(The Doctrine of Grace)

by Tony Warren

   When we hear the word Predestination in our day, to many it has almost taken on the connotation of being a dirty word. The prevalent view has shifted from Sovereignty of God to choose, to the untenable view that Christ went to the cross and atoned for the sins all mankind. That is to say, "every single person in the entire world has had their sins atoned for." But the reality is that atonement means, "to satisfy divine justice for our sins", and so how could it be possible that this satisfaction (or the value of that atonement) was insufficient to Save all? Indeed, how could Christ have borne all of mankind's iniquity in His flesh, and died with those iniquities, and yet most of mankind still have those iniquities? ..it makes no biblical, or even logical sense. These people have obviously come to an erroneous conclusion based on unbiblical assumptions. Christ did not bear man's sins one and all, He bore the sins of only those whom the Father, in His divine Sovereignty, chose. He bore the sins of "All" His people, not all People.

Matthew 1:21

And that is exactly what He did! This is the only view which is consistent with all of scripture in it's context, and the Sovereignty of God to Save whoever He chooses by Grace alone. He does not save by any effort (work) on our part to decide to choose Him. It was by the Sovereign pre-determination by God, that He would bring who He will (for His own purposes) to Salvation. In a word, Predestination!

The fact is, Predestination is not a foreign or dirty word, it is very much a Biblical word. It was not invented by theologians to support their doctrines, it's the precise word that God inspired to be used. Predestination is the Greek word [pro-or-id'zo], meaning to have been pre determined or destined before hand. God knew exactly what He wanted when He inspired this word to be used. Though many theologians in our day have developed a distaste for the word, and thus work overtime trying to strip it of it's efficacious meaning, the word stands in stark testimony against man's attempts at wresting. Though people squirm in their seats at the sound of it, and look at you as if you've uttered a horrible thing, God is not mocked.

The reason for this disdain is that the Church today doesn't really like what it stands for, and it thus makes them uncomfortable! For in their heart they don't want a God who says that "He" pre-determined things ahead of time. They don't want a Sovereign God, they want a god who reacts to their work instead. They want a god that will let them be the one to get the glory of having chosen God themselves, without any help from Him. But a Sovereign God who has Predetermined ahead of time who will be Saved, is a God that won't allow man to glory in himself! And that is why many look to redefine the word, and in essence, redefine God. For whether we like it or not, this Sovereign God is "the God of the Bible," and any other god is one of their own making.

Romans 8:28-30

God did five things here for those He elected unto Salvation. He Foreknew them, He predestinated them, He called them, He justified them, and He glorified them.

Man in his pride and arrogance will take the clear language of the scriptures, and by rationalizing or wresting them, vainly attempt to make it not say what God obviously inspired to be penned. But if a Christian can't believe what is written, what can he believe? God's word is clear that He foreknew, or in other words, "knew all of us ahead of time." And He "also" Predestinated, or Pre-Determined that those He foreknew, would become like Christ. In other words, that we would be born from above in the image of Christ. Note that it doesn't say that God foresaw that we would be good, or that we would choose Him, and so He then acted accordingly. This of course is what some people teach, but it's the private or personal interpretation of this verse, not at all what the verse itself says, nor a myriad of other scriptures. God had foreknowledge that there was none that seeketh after Him, there was none that doeth good.

Jeremiah 17:9

That is what God had foreknowledge of. We see the whole of scripture full of evidence for God's sovereign election, but we see no scripture at all which says, implies, or aludes to God saving man based upon his own work of accepting Christ. Quite the contrary. Furthermore, it contradicts many other scriptures, thus violating the most basic rule of sound hermeneutics. Namely, "no scripture can make another scripture untrue, or void." For if God foresaw all of us ahead of time, then what He obviously foresaw was that there was not one of us which would seek after him.

