Predestination: Christianity and Romans

Published: 2021-07-01 08:39:04
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Category: God, Jesus, Christian, Christianity, Theology

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Predestination is one of the most widely debated topics in the Christian world among many denominations today. There are many differing views and it is a harder topic to explain and understand. Often this topic is argued by twisting or taking the bible out of context. On the other hand many people truly don’t understand predestination and what it means or what it is. Others don’t want to understand predestination because of their fear that it might be truth. This paper will be outlining predestination and Calvinism by explaining this view as well as taking a deeper look into how Romans & Galatians fits into this view.
Predestination has been defined in many ways by the many different denominations. Predestination is ultimately defined in our final destination is decided by God before we were even born. God decides if we are to be saved or not. He has foreordained all things that have come to pass and will continue into the future. It is the act that God chooses those whom he wants to be saved and the rest are left for eternal punishment in hell. This is not because God is unloving but because he is just and righteous. In the end the goal and duty as Christians are to bring glory to God and to evangelize as many as possible.
Our concentration should be on Christ. Predestination is divided into two parts: election and reprobation. Election is unconditional and absolute; it is God’s election of man to salvation, not because of man’s works or merit. Election and reprobation have their basis in the good pleasure of God. Reprobation is defined as preterition and condemnation. Preterition is the passing over of some in the decree of election. God owes man nothing but judgment shown in Matt 20:15. God chooses whom he wants and man cannot justly argue against God for passing over him in election, which is God’s choice of condemnation.

God’s choice of saving people is the same as God’s choice of the condemnation of others. Condemnation is an act of God as a sovereign judge. This condemnation comes from sin, which also damns man to hell. In order for God to be righteous and glorified those who are in sin should be punished. Everything is done for the glory of God 2 Tim 1:9, Heb. 2:10. The fact that some are elected and others are not is explained through God’s glory and sovereignty. Anything that God does is for his glory and this is best demonstrated through his decrees. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose according to the council of His will, where by for His own glory, He hath foreordained what so ever comes to pass” (Shorter Catechism #8). God’s decrees are free, sovereign, absolute, and efficacious. God’s decrees are free in that he moves by his own good pleasure. God’s decrees are sovereign because nothing occurs outside of God’s control or knowledge. God is a God who reigns and is in control and not limited in any way. God’s decrees are absolute because they are not dependent upon any conditions that are not themselves determined by divine decree.
God’s decrees are efficacious in that they infallibly determine the certainty of the future events decreed. These decrees are for God’s glory alone and not all ways for the good of the creature. God’s decrees relate to all events and comprehend all things in heaven and in earth. Therefore His providence is determined through his decrees. Though God’s providence he preserves and directs all his creatures. In the view of predestination God cares especially for his elect. In predestination the more debated topic is that of man’s free will. This free will is the choice that man has to choose God or choose to let the Holy Spirit work.
This free will can be defined as freedom of indeterminacy or uncertainty, freedom of self-determination, and the power to contrary choice. Self-determination is directing ones self from the inside with no direction from the outside. The argument against predestination determines that a sinner freely chooses God or rejects Christ. The question of will is not whether man wills or even has a will, but whether God determines their will for good. Likewise the question is not whether a man chooses; but whether his choice has a cause or reason.
This choice or lack there of is shown through the fact that man is a slave to sin John 8:34. As a slave to sin can man truly choose that which is good? One example of this is in the truth that God cannot lie. It is against his nature. God does not want to lie, so he cannot lie through his own free will Titus 1:2. Some verses talking about the will of man include John 6:65 which states, “no one can come to me unless it has been granted to him by the father. ” In John 17:12 Jesus says that he has kept all those whom God has given him. According to John 6 man in his free will cannot believe because it is not in his heart to do so.
