Good evening. Praise the Lord.
It’s time to begin our service, and I am so thankful to have you here with us.
I send my greetings to you all.
I am thankful for an opportunity to take a little time with you to examine the scripture.
We are in the book of Ephesians, the first chapter.
And we are looking at the exact same passage of scripture as last week.
But we are zeroing in specifically on the things Paul says here about predestination.
And let me read again, from verse 3 down to verse 14.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.Ephesians 1:3-14 ESV
Lord God, we thank you for your abundant love and mercy.
As we approach the scripture this evening, we know some things are deep mysteries, hidden in you. And we know that you have not revealed everything to us. But Lord, it is our honest desire to understand what you have revealed, so that we may better know and understand you and our place in your great plan. Grant us understanding by the Holy Spirit, we pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Well, brothers and sisters, as I mentioned last Sunday, today I want to examine Paul’s statements here regarding predestination. In our last message, we examined the main thrust of Paul’s statements here in the opening of this book. And as Paul calls his readers to worship by pointing out the wonders of God, and the mercy and love we are shown through Jesus Christ, Paul drops in some statements here about predestination.
And the way Paul speaks of it here, Paul is not really giving us a comprehensive explanation of predestination. But he is dropping some lines here as part of his effort to draw us to wonder and amazement.
In verse 4 he is telling us God planned all this out before the foundation of the world. In verse 5 he is telling us he predestined this all according to his will. God did it in a way that pleased himself. And verse 10 lets us know a little bit about this plan, which is a plan that is still in progress, a plan to unite all things in Christ, for the purpose of redemption. And verse 11 uses the word predestined again. In verse 5, it was predestination of our salvation. But verse 11 is predestination of our glorification. And Paul ties it all together into one united package. It all comes bundled together. It’s a package deal.
And Paul is stating those outstanding truths in an effort to really amaze his readers, to take their breath away at how great this thing is that God has done. And that really is Paul’s point here. He is, to use our modern language, trying to blow the minds of his readers with how wonderful and amazing God is. And these statements concerning predestination are in that vein of thought.
And first and foremost, as we look at what Paul says here concerning predestination, we should understand the purpose behind Paul’s statements is to call us to worship and praise of God. It’s easy to get lost in the minutia and the deep examination and get to the point where you can’t see the forest for the trees. You can get so deep into examining a topic that you miss the entire point of the topic being shared with you to begin with. And Paul is sharing these things because he is wowing his readers with the amazingness of God, such that they will come to worship and praise of God.
And that is how Paul concludes there in verse 14, all of these things are the praise of God’s glory. And from verse 3 to verse 14, it is all just one long sentence. Some translations we have today, they try to add punctuation to help make it easier for us to read. But in the original, this is just one really long sentence. And it ends with Paul saying that this is all to the praise and worship of God.
And so, what I want to caution you with is, when this lesson is done today, if it leaves you with some questions or if it leaves you in amazement or it leaves you right on the edge of what you can comprehend, then realize that is exactly the purpose of what Paul was doing here. He was seeking to draw people into amazement and wonder concerning the things he was saying. Paul was not trying to give a comprehensive explanation of predestination. He was instead calling the Ephesians to praise and worship of God through saying things to draw to their remembrance what he had already taught them in person on this subject.
And as I approach this subject, I want you to know, this is a subject of wonder and amazement to me. There are aspects where I reach the end of my understanding and comprehension and where I just have to bow down before God and accept his word as the amazing thing that it is.
And predestination is one of those topics where there is a limit to how far we can understand it. There are aspects we can comprehend, and there are aspects which are just beyond us.
What is predestination?
Predestination is a topic that is probably one of the most debated areas of the Christian faith. And the debate is not whether or not we believe in predestination because all Christians believe in predestination, in some way or another. We literally can read it in the Bible, just like Paul said here in these verses. So, of course, if we believe the Bible, we have to believe that God predestines things.
And what is predestination? Predestination of God means that somewhere in the eons ago of time past, God, before the world ever was, before time ever began, God planned our creation, and according to his will and purpose, he appointed certain things to be so. And those things will be so because God predestinated them to be that way. God foreordained that it would be that way, and God is sovereign, so that is just how it is going to be.
