in exercise of His will makes certain that these predestinated events do happen.
DESPITE WHAT MAN AND SATAN CAN DO, GOD HAS PREDESTINATED THAT HIS "ETERNAL PURPOSE" WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED. GOD DOES NOT SUFFER DEFEAT. HIS NAME WILL BE GLORIFIED IN ALL THAT HE HAS DONE.
The word "predestinated" is used four times in the Bible. It is used twice in the first chapter of Ephesians and twice in the eighth chapter of Romans. Let us look at these verses."Having PREDESTINATED us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will" (Eph. 1:5).This verse says, "
Having predestinated US."Who is being referred to by the pronoun"us"?
The epistle to the Ephesians is addressed to "the saints which are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus."
This very first verse in the book reveals that, what is to come, is addressed to saved people -- not lost sinners.
Notice the following expressions: "Who hath blessed us" (vs. 3). "He hath chosen us" (vs. 4). "He hath made us accepted" (vs. 6). "We have redemption" (vs. 7). "made known unto us the mystery of his will" (vs. 9). "we have obtained an inheritance" (vs. 11). "we should be to the praise of his glory" (vs. 12). "Ye heard the word of truth" (vs. 13). "Ye believed" (vs. 13). "Ye were sealed" (vs. 13).
THESE SCRIPTURES WERE ADDRESSED TO SAVED PEOPLE
This epistle was written to those who had heard the Gospel, had believed it, and were redeemed. They had an inheritance in heaven and were eternally sealed.
THESE SCRIPTURES REFER TO WHAT GOD IS DOING FOR THE SAVED PERSON ... AFTER HE IS SAVED. Note again the verse where the word "predestinated" is used."Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleaure of his will." Predestinated unto what? This verse does not say,
"Having predestinated us unto salvation." The predestination is, "unto the adoption of children."
THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN. The word "adoption" as used by Paul, has more meaning than the way the word is generally used today.
Unger's Dictionary says, "Adoption is a word of position rather than relationship. The believer's relation to GOD as a child results from the new birth (John 1:12), whereas adoption is the divine act whereby one already a child is, through redemption from the law, placed in the position of an adult son."
IN ONE SENSE, THE ADOPTION IS YET FUTURE FOR THE BELIEVER
"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION, TO WIT, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY" (Rom. 8:23).
The adoption will take place at the time of the redemption of the body. When will this take place?
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST: Then we which are alive and remain SHALL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thess. 4:16-17).
THE ADOPTION AND THE REDEMPTION OF THE BODY WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.
What does Ephesians 1:5 mean? Let us look at it again!
"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."
This verse is addressed to those who were already saved. They had heard, believed and were sealed.
These saved believers were predestinated unto the adoption of children.
GOD HAS PREDESTINATED THAT EVERY BELIEVER WILL MAKE IT TO THE ADOPTION WHICH WILL OCCUR AT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
Predestination has to do with what GOD did for the believer to make certain he would stay saved! It is the fulfillment of GOD's "eternal purpose."
GOD has predetermined that man will glorify His name. He has chosen the believer in CHRIST to accomplish this purpose. He has predestinated that the believer shall stay saved in order to fulfill this "eternal purpose" of GOD.
Listen again to the words of GOD: "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children." GOD gives the grand assurance that by the effective exercise of His will, all who come to JESUS, will be adopted. They will receive the redemption of the body. They will ever be with the LORD. GOD has predestinated it. They can never again be lost ... GOD decrees it!
The second time that the word "predestinated" is used in the book of Ephesians is in Eph. 1:11.
"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance BEING PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: ..."
This verse, like Eph. 1:5, is addressed to those who were already saved. It has to do with what GOD is doing for the saved person, not the lost person. This verse does not say that a sinner is predestinated to salvation.
PREDESTINATED TO WHAT?
It will be noticed that verse 11 is not a complete sentence. It ends in a semi-colon and the sentence continues in verse 12.
"THAT WE SHOULD BE TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY, who first trusted in Christ."
The meaning is clear. These verses are addressed to those, "who first trusted in Christ." Those who had "first trusted in Christ" were predestinated to "be to the praise of his glory."
GOD has predestinated that the saved believer will bring praise to GOD's glory. Predestination was what GOD did for the saved believer to make certain that the believer would bring praise to His glory. GOD predestinates that His "eternal purpose" will be accomplished in the life of the believer.
The third time the word "predestinate" is used is in Romans 8:29.
"For whom he did foreknow he also did PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Again it will be noticed that this verse does not say, "predestinated to be saved."
PREDESTINATED TO BE WHAT?
"... predestinate TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON." This is the object of predestination ... not salvation.
When shall we be "conformed to the image of his Son"? "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2).When shall we be like Him? When shall we be conformed to the image of His Son? WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR! These events will occur at the second coming of CHRIST.
GOD has predestinated that every saved believer will be conformed to the image of His Son. Predestination makes certain the believer stays saved and accomplishes the "eternal purpose" of GOD.
PREDESTINATION HAS TO DO WITH THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER, NOT THE SALVATION OF THE UNBELIEVING SINNER.
The fourth time the word "predestinate" is used is in Romans 8:30.
"Moreover whom he did PREDESTINATE, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
This 30th verse is understood in the light of the 29th verse which we have just discussed. GOD predestinated that the believer would be conformed to the image of His Son. This will occur at the second coming of CHRIST.
Notice the three things in this verse."
... them he also CALLED: ...""
... them he also JUSTIFIED: ...""
... them he also GLORIFIED."
THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT GOD PROVIDES TO MAKE SALVATION CERTAIN AND ETERNAL. Compare this with verse 32.
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also FREELY GIVE US ALL THINGS."
GOD has predestinated that the believer will have everything he needs to be eternally saved. HE GAVE HIS OWN SON ... HE CALLS THE BELIEVER ... HE JUSTIFIES THE BELIEVER ... HE MAKES CERTAIN THE BELIEVER WILL BE GLORIFIED.
We have now looked at the four times the word "predestination" is used in the Bible. Every time it is used it refers to what GOD has predestinated for the believer to assure the believer staying saved and accomplishing the "eternal purpose" of God.
"GOD'S ETERNAL PURPOSE" by Norman H. Wells