Keeping an open mind to God’s word while we’re engaged in well-meaning doctrinal review is crucial for believers. Although scrutiny can catalyse differences, it doesn’t make it unnecessary. Differences can be healthy by showing us complementarity or safety lines.
Having said the above, in this exercise to ascertain God’s ultimate heart desire for humanity, let’s depend on the Holy Spirit to enlighten us through the scriptures.
What’s God’s ultimate heart desire for humanity?
The answer—is revealed in God’s two-fold purpose for breathing Life (Christ or Light) into Adam and Eve. The two pronged intent is: For humanity to have freedom to worship (talk and walk) with Him as His image bearer and from that vantage, till the ground as its caretaker (Micah 6:8, Ecclesiastes 12:13, Genesis 2:15).
Although Adam and Eve eventually lost God’s image through their disobedient choice (Genesis 3:6) and plunged humankind into darkness, God’s heart desire for humanity to worship Him didn’t change. In due time, His only Son (The Lamb sacrificed from the beginning) was sent as the Light—to light up humanity who lived in darkness and in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79).
However, because it was by choice humankind rejected God’s life freely breathed into our first parent (Adam and Eve), it’s also by choice that we’ll have to receive God’s free gift of life being offered to us in His Son.
But, given humanity’s gross depravity, are we able to choose life? Yes!
That’s what Christ’s atonement did — it tore the veil —making it possible for humankind to turn to the Light through the preaching of the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:19, Matthew 27:51, Romans 3:25, 1 Corinthians 1:21). Therefore, it’s proclaimed, ‘whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life’ (John 3:15).
God’s active desire ab initio was and still is salvation (His life to dwell in humankind Genesis 1:26, 1 John 4:14-15, Romans 10:13). It’s contrary to Calvinist predestination doctrine which portrays God as a trickster — engaged in offering a larger segment of humanity His Light — while He had predetermined by His sovereignty for them never to accept the Light. This blind spot is part of the fundamental error governing Calvinism. The scriptures to show how God have negated the rest of His attributes and used just one — “sovereignty” to act against every other thing He represents is yet to be provided.
True sovereignty of God works within the framework of His other characteristics like love, justice, patience etc. His sovereignty in perfect harmony with the rest of His attributes is displayed in His willingness to save humanity despite we were fallen. Herein, we’re shown godly sovereignty that’s not divorced from who He is. Because God’s sovereignty operates within His attribute of justice, He made the provision of His Lamb from the foundation of the world knowing He’ll never work against His own attributes. So, God’s Lamb is pivotal and inevitable since the Adamic sin that affected all of humanity had to be paid for.
Ironically, John Calvin’s discriminatory interpretation of predestination doesn’t resemble his namesake’s (John, the apostle) inspired scriptures in John chapter 1. Here’s what it says, ‘the Word or Logos was in the beginning with God as God and He created humans and the Word is the light of or for humanity (John 1:1-3, John 1:4). Notice, the Light is not for some predestined people.
‘The mission of the true Light, is to give light to everyone’ (John 1:9). The essence of John the Baptist’s ministry further solidified this truth: “God sent him as a witness to testify concerning the Light, so that through him all (not some) might believe in the Light” (John 1:6-9).
As John the Baptist made good of the ministry of being a witness to the Light, oppositions and distraction arose from the people who wanted to know who he was and his mission. But, he kept his focus on God’s heart desire and stated it repeatedly in an uncomplicated manner: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (humanity)” (John 1:29).For all intent and purposes, this clearly speaks of Christ’s general atonement for humanity and not limited atonement for specially predestined people(1 John 2:2, Isaiah 53:6).
Let all who want to praise the glory of God’s grace reflect again and again about His sovereignty alongside all of His other attributes. As we do, hopefully, we’ll eventually acknowledge that there’s no way God’s other characteristics would’ve been dormant for sovereignty to act independently. God is self-sufficient in wisdom and counsels Himself wisely! (Isaiah 40:13).
The Scope of the Light’s Mission
The Light’s mission was to all of humankind and not to any special people (Neither the Israelites nor a certain predestined multitude). Even the Israelites as part of humanity and by genealogy Jesus’s own people also refused to recognise and acknowledge the Light (Him) (John 1:10-11). But, because the Light (The Word) came as a fresh start for humanity, as many as received Him, those who believed in His name He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of parental decision but born of God (John 1:12-13, 1 Peter 1:23).