And you can’t talk about predestination without talking about the sovereignty of God. Someone who is sovereign means they have the ultimate say, they are the final authority in saying how things will be. There is no higher authority you can appeal to; there is nowhere else to go. Someone who is sovereign is invested with the power and authority to have the final say. They are sovereign, so what they say and what they judge is just how it’s going to be.
And that is how it is with God. He is sovereign. He is at the top of everything. The buck stops with him, and what he decides and what he judges – that is how it is going to be. There is no appeal, there is no alternative. He has the final authority and power to decide anything and everything, and his sovereignty flows from the reality that he is all-powerful. He is God.
And so God, in his sovereignty, has predestined certain things, has ordered certain things to be a certain way, and that is just all there is to it.
Now one thing that Paul does not explain in detail here in Ephesians is God’s decision-making process. Yes, he predestined, and yes, he chose, according to the counsel of his own will. But what is the counsel of his own will? What are the principles by which God makes his decisions? What are the criteria God was seeking to satisfy or adhere to when he made all these choices in eternity past?
And the truth is we don’t fully know. There are elements we do know, there are aspects we do understand, but then there are some aspects of the mind of God that are not fully revealed to us. But there are aspects of God and his decision-making process which we can know and be sure of.
And as Christians, we know and believe God is eternally good. And although we may not fully understand or comprehend his reasoning or his choices, we know and trust it is all good. Whatever he predestines, whatever he chooses – as a result of his very nature – it is good. And not just relatively good, but perfect, in the sense that it is the best choice, in light of eternity. What God chooses is the ultimately best and most perfect of choices God could make, and so God predestines certain things for ultimately good purposes.
And as I already mentioned, all Christians believe in predestination because it is plainly written in the Bible that it exists.
But the challenge, and where the debate comes into focus, is not whether or not there is such a thing as predestination, but the challenge and the debate is how do we reconcile the concept of predestination with the concept of free will. What do we believe about God’s decision-making process that led to predestination? That is where the debate is at.
Because just as clearly as the Bible teaches predestination, the Bible also clearly teaches that we have free will.
The Bible tells us that we have liberty and that we have choices which are ours to make. If we went back to the Old Testament, we would read that God put a choice before the children of Israel. He said today, I set before you a choice. You can choose life or you can choose death. And I beg of you, please, choose life. But the choice was theirs to make. God gives us choices to make. Choose you this day whom you will serve. There are many verses in the Bible where God presents a choice to people.
You could consider Cain, in the story of Cain and Abel. Cain was going bad; he was on the wrong road. And God came to Cain, and he told him, “Cain, if you will do what is right, I will accept you, I will bless you. Just make the right choice.” God presented him with a choice.
And as we look at people who God presented with a choice, we have to believe that God was not tricking them. He wasn’t telling them they had a choice, but then really they didn’t. That would make God a liar.
And all of mankind is presented with an option. If we think to Jesus Christ, he said he came that the whole world might be saved. “Whosoever will, let him come and drink of the water of life.” There is a choice to be made.
And so, the Bible also presents very obvious examples of people being given a choice, and by their own will, making a decision.
And so, it sets up this puzzle: how can you have free will, the ability to make decisions on your own, yet God has predestined things?
If God predestined it, then you didn’t really have a choice. But if you chose it of your own free will, then your choice was not predestined. In our human minds, as we comprehend things, free will and predestination seem to be opposites, yet we find both in the Bible.
And that is where the debate is, how to reconcile those two things.
And what I am going to tell you today is that, as best I know, the Bible does not actually tell us how to reconcile those two things.
There is nothing written in scripture where we are given a clear explanation of how to reconcile predestination and free will. The Bible presents us with both of those things as truth. Free will is truth, and predestination is truth. And the Bible does not give us a clearly explained means to reconcile the two.
Because the Bible does not tell us how to reconcile the two, that is why so many people get into debates on this topic.
Because whenever someone seeks to try and reconcile free will and predestination, they have to wade into the realm of philosophy and create an explanation that makes sense to us, yet is not recorded in scripture. And that is what both sides do, from my vantage point.
