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Predestination – “full of sweet comfort”
Predestination isn’t a “sexy” or “popular” topic. Ask “What do you think about predestination?” and you’re likely to received glazed looks of disinterest or rapid evasion. Predestination isn’t high on most Christians’ agenda. But why?
The 39 Articles, a list of key Christian truths embraced by the Anglican Church, calls predestination “sweet, pleasant and unspeakable comfort to godly persons”. Why? Because it brings a follower of Jesus confidence for the future. Let me explain.
I’m sitting by the bedside of an aging Christian who is ravaged by cancer and exhausted by years of treatment. They’re struggling to keep trusting in Jesus. I can assure them of the Bible’s promises such as John 10: 27-29. “ 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28a give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” Though our grip on God may become weak, His hold on us is immovable.
I’m listening to a newly saved teenager who’s excited about living for Jesus but wondering how they will be able to stick with Him over the decades ahead. Romans 8:30 reassures them that God will stick with them “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” ie. God will surely finish His salvation of those he’s chosen. Or as Philippians 1:6 promises “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”.
When I’m encouraging nervous Christians who feel they might “muck up” evangelism or feel “it’s all up to them”, I reassure them that God is in charge. Although we’re partners with Him in rescuing lost people, we can’t derail His plans … Jesus promises in John 6:37-39, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away … this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”
For those who feel they have been dealt a hard lot in life or doubt God cares, God reassures them of love & unconditional mercy towards us in Ephesians 1:4-6, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the one he loves.”
Predestination isn’t just some dusty old doctrine to be accepted reluctantly. It’s a promise God has revealed about Himself for us to savour, love and live by. So to misquote Agent Maxwell Smart, “predestined and loving it!”
Your bother in Christ, Graham Crew