Evidently, God laced the apostolic ministry of John with His heart’s desire for humanity in a way that explained predestination. Pursuant to God’s desire to save all of humanity, John both faithfully and plainly proclaimed the remarkable action God took, ‘Out of His fullness, grace upon grace has been poured out to humanity’ (John 1:16, 4: 42, Titus 2:11, 1 Timothy 4:10). Unlike God’s “law of commandments” given to the Israelites by Moses as their culture, grace and truth (Christ Jesus or the Gospel) is given to humankind as a culture of Light or Redemption (John 1:17).
In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul stated repeatedly that God predestined humankind to redemption. To be holy and blameless through believing the gospel—God’s good pleasure for humankind. A pleasure He determined for humans in Christ from creation. This gospel (The Light—God’s Son) came to reveal His Father to all of humanity. Why? Because no one has ever seen or can see the Father except by seeing His Son (John 1:18).
How can the general atonement of Jesus Christ be entered into?
John stated the answer, “Make straight the way for the Lord” — meaning, believe in the Lord or repent — not from all of our sins but from the sin of rejecting the Light (John 1:23, Mark 1:15, Acts 3:19). Why do we refuse to come to the Light or His atonement? It’s because our hearts and deeds are evil and the devil uses it to blind us (John 3:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4). It has nothing to do with us not being predestined.
How do humanity that love darkness come to the Light? Jesus’s sapid explanation showed both His Father’s role and humankind’s. ‘… God takes the initiative to teach all to come to Christ, and everyone who hears, learn or agree with God accepts Christ (John 6:45). So, verse 45 of John 6 clarifies (John 6:44), ‘before anyone can come to me, they must first listen and agree with my Father’s persuasion’. Those who agree to come to me are those taught or persuaded by God and great will be their peace as spoken by the prophets and I will raise them up at the last day (Isaiah 54:13).
Whilst it’s the church that’s chiefly used by God to persuade humankind, He also directly persuades humans — including babies in their mother’s womb. Patiently, God endures with humanity so all can heed His persuasion! (2 Peter 3:9, 15). God is not devilish to be busy drawing (persuading) people He had predetermined never to accept His persuasion.
It’s clearly stated, ‘God sent the Light to humankind not to condemn us but to give us Light’ (John 3:17). This offer is to everyone everywhere (Mark 16:15). Why? Because He loves humankind (John 3:16). His desire (Predestination) is for everyone to enter into the Light of eternal life in His Son. It’s not a reserved privilege for a few elect, no! Those — few (Multitudes) who respond to God’s persuasion to go to Christ just as Jesus had to agree with God’s predestination to go the cross will be chosen or elected to abide in Christ as a new creation (Matthew 22:14, Luke 22:42, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Encouraging reason why every human should come to the Light or Christ’ Atonement
While it’s true that when we come to the Light the darkness in our hearts and evil deeds will be exposed to us, we need not be shamed or afraid because Christ made the atonement on the cross on our behalf and resurrected to give humankind life abundantly (John 10:10). If we accept His atonement, its effect doesn’t leave us with our sin, sins and shame (1 John 2:2). He translates us to light and helps us walk in the light (Matthew 5:14, John 8:12, 14:26, Isaiah 30:21, Psalm 32:8, Romans 8:14).
Consequently, the only reason any human will be lost perpetually is the rejection of the Lamb of God and not because they were predestined to damnation (John 3:18, Mark 16:16). It accounts for why the Prophets of old prophesied that Christ is the Messiah and the Apostles vehemently insisted that redemption is found in no one else but Christ Jesus, the light of humankind (Acts 4:12).
The True Gospel
The gospel does not become good news because He’s received. In and of Himself, He’s good news to humanity. That’s why He’s not limited to any socio-political cum religious and ideological enclave. Irrespective of the religion and culture we’re born into, God is daily drawing everyone to Christ, the Light of Humankind.