Predestination suggests that if man can choose God by the free will of his corrupt and perverse heart, it gives him more liberty and power than God himself. There is a barrier that every man cannot over come. That is the barrier of sin. It is not that he doesn’t want to choose God, although that is involved, it is that he cannot come to God, because he does not have the spiritual capacity to change his own heart and deny his own nature. Man always chooses sin and that which is corrupt unless he has a changed heart. Man is full of corruption.
Therefore, man’s free will gives man nothing and is not the source of his salvation. The issue comes up that God is not fair and that he is not loving. If God were just and fair all humans would be in hell suffering eternal damnation. Mat 22:14 suggests that many are called but few are chosen. Here is al list of verses supporting predestination: John 8:6-7; Rom 11:5-7; John 6:12, 37-39, 44, 46, 65; John 15:16; John 3:5-7, 19-20; John 15:16-19; 2 Cor 5:14-17; 2 Tim 1:9; Matt. 20:16; John 8:34; Romans 8:6-7; and 2 Tim 2:26. Predestination came about through the works of Calvin, which later was named Calvinism.
This view has give major points known in the word Tulip which is total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. Romans & Galatians include many verses on the subject of Calvinism and many of this view use Romans as one of the most powerful books toward their argument. The first point total depravity is strongly upheld in Romans. This is the total inability of man. Man’s nature is corrupt, perverse, and sinful throughout. The word “total” in this point refers to the whole man and being are depraved.
Man’s nature is sinful because of the sin that Adam committed in the very beginning. We are dead in sin. Man is utterly depraved and cannot come to God on his own accord. This is what Paul was trying to portray to the Romans. Chapter 3 best demonstrates this truth about man’s state in this world. The first verse in Romans that points to mans sinful nature and inability to accept God is in Rom 1:20 which states, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse. ” This verse emphasizes that God has given man enough knowledge about himself through this world and nature to condemn man. This shows that evangelism doesn’t even have to be present for man to be condemned. Humanity was condemned the day it was born. Man is depraved from the heart and cannot come to God unless the Holy Spirit calls him and changes his heart. Chapter 1 also demonstrates the vileness and depravity of the people in Rome.
Verses 24-25 say, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. ” Paul continues this same topic into chapter 2 and 3 of Romans. Verse 6 of chapter 2 says, “He will render to each one according to his works. ” God punishes those whom he wants because He is a just God. This same judgment is taken through verses 12-29. Paul then continues in chapter 3 preaching on the inability of man.
This chapter is the strongest support of this point of Calvinism. Verse 9 begins to show that Jews are no better than any other human being. Paul was preaching directly to the Jews telling them that no one is righteous, not even one vs. 10. He continues in vs. 11-12 “no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. ” There are none righteous in the whole world. The second point of Calvinism is the unconditional election of man. God chooses certain individuals from fallen sinners to receive grace and salvation.
God could have saved all men from condemnation or he could have chosen to save none but by his grace he has chosen those whom he wants. This choice was not because of man’s works but instead by the mercy and will of God 1 Thes. 5:9, Eph. 1:5. This point is also shown through Galatians revealing that our salvation is through grace not of works lest any one should boast. In Romans 1 also shows that God passes over some and chooses others. Verse 6 calls the elect the chosen ones of Christ. He chose to give over these Roman sinners to the desires of their heart in order that they may receive their due punishment.
God also darkens the hearts of those he chooses. Romans 8:28-30 states, “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 first-born 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. ” This verse most specifically talks about predestination because it mentions the word as well as how God works in the process of salvation.
In these verses we see that God does predestine mankind to be saved or for condemnation. Those he chose he also called. Later in vs. 33 Paul directly references Gods elect. The strongest passage for unconditional election is Romans 9 speaking on the subject of God’s sovereign choice. Paul was taking examples from the Old Testament. Paul calls the elect as the children of promise in vs. 8. God chooses not because of what man did but because of hi own will. Verse 10-24 talks about God’s purpose in election. He chose man before he was even born having done nothing bad or good vs. 1. Verse 13 states that “Jacob have I loved, but Esau I have hated”. This shows the will and sovereignty of God. Paul continues to emphasize that God is fair and he does what he chooses with whom he chooses. Many suggest that God is not fair and that God is showing favoritism when he chooses some and not others but God himself says in vs. 15 “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. ” Romans continues to show that as creator God can do whatever he wants with his creation and creatures.
