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Gone to Seed on Predestination
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11)
It is often asserted that your pastor has “gone to seed on predestination and sovereignty.” And you might sometimes think I stress these matters too much; but if you read the 46th chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy, you will see that the Lord God makes this the thing that distinguishes him from all the imaginary god’s of men.
The Lord our God identifies himself as God and distinguishes himself from all who are called gods with this declaration in verse 11: — “I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” We believe according to the Scriptures that the Lord our God is a God of purpose, absolute and unalterable purpose. Before the world began, Almighty God sovereignly purposed all that ever comes to pass in time. Nothing in this world is left to chance. Everything is moving toward the predetermined end of God’s eternal purpose with absolute and precise accuracy. Everything that comes to pass in time was purposed by God in eternity.
Let others worship at the altars of “good luck,” “misfortune” and “chance,” if they wish. We worship the God of Glory, whose distinguishing glory he declares in these words: — “I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” I assert, with all the dogmatism I can muster, that everything that comes to pass in time was purposed by God in eternity. But my dogmatism is as meaningless as the promises of a politician, unless that which I assert is the plainly revealed truth of Holy Scripture. I ask only that you look into the Book of God for yourself to see if the doctrine I preach is true. The Word of God alone must determine the matter. — “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” What does the Book say? Nothing else matters.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” — “The children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. — “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.” — “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our
works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (Romans 8:28; 9:11; Ephesians 1:11; 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9).
These five texts taken directly from the Word of God himself tell us five distinct facts about the purpose of God.
That by which our God, the triune Jehovah, specifically distinguishes himself from all the idols of men, that which distinguishes the true and living God from all the false gods concocted and made by ignorant men is just this: — Our God is the God of purpose; and all that he purposed in eternity he shall bring to pass in time. A god without purpose, or whose purpose can fail, a god whose purpose can be altered or thwarted, a god whose purpose can be resisted is not God, but only a useless idol carved from one of the trees in the dark forest of man’s depraved imagination. — “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased!”
God almighty, the one true and living God, the God of the Bible, is a God of purpose, sovereign, eternal, unalterable purpose. Everything that comes to pass in time is brought to pass by the hand of our God, “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This eternal purpose of God is what we call, in Bible terms, predestination. Charles Buck rightly defined predestination as “the decree of God whereby he hath for his own glory foreordained whatever comes to pass.”
There is absolutely no question about the fact that the Word of God teaches the doctrine of predestination. It is taught throughout the Scriptures and clearly stated in numerous passages of Inspiration (Exodus 4:21; Daniel 4:35; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 11:26; Matthew 25:34; John 6:37; 17:2-24; Acts 2:23; 4:28; 13:48; Romans 8:29, 30; Ephesians 1:3, 6, 11; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 1 Peter 1:1-2; Revelation 13:8; 17:8).
The fact that predestination is a Bible doctrine simply cannot be disputed. The basis of our faith is the Word of God and the Word of God alone. We believe this doctrine, rejoice in it, and preach it from the housetops because it is plainly taught in Holy Scripture.