Is Our Fate Predetermined?
I. Trying to grasp the concept of an infinite God sometimes causes finite man to make mistakes
A. Consider this statement from the Presbyterian Confession of Faith (chapter 3, section 1): “God, from all eternity, did by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever come to pass.”
1. It says that every outcome, every result was predetermined by God before He created the world.
2. It means that either you are destined for heaven or for hell and that destination is unchangeable because God has ordained it.
B. The idea comes from trying to grasp the concept of a God who knows everything, even the future. If God can know the result, then He must approve of it and planned it since He did not change it.
C. To justify the idea, they will turn to Eph 1:3-5 or Rom 8:29.
II. Consider the question, “Is everything unchangeably ordained?
A. In Gen 6:5-7, we learn that God repented that He made man.
1. God changed His mind
2. To say this was predetermined is a cruel joke. People would have been evil continually by God’s will, unchangeably, and beyond their control. And then God destroyed them.
3. The very idea absurd and violates all we know about God.
4. James 1:13-15 - Sin comes from man’s desires, not from God.
5. Man, in their wickedness, will invent things that God never thought of - Jer 19:5, 32:35
a. While this shows the incredible wickedness of man, it also shows that man has a free-will.
B. Another case of God changing His mind: Isa 38:1-5
1. God heard Hezikiah’s prayers, saw his tears, and changed His mind!
C. Is our eternal destination predetermined before we were born?
1. Some find this thought appealing. “I’m not responsible for my action.”
2. Consider the reverse: “I serve God because He forces me to.”
3. If our destination is predetermined, then how can II Peter 3:9 be true?
4. Consider Luke 19:13
a. How can you lose a person who is predestined for heaven?
5. Or I Pet 2:9-10
a. How can one go from not being God’s to being God’s; from no mercy to having mercy if we were predestined before the creation of the world?
III. We affect our destination
A. We must work out our salvation - Phil 2:12
1. The predestined would not have need of fear or trembling.
B. People can fall from grace - Gal. 5:4
C. Consider the Christians in Sardis - Rev 3:1-5
1. The message is clear - repent or perish
2. You cannot be blotted out of the Lamb’s book of life if you were never in the book in the first place
IV. God’s foreknowledge is beyond our comprehension, but it does not lead us to the conclusion that we are only robots carrying out a predetermined program
A. We are elected (chosen) according to God’s foreknowledge, through sanctification.
1. Our election is based on two things
a. God’s knowing our need in advance
b. Our salvation
2. God planned the salvation of man before He made the world - Rev 13:8
3. Christ death was predetermined - Acts 2:23
4. So it can be said that heaven was promised before time began - Tit 1:1-2
B. You see, when we talk about our election by God, we have not mentioned how it was done
1. I Cor 1:21 - We are saved by the message God has sent
2. I Peter 2:8-12 - We are saved by our belief in God’s message
C. God’s preplanning doesn’t eliminate our free choice.
V. We have a free will
A. Offerings were made under the Old Law by a free will choice - Lev 1:3
B. Our following God is a free will choice - Josh 24:15
C. The time of decision is at hand. What will be your choice this day?