Through the Church (All those who’ve accepted God’s persuasion to believe in Christ and follow Him), the gospel is being displayed and preached to all humans that God, our Creator, has the welfare of each one of us at heart, to this end: that we should be saved in Christ (Mark 16: 15). This is the theme of the book of Acts. It isn’t a narrative of God conscripting some predestined folks.
God has never been in the business of forcing humanity to worship Him else, the rich young ruler and King Agrippa would’ve been conscripted. They freely and unwisely rejected God’s persuasion (Mark 10: 17-22, Acts 26:27-29).
Jesus himself, John, the apostle and John the Baptist including the other apostles and prophets pointed to this conclusion: everyone is invited to Christ Jesus, why? Because God doesn’t desire for anyone to go to hell (The unavoidable place for those who reject Christ’s atonement).
No human was predestined to go to hell to satisfy God’s cosmic pleasure. Far from it! (Ezekiel 18:23).
From the minute a sinner accepts and receives Christ into his or her heart, God’s reward is waiting for that individual whether the person dies immediately after or continues to live on the earth.
The question is, will the person who repents on their ‘deathbed’ receive an equal reward as the person who remains on earth producing good deeds and suffering for Christ?
Before answering the question, let’s remember that some people who are healthy become born again and die shortly after without the opportunity of having good deeds in Christ. God will not penalize them by giving them a lesser reward. Selah! It is our belief in Him that actually gets rewarded as opposed to the works grace accomplishes through us 1 Corinthians 15:10. God rewards our faith.
Christ told Paul, ‘you will see how much you will suffer for the gospel’. What does suffering for the gospel mean? It is labouring hard in the gospel with its attendant consequences.
Why did Paul and every other believer who remains on the earth have to suffer for the gospel? It was for him, and every believer to keep on believing in Christ Jesus and not for a reward. Every work the Holy Spirit accomplishes through us is aimed at keeping us looking to or abiding in Christ to the end.
This is the reason we’re told in Hebrews, ‘Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him as righteousness’ without works. And though His faith produced good works and he was rewarded with blessings, we’re told he did not receive the thing (reward) he was believing for. What reward did he look forward to receiving?
It’s important to know what the reward is because, the body of Christ (The church) is also looking forward to the same reward though she is presently receiving blessings for her work and sufferings in the gospel like the past people of God. We know that the reward is not ebullience because, Jesus said, ‘He delights to answer our prayers now so our joy may be full’. Believers’ full felicity is for now not a reward later in heaven John 16. To enjoy it, we’re encouraged to abide in Him and ask for what we want according to His will.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24 Paul said, “in a race, all run but only one gets the prize, so run that you may obtain it”. What is the meaning of “run” in Paul’s statement?
“Run” in Paul’s speech means, keep believing aright. All who keep believing or running aright are “one” — that is, (the Church). Only the Church will receive the prize. In other words, the Church (The body of Christ) is like a relay team that includes those that have finished their laps but are waiting for the final team member to reach the finishing line. Then, the team will be declared as overcomers and receive the reward Hebrews 11:40.
So, those who walked perfectly with God while on the earth are not yet made perfect because of us, the church. Why? The reason is, the phrase “not yet made perfect” speaks of the reward and they can’t get it until the Church as the “final member” finishes her lap of the race.
John the apostle, tells us what the reward is in 1 John 3:2, “Dear friends (Team or Church), now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is”. Notice the phrase, “We will be like him” When? At His appearing! This is the reward for which the saints are being kept by grace. Our perseverance in labouring in the gospel and suffering joyfully is to the end that we may keep believing in Christ.
Our believing ties us to His work which in turn refreshes our believing. The greatest reward or gold medal we will receive is Christ! We will be like our Lord, when He appears. Selah!
Before His appearing, even the walk of those pronounced perfect by God is only partial 1 Corinthians 13:10. His appearing will give the Church her reward in full. Of all the grace the Church has received, the appearing of Christ will bring in such grace the Church has never known 1 Peter 1:13. By this grace at His appearing, we will be like Him. Then, indeed, God would have brought many sons out from Christ as the first Son. No reward supersedes this!
After the Church is pronounced winner and all her parts decorated with Gold (Him), we will serve with Him in different capacities, as sovereignly assigned by God. The capacity each part will serve with Him is not earned by us.