Psalms 53:2-3

That is what God found when He looked and foresaw what man would be. He foresaw that there is none good, there is none righteous, there is none that seeketh after God. Therefore for a Christian to conclude that God chose us based upon our seeking Him is a untenable and unbiblical position. What God foresaw and knew ahead of time, was that we were all filthy and desperately wicked. God saw us for just what we were. Dead in trespass and sin wherein we were constantly in rebellion against Him. Yet He, of His own Sovereign good will and for His own purposes, foreseeing this, 'also' chose to Predestinate some of us to be conformed to the image of Christ, reborn into new creatures regardless of our filthiness or our inherent refusal to seek after Him.

James 1:18

This is the love of God that he beget us of His own free will, not ours. It's not a question of if God says that he predestinated us to be conformed to Christ's image, there is no question that He says that. There is also no question that God "doesn't" say that He foreknew someone would choose Him and therefore predestinated us according to that (an incomprehensible doctrine). We were not justified by our work which God "saw" ahead of time (anti-Grace), God says He predestinated us, and also called us, and also Justified us. We can never be justified by what God saw (our works), we are justified by unmerited favor of God. We are justified by the work of Christ, which is by Grace alone.

Ephesians 1:5

We were predestinated unto adoption as children. And note again, unambiguously and concisely, God says He Predestinated us not according to our own (supposed) free will, but God says He predestinated us according to the good pleasure of His own will! These are not isolated or ambiguous passages subject to personal interpretation, God says these things clearly, again and again. It is not by the free will of man, it never was, and it never will be. In how many different ways does God have to say it before man gets the picture?

John 1:13

We had no free will to be saved, our will apart from the working of Christ in us is unto bondage to the flesh, that we desire our own will. If we were predestinated according to man's will, we would never seek after God at all. There would be no Salvation. It is only by the Grace of God that we believe, and this because God ordained it. As is clearly written.

Acts 13:47-48

The idea that God predestinated us according to our own free will to choose life is another contradiction of God's Word. It wasn't because of our will (which is to do what 'we' want), it was just as God states, "according to the good pleasure of His will." ..Grace Alone!

Predestinated According to Free Will?

There are many misguided Theologians who will argue precipitously that, "yes God predestinated us, but He did it according to our free will." But the scripture references of Ephesians 1:5 will not allow such a theory. In context, it is clear that it's His Choice, and not our own. The preceding verses make that clear.

Ephesians 1:4

Not according as He had foreseen 'us' make the choice, but according as 'He' chose us. He Pre-determined that we would become adopted sons by Christ, and those predetermined, were determined according to what God wanted, not what they wanted.

Moreover, you cannot be predetermined "to be" something by the will of God, and yet be something by your own free will. i.e., by who's will was it anyway? God says by His will, man says no, by his free will. That is both illogical and irrational. If God predetermined thousands of years ago that you would be an adopted son, and made you conform to Christ, then how did you freely choose today to be (or not to be) that son conformed to the image of Christ? It's confusion! But man in his arrogance and pride, rather than just simply receive the gracious gift of God, he instead fights the truth of scripture in vain efforts to rationalize away the text, or to reinterpret it any way which conforms to his humanistic reasoning. To say "we were Predestinated because God knew we would choose Him", is ridiculous and tortuous of scripture. If that were the case then we were not predetermined, God merely saw our own good work of Choosing and thus Saved us accordingly. That's Salvation by our deeds, which any way that you slice it, cannot be Grace!

Romans 11:6

We can't have it both ways, where God saw our good works and chose us, and yet it still be by Grace. And to say, "God chose us because he foreknew that we would choose Him", makes a mockery of what God actually said there. For if God Chooses us because we choose Him, then it's not really God's choice, is it? We're the ones doing the choosing. These Theologians are making a mockery out of the word 'Chosen,' just as they have of the word Predestinated!

