The Personal Side of Predestination

Obviously, when it comes to the doctrine of predestination, people ask most commonly “How is it fair that God doesn’t choose some people?”

One answer I’ve heard, relatively commonly, is to turn the question/objection on its head, and to respond: “Instead of asking why God doesn’t choose some, ask why he chose any!”

A profound answer. It humbles those with ears to hear and soft hearts to respond, because God needed to choose nobody. And, yet, he chose many from out of their sinful rebellion; and he saved them.

I like this answer.

Another response, which I read recently is this, by John Gill, speaking of the “pre-damnation” of sinners:

And now what is there shocking in this doctrine, or disagreeable to the perfections of God? God damns no man but for sin, and he decreed to damn none but for sin.

Often, I think the question about the unfair-ness of predestination/pre-damnation presupposes an intrinsic goodness within people. Or, to couch it slightly differently, questioners ask the question hypothetically — “How can ‘people’ [i.e. some amorphous and impersonal mass] really deserve to be damned, if they had no choice? How can they go to hell if God chose it for them?” In the abstract, the question assumes God is damning morally neutral agents, and agents without a choice.

But, as Gill says, “God damns no man but for sin.”

It’s a stunning fact that many people go to hell. It’s awful to think that God sent them there, and pre-made the decree.

But something questioners miss is that every one deserves it, and they deserve it because of their sin. God did not pre-choose some neutral mass of helpless half-wits. He damns sinners for their rebellion, which seethes in all sorts of ways, subtle and obvious, against his Lordship. God damns no man but for the treacherous and blasphemous wickedness within and without them.

Ok, so that’s big.

How should I respond, in my own heart, to this fact?

I think I should respond in three ways to this:

First, I must stand in awe of the holiness of my God. God can stand no impurity, and is altogether righteous. I must learn to feel and to understand the holy character of God. I must tremble.

Second, I must glory in the graciousness of my God. His holiness makes his grace so much the sweeter. Like the first response I talked about at the beginning of this post, God chooses some out of the muck. And he saves them. I should ask, “Why me?”

Third, I must weep for the lostness of those around me. The dangling reality of hell must motivate me to preach the good news of redemption to the sinful people who saturate our world. May God save them, so that they might saturate his kingdom.

Advertisements

About Danny Slavich

I am a Christian husband, father, pastor, and poet. I lead Pembroke Road Baptist Church a multi-cultural, multi-generational church in urban South Florida.
This entry was posted in Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Personal Side of Predestination

  1. Sarah Richter says:

    I really enjoyed this post Danny. I love that you’ve explored the personal side to such an overwhelming yet important topic. You have some great insights and lots of truth.

    But how humbling is it that your little brother has made it into the clergy before you?

    🙂

  2. dslavich says:

    Thanks Sarah. It means a lot that you read my blog and make comments.

    No comment about Nicky. He’s a pig.

  3. dad says:

    Do I have to break this up?

  4. Lee says:

    Not before someone explains how Nicky got into seminary…

  5. dad says:

    The “Nicky in the clergy” is a reference to his part in His school play. They are doing Shakespeare’s “The Twelfth Night” and he plays a priest.

    He was thrilled to point out to Danny that he had beaten him to the punch.

    ah…brotherly love!

  6. Lee says:

    Sorry, Danny 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s