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Sermon #94 — Romans Series

 

Title:                           Predestination

 

Text:                            Romans 8:29-30

Date:                          Sunday Morning — July 17, 2016

Subject:                     The Bible Doctrine of Predestination

Reading:       Isaiah 45:1-25

Introduction:

 

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” (Ephesians 3:11). This eternal purpose of God is what we call, in Bible terms, predestination. That is my subject today. I want to talk to you about Predestination. That’s my subject — Predestination. My text is Romans 8:29-30. — Predestination (Romans 8:29-30).

 

(Romans 8:29-30) “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. (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.”

 

Predestination is the decree of God whereby he hath for his own glory fore-ordained whatever comes to pass.”                                                                                     — Charles Buck

 

Bible Doctrine

 

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 (Matthew 25:34; Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:3,6,11; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:1-2; John 6:37; 17:2-24; Revelation 13:8; 17:8; Daniel 4:35; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Matthew 11:26; Exodus 4:21; Proverbs 16:4; Acts 2:23; 4:28; 13:48; Romans 9:11; Ephesians 3:11).

 

The basis of our faith is the Word of God, and the Word of God alone. We do not believe the doctrine of predestination because it is a logical and reasonable part of a theological system, though it is both logical and reasonable. We do not believe this doctrine, or any other doctrine for that matter, simply because it has been upheld and maintained by true believers throughout the ages of Christianity, though it cannot be denied that Christianity has always taught God’s sovereign predestination. Predestination is a doctrine the Church of God has always maintained. Yet, neither logic nor history is the basis of our faith. And we do not believe the doctrine because it is a part of our church creed. We have no creed and no confession of faith but the Book of God. The basis of our faith is 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. Let’s look into the Inspired Volume and see what it says. — “Thus saith the Lord…”

 

(Romans 8:28-30) “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. (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. (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.”

 

(Ephesians 1:4-5) “In love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”

 

(Ephesians 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.”

 

The Question

 

There is no question about the fact that predestination is a Bible doctrine. It is taught throughout the Bible. The only question that needs to be answered is this: What does the Bible teach about predestination?

 

This is one doctrine that is often deliberately misrepresented by those who oppose it and ignorantly misrepresented by those who try to defend it. I once heard Bro. Henry Mahan say, “It is hard to say whether this doctrine has suffered more in the camp of its enemies or in the camp of its friends.” That is the reason I want us to carefully search the Scriptures. I want you to see for yourselves what the Bible does and what the Bible does not teach about Divine Predestination.

 

Four Errors

 

Let me begin by showing you that there are four things commonly taught by men about predestination which the Word of God does not teach.

 

1.    The Bible does not teach that impersonal, stoic philosophy that says, “Whatever will be will be.”

 

That is nothing but philosophical fatalism. It attempts to remove from man all responsibility for his actions and for his condition in life. We do not for a moment believe that a man is the master of his own destiny. But we do believe that every man is responsible for his own soul and that every man’s destiny is his own responsibility.

 

2.    The Word of God does not teach that religious fatalism which says, “The elect will be saved, no matter what.”

 

We believe the Bible doctrine of election. It is impossible to believe this Book and not believe in election. However, the Word of God never suggests or even allows the possibility that “The elect will be saved no matter what.” The Scriptures plainly declare that no one will ever be saved who does not…

Š      Hear the Gospel (Romans 10:17).

Š      Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15-16).

Š      Acknowledge and Confess His Sin (1 John 1:9).

Š      Repent of His Sin (Luke 13:5).

Š      Persevere in the Faith (Matthew 10:22).

 

God has predestinated the use of specific means for the accomplishment of his purposes; and the use of those means is as necessary and as certain as the end itself.

 

3.    The Word of God nowhere teaches or implies that God has arbitrarily predestinated some to go to heaven and some to go to hell.

 

The all-wise God never does anything arbitrarily. He has a wise and good purpose for everything he does and everything he purposed from eternity.

 

Without question, the everlasting condemnation of the reprobate was as much a part of God’s decree as the salvation of the elect.

