(Article for publication week of 11-3-2010 AD)
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will “ (Ephesians 1:5).
For several weeks now we have been writing on the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. This is part of a longer series that we are in, on the attributes of God. I have felt compelled to spend awhile on the sovereignty of God, for it is one of the most neglected doctrines in our day. Sadly, most professing Christians, including the preachers, appear to believe in the sovereignty of man, rather than the sovereignty of God. The Lord knoweth whether such are truly saved. We can only hope and expend the effort to teach the truth.
When we say “the sovereignty of God”, we simply mean that God is God. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Since He is all-powerful, He has the power to do whatever pleases Himself, and He does exactly that, and man cannot hinder His will. Our text says that God is a God of predestination. No study of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty would be complete without bringing in the doctrine of predestination.
God has predestinated from all eternity everyone that He was pleased to save. The number of God’s elect is so certain that it cannot be diminished or increased. If this is not true, then the scriptures would be meaningless. The word predestinate means to predetermine or foreordain with an unchangeable purpose (Webster’s 1828 dictionary). The Greek word translated “predestinate” in our text here is “proorizo” and it means “to limit in advance”, or to “predetermine”. It is translated in other scriptures “determine before”, and “ordain.” Now friend, you cannot make anything of this except that God has absolutely decreed from all eternity by an unalterable and unchangeable decree who would be His children and enjoy the blessing of salvation.
Notice further that that this was done by God “according to the good pleasure of His will”, not according to the good pleasure of man’s free will. My text strikes a deathblow to the heresy of “free will.” Predestination rules out man’s free will. God does not consult with you and me concerning His purposes, if He did that would make us sovereign instead of God, for the sovereign is the one who has the last word. God has the last word, not man.
Now notice what God predestinated- that we, that is His elect chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (as we saw in Ephesians one verse four), would be His children. We who believe in Christ were predestinated to sonship. That is the reason we are sons of God, and that is the reason we believe, and that is the reason we are saved. Salvation is the operation of the Sovereign Lord Who has predestinated many sons to eternal glory. See how wonderful predestination is?! It means we who are saved are in the family of God! As the hymn writer says, “Sons we are through God’s election, who in Jesus Christ believe; By eternal destination, saving grace we now receive”(Gadsby’s hymnal # 69).
May the Lord bless you all, my brethren, friends, and relations.