Review from Last Time• What is God‘s sovereignty?• It is His absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure.• Is predestination a Biblical concept?• Without question, Scripture underscores God‘s work of predestination in His creation.• How does predestination work with salvation?• God predestines both the plan and the man/woman.
Why Does God Choose Some?―Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose usin Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3–6) ―So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. ‖ (Philippians 2:12–13) www.confidentchristians.org
The Father Has Chosen a Bride For the SonIn ancient times, a father always chose a bride for his son. And a price was always paid to the father for the bride. Scripture states that the Father has chosen a Bride for His Son, with His Son paying the cost for his chosen Bride. And in the end, the Son gives everything back to the Father. John 6 John 17 1 Cor. 15 ―All that the Father ―Jesus spoke these things; ―But each in his own gives Me will come to and lifting up His eyes to order: Christ the first Me, and the one who heaven, He said, ―Father, fruits, after that those comes to Me I will the hour has come; glorify who are Christ‘s at Hiscertainly not cast out. . . . Your Son, that the Son coming, then comes the This is the will of Him may glorify You, even as end, when He hands over who sent Me, that of all You gave Him authority the kingdom to the God that He has given Me I over all flesh, that to all and Father, when He haslose nothing, but raise it whom You have given Him, abolished all rule and all up on the last day. ‖ He may give eternal life. ‖ authority and power. ‖ (John 6:37, 39) (John 17:1–2) (1 Cor. 15:23–24) www.confidentchristians.org
What are the core positions of how God predestines some for salvation?
1. Prescient position2. Molinist position3. Augustinian/Reformed position
The Prescient Position Prescient‗knowledge of things before they exist or happen‘; ‗foreknowledge‘; ‗foresight‘. The prescient position says God does choose people for salvation, but his choice is based on His foreknowledge of what people will do. Godlooks down through history, and knows in advance who will respond to thecall of the gospel message and who will not. God chooses some based on His knowledge of them responding to the call and them having faith. God‘s choice is conditional on a person‘s faith.
The Prescient Position ―For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed tothe image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. ‖ (Romans 8:29–30) ―Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scatteredthroughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood‖ (1 Peter 1:1–2) www.confidentchristians.org
Peter Helps Us Understand Foreknowledge ―Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scatteredthroughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood‖ (1 Peter 1:1–2)―Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to youby God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. (Acts 2:22–23) Same man, same word. Now, did God look time through time, see what Jesus was going to do, and then choose that plan of salvation?No, foreknowledge means God knew the plan because He made and chose the plan. www.confidentchristians.org
Important Point… Those who argue for the prescient position say that God looksdown through time to see who will choose Him and so He chooses them. But this is a dangerous argument to make because… It has God learning something. God is omniscient and never learns anything. www.confidentchristians.org
The Molinist Position Developed by the Jesuit Luis de Molina, the Molinist position is much like the prescient view, although the concept of ‗middle knowledge‘ is what distinguishes it from all other positions. According to Molinism, God arranges the world as he chooses based on his middleknowledge. God exercises sovereign control in the sense that he creates the person he wishes to create and brings about the circumstances he wills, knowing just what choices all those persons will make in the circumstances he has brought about. Molinism is not a compromise position between the prescient and Augustinian positions; rather, it is a variation on the prescient view. www.confidentchristians.org
The Molinist Position ―Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. ―Woe to you,Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. ―Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. ―And you,Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained tothis day. ―Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.‖ ‖ (Matthew 11:20–24) www.confidentchristians.org
The Augustinian/Reformed PositionThe Reformed position (credited first to Augustine) does not deny God has foreknowledge nor that He has the ability to know everything that could or will be. However, it holds to a different view of predestination. According to Reformed theology, from all eternity God knew His elect. Forreasons known only to God Himself, He elected some to salvation with there being no condition whatsoever imposed on the individual. God chose some forHimself and allows all others to continue in their freely chosen sin and eventually experience His justice. www.confidentchristians.org
The Augustinian/Reformed Position ―When the Gentiles heard this, they beganrejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. ‖ (Acts 13:48)Notice: it does not say ―and as many as believed, God appointed to eternal life‖ ―A woman named Lydia, from the city ofThyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened herheart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. ‖ (Acts 16:14) ―For He says to Moses, ―I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.‖ So then it does notdepend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. . . . So then He hasmercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. ‖ (Romans 9:15–16, 18) www.confidentchristians.org
The Augustinian/Reformed Position―All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except theFather; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. ‖ (Matthew 11:27) ―All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. ‖ (John 6:37) ―Father, I desire that they also, whom You havegiven Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. ‖ (John 17:24)―For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. ‖ (2 Timothy 2:10) www.confidentchristians.org
What is the primary difference between the prescient and Augustinian positions? The first is primarily based on man‘s choice and the secondin God‘s choice. The first is based primarily on the willing of the unbeliever and the latter on the willing of God.
