This is the fourth in a series of excerpts from the new MBC resource, “What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation,” available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.
The Bible refers to some people as “predestined.” What does that mean? How does predestination fit into God’s work of redemption? And if the Bible presents a fatalistic view of predestination, is there any room for human freedom?
As we search the Scriptures for answers, it’s good to remember that, for followers of Jesus, it is biblically faithful to say, “I am predestined.”
Predestination is God’s plan from eternity past to complete the work of redemption in every saint, fully conforming us to the image of His Son.
The Greek word proorizo and its variations, found six times in the New Testament, carry the meaning of “predestine,” “limit or mark out beforehand,” “design definitely beforehand,” or “ordain ahead of time.” Proorizo comes from two Greek words: pro, which means “before” or “ahead of,” and horizo, which means “to appoint, decide, or determine.”
This is the third in a series of excerpts from the new MBC resource, “What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation,” available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.
Every Christian should readily acknowledge that the Bible teaches divine election. Disagreements arise with respect to how this doctrine is biblically defined, and how it’s applied.
In any case, if you are a follower of Jesus, it is biblically faithful to say, “I am elected.”
The word “election” in Scripture is derived from the Greek eklegomai, which means “to choose something for oneself.” The Bible also uses words such as “choose,” “predestine,” “foreordain,” and “call” to indicate that God has entered into a special relationship with certain individuals and groups through whom He has decided to fulfill His purposes.
The Missouri Baptist Convention has published a new resource called The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith. The 275-page book is available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon, and in print from the MBC. But we also want to make each of the 16 chapters available online. This post features the beginning of Chapter 16: Doxology: To the Only God Our Savior.
Previously: Under the Spell of False Teachers
Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now, and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25 HCSB)
The epistle of Jude is rich with graphic imagery and stark warnings. It is an urgent message, a wake-up call to the saints, imploring them to wrestle vigorously in defense of the core doctrines that define the Christian faith.
False teachers have crept into the church. They are ungodly, promiscuous, arrogant, immoral, disrespectful, blasphemous, beastly, selfish, fearless, grumbling, flattering, scoffing, and devoid of the Spirit. Their judgment has been marked out long ago. They have passed the point of no return. Their goal is to take as many people as possible to hell with them in a stretch limousine.
Israel’s history shows that their ilk goes down for the count beneath the judgment of God, yet they persist in their wickedness. They are dangerous reefs, waterless clouds, fruitless trees, wild waves of the sea, and wandering stars.
It seems overwhelming to contend with such foes. Equally frightening is the nagging fear that no doubt runs through the minds of Jude’s readers, including us: If the apostates were immersed in Christianity and still walked away, could the same thing happen to us? And then, the unthinkable: Did they lose their salvation – and could we?
But Jude’s warning comes with an ironclad guarantee. Yes, God judges the wicked, but He also remains faithful to His own. And, in the end, He keeps them secure. No one is able to pry them from His loving arms.
The Missouri Baptist Convention has published a new resource called The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith. The 275-page book is available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon, and in print from the MBC. But we also want to make each of the 16 chapters available online. This post features Chapter 3: I Reckon So: The Apologist’s Standing in Christ.
To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you (Jude 1b-2)
In The Outlaw Josey Wales, Clint Eastwood plays a Missouri farmer driven to revenge by the murder of his wife and son at the hands of pro-Union Jayhawkers during the Civil War. Having joined a band of pro-Confederate Bushwhackers, Wales refuses an offer of amnesty at the end of the war, only to watch as surrendering fighters are slaughtered in cold blood. He races to the scene, overpowers a Union soldier manning a Gatling gun, and turns it on the Kansas Redlegs.
Now an outlaw, Wales flees to Texas. Though preferring to travel alone, he crosses paths with a diverse cadre of companions, from a spry old Cherokee named Lone Watie, to a young Navajo woman he rescues from rape, to a crotchety Kansas grandmother whose family he frees from raiding Comancheros.
Throughout the story, Wales exhibits an uncanny ability to see the world as it is – cruel, unforgiving, yet capable of redemption – and often he acknowledges the truthful observations of others with a simple, “I reckon so.”
Dogged by Redlegs and a Union officer known as Captain Fletcher, Wales helps his companions resettle a Texas homestead while negotiating peace with their Comanche neighbors. He then helps the settlers repel a Redlegs attack, finally avenging his family’s murder by killing their leader.
Wounded, and knowing that his continued presence at the homestead only invites further attacks, he heads out on his own, but not before a final encounter with Captain Fletcher, who mercifully avoids revealing his identity to Texas Rangers by calling him “Mr. Wilson.”
“I think I’ll go down to Mexico and try to find him [Josey Wales],” says Fletcher.
“And then?” asks Wales.
“He’s got the first move. I owe him that. I think I’ll try to tell him the war is over. What do you say, Mr. Wilson?”
“I reckon so.”
Wales gingerly mounts his horse and, listing badly, rides away. Fletcher turns away, leaving viewers convinced he and the outlaw have made their peace.
Like Josey Wales, some battle-hardened Christians have learned to see the world as it is without losing sight of who they really are. This comes to light in the opening verses of Jude’s epistle. These believers are urged not to surrender to the false teachers among them, to continue the fight for sound doctrine, and to persevere to the very end.
Rev. 19:9 – Then he said to me, “Write: Those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb are fortunate!” He also said to me, “These words of God are true.” (HCSB)
Those invited are fortunate
In verse 9 John is told, “Write: Those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb are fortunate!” But who are the ones invited? The bride, of course, is the church, so who are the guests? There are several views. One view is that the invited guests are the Old Testament saints. Another is that these are heavenly beings – angels, cherubim and seraphim – who gaze with wonder upon the work of God in redemption and yet are not the objects of salvation (see 1 Peter 1:12). Yet another view is that the invited guests are those who have responded positively to the gospel message. “If a person accepts the ‘invitation’ and goes to the marriage feast of the Lamb, his faith will make him part of the wife (the church). It is called a feast because it endures, beginning on the evening of the wedding and continuing for days” (HCSB Study Bible, p. 2225).
While there is merit to each of these views, the last view seems consistent with Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet in Matt. 22:1-14. In the parable, a king hosts a wedding celebration for his son. The invited guests, who initially say they will attend the banquet, change their minds when the king’s servants are sent to summon them to the festivities. Some, in fact, treat the servants harshly, killing them. Enraged, the king sends forth his army to destroy these insurrectionists. Since Jesus’ immediate audience is made up of the religious leaders of His day, the parable no doubt refers to Israel, which has dishonored both God the Father and His Son. In the parable, Jesus prophesies events that will happen 40 years later, when the temple is destroyed, Jerusalem is sacked, 1.1 million Jews are killed and the nation of Israel ceases to exist.