Jesus explained it in Matthew 20. The hired labourers worked in His Kingdom’s vineyard. At the end of the day (Time of reward), each received the same prize though they started working at different times. They as “one man”, were rewarded with “one denarius” (representing Him or the Master’s heart). Same principle applied in Matthew 25. Both the servants with five and two talents were rewarded equally, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master”. Notice their differential talents of five and two were tagged little. And, both talent and reward was sovereignly given. The person with one talent who stopped believing had no work or fruit and was condemned. His lack of faith in the Master was the real problem as opposed to his fruitlessness John 15:4.
James and John wanted to sit, one on the right and the other on the left side of Jesus in Mark 10. Jesus promised them, ‘you will surely drink my cup and get the baptism of death as me but for sitting on my right and left, God will assign it to those for whom it’s prepared. Notice, Jesus did not say it’s for those who worked for it. Whilst the working or producing fruit cannot be separated from genuine faith, the fruit is as a result of faith.
While we’re busy in the gospel worshipping and serving others by faith, we’re consciously and unconsciously keeping our faith aflame. All who keep it aflame to the end will be saved and rewarded. His pleasure and reward is not for those who refused to repent (believe in Him) or for those who draw back and stop believing.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. We know that what we have done means nothing without the faith that propelled us to do so. So, the reward is actually for the faith as against the deed itself. Paul clarifies it in Romans 14:23, “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin”. This is why we don’t talk of heroes of deeds in Hebrews but of faith. Hebrews 11, was careful to highlight the means over the heroic deeds. There is no good deed found with Christians that cannot be seen with some people who are outside of Christ but, it is faith that matters to God.
Our faith is our work and it is what gets rewarded. Every good deed done for the sake of doing good means nothing to God. But, good deed in the name of Christ Jesus, will be rewarded as faith in Christ. No other good deed will compare to the good deed of believing in Christ. Those who keep believing will keep His work to the end and be called overcomers. They shall eat from the “Tree of Life”, perpetually escape the “second death”, eat the hidden manna and receive a name written on “White Stone” and be clothed with “White Garment” Revelation 2:7, 11, 17 & 26.
The grand hope and reward of all believers is to be the sons of God with the first begotten from the dead (Jesus Christ) and to reign with Him in authority over the nations Revelation 3:5 & 21:7.
Believing or abiding in Christ to the end is everything! This is why all the apostles prayed and pleaded with the disciples to keep the faith to the end lest their (the apostles) labour would be in vain not that their labour will not be rewarded. It’s vital to note that if a convert turns back or stops believing and following Christ, it becomes a “labour in vain” for the believer(s) who planted and watered 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. However, their reward remains intact! 1 Corinthians 15:58.
Finally, remember, it is God, that gives the growth and not the labourers. We will be rewarded for the faith of doing the assignment and not the result of the assignment. We’ll receive the same reward because it’s our faith that’s rewarded. Therefore, the acceptance and receiving of Christ into the heart by faith though on one’s ‘deathbed’ will not stop a person from the reward of being like Him at His appearing. Selah!
The Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” (John 5:16-17 NLT)
A true knowledge of the Lord Jesus will reverse a good many of our ideas, and a good many of our procedures. A true knowledge of Christ and union with Christ, with all that that means, will make us go to work in entirely the opposite way from that in which we have been accustomed to go. We shall come to be governed by this one consideration, that it is not what we would do for the Lord, but what the Lord would do through us, that is alone to rule. It is a very testing way. You can hardly believe, unless you have been the same way, how often and intensely and bitterly the enemy fights and tempts you to come down on to a lower position, and to take up things again for God and launch big schemes, enter upon big undertakings, set up some thing on the earth that can be seen, because all those who are governed by that standard of things seen have said: “You see, you are doing nothing! Show us what you are doing! You cannot show us anything for it all!” Satan does work on that line. To the flesh that is not easy. To go on with God and have nothing to show for it, never to be able to have the work written up in the papers, to publish no reports, nor statistics, and yet to know in your heart of hearts that, although it is hidden, something is going on, and that you cannot do otherwise than you are doing, is far from being a path of ease to the flesh.
