“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6, NKJV).
“And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts’” (Revelation 21:6).
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
The concept of predestination is certainly a profound one. The plot of many Hollywood movies is the idea that one cannot escape one’s predestined fate. Superstitions about fate ruling a person’s life and the person having little control abound in history. It is fertile
ground for wild schemes and for fatalism.
Yet here in Ephesians, listed among a long list of the blessings of being in Christ, we find the concept of predestination and destiny: being chosen before the world existed, of election, of things in our lives beinh foreordained by God Himself. Certainly, there are multiple ways that this passage has been understood, and multiple theologies developed—with varying degrees of complexity.
There is a hard Calvinistic position contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith that
“By the decree of God, for the manifestation
of His glory, some men and angels are
predestinated unto everlasting life, and others
foreordained to everlasting death.” (Article III)
And from WVBS materials, we have:
“Augustine taught that with fallen humanity in
mind, God ‘justly predestined to punishment’
(or death) a part of the race, while some
He ‘benignantly predestined to grace, not
because we were holy, but that we might be.’
Classic Calvinism is rooted in Augustinianism
as it rejects the ability of man to act and
portrays him as totally passive in the plan of
If God foreordained me to everlasting death, what could I do about it? Or if to everlasting life, how could I miss it? The questions swirl and the heart grows fearful.
And what of all those invitations from God to man? And why would God so often tell man to choose? And why would He hold man accountable for the choice he makes? But there is a better and simpler way to understand the text above (and Romans 8), which does not conflict with other passages that demand we choose. In fact, it is complementary to them.
The key is in focusing on the phrase “in Him.” God did indeed choose His people before the foundation of the world...but He chose them (us) “in Christ.” That is what the predestination is all about. Not that certain individuals were predestined—I am out, but my wife is in—but that He foreordained that everyone who would be saved—would be saved “in Christ.” It is the unique, exclusive plan of salvation in Christ Jesus that was predestined.
God chose in advance to save a special people for Himself, and He chose to do so by and through and in His Son. You, me, anyone, and everyone can be a part of that holy nation—if we will! What is required is that we come to One Who has the water of life; He will give it freely. Whoever desires can partake. Whosoever will may come!