God does not just do loving things, He is Love. Out of His love, He freely and willingly created man in His own image and likeness though being fully aware that man will fall. Because He is love, the alpha and omniscient, He does not offer mankind a gift He knows they can’t receive. This is why from the foundation of the earth, He prepared the Lamb and sacrificed Himself so that in His appointed time, He’ll make public spectacle of His enemy at the cross on behalf of man. So, God’s nature in man is a gift.
Man through lack of faith in God fell. But God had a first-hand plan to restore man by offering him His sacrificial gift.
One of the strongest characteristics of a gift is that it can be rejected. Every gift that cannot be rejected is anything but a gift. In which case, we must find another name for it.
Salvation is an eternal gift from God to man. It’s a gift that has an eternal value which must be received by man to enjoy eternity. It’s not an afterthought gift—it was prepared by God from the foundation of the world, sealed and presented to mankind at His appointed time in Christ.
God is not just the source of faith, He is the Faith
God being the faith, exhibited faith in man irrespective of knowing that man will abuse the gift of free will He gave to him to use the way he chooses. He was teaching man by example what it means to have faith in Him.
God’s original intention is for man to fellowship with Him by faith as exhibited by His relationship in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. And, that His intention has not changed. After man fell, because of His love for man, He gave him a school master (the law) to constantly remind man of Him and consistently show them that they will never enjoy Him again except they return to Him by faith.
Rom 7:14 tells us that the law is spiritual while man had become carnal (faithless) as a result of the fall. So, the law always shows man that he is weak and needs a savior. God created man as a being of faith and will, but also gave man the law knowing that its burden will eventually drive man to exercise that faith to seek for a saviour. It remains the truth that man fell because he used his will to place his faith in the devil (self-gratification). This is actually the crime man committed against God. To have used the blessed privilege God gave him of free will to reject and hurt God—an eternal crime that needed eternal remedy.
Manifestation of the Remedy
It is God’s character to always give a foretaste. So right from Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel and the prophets, He started indicating to the devil that he is in big mess because man will once again, in a scale that beats the devil’s imagination, would freely, willingly and joyfully choose Him (God) their creator over him (Satan). Therefore, Heb 11:26 associated those people of faith in the Old Testament with Christ even before He was manifested.
His appointed Time
God’s grace that rested on the men of faith in the Old Testament exploded on the earth as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ (the physical manifestation of what took place from the foundation of the earth 1 Pet 1:20, 1 Cor 2:7, 2 Tim 1:9, Titus 1:2), which was what the people of faith in the dispensation of the law tapped into but has now appeared to all mankind—born and unborn. It’s made available even for the unborn because Adam’s fall made man’s DNA totally depraved. Nevertheless, we must remember that God did not create man originally depraved. Man’s salvation is not found within man but within the sacrifice God had already prepared outside of man. This sacrifice is however only accessed by faith. How wise God is!
God who created man knew that man will remain a being of faith as He created him in spite of falling. Man can only lose this privilege after death. This is why we’re to accept Christ’s sacrifice while we’re still living. So, without Christ’s sacrifice no one could have been saved not even those who kept a great deal of the laws of God in the Old Testament. It’s on this platform I will discuss the topic of predestination below.
My greatest intention here is to inspire believers to pray, study and converse with the Holy Spirit on this topic and arrive at least on a conviction rather than just swallow what is popular or convenient. I will borrow from those who are wiser than me to say, understanding this doctrine is not a prerequisite for salvation nevertheless; I believe it does affect our walk and service to the Lord Rev 3:8. Everyone who is in Christ must recognize that the devil cannot force them against their will to deny Christ.
There are very few Christian doctrines in which, even renowned teachers of the scripture quote more names of saints who are not mentioned in the bible in order to authenticate it as much as in the teaching of foreknowledge, Predestination, election and calling.
At this point, let me mention that every calling of God is based on election and election is based on predestination which is based on His foreknowledge 2 Tim 2:19, “The Lord knows those who are his,”. God calls every human being!
What is His foreknowledge based on?
Difficult questions like this makes predestination one of those tough Christian doctrines many believers fear to study closely. So, it’s been left to theologians and even many theologians have not painstakingly and prayerfully sought God’s answer but have taken the position of being content to accept what past reputable servants of God laid down. While, we’re encouraged to behave like the Bereans regarding most teachings, this one seems to be an exception, but such position in my opinion is resorting to tradition which does not encourage conviction Rom 14:23, 5.
