and the Christian
Pastor Lloyd Peterson
do not propose to be facetious or smart in presenting this message on
the subject of predestination. It is too serious a subject to thus trifle,
neither do I propose to have all the answers. The message is given because
concerns a precious portion of the Word of God; and it is as Paul wrote
to Timothy 'all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works',
2 Tim. 3:16-17.
doctrine of predestination can be precious, if looked at Scripturally;
poisonous, if not! There are many areas of study related to it. The area
that I am interested in for this time is that found in Romans 8:26-32.
Read this portion carefully and prayerfully. You will notice it belongs
to the believer, not the unbeliever. Thank God there are some things that
belong only to God's family; the unsaved have no message from this area
of study. It is God, our loving Heavenly Father telling us of His gracious
plan and purpose for us. As a child of His you must remember His message
to us in Ephesians, 'In love having predestinated us' (the last two words
of Eph. 1:4 go with verse 5).
There are but two things I wish to do in the message: the first is to
answer the question as to what we mean by predestination and the second,
the blessings of being predestinated. First then: What we mean by predestination.
No 1, The word itself. The word in the Greek language is prohorizo. It
is a union of two words, pro, which means before and horizo from which
we get our English word for horizon. If we would translate it literally
it would mean 'before the horizon'. Some translators state it as 'to mark
out boundaries or limits'. This is what the horizon is; it is where the
sky and earth meet or seem to meet as we look into the distance. My opinion,
therefore, of prohorizo, or predestination is that out beyond where sky
and earth seem to meet, or beyond what our natural sense can see or comprehend,
God has done so and so. I like Scofield's note on Eph. 1:5 on page 1250
in his reference Bible. Here he says, 'Predestination is that effective
exercise of the will of God by which things before determined by Him are
brought to pass'.
No. 2. It's meaning in relationship to the believer. May I at the very
outset make myself clear that personally I believe that predestination
is based on foreknowledge, not because of foreknowledge. What do I mean
by this? By this I mean that it is foreknowledge only on the basis of
God's decrees. He decreed it so therefore, He knew. It is not that God
saw that we would do so and so, therefore He did so and so. If this were
so, then grace would no longer be grace. It would be grace plus works,
if that were possible. You must realize, dear friend, that God has not
saved you because of anything that He saw in you, if He had done this,
reason as you will, there is something to your credit in bringing your
soul to Heaven. It is as Spurgeon has said: 'He must have chose me before
the foundation of the world for if He had waited until He saw me, He would
never have done so'. No, my friend, we were dead in trespasses and sins
so there was no response on our part in searching out or finding God.
Dr. Strong says, relative to God's decree, that it is 'that eternal plan
by which God has rendered certain, all events of the universe, past, present
and future'. It
is on the basis of this that He foreknew and not on the basis of what
we, dead in trespasses and sins, might, or might not do. Out there beyond
the horizon (prohorizo) far beyond what responds to the sense of man,
God has an
eternal plan and purpose.
Our sense can perceive the sunrise, and the sunset, beyond that we cannot
see or feel. Here faith responds and how wonderfully so! We become exhilarated,
animated and enlivened by a beautiful surmise or sunset. It does
something to the natural man. We are moved and motivated to lift our voices
to God in praise and say, 'How Great Thou Art', yet faith is empirical
to the child of God. Taking God at His Word, faith goes beyond the sunrise
sunset. There we see the eternal purpose and plan of God. There we see
Romans 8:28b, according to His purpose'. No sunrise or sunset, regardless
of its natural splendor reveals this. There it is only the horizon, here
by faith it is prohorizo, or beyond the horizon. Dear child of God, have
you ever meditated on the few statements in Ephesians chapter 1, as they
are related to predestination? Note verse 5, 'according to the good pleasure.....purposed
in Himself' vs.11, 'after the council of His own will' vs. 14, 'unto the
praise of His glory'. Note also 2 Tim. 1:9, 'who hath saved us and called
us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to
his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the
world began.' Little wonder that Paul says, after declaring our predestination,
calling, justification and glorification; 'what shall we say to these
I know what the carnal Christian says. He points to the other person.
The spiritual, bows to the Will of God and says 'thank you Lord'. Do you
remember Peter and the Lord, one day as they were walking along the Savior
told Peter a little about his future, He said 'verily, verily, I say unto
thee, when thou wast young thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither
thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shall stretch forth thy
hands and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest
not.' Then Peter 'turning about seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following.....Peter,
seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?' Jesus answered.