A Closer Look at the “Golden Chain”―For those whom He foreknew, He alsopredestined to become conformed to theimage of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. ‖ (Romans 8:29–30) This passage is referred to as the ―Golden Chain‖ or ―The Order of Salvation‖ (Ordo Salutis) bytheologians. It is the primary versed used by those who hold the Prescient view.But does it really support that position? www.confidentchristians.org
A Closer Look at the “Golden Chain” ―For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; andthese whom He called, He also justified; andthese whom He justified, He also glorified. ‖ (Romans 8:29–30)First, Paul doesn‘t say that foreknowledge isthe basis of God‘s predestination; that their salvation is based on them choosing God and responding to His call. This position is imported into the text by Prescients. Paul simply says God predestines those He foreknew, which makes sense: God mustknow people before He predestines them for salvation. www.confidentchristians.org
“Some” or “All”?―Some of those whom He foreknew,He also predestined. Some of thoseHe predestined, He also called; and some of those He called, He also justified; and some of those He justified, He also glorified.‖―All of those whom He foreknew, He also predestined. All of those He predestined, He also called; and allof those He called, He also justified;and all of those He justified, He also glorified.‖ www.confidentchristians.org
“Some” Fails the Test1. If ―some‖ is used as a qualifier, then the Golden Chain becomes nonsensical. If God‘s predestination is based on Him knowing how people will respond to the call of the Gospel, then why predestine only some and call only some? This would have God predestining some who are not called2. If some of the predestined are predestined without a call, then God could not be basing His choice on their response to His call. God can‘t have foreknowledge of a person‘s non-answer to a non-call. www.confidentchristians.org
“All” also Defeats the Prescient Position―For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined tobecome conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. ‖ (Romans 8:29–30) Is the call above an inward or outward call? Does everyone get the call? If ―all‖ is used then either a person must embraceuniversalism OR admit that there is an inwardcall, performed by God on a person, that not everyone gets because those who are called are justified. This means the foreknowledge view of the Prescients is dealt a death blow because itsays God predestines an inward call – He is doing something in the hearts of only those predestined so they will respond. www.confidentchristians.org
The Prescient view disrupts the Order of the Chain―For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined tobecome conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. ‖ (Romans 8:29–30) The Prescient view says God knows those who will respond to His call and choose Him and so therefore He chooses them. This means predestination would come aftercalling because God would need to put out acall, know who will response, and then choosethem. But the Golden Chain specifically has calling after predestination meaning that thecall that goes out is the effectual call of God and not a generic all to salvation. Further we are justified by faith. Yet the Prescients say people exhibit faith first, which is also out of order in the chain. www.confidentchristians.org
The Interpretation of the Golden Chain―For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. ‖ (Romans 8:29–30) The Reformed view says the Father knew His chosen ones from all eternity andfore-loved them. All these that He foreknew He also predestined to be a Bridefor His Son. He then effectually called them, justified them through the death of Christ, and glorified them to spend eternity with Him. www.confidentchristians.org
But doesn‘t the Bible say that God wants everyone to be saved?
The “Big Two” Verses ―This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.‖ (1 Timothy 2:3–4)―The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.‖ (2 Peter 3:9) www.confidentchristians.org
Does God will or desire things that don‘t happen?
