Church Family: I can remember being one of four pastors in a “Bible believing church” when the question was asked by a crew of deacons, “do you pastors believe in predestination?” I thought silently, as the very junior associate pastor, “ummm, yea, it’s in the Bible.” Two of the four pastors quickly said “no” while the third pastor abstained from answering the question. They looked at me waiting for my answer, I reluctantly and fearfully gave my vague answer, “if it’s in the Bible I believe it.” That moment was the first of many where I would encounter brothers and sisters in Christ denying and even demonizing God’s work of predestination as it is clearly taught throughout Scripture from Genesis to revelation. Why do people deny what is clearly taught throughout Scripture? (Rom. 8:29, 1 Cor. 2:7, Eph. 1:5-11)

Generally, the doctrine of predestination is disliked or denied because of several reasons. The top three I have experienced are, first, “it is difficult to understand.” Second, “it does not feel loving.” Third, “that is not how I was taught.” Nevertheless, our task as believers who are under the authority of Scripture, is to submit to God's authoritative Word no matter what it says. To do less would make God something He is not and that would be idolatry.

We must be careful not to make the mistake thinking that the doctrine of predestination or election is the doctrine where God sends people to hell in an unloving-unholy power move. Predestination is instead the amazing doctrine of how God sends people to heaven. Don’t make predestination something it is not or you will most likely hate this beautiful doctrine.

God has always desired for His work of predestination to be a doctrine of love, comfort, hope and undeniable certainty of eternal life with Him. God's work of predestination springs forth from His loving foreknowledge of us. Predestination is God saying, "I choose to give some mercy instead of giving them justice." Of course, we all deserve His holy justice for punishment of our sins. And yet, God has decided to have mercy upon those whom He wants to have mercy (Rom. 9:15). God can do that because He is God. His decision to do this was made before the world existed (pre-). God's decision to give mercy to some then results in a determined destiny, where they will spend eternity (destination).

As followers of Christ, who have been predestined to receive mercy from God rather than justice. That should create amazing and endless joy. We have simply been chosen by God to enjoy His work of redemption in which we live. God wants us to enjoy the eternal love that He has for us and He will enjoy the love shown by us in living holy lives, in unity, fellowship, worship, praise, thanksgiving, gifts and our service given to Him. And remember, God uses you as the means to dispense salvation to those who are still waiting for the good news of God's mercy that is available for them.

See you Sunday, with an undeniable destiny, Steve

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