CHOSEN AND PREDESTINED
In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory (Eph. 1: 11-12).
Do you remember when you used to pick petals off a daisy? “He loves me, he loves me not,” you would say as you tossed each petal aside, hoping fervently that the last one would be ”He loves me!”
Some people think that God treats people like that. He sits in heaven, sorting people out, muttering, “One for heaven, one for hell,” while the angels look on. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple or as unlikely as that.
“Predestination” has puzzled and divided people into two theological camps since the days when Paul wrote his letters. One group adamantly champions the theological persuasion called “Calvinism” because John Calvin was the first to flesh out Paul’s teaching into a full-blown theological treatise.
“The five points of Calvinism can be summarized by the acronym TULIP. T stands for total depravity, U for unconditional election, L for limited atonement, I for irresistible grace, and P for perseverance of the saints . . . http://www.gotquestions.org/calvinism.html – retrieved December 2015.
Calvin’s teaching highlights the sovereignty of God. Let’s talk about the L and I in TULIP.
“Limited Atonement – Because God determined that certain ones should be saved as a result of God’s unconditional election, He determined that Christ should die for the elect alone. All whom God has elected and for whom Christ died will be saved (Matthew 1:21; John 10:11; 17:9; Acts 20:28; Romans 8:32; Ephesians 5:25).
“While all these doctrines have a biblical basis, many people reject all or some of them. So-called “four-point Calvinists” accept Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints as biblical doctrines. Man is definitely sinful and incapable of believing in God on his own. God elects people based on His will alone – election is not based on any merit in the person chosen. All those whom God has chosen will come to faith. All those who are truly born-again will persevere in their faith. As for Limited Atonement, however, four-point Calvinists believe that atonement is unlimited, arguing that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, not just for the sins of the elect . . .”
http://www.gotquestions.org/calvinism.html – retrieved December 2015.
Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived from 1560-1609, argued vigorously for the freedom of man to choose to believe in Jesus or not. While Calvin championed the sovereignty of God, Arminius stood for human responsibility.
“In general, Arminians believe there is an “intermediate” state between total depravity and salvation. In this state, made possible by prevenient grace, the sinner is being drawn to Christ and has the God-given ability to choose salvation . . .
“Calvinism sees the atonement as limited, while Arminianism sees it as unlimited. This is the most controversial of the five points. Limited atonement is the belief that Jesus only died for the elect. Unlimited atonement is the belief that Jesus died for all, but that His death is not effectual until a person receives Him by faith . . .
“So, in the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate, who is correct? It is interesting to note that in the diversity of the body of Christ, there are all sorts of mixtures of Calvinism and Arminianism . . . Many believers arrive at some sort of mixture of the two views. Ultimately, it is our view that both systems fail in that they attempt to explain the unexplainable. Human beings are incapable of fully grasping a concept such as this. Yes, God is absolutely sovereign and knows all. Yes, human beings are called to make a genuine decision to place faith in Christ unto salvation. These two facts seem contradictory to us, but in the mind of God they make perfect sense.”
However, we must not lose sight of the fact that Paul was not so much presenting a doctrine as a reason to worship God for His grace and mercy to them. Against the background of the evils that went in in the city of Ephesus, he worshipped God for wonders of the mercy he had revealed to his readers who were part of those whom God has chosen to be His family of blessed people. He has done everything in Christ “to the praise of His glory.”
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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