Does God have to Investigate the Future?

September 6, 2018 at 9:57 am | Posted in Q&A | 1 Comment
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Question: A while back, I was listening to a sermon on Ephesians Chapter 1, and I was having trouble understanding the idea of predestination, even though I couldn’t say it’s not a real thing when I read Verses 3-5: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

Then, I realized that God can see the future, so He just looked ahead into time, and saw the ones who would choose Jesus, and then He predestined them to be saved. Is that the right understanding?

Answer: I don’t want to discourage your acceptance of the doctrine of predestination, because you are right in saying that it is clearly spelled out in those verses (and others), but there are two problems with your understanding of it.

1. God is omniscient and immutable and eternal. This means that He knows everything, and there has never been a time when He did not know everything, and His knowledge cannot grow or diminish, and, therefore, He can never learn anything new. Your theory has God looking ahead in time to see what people will do, and thereby acquiring some new information, and this is not possible with God (Psalm 147:5).

2. For God to base His decision as to who will be saved on finding out who will make the wise choice to trust in Christ, He would have to accept the merit of human beings in the salvation that He offers by His free grace, and that is a contradiction in terms. We add no merit, including human wisdom or making good choices, to God’s salvation. He receives all the glory for it. Since it is by grace, we have no reason to boast, for we contributed nothing to it. The only reason anybody ever has chosen, or ever will choose, Christ, is because God first chose him or her (II Timothy 1:9; Romans 11:6; Titus 3:5: Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Shepherd Knows Where We Are Going

October 31, 2011 at 11:48 am | Posted in Selected Psalms, Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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The Lord is the Great and Good Shepherd of every true Christian, and He will make sure that His sheep do not lack anything that is truly good.

[A Psalm of David.] The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Psalm 23:1

This is true in the green pastures (Psalm 23:2), and it is true in the darkest valleys (Psalm 23:4). But the Bible is very specific in telling us that the Shepherd leads the sheep. Since He is leading the sheep, and since He always has a foreknowledge of the terrain, why would the Shepherd ever lead the sheep into a dark valley?

There are a number of reasons, but one of the most obvious is that some of the most beautiful pastures, streams, and places of rest can only be reached by way of a dangerous and dark route. Sheep must stay as close to the Shepherd as possible for maximum safety – even when He seems to be leading in a frightening and confusing direction. He knows that a treacherous journey, with Him as the Guide, is always worth the trip. And we can know it, too, if we will learn to trust in the Shepherd and the “surely” of His promises:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23:6

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