 

(Proverbs 16:4) “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

 

(1 Peter 2:8) “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”

 

(Jude 1:4) “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

The Bible speaks as plainly about “the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction,” as it does about “the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” (Romans 9:21-24). However, we must never fail to recognize that God’s predestination, while securing the salvation of the elect by God’s hand alone, leaves the responsibility for every sinner’s damnation upon his own shoulders. The elect, the vessels of mercy are prepared for glory by God’s free grace in Christ; whereas the reprobate, the vessels of wrath are fitted to destruction by their own sin and willful unbelief.

Š      Salvation is always set before us in the Bible as being God’s work and God’s work alone.

Š      Judgment and damnation is always set before us in the Bible as being man’s fault and the result man’s work alone.

Š      Divine judgment is always God’s just retribution for sin.

 

4.    Divine predestination is not based upon foreseen faith.

 

Predestination is not God foreseeng what would come to pass in time, but his purpose and determination of what must come to pass. It is not the result of what God knew man would do. Rather, predestination is what God determined he would do. The fact is, nothing could be absolutely foreseen and foreknown that was not absolutely predetermined. That which is foreknown must have been foreordained. God knew the end of all things from the beginning because he had predestinated the end from the beginning.

 

(Isaiah 14:24) “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:”

 

(Isaiah 14:26-27) “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. (27) For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”

 

(Isaiah 46:9-11) “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, (10) 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: (11) 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.”

 

Those are some of the many erroneous things taught about predestination. The Bible does not teach…

Š      “Whatever will be will be.”

Š      “The elect will be saved, no matter what.”

Š      “God arbitrarily predestinated some to go to heaven and some to go to hell.”

Š      “Predestination is based upon God foreseeing all things.

 

God’s Sovereign Work

 

Having said that, let me show you what the Word of God does teach about this glorious doctrine of predestination. Essentially the Bible doctrine of predestination is this: — Before the world began, God sovereignly predestinated all his elect to be conformed to the image of his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, which he accomplishes in time by his sovereign, irresistible, immutable grace. ——— Eternal predestination is God’s sovereign work.

 

Carefully observe the language of Holy Scripture. — “He also did predestinate.” He” is the original cause of all things.He” is the source of salvation. Everything springs from him. It is written, “All things are of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

 

(Romans 11:36) “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever.”

 

Specifically, predestination is God’s eternal purpose of grace toward his elect. — It is God’s determination to save his elect. It is his determination of the everlasting destiny of chosen sinners before the world began. I know that God’s sovereign purpose and absolute decree included all things, all people, and all events, in heaven, earth, and hell. But the object of predestination is the salvation of the chosen.

Š      Divine predestination is absolutely free, sovereign, and unconditional.

Š      This work of God was finished before the world began.

Š      Predestination was an immutable, unalterable work of God’s free grace in Christ.

Š      God’s predestination is his gracious purpose to save specific sinners, his purpose of grace founded upon and arising from his everlasting love.

 

(Jeremiah 31:3) “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

 

(Romans 8:29-30) “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. (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.”

 

(Ephesians 1:3-5) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

 

(2 Timothy 1:9-10) “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, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

 

Salvation is accomplished by the irresistible power of God’s grace, according to the sovereign purpose of God in his eternal decree, through the merits of Christ’s blood and righteousness as the sinners’ Substitute. It is not my will that saves me, but God’s will. It is not my will that brings me to Christ, but God’s will.

 

(John 1:12-13) “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

(Romans 9:16) “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”

 

Salvation is accomplished by God’s purpose. — No one ever gets saved by chance, or accident. Salvation is God’s work! It is God’s deliberate work. And it is a work which the Lord God almighty purposed to accomplish from eternity.

 

The means, or method, by which he would accomplish this glorious work was devised and resolved upon from eternity, in the everlasting covenant of grace and counsel of peace.

 

“Hail sovereign love that first began

The scheme to rescue fallen man;

Hail matchless, free, eternal grace,

That gave my soul a hiding place!”

