Doctrine of God: Predestination and Salvation
January 31, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Scripture: Jeremiah 29:1–29:11
Scripture Reading ->Jeremiah 29:1-11
Last week we introduced and began exploring the Biblical doctrine of what is commonly called predestination – also known as election.
Historically, this Biblical idea is rejected by many people as it makes them uncomfortable.
Many people today are inordinately concerned with their own autonomy and are more interested in keeping themselves on the throne of grace instead of God.
Oh, they’ll quickly say they believe in God and will protest profusely if you suggest otherwise.
They’ll quickly say they believe in the Bible but they only believe the Bible when allowed to adjust it or modify it or make exceptions to it.
These same people will say the word “Predestination” is not in the Bible.
The State of Man
I submit the words “Solar System” and the “United States of America” cannot be found in the Bible but we know they exist.
We know the Bible speaks about the solar system and we know the Bible speaks of governments and nations.
So…we, as a congregation, are learning ... better.
We are learning the importance of reading the Scriptures and letting them speak for themselves instead of us speaking for them.
We are not afraid of saying what we believe with something of more usefulness and with more meaning than simply saying “I believe in the Bible.”
You may as well be saying you “believe in belief” as it will communicate just as little information to the other person.
We have come to understand that we need a confession of faith to help us clearly say what we mean.
When we say we believe in the Scriptures, we mean, without equivocation, that the Scriptures are the very breath of God.
- They are infallible.
- They are inerrant.
- They are inspired.
- They are the sole rule of authority and all we need to live a life pleasing to God.
We mean to say that the Bible is the source of all truth.
- That God created all things through Christ.
- That man in born into sin and there is no inherent goodness within man.
We mean to say
- that everyone has gone astray and
- is without excuse before a most Holy and Righteous God and are worthy of death.
We mean to say
- That Christ is the only way to be restored in relationship is through Jesus Christ.
- That Christ is the only way to reach the Father.
We mean to say
- that you must confess Jesus Christ and
- you must, therefore, live a life of obedience and faith.
- That you cannot have one without the other.
We mean to say
- that no-one can truly be saved unless first God, before the foundation of the world, has chosen that person to be holy and blameless before him in love.
Do you remember that verse? It is in the Bible. In Ephesians 1.
- It is God that does the choosing. ---------- Not man.
There are people who say they believe in God and give lip-service to Him
- but they retain themselves in the position of God,
- they say that man has a free will to choose.
- they say that man chooses to follow God out of no other compulsion.
But this is wrong. This is not the truth. This is not found upon Scripture.
This is folly
- springing up from man’s imperfect and fallible and fault-ridden wisdom
But, you see, God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the thing things with are might.
I have no illusions that I could ever hold power equal to Almighty God
…that I could make a decision that would then force His hand to respond with an action that I desired.
Were it not for Christ first loving me,
- I would not love Him.
- I could not love Him
Were it not for the Holy Spirit
- creating in me a new nature, I would have no desire for the things of Christ.
Were it not for God
- determining before the foundation of the world that I should be holy and blameless before Him
- I would be completely and utterly lost in my sins – oblivious and hardened with a seared conscience.
And so it is with all who might taste of the glory of God.
There is no hope, no strength in the race of man to obtain salvation on their own.
But God has made a way.
- God has chosen.
- God had foreordained.
- God has predestinated.
If not for Him, for Christ, the entire human race would be lost and without hope.
- it is simply unthinkable that God,
- the omniscient, almighty, all-powerful, all-wise, most holy, most righteous, most loving God
- would create a world without any plan or designs to ensure the best for His Glory and for His people.
Regardless of what one may claim, everyone really does believe in some form of predestination. All of us live our lives every day as practical predestinarians.
You’ve heard me speak about practical atheists.
Well, this is practical predestinarians.
What do I mean by this? Reason through this with me….
Before someone begins upon a long journey
- plans are created and laid out and determined beforehand.
Before a building is created
- the architect first sits down and puts pen to paper to draw out the beams and measures and calculates the forces and strengths and beams….
Even Solomon, the wisest man of all time, did not set out to build the temple by first throwing together a couple of stones and then, seeing how they happened to arrange themselves, threw a couple more, and a couple more after that….
Example: 1 Chronicles 28:1-20
In fact, the larger our plans and more important to work,
- the more one sets about to create a plan and design the way it should go.
On top of this, as the least to the greatest plans are laid
- we expect our plans with expectations that things will ultimately end up according to the manner of our expectations.
It would be the height of arrogance and foolishness to embark upon a great project, from building a skyscraper to preparing for a job interview or preparing for next year’s crop without first sitting down and preparing a plan.
Therefore, is it really so strange to believe that God, also, has a plan? No.
Even when Israel was carried off to Babylon, He still had a plan…
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
And the Bible lays it out clearly for us.
The only reason, then, to object, is either
- from misunderstanding the Scriptures or
- being more concerned with maintaining one’s own position in on the throne of their life instead of recognizing the truth…
- the truth that God always has been and always will be on the throne.