It is a testing way, but, blessed be God, if we do endure the testing and go on patiently with Him, in His time, when that flesh has been finally laid low; when the voice of natural ambition is no longer sounding and having influence, and we are now utterly at the place where if things are not going to be of the Lord then there is not going to be anything at all, the Lord has a free way, and He is able to indicate that all the time something has been going on. He shows how He has been at work, and how that in time there will be manifested a work of God, a work that shall have such a large percentage of spiritual value and meaning in it that you are very glad, after all, that you walked with God and not with men in the work of God.
The fact that Adam used his God given ability of choice to choose the way of self and the devil as opposed to choosing the way of the spirit authenticates the truth that the flesh (self) profits nothing John 6:63. Had he chosen the law of the spirit of life (faith in God) the law of sin and death could have had no chance! But God, Who is omniscient, had made a provision for man (all humans) through the obedience and sacrifice of The Lamb.
Jesus had the ability and the chance the first Adam had to choose self, the way of the devil or the way of the Spirit and He proved to both principalities and man that God can be chosen over self and the devil. Praise God! Therefore, he opened the door by which man’s original destiny should be actualized.
So whoever chooses or eats and drinks Christ (the Bread and drink from heaven), is automatically exercising that glorious privilege the first Adam had but failed to use. The first tree in the midst of the garden was not to be eaten but the Lamb of God hung on the cross (Christ), must be eaten for anyone to have His Spirit and enter into a life of communion with God.
God, being the Alpha and Omega KNOWS AND SEES all who will choose Christ (the way of the Spirit) over the devil and self even before they are born. Since the way of the devil and clay (self) is destined to destruction, all who choose it gain destruction and hell. But, all who choose the way of the Spirit are destined to victory and eternal living with the Almighty God. Man is now able to choose Christ because of the grace of His sacrifice—which, the bible tells us is made available for all men but only those who accept or choose to believe it enjoy its core purpose Titus 2:11, 1 John 2:2, John 10:10
Predestination therefore, is on the basis of God’s foreknowledge, which is based on the slain Lamb and the free gift of choice God blessed man with. Man’s use of his God given will to choose Christ glorifies God more as opposed to the idea that He is scared that man will reject Him forever and as such, He made some to be robots as to get them to compulsorily love and serve Him. If this assertion is right, He would have created man as a robot from the beginning and, man wouldn’t have got the chance to choose to disobey Him. Jesus proved this interpretation is wrong! The glorious song will be sung one day by multitudes that chose God over the devil and self. Indeed, Jesus is the first-born among many brethren not conscriptsRom 8:29.
It is true we’re forcefully rescued from the kingdom of darkness but, that is not without our using our gift of choice from God to believe (that is accept) His gift of salvation John 1:16, Rom 10:13. This is the reason no human is born again from their mother’s womb though God can decide to reveal His plan for an unborn soul ahead of time. While Jeremiah’s destiny was revealed before he was born, that of Saul (Paul) was only revealed after he was born Jer 1:5, Gal 1:15. God has a destiny for everyone!
Someone may ask if Saul asked or exercised his free will before Christ saved him in a dramatic incident. My answer is yes. Saul responded to the voice and grace of God (Christ) that appeared to him though he had the choice to be stiff necked like Caiaphas the High Priest Matt 26:64, Heb 4:7. Salvation is not initiated by man but man needs to respond when God draws John 6:44. Christ visits the world today even in more dramatic ways yet some people don’t respond to Him—they choose not to. How many people has God saved in plane and car crashes and yet they pretend they don’t understand that God is inviting them to accept Christ. How many people have arranged to meet up with a friend only to hear the person has passed away prior to their meeting. Yet, they refuse to be alerted that they need Christ the Saviour since, they too will pass on someday.
If you’re reading this post and you’ve not responded to Jesus Christ, think of how many times you have heard the gospel in many different ways in your heart with or without a physical person speaking to you—that is the voice of the Holy Spirit, please respond and believe in Christ, as it is not too late.
