Monday, May 16, 2011

Predestination: Doctrine of Love!

Predestination is a word that strikes fear in the hearts of men. The subject is often avoided like the plague. But it is a Bible word! And, running from predestination is running from the very love of God.
"...even as he (the Father) chose us in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6, ESV
As this verse makes clear, predestination is not a curse to fear, but a blessing for which to give thanks. In love he predestined us! This means that God's love is not generic, but particular; he set his amazing love upon real people with real names and faces, and real sins that Christ died to forgive. God did not have to put his affection on his people; he chose to. There was nothing in us that deserved it (for grace, by definition, is unearned), and we were not worthy of his love (for we are rebels and sinners). But God chose to pour out lavish love; he handpicked us for his grace!

There are two groups of people who distance themselves from this specific love of God.

The first are those who hate the doctrine of predestination. Maybe they don't understand it, maybe it's been poorly taught or misrepresented. But they simply cannot see the LOVE in this teaching, and thus they fear it. But let Scripture stand as it is; we read above that "in love he predestined us." Is this really something we want to hate?

The second group who miss the particular love of this doctrine are those who love the teaching, but divorce it from God's love. These are the theology buffs who could quote the Scriptures that teach predestination and go on for hours explaining it and winning all the debates. But for them it has become a cold matter of doctrine. A source of pride.

Predestination is not a doctrine to fear, or a teaching in which to be proud. It is, rather, a glorious revelation that the holy God of all chose to give jaw-dropping grace and indescribable love to real people; people who he knew would be great sinners. God has chosen to glorify himself by loving us, and by sending his Son to redeem his people. Predestination is a doctrine of love!

Let me close this post with the lyrics to an old hymn. I cannot remember where I found this hymn, and I do not know the author. (If you have information on it, please send it my way) Pay special attention to verse 4!

Predestinating Love
I sing the gracious, fixed decree
Passed by the great, eternal Three,
The counsel held in heaven above,
The Lord’s predestinating love.

All that concerns the chosen race
In nature, history, or grace:
Where they shall dwell, and when remove
Fixed by predestinating love.
Their calling, growth and robes they wear;
Their conflict, trials, daily care
Are for them well arranged above
In God’s predestinating love.

In this let Zion’s sons rejoice:
Their God will not revoke his choice;
Nor sin nor death nor hell can move
His firm predestinating love.

This is our bulwark of defence;
Nor foe nor friend can drive us hence.
In life, in death, in realms above
We’ll sing predestinating love.

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