In our study of the "covenant of redemption" which is set forth in Rom.
8:28 30, the second action of God listed in verse 29 is "predestinate."

The five actions of God listed in v. 29 and 30 are foreknow, predestinate, called, justified, and glorified. According to Vines the Greek word "proorizo," which is translated four times into "predestinate," once "ordained before," and once "determined before," means to "mark out or determine beforehand." Thus the English word predestinate means to determine the final destiny beforehand. The four times predestinate is used in the scriptures it is used to denote the final destiny of those that God "foreknew" (Rom. 8:29) or "chose before the world began" (Eph. 1:4). It is never used in connection with anyone other than those whom God foreknew or chose!

We will begin our discussion of God's predestination of the "elect" by considering to what God predestinated them. That is what do the scriptures say is the final destiny of the elect? Rom. 8:29 reads, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."  Now when the verse says we will be "conformed to the image of His Son" it is not saying we will be "clones" of Christ. When Adam brought forth a son he was born in Adams image as Gen. 5:3 reads, "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth." Now Seth was in the image of Adam but was not a clone of Adam. He possessed the same characteristics, qualities, and nature of Adam (a fallen nature) and thus was in the image of Adam. By nature we are all in the fallen image of Adam. Part of the final destiny of the elect is to be in the image of Christ.

To understand what that image is we need to look at the characteristics, qualities, and nature of Christ that is different from our characteristics, qualities, and nature. In Heb. 7:26 we read, "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners..." In contrast by nature we are unholy, harmful, defiled, and sinners. Also the scriptures describe God to be "love" (I John 4:8), "a spirit" (John 4:24), and "light" (John 1:4) and this light is defined as eternal life. By nature we are completely selfish, having not the spirit of God, and absent of eternal life. In addition, the Lord is incorruptible, immortal, powerful, and glorious (I Cor. 15).

Again, by contrast our natural being is corruptible, mortal, weak and dishonorable. In contrast to what we are now, our final destiny will see us conformed to the image of Christ. At that time in body, soul, and spirit we will be holy, harmless, undefiled, righteous, love, spiritual, possessed of eternal life, incorruptible, immortal, powerful and glorious. It is in keeping with God's predestination that our final destiny will be conformity with the image of His Son. Next, we read in Eph. 1:4, 5 "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..."

Now we are according to birth right in the family of Adam as we are all the off spring of Adam. However, God has declared that those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world will have as a final destiny membership in the family of God. To accomplish this God has predestinated to adopt us into his family by Jesus Christ to himself. Adoption involves taking a person out of one family and placing that person in another family. We will discuss the mechanics of adoption in a later issue.

At this point we note that God has predestinated us unto the adoption of children, thus it is our final destiny to be children of God not only in spirit, but also in body. This brings us to the third thing God has predestinated the elect unto. In Eph. 1:11 we read, "In whom also we (the elect VJ) have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Thus being the legal heirs of God by spiritual birth, adoption, marriage, and will we have an inheritance from God. In nature, the only lasting inheritance we have is a grave. Yet according to God's predestination we have an eternal inheritance.

According to Rom. 8:16, 17 we read, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ..." Thus our final destiny is to be a joint heir with Jesus Christ. Therefore, we will have by inheritance all that our elder brother has. This is absolutely amazing to consider that we won't be possessors of just a little corner of the glory world, but will be possessors of all that Jesus Christ is a possessor of! In our next issue we will consider those things about God that imminently qualify him as the only one who can predestinate.

Predestination #2

The fact that God purposes, counsels, or wills to do something and then does it is readily apparent from a review of the scriptures:

A. Isa. 46:10, 11 "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it."

B. Dan. 4:25 "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none shall stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"

Now this is not to say that we don't sometimes purpose, counsel or will to do something and then try to do according to what we purposed, counseled or willed. The differences between God and us is that God has the nature and abilities to always bring to pass what he has purposed, counseled, or willed, whereas we lack both the nature and the abilities to ensure what we have purposed, counseled, or willed will come to pass. When God determined the final destiny of those he foreknew beforehand (predestinated) because of his nature and abilities he ensured the elect will reach that final destiny. In this essay we want to consider those things about God that imminently qualify him as the only one who can predestinate.