Psalms 65:4

John 15:16 John 15:19 Matthew 22:13-14 This is the mockery that man makes of God's use of the word Chosen. Man in his pride and arrogance would change this to many are called, but few make the choice. The ultimate in wresting God's Word to make it conform to the philosophies of man. The truth is, Predestinated by God is really the only way it could be. For we cannot be Saved by any merit of our own efforts in choosing God. For in saying this, what man would actually be saying is, "while all those others sinners wouldn't freely choose God, I, being better, did and am rewarded." Again, that's the merit system which is opposite of Grace. We cannot be Saved because we do something to merit it, and we cannot be Saved because we make more righteous decisions than the next guy. And that's exactly what it would be if we indeed are the ones who choose God and thus gain Salvation because of that deed. There is none of us who would of his own seek God. And that's not rhetoric, that's God's declaration of our spiritual condition before He saves us.

Romans 3:10-12

How can these Theologians logically believe that there are some who understand, or there are some who of their own free will seek God, or that there are some who choose to do the right thing? God says no, there is "not one!" The natural man doesn't like God saying that, and so pretends it's really not applicable! But the Biblical facts are, we only have virtue to choose to come to Christ because God in His sovereignty gave it to us, and drew us to Himself. Like the Woman who touched the hem of His garment, He was the one out of whom the virtue came. We will not seek God without His pulling us. We understand that all these scriptures are true, and we will not of our own free will seek God. So then God Himself, through no merit of ours, but by His own sovereign will, and for His own purposes (Grace), draws us.

John 6:44

And for emphasis that word translated draw there is more accurately "drag." These Theologians read that, but unfortunately they don't hear it because they don't really like what Christ tells them. There is none righteous, there is none that seeketh after God, there is none that understandeth. We're all like a bunch of snakes. But if we are all like this, then why does one come to Christ and the other one does not? Here we have our answer. It's because the Father of His own free will seeks them, and draws them. As it is written.

Ezekiel 34:11-12

Luke 19:9-10 There is none that seeketh after God, and so God seeks after them. And no man can come to Christ unless the father does this. Some Theologians retort, 'Yes, but we must first receive him.' However, the Biblical fact is that man cannot receive Him of his own.

John 3:27

How then can man first receive when no man can receive, and how then can man first seek Christ of his own "supposed" free will, when no man can come? The answer of course is that, he can't! It is an unmerited gift given of God. Not because man deserved it by choosing, but simply by the unmerited Grace of God.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Our good works God hath long ago ordained that we should walk in them. Not of our own free will or our own good works, but by the work of Christ. Almost everyone who calls themselves a Christian will mouth the words, "we're Saved by the Grace of God," but in real application they deny it because they don't truly understand what Grace is. It is undeserved, unearned, unmerited favor. In other words, a completely free Gift. Do we really know what a truly free gift is? It is a gift that you didn't have to pay for by choosing it, and that you didn't get because you asked it, it was simply given with no strings attached! That's Grace! If the gift has strings attached, then it's not really free! This is what these theologians "CHOOSE" not to understand. If I offer a gift but say, 'first you must come choose it,' then it's not free. The price of this gift is you coming to choose it! If the gift is qualified by some deed, then it's not a free Gift, as the person giving it is indebted to give the gift "only if" (dependant upon) you do certain things. That's not Grace, that's debt! And God makes that abundantly clear, if we will receive it.

Romans 4:4

The true gospel is a gospel of Grace, not debt. It's God's sovereign will to choose whoever He wants to bestow His free gift upon. Not because we said the sinners prayer, not because we chose to come, but because God was merciful to Choose to Save us despite that fact that we would not seek Him. That is what that verse means when it says "..According to the good pleasure of His will." We didn't repent because we were sorry for our sin, we were sorry for our sin because God gave us repentance.

Acts 11:18

2nd Timothy 2:25 We repent because God gives us repentance. To this end were we called and predestinated (God's word, not mine) according to the sovereign good will of God to do so. Does God have the divine right to pre-determine who He wants to Save? Of course He does, it's His good pleasure to do so. Who are we to argue (with God) and say it's not fair, or not righteous because "we should" be the ones to choose Him and get the Glory? But that's exactly what man says. God doesn't move by what we think is right in our own eyes, He moves according to what is right in His eyes. By His will, not our will. Again God makes that clear:

