Predestination simply refers to deciding on something beforehand or determining in advance. John Calvin’s ideas about it notwithstanding, predestination is a thoroughly biblical concept. The word is used a good handful of times, referring to things God determined from His mind from before eternity. It is interesting to see the things God has predestined.
The New Testament teaches a predestined plan (Acts 4:28). The early church recognized this as they faced their first instance of opposition. As they petitioned for divine help, they acknowledged how the Father saw as part of His divine plan that Herod, Pilate, and the Romans would crucify Jesus. Reading passages like Ephesians 3:9-11and as we look at the Bible from a historical viewpoint, we can see this plan unfold with Jesus as the hero and central figure of scripture.
The New Testament teaches a predestined behavior (Rom. 8:29). Christians are predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. “Conformed” means to have the same or similar nature, and the point of context is that God’s plan of redemption featuring His Son opened the door for us to also become children of God. Through Christ’s redeeming work at Calvary, God looks at us as He does His only begotten Son. But, conformity is more than about form. It is about substance. Being in God’s Kingdom means we have a new identity, but it also means we have a new way of thinking and acting. We will think and act like Jesus! God determined that as part of His plan, that Christians would behave differently from the unredeemed!
The New Testament teaches a predestined message (1 Cor. 2:7). 1 Corinthians two speaks of the process of God revealing His Word to mankind. Paul calls it God’s wisdom, pointing again to His eternal scheme of redemption, predestined to our glory! God’s message to us involved the marvelous, thankfully intelligible, process of revealing or unlocking His mind and will through spiritual words. Scripture is the deliberate and intentional communication from heaven to earth.
The New Testament teaches a predestined position (Eph. 1:5). The book of Ephesians, in exalting the church of the Christ, exalts the position of those who have accepted Him. Adoption into the family of God means access to all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). God determined before making us from the dust of the ground , before breathing into our nostrils the breath of life, and before making us in His image that we should be given a place in His family through Jesus! He did this, making us sinless but knowing that we would become sinful. No wonder grace is central to Paul’s writing in this epistle.
May we never allow man’s distortion and false teaching of a subject cause us to cower or avoid the truth on that subject. It is a rich and marvelous study to look at the things and people (Christians) determined by God before even time began. It elevates the way we look at ourselves and the way we look at Him!