Many times we attempt to do something but simply lack the power or ability to do it. This is never a problem with God for he has all power in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). This power is demonstrated in the creation of the universe by God simply speaking it into existence.   Christ manifested that power by raising the dead, healing all manner of sicknesses, performing all manner of miracles, and manifesting his power over the elements. No force can stand against God or in opposition to God and prevail. By his power God can and will overcome all obstacles that could or would conceivably stand in his way of accomplishing his will.

Other times we make plans, but due to our limited knowledge fail to anticipate obstacles that derail or alter our plans. Since God knows all things past, present, and future there is nothing that can surprise him. The scriptures say that he knows our thoughts afar off and our down sittings and our uprisings. The hairs of our head are all numbered and a sparrow does not fall without his knowing it. All things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Therefore God's purpose, counsel, or will cannot be derailed or altered by unknown past, present, or future happenings. We as finite creatures are limited in space. We cannot be at more than one place at a time. We may make plans and while we are attending to one problem another may arise at a different place that we are unable to attend to. God has no such limitations. He is everywhere present and no where absent. He is omnipresent and thus able to overcome and perform everything needed to accomplish his purpose at all places and at all times.

Again as finite creatures we are not only limited in space but also in time. Our stay on earth is at best only a very short time and we pass from the scene of this life. Many plans of men have failed to come to fruition because they died before they were finished. God has no such limitations for he is eternal. He has neither beginning or ending.  Thus what he purposed, counseled, or willed before the world began, he will still be around to accomplish even until time shall be no more on earth.

Thus based on God's omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and eternal existence God is able to accomplish what he purposed, counseled or willed to do. As we will see, based on some things that God is unable to do, his purpose, counsel, and will are definitively assured to God's elect.

The first thing that God cannot do is lie. Titus 1:2 reads, "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Likewise, Heb. 6:18 reads, "that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." Thus God's covenant promises stand on the fact that God cannot lie!

The second thing God cannot do is change. Mal. 3:6 says, "For I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."  Similarly James 1:17 reads, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Thus, since it is impossible for God to change, he cannot change his mind. Those things which he has purposed, counseled, or willed to do will not be altered because God changed his mind. God cannot change!

The third and fourth things God cannot do is fail or be discouraged. This we read about in Isa. 42:4, "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth..." Since God cannot fail, we are assured that what God purposes, counsels, or wills to do will be accomplished without failure. If God should ever try to do something and fail, then he would cease being God! Remember, it is impossible for God to fail. Likewise, since God cannot be discouraged, he will never
give up or faint at the task. No task is too hard for the Lord. All that he purposes, counsels, or wills will come to pass without failure or discouragement.

The fifth thing God cannot do is deny himself. Paul wrote in II Tim. 2:13, "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself." For God to abandon his promises would be to deny himself.  God, however, is faithful to his work and to his promises. He cannot deny himself regardless of what man may do.

The sixth thing God cannot do is be tempted with evil. This is proven by James 1:13, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." If a person can be tempted to evil, then he can succumb to evil. Since the man who executes God's counsel from a far country is Jesus Christ, he had to be perfect and keep the law perfectly to redeem his people.   Thus, God's purpose, counsel, and will were never in danger of failure because Christ could not be tempted with evil. Likewise, the seventh thing God cannot do is sin (I John 3:9). It was impossible for Christ to sin. Therefore our salvation is sure. 

The final destiny of God's elect began with God's covenant promises, purposes, counsels, and will before the world began. Because of the nature of God and because of those things God cannot do, that destiny is sure. God has predestinated the elect to it. 

In our next issue we will begin to look at the works of God that are essential in order that the elect reach that final destiny. These works are listed for us in Rom. 8:30 as "called, justified, and glorified."