God predestines, or appoints ahead of time, both events and people for His own ends, with the doctrine of predestination referring to His sovereign choice of certain individuals to be saved. He can see into the future and so arranges circumstances and uses people – individuals, groups and even those who don’t acknowledge Him – to fulfill His purposes (Gen 45:4-7; Ex 9:16; Ps 33:12; Prov 16:4, 21:1; Act 9:16; 1 Pet 1:2, 2:9). God determined the times and places for the peoples of the earth to live, and there will be those in heaven from all people groups (Act 17:26; Rev 5:9).
God faithfully does things planned long ago, doing what He says (Isa 25:1, 37:26, 46:11). Jesus came and fulfilled Scripture (Mt 5:17; Act 3:18; Eph 3:11). Jesus was crucified by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge, “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen” (Act 2:23, 4:27,28). Does this mean God does it all and we have no say in matters, being simply puppets responding to His whims? No. God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are both required to bring about His purposes. There must be our co-operation, a working hand-in-hand for a partneship with God to be effective (Mk 16:20). God says “I have chosen you”, our response is outworked in obedience indicating we have chosen Him too (Jn 14:15, 15:16,19).
God does not force us, instead invites us to work with Him
were not willing…” (Gen 6:3; Jer 29:11; Lk 13:34). He desires all people to be saved, yet unfortunately many will choose not to be and so miss out experiencing everlasting life because they are deceived by Satan and have rejected Christ (Dan 12:2; Act 13:48; 1 Tim 2:4; 1 Pet 2:8).
God predestines those who will be saved, and we must choose Christ to be saved. We were chosen before the creation of the world that we be saved, bear lasting fruit and bring Him glory, as He outworks everything in conformity with the purpose of His will (Jn 15:16; Eph 1:4-6,11,12; 2 Thes 2:13). Being called ‘according to His purpose’ involves being predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus (Rom 8:28-30; 1 Jn 3:2). The Bible states, God is not being unfair. It is His right to choose whom He will have mercy and compassion on, and coupled with our response determines our destiny (Rom 9:10-21). It is through God’s grace that we are saved and this should be the reason for humility and praise (Eph 2:8; 2 Tim 1:9). Not one of us deserves to be saved (as we all have sinned and are worthy of eternal punishment) however God has been gracious to some (Rom 3:23, 6:23, 9:15,16).
Persecution and trials are also predestined for us, to develop character in us and see whether we will obey God (Deut 8:2; Act 14:22; 1 Thes 3:3). Keeping a true perspective on our eternal destination, where there will be no more pain or hardship, enables us to ‘count it all joy’ as we experience the life-long, individually tailored, refining process designed by a loving Father to prepare us for eternity (1 Pet 1:6,7, 4:12). The greater the individual call the greater the refining. In Scripture various people were set apart from birth for the [special] purposes of God (Jdg 13:5; Jer 1:5; Gal 1:15-17). Am I undertaking His call on my life? Even the good works we do have been prepared in advance for us (Eph 2:10).
What He has started He will complete provided we as individuals continue to co-operate with His divine plan for us, living out what we believe (Phil 1:6, 2:12; 2 Pet 1:10). Determine to be a person who brings much glory to His Kingdom as you deal with the old carnal areas within (2 Tim 2:21). What has been started in the spiritual realm can’t be completed by natural means (Gal 3:3). As you speak out (confess) your divine inheritance (the hope of your salvation) there will come an increasing release into what has been predestined for you. Declare such things as: “No weapon forged against me shall prosper…His purposes for me shall be accomplished” (Isa 54:17, 55:11).