'What is that to thee? Follow thou me.' This would be the Lord's answer
for you my friend if you question God's purpose and place for others.
We better look just across the page from chapter 8 of Romans and carefully
analyze chapter 9. May I suggest that you very carefully read verses 9
to 24. It has been a conundrum to me, as a pastor and student of the Word
of God, as to why the Christian does not rejoice in the council of God.
Personally, I rejoice in my high calling in Christ Jesus. I do not know
or ever hope to know why God has ordained me to eternal life, but I do
daily bask in
the sunshine of this Grace.
There are tremendous blessings in realizing that we have been chose in
Him before the foundation of the world. I wish to present three of them:
No. 1. It is a comfort in the seeming tragedies of life, verse 26. This
verse has been so misunderstood; note this verse carefully: 'Likewise
the Sprit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should
pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us
with groanings which cannot be uttered.' It is often taken to mean that
we Christians come to the place in our prayer life that we are so blessed
of God that words fail to express the rapturous feeling of the inner man,
hence, groanings come forth from our lips that do not have particular
sense. This of course is ridiculous. Another interpretation of this verse
is that we do not know the mind of God relative to matters in general
that appertain to our life, so the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf.
This view is incorrect as well. What does Paul then mean? The context
of this verse makes it clear. The subject matter has to do with suffering.
Please note verses 18-23, here Paul declares that creation groaneth, waiting
for deliverance, and not only creation, but ourselves also, vs 23, 'even
we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption, to
wit, the redemption of our body.' And, thank God this is not at the hands
of some American witch doctor in a tent cathedral, posing as a new Testament
healer. No! Verse 26 is saying that some Christians are ordained of God
to suffer, and in the body with physical infirmities. Paul says we do
not know what the will of God is in the matter, but 'But He that searheth
the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit.' And this blessed Holy
Spirit helpeth us in our infirmities to praise instead of groan; for we
know that all things work together for good. As a minister of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ, I declare to you it may be the good will of God that
you bear infirmities in the flesh until redemption's glorious resurrection
morning, I am not saying, 'God does not heal and mend the broken body',
no, I'm not saying that, but I do declare that you, as a sick Christian
do not need to give your money to some religious and avaricious crackpot,
to intercede to God on your behalf for healing of the body. Since you
are saved you have one mediator between man and God and He is sufficient
to bring the weakest Christian into the presence of the God of the universe.
You may come to Him too and hear what Paul heard: 'My grace is sufficient
for you', or, He may reach for and touch your body and raise you up. Yes,
my friend, God may have called you to be a vessel, suffering in your infirmities.
He did, Paul, if not, how do you explain his suffering and his blindness?
And he lived and died this way. Had it not been so Paul would not have
know the Grace of God as such, and what a comfort those precious words
have been to thousands, i.e. 'My Grace is sufficient'. It might be good
at this point to examine 2 Cor. 3-6, please do so. What a comfort then
(should you bear the infirmities of the flesh to the extent of suffering)
to know God has ordained you a vessel reflecting His glory.
No. 2. Life has an eternal meaning and purpose, vs. 28. God having chosen
us in the eternities past (Prohorizo, before or beyond the horizon) to
an eternity before us. God has a purpose beyond the sunset of man's little
day. His purpose is known to Him alone and it is planned in every detail,
complete and full, and if you are His, you are in it. Sometimes we become
discouraged with our work, or accomplishments in this world. We should
not, for God has another day beyond the horizon of this day. Our work
for Him continued there. This brings me to the third blessing of predestination
as revealed in Romans 8:26-32.
No. 3. We have assurance of everlasting life and heaven, vs. 30. Note
please: Predestinated, called, justified and glorified. It is not the
matter of 'enduring to the end', 'eternal security', once in Grace always
in Grace', it's a matter of God finishing His work. If a man saved becomes
lost, it is not man that fails but God. God's beautiful eternity will
not be marred by a redeemed saint's absence; a part of the Savior's glorious
body will not end up in Hell. Whose reputation was at stake in the story
of Job---God's or Job's? We all know the answer; it was God who was tested.
Personally, dear reader, I swim in the ocean of God's grace and mercy.
I don't know why He included me, but I know He did. I look into His matchless
face and praise Him for it. I pray that you do this too, and I'm sure