Saturday, September 3, 2022


This topic seems to easily cause heated discussion, dividing opinion and rousing difficult thoughts and emotions, and unfortunately, sometimes these discussions can highlight ugly traits of our fallen natures, including pride, arrogance, and anger. We can invest too much in being “right” about our theology.

I did not envy a minister recently who spoke from Romans 9. ( He did it well)
I'm not sure we are meant to nut out and fully resolve the mystery of election and I believe we should be careful not to draw particular conclusions despite what appears to be clear logic.
God is above and beyond our reasoning abilities. He can bring the universe into existence simply by his powerful word.
He is able to do much more than we can ever ask for, or imagine, and his goodness is deep and wide.
So I am able to find joyful security and peace in being saved and forgiven by grace alone, implying that God chose to flood his saving goodness on me even before I had a chance to show how bad, or really bad, I would turn out, or made any "commitment".
Grace is that key word that separates Christianity from all other religions.
The word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us full of  grace and truth.
Jesus is Lord and we are saved by grace through his work on the cross.
So everyone who is saved, is saved by grace, and that grace is poured out on all whom God chooses. That is election. That is predestination. Sometimes the word “limited” is used in conjunction with the word election, but my understanding of God is that he is not limited by what we think he might be. For example, five loaves and two fishes should not feed a crowd of five thousand hungry men and their families leaving twelve basketfuls of left overs.
What is not stated anywhere in my reading of the scriptures is that people are therefore predestined to hell.
It seems a logical mathematical conclusion, but we are not able to, or have any authority to make these conclusions.
We trust God in all his decisions and unsearchable judgements.
I find it interesting that in the cases of Cain, Ishmael, Esau, Saul, Absolom, Saul of Tarsus, the thief on the cross, Simon the sorcerer, Pilate, Judas, and many others, that God’s dealing with these people is more merciful than expected.
We are to carefully consider the kindness and severity of God, but do we see his kindness even to those who are actively evil and relatively unrepentant?
I am not a universalist.
I do believe in the existence of hell, and Satan and demons and evil.
I also believe that there is only one way to heaven and that is through the perfect sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. Everyone who calls on his name will be saved.
I am also familiar with the verses that speak strongly of Gods love and patience for all the world and his desire that all men (humans) should be saved.
I am well aware of the hardening of Pharaohs heart and the example of the potter having the right to decide what part of a lump of clay will be used for common and which part for noble purposes.

But in all of this, I do not see the conclusion that we need not concern ourselves with the “lost” as they are predestined for hell, nor do I conclude that there is no need to present the good news of forgiveness to others because God has already predestined people to salvation.

If I take the example of Paul, he seems to have gone above and beyond, in his every effort to present the gospel to as many people as possible. He asks his fellow Christians to pray that he would do that every time he opens his mouth. He understood that what he had to share was vital for all who heard him. He did not expect Jesus to appear personally to each person, as he had to himself. He took his responsibility in sharing the wonderful truth of forgiveness in Jesus, very seriously.

Reading through the book of Joshua, we come to the story of Rahab, the prostitute who helped the Israelite spies. As a result, she and her family are spared (saved) from the destruction of Jericho.
Who’s actions saved Rahab’s?
Hers?, the spies? Joshua’s?
Yes could be said to all the above, because all made decisions. But in the first place it was God who informed Jericho of who the Israelites were and what they had done, and it was God who gave Rahab the faith to put her trust in these spies. And it was God who led the spies to Rahab’s house, and gave them safety there. Does that nullify the faith decisions made by Rahab, the spies, and Joshua? By no means, but it does put our cooperation with God’s will in better focus. God, it appears to me, is pleased with our positive cooperation with his perfect plan, but at the same time is not limited by it. Also, his perfect justice is never threatened or thwarted by our decisions or cooperation, or lack of.

And was Jericho’s destruction predestined? Or was it the result of God’s holy judgement coming upon a nation who had gone well beyond God’s tolerance of rebellion.

Faith and Grace work powerfully to save. But the cross of Christ is the work of salvation, it is the cross that demands our full attention by faith, and the resurrection is the explosion that releases the full force of God’s grace.
God’s plan of salvation is deeper than our wills. And all of our mind, soul, strength and heart is involved in its working out.

We trust God in his perfect plan, and we are energized by hope and love for those around us, with whom we love to share the joy and hope that is in our hearts.

When we share a meal, we do not simply give our guests packets of frozen food, uncooked out of our freezers. Leaving them to do the best they can.
We share food that we have lovingly laboured over, enjoying the process of preparation, and then enjoying in the shared eating of the meal. Giving thanks to God who provided everything.

But the meal is actually prepared by God himself, in the mystery of his invisible presence with and in us.
If it relied solely on my effort, even on my willingness, or my agreement, then I would lack peace and security at my possible failure or I would be filled with pride in my success. But if it is God’s gracious will at work, then I am secure, and humble.

I trust God’s sovereign choice. I am so glad it is his will that gets me over that threshold, through the sea of my rebellion, on the firm ground of his commitment to me. I do not trust my own ability to make a life long commitment and keep it to God’s standards. Jesus often highlights the strictness of those standards, implying, for example, that thoughts of adultery are equal to adultery, that anyone who looks back after putting their hands to the plow is unworthy, that no rich person could enter the kingdom of heaven. But he also makes it clear that what is impossible for man is not impossible for God.

Trusting in God’s sovereignty, frees me to walk in the purposes he intends for my life, without the terrible guilt of failure dogging me at every turn. If God is for us who can be against us? These are powerful passages, giving us endurance and hope in times of trouble.

I believe in election, but I deliberately give no space in my mind or heart to consider or debate “predestination to hell”. I don’t see it as a topic of the scriptures, I feel no need to try and “resolve it” mathematically, or logically. I see no benefit in the pursuit of these unnecessary questions for anyone, and I know, by faith, that God’s goodness and mercy will never be brought into question. His grace is more than sufficient.