God uses us for specific purposes in this life and we are all apart of God’s plan. It is hard to understand God’s decision to create creatures just for condemnation but this is reality. Romans 9:22 states, “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. ” In the end man chooses sin and can only choose sin. Whether or not predestination is true, man goes to hell because of his decision. Some other verses regarding the election are found in Romans 11:5, 7, and 28.
The third point in Calvinism is particular redemption known more commonly as limited atonement. This is explained through the work of Christ on the Cross. Christ only atoned for those whom God chose to be saved by grace. Therefore Christ didn’t die for the whole world but instead died for those who were called (the elect). Romans 8:30 also demonstrates this point. Christ’s power on the Cross was eternal. Therefore with this kind of power Christ had to only died for those who God chose and believed in Him because if Christ had redeemed the whole world then the whole world would be blameless before God and saved.
If Christ had died for the world then he would have died for those who have already gone to hell. This limits Christ’s power and ultimately makes Christ’s role in this world for sinners meaningless. The fourth point of Calvinism is the efficacious call of the Holy Spirit also known as irresistible grace. The Holy Spirit uses the gospel to call people to himself and God. He calls the elect from the inside and places a desire for God in their hearts. This call of the Holy Spirit is irresistible meaning that man cannot resist the power of the Holy Spirit.
Those who were called by the Spirit were saved by Christ on the Cross and justified in the sight of God. The Holy Spirit is also powerful and his calling is irresistible. Whenever the bible speaks of the calling of God this is reference to the calling of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 1:15-16 states, “But when he who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. ” Paul constantly suggests that we are called by his Grace.
The fifth and final point of Calvinism is the perseverance of the saints. This is the security that believers have in Christ to never fall away from the hand and hold of Christ. All believers are eternally secure in Him. No one or nothing can separate God from His elected. We are saints in Gods sight. Romans 8:38-39 proves this point which states, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. This shows that nothing can be taken away from God’s hands or snatched out of His fingers. Christ is powerful and Satan can do nothing against the power of God. This verse specifically names many things and some powerful things but nothing can take believers away from Christ. Believers cannot loose their salvation. If believers could loose their salvation then God is limited and the devil is more powerful than God. This would also negate Jesus and his role on earth. Paul speaks of the righteousness of believers in Christ in Galatians 3.
Paul begins to talk about being in the spirit or having salvation and suggesting to them that they are foolish because they are in sin and their fleshly desires are dominating. Paul continues to talk about the promise given to Abraham, which is eternal life. This covenant and promise that believers have in Christ is eternal and not moving or changing. This shows that believers cannot loose their salvation but instead they were not saved in the beginning or they are struggling with their sin. Predestination is clear to some but not to others many also use verses in Romans and Galatians that point away from Calvinism.
Romans 5:18-19 states, “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the ones man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. ” This verse shows that condemnation is for all men, which is direct and true but then Paul says that Christ’s act on the cross leads to justification and life for all men. If this were true then all men would be saved. Therefore, Paul here is talking about all believers.
Romans 10:13-14,17 also states, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how are they to call on him whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? So faith comes form hearing, and hearing from the word of Christ. ” This verse also shows that those who call on Christ are saved. Many take this verse to mean that humans have a choice to call on God while they are in sin and that this leaves no grounds for unconditional election.
Man cannot call unto God unless the Holy Spirit has worked in their hearts so that they no longer are subject to the power of sin and the blindness that comes from sin. Predestination is a powerful view and is debated among many but the most important fact about the Christian life is not the small things of doctrine but instead the Christian duty to go out into the world and preach the Gospel to the nations. Christians are called to serve Christ and build up one another not argue about doctrine. Christ is the most important part of being a Christian and that fact many times is overlooked.

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