Predestination is a topic that is controversial among theological circles. To begin with, “Basically, predestination is the belief that God has predetermined who will receive salvation and who will not. Sometimes the term is used to refer not only to salvation, but to express the idea that God is in control of the universe in general, even over mundane things.”
The predicate comes from the principle of God’s sovereignty and omniscience which no one can deny, although the interpretation of these teachings needs context and reflects God’s wisdom. Is it really about “who will receive salvation” or the timetable when the power gifted to Jesus towards the process of salvation that all of us have to go through, starting with the “trailblazer”?
And, intrinsic to this topic are many questions. If someone commits suicide, was that predestined? How about calamities, accidents, cancer, sickness, injuries, were those destiny, too? If a person becomes poor, rich or otherwise, is that destiny. Or, a profession or job of a person? And, for that matter, your spouse, children, divorce etc.? If everything is predetermined, where is the role of freewill and choice?
Remember Newton’s 3rd law of motion? For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Indeed, there are consequences with what we do and some can be predictable as secondary to what we did. Nevertheless, undoubtedly, some have been done by Lord God himself directly or indirectly through angels and some are prophesied by prophets for the future.
This really can be complicated. But, how did this topic become a religious tenet?
In Romans 8:28–30, Paul writes, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
From the above verses, the “assumption” was that those called are justified and glorified, automatically. What was missed was the emphasis on “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,” which is futuristic and aspirational; it was not automatic. To be “conformed to be the image of his Son” is a process that takes time.
It is all about “timing”. Predestined time to have the first opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit was alluded to in the narrative about the “firstfruits and latterfruits“. God has chosen who will “be called” at their own time, like in Israel harvest for the “first(spring), and latter summer and fall harvest”. These harvests are opportunities that God provides to receive the empowering in-dwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus was the “first of the firstfruits, Jesus, being the “wave sheaf offering”(NLT), first order of resurrection.From Pentecost through the “first trump“, humans are receiving the Holy Spirit of power to guide, protect and sanctify the “elect“, the firstfruits, the first (after Jesus) to resurrect as “spirit-composed living beings“. Then the “latterfruits” during and after the Millenium
Predestination is a controversial subject that needs to be understood and drawn out clearly and specifically from its complexity. While God historically has power to act anytime, every time and on all people, his wisdom enables him to be deliberative and precise in his judgment and action. True, those he prophesied will undoubtedly happen as an end-point but not necessarily every step-of-the-way. Not everything that happens is because God wills it to be, otherwise, why fault man? His omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence does not preclude “time and chance happen to all”,
Predestination is not about who will “actually and finally receive salvation. Instead, predestination is the time at which the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit will occur on a person, individually. On the other hand, salvation is based, not only on the “gift of in-dwelling” at a particular predetermined time, but also on the freewill and choice made by the person to follow its guidance to be “one with the Father”. Moreover, predestination is about the time at which this power was gifted to Jesus in the “ongoing creation” of other humans which requires a process of salvation. This is how Jesus became the Son of God and those after him will be “conformed to the image of his Son”
Original post: April 14, 2020
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