Resetting the table of Predestination
So the doctrine goes like this. Those whom God foreknew in His sovereign election, He predestines to be conformed in the image of His Son. Not only this, those He predestined, God calls them to be saved. Naturally those He calls He will justify with the blood of Christ. Those He has chosen and justified He will glorify when He comes.
Rom 8:29-31 KJV For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Many try to grapple with this verse when they find the doctrine of limited atonement and the doctrine of Election not only offensive, but in contradiction to the rest of what they read in scripture. But yet these verses seem to say what the Calvinist say it says. Is there any other way to look at these verses under the light of other scripture so it does not contradict what so many people believe scripture teaches about free will and Christ dying for all mankind? I would like to propose a fresh look at these verses and reset the table Calvinist have laid before us.
According to scripture, our gospel does not say Christ died somewhere around 33 AD. Everyone believes this. This is the worlds understanding of Christ and His death but not the church. Our hope is in a Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the earth. Our hope is in a lamb that was slain before God even made man.
Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Scripture also teaches that Jesus death was a death tasted for every man..
Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
So according to the hope held out in the gospel, we have scripture declaring that the Lamb tasted death for every man before time began. This is why scripture testifies that God reconciled the world to Himself.
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
So the testimony we have from scripture is God reconciling all mankind to Himself before time began through His Lamb. So it can be said of every individual of this world who lived, is alive or will be at some future point, Christ died for them before time began and what God needed to do to reconcile the world to Himself was done before He ever made man.
In light of this we can say God foreknew all of His creation concerning mankind. Those whom He foreknew He predestined us to be like His Son because the Lamb tasted death for everyone so our trespasses would not be imputed to us. Making the way for everyone to be like His Son. Since God has predestined everyone He also calls everyone.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God is calling all or mankind for whom His Son paid the price for sin before time began to be made righteous in Christ. Knowing that God has reconciled the world to Himself, the world is no longer separated from God because of sin. The world has been reconciled, that is if we believe scripture. But if God has justified the whole world by reconciling the whole world to Himself, can it be said He also glorified all of mankind as well?
I think scripture does teach exactly what I am contending for. We are all the children of the most High. But not all the children will live like the children of the most High. They will not live according to the hope held out in the gospel. Instead they will die in their sins. There is a confusing couple of verses mention in the Psalms and even Jesus trips up the Pharisees over it.
Psa 82:6-7 KJV I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (7) But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
Before the creation of the world God foreknew every person past, present and future. Foreknowing, He predestined us to be like His Son through the death of His Son before the foundation of the world. Because He has made the way for everyone, He calls everyone. He has justified everyone and He calls everyone and reconciled everyone to God before the world began. Yes, even those who do not hope in Christ. And yes, God through Christ has glorified all mankind before the world began through Christ. The fact that all mankind are children of the most High will not keep many of the children of the most High from dying like mere men.
This is the tragedy of the hope held out in the gospel. The tragedy is not that the lost refuse to have their sins forgiven, therefor not having the work of Christ apply to them. They refuse to walk in the faith and obedience that is the fruit of the sons of the most high, even though the work of Christ does apply to them. Even though they are already reconciled to God through Christ.
Calvinist would argue that Christ would not die for someone who will not accept Him, it would make His sacrifice in vain. And certainly God would not waist the blood and sacrifice of His Son, therefore Christ only died for the elect in their view. Nowhere in scripture is this taught, but this is their doctrine.
Somehow they have missed a very important part of the gospel message. We see this played out in the people of Israel and we are seeing it played out in the world today. People’s unbelief does not make what God has done for mankind without effect.
Rom 3:3-4 KJV For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
Just because many will not embrace the salvation, the imputed righteousness provided for them from the beginning of time doesn’t mean that the work of God is without effect. Just because they will not heed God’s calling, doesn’t mean the justification made for them is without effect. They are justified and glorified but they will not walk in the faith or obedience that can bring them to see what is for now unseen unto the day it is seen. Sadly they will die like mere men and not the children of God through Christ that God has made them.