The difficulty of the doctrine is made even more difficult because it is usually expounded in such an academic fashion. I believe it’s done so as to conceal what is actually being said which is, in its finality, that some people are destined for salvation and consequently others are not. Its ripple effect means some people are for honourable use and others for dishonourable and as such, they can be dispensed of by God to hell and eventually to the lake of fire. Any attempt to hold a different view to this not too correct perspective is usually met with vehement resistance and viewed as disrespect to faithful servants of God whose works have been a huge blessing to the body of Christ. Such view gives credence to a laisser-faire attitude to spiritual discipline.
The silent punch in the doctrine that God elected only some for salvation and not others, in the main, paints God as originator of evil though it’s quickly cushion with Rom 9:10-29, who are you to question the maker—He is entitled to do whatever He likes. They call it sovereignty but, that is misinterpreting the beautiful sovereignty of God which, protect and favours man whom He has made for His own good not bad pleasure.
While Romans 9:10-29 portrays the unprofitable state of all mankind and God’s vehemence against evil and His determination to rescue man, Rom 9:30-33, points man to God’s solution. The answer to man’s predicament is faith in the prepared sacrifice of His Lamb. Jew or gentile, whoever humbles him or herself to acknowledge their filthiness in spite of their pretentious law keeping and look to the Stone in Zion will be saved Luke 18:1-14, John 4:7-25, Matt 15:21-28, John 6:37.
Scripture meditation and Conviction
I believe foreknowledge is on the basis of the sacrifice of the Lamb which avails for all who He brings into the world. No human comes into existence without God’s permission Gen 30:2, Deut 28:11, Ps 127:3. No human is destined to hell by God 2 Pet 3:9. All humans without exception are destined to salvation. The basis of my believe is this, God created only one human—the man Adam and everyone else came from him. The original plan for man who Adam represented is for salvation. This is God’s sovereign will for man—though, He willingly placed in man to choose Him or Satan. However, as a loving Father, He did not fail to instruct man on the right path Gen 2:15-17.
Examining predestination from the time of man’s fall rather than before the fall, leads to error in its interpretation. The fact that the bible tells us that God’s Lamb was sacrificed from the foundation of the world, gives us a clear picture that God knew that man was going to fall. Nevertheless, He chose to create man not as a robot but a living soul with the ability to make free choice. It is important to note that man’s free will is a gift resulting from God’s nature of faith embedded in man. Man’s fall did not make him the creation of the devil. Devil created nobody. The nature of the devil got infused into man. Man becametotally depraved but that didn’t change God.
Because God is omniscient, Alpha and Love, His plan for man did not change. And His sacrifice stirred by His love for man opened a window of escape for man. That window made it possible for man to once again put their faith in God their creator. And men through all ages have being taking advantage of faith’s open door to return to God.
It’s not forced because God knows better that forced love is no love Mark 8:34, Rev22:17. We as humans know that when we’re loved without coercion is better than when we’re loved because we have forced it even if it is done subtly. When people love us for what they can gain for themselves rather than loving for the sake of love it repulses us. Loving for the sake of love is what creates true relationship and intimacy. God knows this truth far better than we humans! And, this is the truth of intimacy He seeks with man.
God in creating man put this His nature in man (Adam) and Eve. They kept using His nature in them to love and fellowship with Him until the devil came and contested their loyalty to God just as he does today with everyone who is in Christ. At this point, God could have turned them to robots so that they’ll not exercise the gift of free choice He gave them but He did not because He had made a provision for man’s escape. It is extremely crucial that we note that He made a way of escape without changing His original intent to see man love Him as a loving father by the use of the gift of choice He gave man in Christ. How are you using yours?! John 14:15.
On the earth, man is the only thing that has life and the Spirit of God in itself. Other things have life—for existence e.g., the plants and animals. God did not breathe into them to give them life like He did with man whom He created in His own image. So, Oxygen in man is not the Spirit of God in man.
All the time they were in the garden and kept their eyes and expectation on God’s usual evening visit, obeyed and served Him, His Gold and Silver overlaid or clothed their souls so they were not naked. And their clay or body remained an agent or a vehicle to express the Gold and as a result enjoyed health.
Unfortunately, after man had lived for a while in the garden of Eden loving God by not eating from the tree as commanded by God, the first opportunity they had to show that they indeed prefer Him to self and Satan, they failed by obeying the enemy, consequently showing contempt toward God their creator. Without reference to God, man got into communion with the devil and learnt how to please self and obey Satan. Their choice instilled a fallen nature to all mankind.
However, man was still destined to salvation because of God’s love for man. Man made of clay served as a jar containing the Spirit of God which is the Gold buried in the earth. The result is that man lost the Gold in him, the Gold that is honourable, eternal and the hope for eternal bliss with God. Man became, so to speak, a beast living for itself and for the one who ruined his destiny (Satan).
We will continue our meditation on “Predestination” in the next post