 

---------------------

 

“O the love that drew salvation’s plan,

O the grace that brought it down to man,

O the mighty gulf that God did span,

At Calvary!

 

 

This is God’s purpose of grace in predestination. — In eternal mercy, he determined to save a people for the glory of his own great name by the substitutionary sacrifice of his dear Son.

 

(Job 33:24) “Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.”

 

(Psalms 89:19) “Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.”

 

(Romans 3:24-26) “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

 

(Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

(2 Corinthians 5:21) “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

 

The death of Christ at Calvary was no accident, or after thought with God. — Our Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross to accomplish our salvation by his death as our Substitute, according to his Father’s own determinate counsel in sovereign predestination.

 

(Luke 22:22) “And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!”

 

(Acts 2:23) “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”

 

(Acts 4:28) “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”

 

It was God almighty who determined the time, place, and circumstances of Christ’s birth. It was God alone who determined the time and instrument of his Son’s betrayal. It was God the Father who determined the time, place, and circumstances of his Son’s execution at the hands of wicked men. And it was God who determined what the results of his Son’s sacrificial death upon the cross would be. The Father resolved from eternity to save chosen sinners by the sin-atoning death of his own darling Son.

 

(Isaiah 53:10-11) “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

 

All of this the Lord God resolved upon and predestinated for his own glory in the salvation of his elect. — He chose to save sinners by the sacrifice of Christ, through the power of his grace, without any aid or assistance from them, for the glory of his own great name.

 

(Psalms 106:8) “Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.”

 

For the Elect

 

Here’s the third thing we need to understand about predestination. Everything predestination brings to pass and accomplishes is for God’s elect.

 

Read your Bible again. Predestination concerns God’s chosen. It secures their salvation, their preservation, their resurrection, and their heavenly glory. Predestination is much, much more than an abstract theory of theological speculation. Predestination is one of the sweetest, most practical, blessed, and glorious doctrines revealed in Holy Scripture.

 

Predestination does not keep anyone out of heaven. — People often look upon predestination as a frightful monster which stands at the gate of heaven and arbitrarily shuts multitudes out, saying, “No, you cannot come in, you cannot be saved, no matter how much you want to be, because you were not chosen and predestinated to salvation.” Nothing could be further from the truth!

 

Every sinner who is lost at last and goes to hell will do so as the result of deliberate action on his part. — If you go to hell, it will be your own fault. If you refuse to walk in the light God has given you, that is your fault. And when you are cast into hell, you will acknowledge the justice of God in casting you into hell.

 

Reprobation is always presented to us in the Word of God as a judicial act. — Judgment is an act of justice. It is something God does in justice in response to man’s sin. God sends blindness because men and women choose not to see. He sends hardness of heart to those who harden their hearts against him. He sends men to hell because they will not bow to his Son.

 

(Matthew 23:37-38) “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

 

(2 Thessalonians 2:10-11) “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”

 

(Proverbs 1:23-33) “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. (24) Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; (25) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: (26) I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; (27) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. (28) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: (29) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: (30) They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. (31) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. (32) For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. (33) But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”

 

Do you understand what I am telling you? — If you go to hell, it will be your own fault alone. You will have no one to blame but yourself. But if anyone is saved, it will be God’s work alone, the result of deliberate effort on God’s part. We will have no one to thank and praise for it but God. And God’s salvation began in eternal predestination. Without predestination we would all be damned forever. Predestination is the guarantee of salvation for God’s elect!

 

God almighty predestinated in eternity all things that come to pass in time for the everlasting salvation of his elect and the glory of his name. — In other words, all that comes to pass in time was purposed by God in eternity, purposed for our souls’ everlasting good and God’s everlasting praise! — That is Paul’s doctrine in our text. That is the doctrine of God the Holy Ghost throughout the Book of God.

 

(Romans 8:28-30) “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. (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. (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.”