Ephesians 1:11

Again, that's God's Word, not theologians! We have already been Predestinated to Salvation. Who predestinated us to salvation, and why is explained here very plainly. It was according to the purpose of God, not according to our choosing. In other words, as stated, for the purpose of His Counsel and that His will be done. That's why we were predestinated. Not at all because we choose of ourselves to do something according to our counsel, or our purposes, or our will. We were chosen, we love Him not because we are virtuous, but because He first loved us (1st John 4:19). By Grace we are saved from before the foundations of the world. We should give Glory to God for His mercy wherein when we were yet dead in trespass and sin, He, having foreknowledge of this, saw fit to Save us anyway. It is 'He' who causes us to hear, react, come, and walk in His laws.

Ezekiel 36:26-28

When God looked through time, He saw we wouldn't come to Him (as scripture states there is none that seeks after God) so He drew us to him by His own power! He Caused or made us to walk in His will. That is what we call a 'Merciful' God. We shouldn't think that God is unrighteous because He calls one to Salvation, and not another. Because we all by right should end up in Hell, and not one could protest that he didn't deserve it. But God in His Mercy has seen fit to Save some simply by His Grace. He's not then unrighteous in doing so, or unfair, or anything that man does imagine in the wickedness of his heart. In fact, this very scenario and question is answered in Romans 9:15. We should all read and consider this very carefully. It is talking specifically about this topic of Election (being Chosen of God), and speaking of Jacob and Esau. God says He hated Esau before he was even born! We might (in our human minds) ask, how is that fair? Esau hadn't done either Good or evil, and yet God hated him before He was born. God anticipates this question by man.

Romans 9:14-16

There it is! It's not because of what I think, or what I do, or what you do, or our deeds, or education, or heritage, or our good choosing that God decides to have compassion on us. It's by God's Election, or God's choice, before we were even born (as the verses we already read of predestination, before). God says, I will have compassion on whoever I will have compassion, and I will have mercy on whoever I will have Mercy. He's saying very clearly that it's His Sovereign Right as God to save whosoever He wants regardless of what they have done or not done. Regardless of circumstances of Jacob or Esau doing any evil. He declared the end from the beginning, ordaining that His will would stand and Jacob would become Saved. Because He loved him. It's not a matter of if God says these things, but one of if we will believe Him.

Isaiah 46:10

From the beginning Jacob was Loved and esau hated, and God's counsel ordained to stand that "His will' be done, not the alleged free will of man. But the thinking of the Church today is carnal, that this type action by God is somehow not fair. They think, Why Does God then find fault with people if He Saved one ahead of time? (..man is questioning God at this point, as if He is the suspect of some crime). The unfaithful church today does this continually in order to try and get sympathy for their views. But let's go directly to God and get His Answer for us. It continues..

Romans 9:19

That's God's answer to man! God replies, "Who are you to question Me! We can't question God as if we think Him unrighteous if He does this! He is not the suspect of some crime. We are the criminals, and He is the lawgiver! We are the clay, He is the Potter! Who are we to reply against God and insinuate that Predestination or being Chosen (Election) before we were born is somehow unrighteous? No it's not unrighteousness! God is infinitely wiser than we are. As the potter, He made us! Election or predestination is clearly taught throughout the Bible, and there is no way of getting around it without verbal acrobatics. He will do according to His will, not ours.

Daniel 4:35

Who can say, what are you doing God? So unless we wrest or twist the scriptures in a deceitful unbiblical manner, we must come to the conclusion that Man is Saved not because he decides of his own will he wants to be, but because God decides or chooses according to his will. It's God's sovereign right to Save whatever pot He wants, and not to save whatever pot He wants. Man has no right to say this is not righteous. Who are we to question it. And this is exactly what God is saying here in this verse. And if we study the whole chapter carefully, in context, and are honest with ourselves, we will see that these things are true.

But what about those verses which say all?