How could it be otherwise?
- A cause produces an effect. And that effect becomes the cause of another effect. So on and so forth until and seemingly infinite array of events, interlaced with one another, work together producing a complex sequence of never-ending events.
Now, ask yourselves this…
- Do you expect to find more comfort in thinking that your finite, limited mind is capable of controlling and directing all these events in your life?
- Or, do you expect to find more comfort in attributing cause into effect into cause into effect into cause into effect to some mysterious, unthinking, unreasoning, unintelligent force such a “luck” or “chance” or “fate”?
- Or, do you find more comfort in the Scriptures. Knowing that it is the all-powerful God - the loving, kind, just, holy, awesome, righteous, all-wise God that is in control.
This is the concept of predestination.
Will you not sleep better at night knowing that the sole God of the universe tenderly holds you in His hand such that nothing and no one can remove you from His care?
Of course you will.
Whether you admit it or not – in the deep, dark reaches of the night, we all want someone to protect us, you make us feel safe…to tell us that everything will be ok.
Turn with me to Romans 8:29-35
Do you not find comfort here?
In these verses the gospel can be found.
- He foreknew.
- He called.
- He justified.
- He glorified.
- He did everything.
- He does everything.
Remember, last week we defined “Predestination” as this:
- It is the purpose of God respecting His moral creatures.
- It is God before the foundation of the world who chose particular individuals unto salvation.
And, we looked at so many Biblical passages that reinforced and taught this very concept.
And isn’t this just he concept we’ve explored this morning?
So, where does that leave us?
- It leaves us squarely at the feet of God.
- It leaves us at the only place where we want to be, at mercy of God.
What is Next for Believers?
The days in which live are expected to become increasingly difficult.
- We might be brought lower than ever
- We might be caused to question our faith
- We might be challenged and persecuted and marginalized
But, if you belong to God,
- you can take immeasurable comfort that you will persevere through whatever comes until you see Christ in glory.
And how do you know?
How can you be assured of this? Consider there questions as you examine your life…
Do you love Christ more than life itself?
- Do you find yourself sacrificing your own desires, your own comfort, your own feelings so that you might minister to others?
- Will do what is inconvenient to be obedient to Him or are you more concerned with what you think is right and justified in your own eyes?
- Do you love His church?
- Are you there every time the doors open to hear His word?
- Are you there to minister and be ministered to by His people?
- Or are you more concerned with yourself and your own comfort?
What is Next for Unbelievers?
Do you have the same level of assurance in God? On what do you place your faith?
Consider these questions....
Do you think you have enough of God, by yourself?
- Do you think you can serve him by lounging at home on Sunday?
- Do you think you are going to be saved because you wish it?
- Do you think you are going to be saved because you are a good person?
- Do you think you are going to be saved because you like theology?
- Do you think you are going to be saved because you have a feeling?
Are you more interested in your knowledge and your assertion that you are right and everyone else around you is wrong?
- Do you thrive on your own estimations?
- Do you find comfort in yourself?
- Do you think you have the final say on what is right or wrong?
My friends, hear me today.
There is a great lie in the world today - that everybody will ultimately be ok.
Listen to me.
- Nobody deserves salvation
- Nobody deserves mercy
Everybody deserves hell and eternal punishment.
Everybody is guilty of sin against a Holy God
- even the smallest sin is deserving of damnation.
You can’t save yourself.
You can’t wish it.
You can’t demand it.
You can’t earn it.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of this….even though we know it deep within.
- We all deserve hell. Every single person.
- We’ve done nothing to merit forgiveness or salvation.
Quite the contrary – the world today does everything it can to reject God.
- The only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way.
Back to predestination..
God knew this and determined from before the foundation of the world and has made certain that whosoever will believe upon Christ and confess Christ, shall be saved.
Signed. Sealed. Delivered.
- So.…believe that Christ is Lord
- So….confess that Christ is Lord
Fall down on your knees in repentance.
- Confess your sins before God.
- Seek forgiveness. –
The Bible “Seek and ye shall find.”
Seek Christ with all that you possess…before it is too late!
If you do this with all your heart, with integrity, and true desire for acceptance by your Creator…
(Note: I said His acceptance of you…not your acceptance of Him)
Do this, and I believe, you will be answered.
For both old and new and in-between believers...
- join a solid, confessional Church
- that can clearly articulate their doctrine
- that is more concerned with Scripture than their attendance numbers
- that is more concerned about Christ than entertainment
- Don’t buy into the deception that you can “worship at home” on Sunday
Live for Christ.
- Not for yourself - for Christ.
- Not for your friend or your spouse.
If you do this …. Everything else will fall into line.
There is no better life than a life lived in the service of God.
- Live out a life worthy of the sacrifice Christ has made.
- Live out a life in gratitude and thanksgiving.
- Live out a life in manner than fully shows you love Christ.
- Live out a life that speaks…that screams you belong to Christ.