 

(Ephesians 1:11-12) “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: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

 

God’s Object

 

FourthThe object of our God in predestination is that we should be conformed to the image of his own dear Son. The one thing God Almighty is determined to accomplish in us by his purpose, his providence, his power, and his grace is an exact likeness to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you see that in Romans 8:29? God predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his Son!

 

Through the sin and fall of our father Adam, we all became sinners. We lost God’s image in which we were created, and forfeited life, communion, fellowship, and acceptance with him forever.

 

(Romans 5:12) “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

 

However, God’s purpose was not overthrown when Adam sinned. It was executed exactly according to his sovereign will and infinite wisdom.

 

(1 Corinthians 15:21-22) “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

 

God Almighty was determined from the beginning to glorify himself in his creation, by rescuing a multitude which no man can number from Adam’s fall and restoring them to his image perfectly, forever through another representative man, the God-man, Christ Jesus. — The Lord God looked upon his Son from eternity with such joy and delight that he said, I will have an innumerable multitude of sons and daughters just like him. And when predestination has done its work, every chosen sinner will be exactly conformed to the image of God’s dear Son, “holy and without blame” before God himself!

 

Š      We are conformed to Christ in his nature. — He is begotten of God and so are we.

Š      We are conformed to Christ in his relationship. — He is the Son of God; and we are the sons and daughters of the Almighty.

 

(1 John 3:1) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

 

Š      We must be conformed to Christ in his experience. — Like Christ, we must learn obedience through the things we suffer. — Like him, we must endure abuse from men. Like our Master, we must suffer the attacks of Satan. — Like Christ, we must struggle against temptation and sin.

 

Š      We must be conformed to Christ in his character. Like him, we must be consecrated to God. — Like him, we must live by God’s Word. — Like him, we must seek our Father’s will. — Like him, we must be loving, kind, and tender toward one another.

 

Š      We must at last be conformed to the image of Christ in his glory. — This is salvation, perfect, complete, finished salvation, to be with Christ and be like Christ forever!

 

Listen to me now. — This salvation, from start to finish, is accomplished by God, according to the sovereign, eternal purpose of the Triune Jehovah in predestination.

Š      God predestinated from eternity who will be saved.

Š      God predestinated from eternity the means by which he would save them

Š      God predestinated from eternity the time of their salvation.

Š      God predestinated from eternity all the events and circumstances necessary for and leading to their salvation.

 

Illustrations: Gomer — Onesimus — The Jailer

 

Š      God predestinated from eternity the place where he would save his chosen.

Š      God predestinated from eternity our place in glory.

Š      God predestinated from eternity everything required to bring us safely home.

 

For Christ’s Glory

 

FifthThe ultimate end of God in predestination, as in all other things, is the exaltation and everlasting praise, honor, and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. — God has determined to glorify himself in glorifying his glorious Son. He has predestinated us unto the adoption of sons, that Jesus Christ his eternal, only-begotten Son, might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 

(Romans 11:33-36) “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

 

(Colossians 1:16-18) “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

 

Predestination gives Christ pre-eminence. The Lord Jesus Christ is the center of God’s decrees. He is the Head of a new, elect race. He is the center and glory of heaven.

 

Predestination gives Christ pleasure. His delights were with the sons of men before time began. Now he has a race of men in whom and with whom he delights! He loves them; and they all love him. This was the joy set before him, for which he endured the cross, despising the shame. This is the reward of his labor.

 

Predestination gives Christ praise. The Triune God has arranged things so that all the population of heaven will owe everything to Christ, so that everyone in Glory Land will chant Immanuel’s praise and Immanuel’s praise alone forever!

 

Application

 

This is the glorious, gospel doctrine of predestination in which we rejoice. It is a most profitable doctrine.

Š      It destroys every basis of human pride.

Š      It exalts the glory of Christ and the grace of God.

Š      It gives us a purpose in evangelism.

Š      It gives us a sure hope before God (2 Samuel 23:5).

Š      It puts us at peace with God’s providence.

Š      It opens the doors of heaven to sinners and guarantees that some shall enter therein.

Š      It shuts us up to God!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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