    There are certain verses in scripture which use the word All, that are often used in the attempt by some Theologians to deny the doctrine of Predestination. For example,

John 12:32

These theologians claim that this means that all men (everyone in the world) will be drawn to Christ. First of all this idea is contrary to everything else that the Bible says. Such as, "no man can come to me except the father which sent me draw him, and I will raise Him up at the last day." If this idea were true, all men would be Saved and raised up on the last day. We then become universalists.

The fact is, the word "all" is usually qualified. In John 12:32 it's used to qualify the fullness of men who believe. i.e., all men without distinction, not all men without exception. Note, this does not change the definition of the word all, it is simply qualified.

The question we must answer is, does the word "all" always mean all of everything in scripture, or is it usually qualified? Does "all" always mean every single man without exception, or is what it may cover defined by Bible context and reference? Let's look at just a few of many examples. Because the scripture plainly answer this question.

Mark 1:5

Most certainly not every single man, woman, and child (bar none) in the Land of Judea went to get baptized that day. It would be ludicrous for any Theologian to make such a statement. Therefore, we must understand without prejudice that the "all" there, is qualified.

John 8:2

Again, the "all" is qualified. Even though it says all, it doesn't in any sense mean that every single person there came to listen to Jesus. They could not all fit into the Temple. We understand clearly that the all is qualified.

Acts 22:15

Matt 10:22

John 3:26

In all these scriptures we see clearly that the word all does not in these instances mean every man without exception. Either the word "all" is being used in a sense of a hyperbole, referring to a very large number but not everyone without exception, or it is being used to speak of all men without exception. And so for a Theologian to make an all inclusive statement that "all" must mean everyone, or should be understood in scripture to mean all men on the earth, is a misnomer. As has been shown, it is clearly an untenable position.

As a practical example, If I were to say, "all the children rode the Bus to school". That is an absolutely true statement. But it doesn't mean all the children in the world, and it may not even mean all the children at the school. It could mean all the children in a town who ride the bus. i.e., like in scripture, the "all" is qualified! The word hasn't changed in meaning, it still means all, but it is qualified by what "all" we are talking about. Likewise, drawing all men unto Christ is qualified. It is not all men without exception, it is all men without distinction. From every race and nation, all who will ever be risen in Christ. It does not (nor could it, without contradiction) mean every single person in the entire world! It's the all who God says in John 6:44 can only come to Him if God draws them. Obviously, all men will not be drawn. Else why would God say no man can come unless he is drawn of God.

What about the verses that say "world?"

The same Theologians look at the verses which use the word world in them, and they do the same thing, not understanding (or in some cases, not wanting to understand) that those verses are also qualified. Verses like,

John 4:42

John 2:2

They look at these verses (and verses like them) and say, Christ is the Saviour of everyone in the world, not just an elect. But that's not what it say. God could have very easily inspired the words "every person in the whole world" to be penned there, but He did not because that is not what He is saying. The words "whole world" is qualified. Not that the word is changed, Christ is indeed the Saviour of the whole world, and indeed the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. But not "everyone in" the whole world. Again, not everyone in the world without exception, but everyone in the world without distinction. All the world who will ever have their sins propitiated (Jew, Roman or Greek), will have them propitiated by Christ.

Obviously some Theologians have not thought this out carefully. For if indeed John 2:2 was saying not our sins only, but also the sins of the whole world, it would mean that they were contrasting their sins, from the whole world. Meaning, the whole world is different from them. This very verse defines what is being talked about when it says that not only for us (the Jewish world) but also of the whole world (the gentile world also). That's obviously what is being said. Not all the Jews, and not all the Gentiles, but all those for whom Christ died. For if Christ is the propitiation for the sins of every single man and woman in the entire world, then by definition there is no one in the entire world who has any sin left. Thus all would be Saved because Christ would have satisfied the requirement for their sins. Consistently, this idea of paying for the sins of everyone without exception, an untenable position. For He was only the propitiation for the sins of those who were risen with Him, washed clean in His Blood. Obviously, that's not every jew in the world, nor every gentile in the world, but everyone in the world for whom He died. Not the Jewish world only, but the Gentile world also. This is also illustrated in another verse which uses this word world.