No one needs to get frigid when we talk about exercising the will as if to say it negates Eph 2:8-9 because it doesn’t in any way! No one can boast of using his or her will to achieve salvation because if God did not create man with the ability or nature of will and if Christ did not die and resurrect, the case of using it wouldn’t arise 1 Cor 4:7, Philippians 2:12-13. Even believers are called upon to use the gifts of the spirit and not to leave it dormant as some people do 2 Tim 1:6. It’s in the same way; those without Christ are persuaded by the gospel to use their God-given faith and will to believe in Christ Jesus. Heb 11:6 says, without faith we can’t believe or come to God and see Him for who He is—the One Who rewards those who worship Him! Even those who come to Him can’t function in His gift(s) in their lives without keeping faith in Him.
So, no Israelite will be saved because they are Israelites according to the flesh—no gentile will be saved by keeping ordinances but all, whether Jew or Gentile, who hear the gospel and believe in Jesus Christ will be saved. Every human has faith and the ability to exercise it. It’s a gift of God to man. It distinguishes man from the beast of the field. The inability of man to have faith towards God caused by Adam’s fall has been restored to man through Christ’s sacrifice made before man fell. This is the reason some people in the Old Testament were able to serve God by faith. His atonement is not limited. In other words, it’s for the benefit of the whole world but only those who choose it enjoy its full benefits.
For clarity, I am saying that one benefit of CHRIST’S ATONEMENT is the restoration of the ability for man to choose God and the other is salvation that results from actually making the choice. No one who has faith toward God will be damned. Faith toward God translates man into His spiritual house and opens up the privilege of joining His great house on the earth where, through teaching, reproofing, correcting and training in righteousness, the Treasure in the jar of clay is let out by the breaking of the jar and the treasure of Gold and Silver (redemption) begins to overlay the wood (soul) Rom 12:1-2. This principle and privilege will be open till God chooses to bring it to a close at such a time He has set.
God intervenes to harden men’s heart ONLY after He has sent warnings upon warnings. We can see this principle running through the whole scriptures Prov 29:1.
So Rom 9:29, is not telling us that God has made some people to be dishonorable and some honorable but according to His sovereignty and will, He has destined clay for dishonourable use while His Spirit in man is destined for a glorious end.
The story of Esau and Jacob like other biblical stories depicts for us spiritual things with physical realities which, eventually, manifested as was seen with Esau’s choice. Also, Jacob amplifies Eph 2:8-9 and Rom 12:2, which tell us that those who choose God receive His life in them and gradually shed the fleshly nature and increasingly put on gold (Christ) the silver of redemption Gal 3:27, Lev 5:15-16. The power to persevere through to maturity is a blessing from God as we submit (yield our will) to abide in Him James 4:7. It’s the attraction of love relationship John 14:15, 2 Cor 8:24.
Interpreting predestination as God creating some people to be destroyed and some for salvation is absolutely defective irrespective of theological camp. Every soul that comes into this world is from the first Adam who was ab initio predestined for salvation. God has never created new people except those who make a choice to believe in Christ Jesus the Lord of all salvation and are learning obedience from Him Acts 4:12, 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15, Eph 2:10.
The first man God created had faith because he had the image of God. Because of his sin, the image was distorted. Nevertheless, he was still a creature of God who needed regeneration. All humans descended from Adam. To this end, Acts 2:21 states, “But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” 1 Tim 4:10.
For clarity and by way of definition, everywhere I have mentioned humans in this article, I mean beings that descended from Adam and Eve and as such, have mortal bodies; flesh, blood and bone Rom 9:11.
Finally, to treat predestination from the point of the fall of man rather than before man’s creation is misleading. Forgetting that God created only one man whom He destined for salvation has lead to a great misunderstanding of this doctrine; a doctrine that should cause all souls to rejoice in God’s love for them.
God’s principles have been in motion before man was created. God has already shown mercy and poured out His blessing(Christ) Proverbs 10:22 and blessings1 Tim 6:17 to mankind.
The Holy Spirit is within the bride of Christ saying, “come” and the bride is hearing it and echoing it—Whoever is thirsty, “come!” and drink of the water of life freely Rev 22:17. This is the gospel message the body of Christ is preaching to the world. Hopefully that is your message.
All humans are destined for salvation. I plead with you to receive Christ Jesus if you’ve not done so and you’ll receive the free gift of regeneration (salvation) John 3:16.
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