This very important subject is, perhaps, as much misunderstood as any subject in the Bible, and we are, perhaps, falsely accused as to our teaching on this subject more than any other.
The latin pre means before, or to go before, and destination means a final landing, or a final point to be reached; hence "predestination" would signify a previous arrangement for a final end to be reached.
Predestination, as taught in the Bible, is an act of God. It is His determination, and His design, that a certain end be reached. His predestination is most surely His decree, and such decree is unchangeable. Whatever He has determined is just as sure to be as He is God. "Whatsoever His soul desireth, even that He doeth. " That is why I ask that you especially notice that it is His works that are predetermined, and our works are ordered.
His determination was, and is, that all His children be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. viii. 29, 30) . Seeing that, by nature, none are like Christ, it was His will, His design, His determination that some be conformed to the image of Christ. He determined this in Himself. There were no doubts expressed, there were no promises made that you may be conformed to the image of Christ if you will accept Him, or if you will believe on Him; but it was emphatically stated by the mind of inspiration that God did predestinate. those whom He foreknew to be conformed to His image.
Seeing, then, that He made such a declaration, it follows that He knew what was necessary to that end. Everything, then, that was necessary to that end was embraced in that predestination of God. So, after awhile, at the consummation of all the necessary events, every individual who was embraced in this determination will be conformed to His image, and be fully qualified and capacitated to live in heaven.
It would not be like the nature of God to determine a thing to be and then not bring it to pass. God saw man in his fallen state. God also saw him in his glorified state. He knew the necessary essentials that must be administered to bring him from a fallen state in sin to a justified life in Christ. God knew that this could not be brought about by man. Therefore, He said, in Rom. viii. 30, that He would call those whom He had predes- tinated.
Then the call from nature to grace was necessary, and surely a part of His work in the great conformation. Man could never be in the image of Christ while abiding in sin and death. God, therefore, determined to call him from this state or condition and to make him a new creature in Christ Jesus. This is His noble and mighty work. When He calls, in this sense, not one ever fails to -come, because it is a call from death to life. The word spoken is life itself. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
Now, notice, in that text (Rom. viii. 29, 30) He does not stop at the call, but those He calls, He justifies. He gives the children, whom He calls from death to life, everything that is necessary for their cleansing, and for their final preparedness to live in the glory world, "for' whom He justified, them He also glorified." This shows conclusively that everything that was essential to the ultimate glorification of His children was secured for them by Christ, and that according to the unchangeable purpose of God. He had determined beforehand that this end should be reached, and no one was, or is, able to hinder it.
Then, after Paul had reasoned upon God's determination to bring His children into the image of His Son, and had laid out that every part of this work was of Him, then He concludes by asking the question, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" "It is God that justifieth." That is, if God has determined this end and we see Him carrying out everything to bring His determination to bear, where is the poor, puny, sinful being that can lay a charge to one of His people, that He has declared and decreed shall be conformed to the image of Christ? Or who can bring a charge that God has done His part towards their justification and left a part undone for the poor, unsaved, unjustified sinner to perform in order that he be conformed to the image of Christ? Since it is God that justifieth, and God that works the great power of calling, regenerating, etc., we must submit that our sufficiency is of Him and in Him, and when we can realize that, we can exclaim, "Bless His holy name!"
This brings the poor sinner to a state where he realizes that justice would have cut him off, but instead of receiving justice, he has received mercy. The only thing then that the regenerated sinner can claim is, `I am only the undeserving recipient of God's justifying grace. " He then, in heart and soul, can exclaim,
"Amazing Grace!" It is amazing. It is astonishing and strange to him that the great God should be so merciful to one so unworthy. Did you ever feel unworthy of the great spiritual blessings of God? Then can you not realize that your worthiness was in Christ? Mercy came to you through Christ. You had no demand upon God's mercy and grace. It came freely through Jesus" Christ our Lord. It came because it is one of the essentials toward conforming you to the blessed image of Christ.
If our final destination, or home in heaven, is secured to us because we became determined and resolved within ourselves to become a child of God, then such would be the cause of our blessed state, and the predestination of God would fade from the minds of thinking people, and we would become proud, vain boasters. We would fail to acknowledge the great sacrifice of Christ. We would erroneously claim that we had made sure our home in heaven by our own determination to do so. This denies the solemn statement of inspiration which declares that He has determined, decreed by a purpose that cannot be altered or changed, that we shall be conformed to the image of His Son, in a perfect, glorified state, and all through His mighty works, which were performed by Him alone.Now, as you examine this subject, please bear in mind that my only motive is to teach the truth concerning this great subject. I feel that the little children of God, many of them, at least, believe that the cause of their salvation and preparedness for a home in heaven, is in their own determination to make it so. They believe that, because of the teaching of men. Such ideas in the minds of the Lord's people hide the great beauties that should be beheld in the perfect works of Christ, in bringing us into a state of preparedness for a home in heaven. I love to think that God would make sure and determine in Himself that all the redeemed family will finally be fully conformed to the image of His Son. Not one of them will be left out, nor be less glorified. All, alike, will be in the image of Christ.