Tuesday, July 5, 2011

pondering predestination

"So what do you do with the whole predestination thing?"

I love questions like this. I especially enjoyed getting to share my thoughts on this topic with the Galatians girls tonight, because the issue vexed me for many years. Why? Frankly, because it's in scripture. It's undeniable. Now, limited atonement? Not there. You can argue with me till you're blue in the face, won't do a bit of good (my former pastors tried that, by the way). It's. Not. There. But predestination? Unconditional election? Yep. It's in there. You may not like it, but it's there. Plain as day. All over the place.

Not only that, experience proves it's true. Mine does. Bet yours does too. How noble are you, exactly? Did you just wake up one day and decide to make the good choice, the right choice, to believe? Have you ever wondered why it's so natural for you to have faith, while others can't seem to muster it up? What's that about? Are you any better than anyone else? Am I?

Scripture says no. And my experience definitely says no.

So ... what?

This question vexed me to no end. Because the God shown to me in Jesus doesn't just have compassion on some. He looks at the multitudes and weeps. He teaches me to love not only my friends but my enemies. He forgives the very people who kill Him. And He didn't shed His blood for a select few.

THAT JESUS said that He came to show us the Father. Same essence - same being - same heart.

And yet, are we to believe that the Father only chooses a remnant? That He's content with some saved, while the rest "get what's coming to them". Isaiah says that He will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied. Does a remnant satisfy Him? Because it doesn't me.

So, what about predestination? Keep in mind, I hold my views loosely and humbly. Like the Indigo Girls, "every 5 years or so I look back on my life and have a good laugh". God only knows how I'll answer this question five years from now.

But today, I can say this...

I believe scripture teaches that we are elected to serve. Chosen to bless. Predestined to good works.

Of Abraham, in Genesis, God says I choose you and through you all nations of the earth shall be blessed.

Chosen to be a blessing.

Jesus, of His disciples, says, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit. (later defined by Paul as love, joy, peace, etc)

Chosen to be a blessing.

Paul says in Romans that we are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Chosen to be a blessing.

And in his letter to the Ephesians he speaks of how we are chosen and predestined, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I could go on....

Chosen to be a blessing.

Elected to serve.

Predestined to shine a light.

To be HIM in this world.

Not a light calling, I might add. To whom much is given much is required (also scripture - Jesus, in fact). Maybe there's a reason our eyes are opened and it has a lot more to do with here and now than mansions in the sky with our names on them. Maybe we're elected because we have work to do. Maybe we're supposed to imitate Christ. Maybe that is and always has been the point.

I believe God's got a big ole story going on that I can't begin to wrap my head around, but one thing has become pretty plain: He wakes some people up to His Spirit. He does.


To be a taste of heaven on earth right now to everyone around us.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
II Cor 5:17-21

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

John 13:12-17

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