2nd Corinthians 5:19

This verse can "not" mean every man in the world without exception, because we know that every man in the world will not be Saved, and every man in the world will not have their trespasses "not imputed" unto them. On the contrary, Hell will be heavily populated! It means both Jews and Gentiles and every nation and tongue will have Salvation (the will not have their sins imputed unto them). The meaning becomes obvious when we are not predisposed to not receiving what scripture says. Man attempts to circumvent God's Word, but the truth of it is clear. God's Sovereign Predestination reaches to the whole world, not just to the Jewish people. That is the mystery (Col. 1:26-27) which was revealed to the Apostles. salvation to the whole world, not just to the Jews.

How Do I know if I am Predestinated?

The fact is, God calls all of us to Salvation. The question is not "am I predestinated?" That God's business! The question is, why don't I answer the call? If I answer the call, then I will be Saved, and I then know that I was predestinated. Those who ignore the call to Salvation could care less that they were not predestinated. The unsaved are not sitting around thinking, "Gee, I sure wish I was predestinated." Not at all! It's only the arrogant Church which is arguing about the unfairness of Predestination. But who is being short changed here? No One! For all the true believers are Saved, and the unbelievers don't want to be Saved. So who is shortchanged by Predestination? Anyone who comes to Christ, He will in no wise be cast out. That's a fact! If they come, then they were predestinated. Christ says Knock, and it will be opened unto you. If they knock, then they were predestinated. But the unfaithful church in vanity is upset because it denies them the glory of saying they did something or that they had some responsibility for their being Saved. In simple language, they want some credit (Glory). Predestination strips them of their Glory in having Chosen God, and places it where it belongs. All Glory to God for having Chosen Me! That's why they look at predestination as some horrible unrighteous thing. But the age old adage still rings as profound, true and wise as it always has..

"Predestination keeps no one out of heaven, but it keeps a multitude out of Hell."

No man can say he is not going to heaven because of Predestination. The fact is, they are not going to heaven because of their sin. Their judgment has nothing to do with them being predestinated to Hell. They are going to Hell because of "their own sin." And try as they may to place the blame on God, it lies squarely at their own feet. The fact that there is none that seeketh after God, is man's sin, not God's. Therefore, there is not one who can righteously complain about unfairly being cast into Hell.

Predestination is God's Business. Our business is to spread the Gospel that many might hear and be Saved. We are the vessels God uses to get the Job done. Our labor is in making sure that we are truly saved, and not just kidding ourselves. The way to make sure is to make sure we follow (not lead) the Word of God. We keep it faithfully.

2nd Peter 1:10

My friends, there is a great fall because the Church in large part has not made it's calling and Election sure. Jesus says, He that says he knows Me, and keepeth not My commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. Those are strong words! Those are ominous words! But the Church continues to say, "have no fear, you shall have Peace and Safety, and no evil will come upon you." But we simply cannot eschew the Sovereignty of God in teaching that Salvation is in our hands and not God's.

Being predestinated is not a dirty word, it is the Word of God. People don't like it because they want to keep their pride (Charitably called, self respect). They want to think they had something to do with their Salvation, when in fact it was All God's doing. 100 percent, All, Total, whatever you want to call it that signifies completely! God did it all. He saw you, He called you, He caused you to hear, He drew you to knock, and He opened unto you. It's not the other way around, where you knocked and He heard "your" voice. No, you heard His voice because He gave you ears to hear, and then you knocked. Read the scriptures carefully. Face the biblical facts, you were Predestinated and Called according to God's Sovereign will, or else you are not called and predestinated unto Salvation.

Predestination is not a private interpretation, it's a fact of scripture, Just as sure as the scriptures are true and trustworthy, Predestination is the fact that is written therein! God said it, He explained it, we believe it! ..who are we to reply against God about it's fairness. Who are we to argue with righteous God? Who are we to question God about it? I am no one to question God about what He says! ..Who are you?


Copyright ©1993 Tony Warren
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Created 3/10/93 / Last Modified 11/20/99
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