Two Possibilities1. There is a power in the universe greater than God‘s that is frustrating Him by overruling what He wills.2. God wills not to save all, even though He is willing to save all, because there is something else that He wills more, which would be lost if He exerted His sovereign power to save all. www.confidentchristians.org
Possible Ideas for Option 21. The Arminian answer is that God values human self-determination and the possible love relationship more than saving all people via His efficacious grace2. The Reformed position is that God doesn‘t save all so as to show His glory in mercy and grace (cf. Rom. 9) and that God receives all the credit for salvation www.confidentchristians.org
The “Big Two” Verses―This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ‖ (1 Timothy 2:3–4)―The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. ‖ (2 Peter 3:9)Note that NEITHER answer is found in the context of either 1Tim. 2 or 2 Pet. 3, but BOTH affirm there are different wills inGod. We must look elsewhere to find the answer to the dilemma. Let‘s start by examining the various wills in God. www.confidentchristians.org
Three Possible Wills in God1. Decretive will - this form of God‘s will describes something that absolutely will happen and is unstoppable / irresistible (e.g. creating the universe; calling of Paul)2. Prescriptive will – this describes something God morally prescribes for all, but may be disobeyed (e.g. the ten commandments)3. Dispositional will – that which pleases or delights God (e.g. not delighting in the death of the wicked) www.confidentchristians.org
Examples of the Wills of God in Action The Hardening of Pharaoh‘s Heart First we see: ―Then the Lord said to Moses, ―Go to Pharaoh and say to him,‗Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me‘‖ (Exodus 8:1).And then: ―The Lord said to Moses, ‗When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go‖ (Exodus 4:21) . Even the debate of whether Pharaoh hardened his own heart in some of the cases cannot avoid the clear example of the prescriptive and decretive wills of God. God must will in one sense what He does not will in another sense. www.confidentchristians.org
Other Examples of God’s Hardening―But Sihon king of Heshbon was not willing for us to pass through his land; for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to deliver him into your hand, as he is today. ‖ (Deuteronomy 2:30) ―There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living inGibeon; they took them all in battle. For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, to meetIsrael in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. ‖ (Joshua 11:19–20) ―And He was saying to them, ―To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom ofGod, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that while seeing, they maysee and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.‖ ‖ (Mark 4:11–12)―Just as it is written, ―God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not, Down to this very day‖ (Romans 11:8) ―For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, ‖ (2 Thessalonians 2:11) www.confidentchristians.org
Examples of the Wills of God in Action The Death of Christ It was not the prescriptive will of God that Judas, Pilate, Herod, the Jewish leaders, and the Roman soldiers would betray, mock, lie about, andbrutalize/murder Jesus. But Isaiah 53:0 says: ―Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him‖ and Acts 2:23 states: ―this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.‖ God must will in one sense what He does not will in another sense. www.confidentchristians.org
Examples of the Wills of God in Action The War Against the Lamb―And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled‖ (Revelation 17:16–17) . God sovereignly directs theAntichrist and unbelievers to war against Christ, which He prescriptively wills no one do. God must will in one sense what He does not will in another sense. www.confidentchristians.org
God’s Will in areas of Sin/death ―Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,‖ declares theLord God, ―rather than that he should turn from his ways and live? ‖ (Ezekiel 18:23) Vs. ―But they [the sons of Eli] would not listen to the voice of their father, for the Lord desired to put them to death.‖ (1 Samuel 2:25)God evidently willed the death of Eli‘s sons in one sense while not desiring the death of the wicked in another sense. Thedispositional will is seen in the first verse and the decretive will in the second. www.confidentchristians.org
Let’s Return to The “Big Two” Verses ―This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ‖ (1 Timothy 2:3–4)―The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. ‖ (2 Peter 3:9)Question: Which will of God is in vogue in the above verses? It cannot bethe decretive will of God or everyone would be saved. It could be theprescriptive will of God, but seems odd in that, in a moral sense, God‗forbids‘ people to perish. The best application is that this is God‘sdispositional will. In the same sense that He does not delight in the deathof the wicked, God takes no pleasure in people rejecting Him. www.confidentchristians.org
The Analogy of the Courtroom In the same way that a righteous judge carries out his duty to sentence criminals to punishment but does not have any gleefuldelight in doing it, God also carries out justice against sinners, but His dispositional will is that no one be lost. While a dispositionaldesire is for everyone to be saved, there is a higher purpose why all are not. www.confidentchristians.org
So What is God’s Higher Purpose?Respect for human freedom or God‘s glory and purpose? www.confidentchristians.org
So What is God’s Higher Purpose? We‘ll have to tackle this in the next lesson… www.confidentchristians.org
Conclusions• Why does God predestine some for salvation?• It is in accordance to his own good pleasure.• What stance on predestination appears most tenable?• Between the prescient, molinist, and Augustinian positions, the Augustinian/Reformed stance appears more reasonable from a Biblical standpoint.• But doesn‘t God desire all to be saved?• Answering requires that we understand the various ‗wills‘ in God. The full answer to this question will be given next time.