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Predestination and the Christian
Romans 8:26-32
Pastor Lloyd Peterson



I 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 it
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, that
the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works', 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

This 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 and
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 things?'

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 you do.

Pastor Lloyd Peterson

 
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