Monday, November 15, 2004here comes double trouble...
Inspiration for this post came from a very good post found on Christian Conservative, and the subsequent comments left by many regarding Michael's post on predestination.
Now to put some context: I hated the doctrine of election and predestination. I seriously loathed it. It was so important to me to be master of my own destiny, that I rejected the doctrines of grace and argued against all 5 points with passion. But after struggling and fighting with a Calvinist friend for months, I quite simply ran out of arguments/excuses. The Scriptures so clearly teach the reality of election and predestination, that I found myself not only arguing with my friend, I was arguing with God. I eventually ate my slice of humble pie, and accepted the fact that God chooses those He saves, and He predestines them to eternal life.
After coming to this realization, my soteriology was turned upside down. I started questioning everything I believed about salvation to make sure that my beliefs were Scriptural. It wasn't long after accepting the doctrines of grace that I came to hear about double predestination.
I have to say, the attitude surrounding double predestination was as negative as my initial attitude towards the doctrines of grace. I wasn't intimidated by this; rather I was determined to know the truth, regardless of whether it was popular or not.
Now, to avoid confusion, let us define double predestination:
"It is the eternal act of God, whereby the future of every particular person in the human race has been determined beforehand, by God. Whatever the individual wills or does, for good or for evil, is conceived as performing a functional part, or outworking of that ordained purpose. This prior determination applies to both, the elect and the reprobate."
In other words, as far as salvation is concerned, God predestines some to be justified, and others to condemnation. Using this definition, let me be clear:
I BELIEVE IN DOUBLE PREDESTINATION!
I believe it because it is...
"Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory" (Romans 9:18-23)
"The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." (Proverbs 16:4)
Conclusion: God has prepared/made the wicked to show His righteous wrath, to make his power known, and to show forth His longsuffering. He prepares them for judgement and condemnation.
"Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 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." (1 Peter 2:7-8)
"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. " (Jude 4)
Conclusion: The wicked works of unbelievers and false teachers are no surprise to God, they were appointed/ordained unto condemnation.
God isn't the author of confusion. Most teachings in Scripture are quite sensible and logical. So let's examine predestination logically for a moment. As far as I can see, in the Bible, there are only 2 places souls can go to after the Great White Judgement: Heaven or Hell. Those who are justified unto the Kingdom of God were "chosen before the foundation of world" (Ephesians 1). So what of those who are condemned to the Lake of Fire? By choosing one group for Heaven, does that not instantly place the other group into condemnation?
A few weeks ago, we had election in the US. George W. Bush was elected as president, John Kerry was not. Both are tied in together; one was elected, the other was not. Logical isn't it?
But for some strange reason, many Christians out there refuse to carry this logic to their salvation theology.
Conclusion: There are only 2 final destinations for souls; Heaven and Hell. Those who go to Heaven are those whom God has chosen and predestined in Christ (Romans 8 & 9, Ephesians 1). Those who are non-elect are therefore predestined to the Lake of Fire (there is no other place for them to go).
This subject has a great deal of ramifications, so I will probably post on the subject again soon. But no doubt, I have enough here to get you all thinking a bit. Feel free to comment, but please, be gracious and wise in your words; predestination is one of those doctrines that really get people excited (Hee hee).