And neither side of the debate on free will or predestination is able to actually fully account for all the issues. Whichever side of the debate you choose, if you think you have fully accounted for everything and you have a solid formula that fits every scripture and every circumstance and you have it all figured out how to reconcile free will and predestination, the truth is, you are probably just fooling yourself.
And some of the greatest teachers of scriptures take that approach, that the means of reconciling predestination and free will is a mystery that God has not chosen to reveal to us. And because God has not revealed how to reconcile free will and predestination, it must not really be important for us to understand how to reconcile the two.
And that is where I find myself standing on the topic. I believe that everything we need to understand about this topic is written clearly in scripture. And, if God in his perfect wisdom chose to not tell us how to reconcile free will and predestination, then it’s not really important for us to figure out the answer to that question. If God wanted us to know, he would have plainly told us.
And if, at the end of the day, we look at this thing, we just say – this is a mystery. It’s an amazing mystery. It is a mystery that leaves me in wonder and amazement. If that is where we land, then we land right where the apostle Paul was leading his readers to in this passage. Paul was leading his readers to the amazement and wonder of almighty God.
Evil is the evidence of free will
Let’s go a little deeper into this topic. And as we do, I will tell you this topic we are on right is one that I have studied probably more than any other single thing in scripture. I am not one who wants to be ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of truth. And so I have to ask myself, what is the truth here?
And the truth here is that God predestinates, and that we also have free will to make certain choices. The truth is that both of those things are a reality. But neither of them are universally true. There are areas where we have free will, and there are areas where God predestinates.
We can be sure that God does not predestinate everything. Let me say that again: I do not believe that God predestinates everything because the Bible indicates to us that God does not predestinate everything.
Now there are people who teach that God does predestine everything, that free will is just an illusion, and you and I have an illusion of free will. But really, everything is predestined by God, and everything that happens is planned and ordained by God.
But there is a serious issue with the belief that God has predestined everything because if God predestined everything, then God predestined evil. We would have to say that God predestined the devil to be evil, and so, if God predestined everything, God becomes the creator of evil.
And that flies in the face of passages of scriptures that tell us God is holy and perfect. A holy and a perfect God cannot be the author of evil. The Bible tells us very plainly that God did not create evil. God cannot lie; God cannot commit evil.
So, we can take that fact and use it to reason our way to an explanation. If God did not create evil, then God must have given genuine free will to another creature in his creation, and then that other creature in God’s creation, who he gave genuine free will, that creature through the exercise of their free will introduced evil into creation.
And so, the presence of evil in creation seems to prove that God did not predestine every single thing. The presence of evil seems to prove that the beings in God’s creation have some level of free will, and that free will includes some capacity to rebel against God.
Now can we find a scripture in the Bible that plainly says that? Not that I know of, which is why these things are somewhat debatable. There are other people who offer other solutions to explain how evil came into the world. I am not going to walk through them here, but they also have no scripture for their solutions either.
And that is why there is so much debate on this topic. There is just not a place in scripture that gives us a plain answer to these things.
And to the best of my understanding, what I have described to you is what makes the most sense to me. God must have given genuine free will to some creatures in his creation. Otherwise, God would be the creator of evil.
And as we consider the fact that God gave beings in his creation some degree of free will, we realize God is God. God did not have to give anyone free will. God is sovereign. God is totally within his right to create an entire creation where there is no free will at all. When we say that beings have free will – that free will is a gift from God himself.
The free will which you or I may have would be a result of God choosing to not enforce his own will and sovereignty on us. So I am in no way saying God is not sovereign. But I am saying, in his sovereignty, God chose to grant some degree of free will to beings in his creation.
And so the question is not whether or not God can predestine everything. The question is, did he predestine everything? It’s not a question of what can God do because God could have done this any way he pleased. The question is not what can God do; the question is what DID God do?
And, to the best of my understanding today, I have to say, God, in his sovereignty, chose to grant us some degree of free will. It appears he did indeed give genuine free will to the living souls in his creation, not because he had to do it that way, but because that is what he chose to do.
And the presence of evil in creation is the best evidence to show us that is true because God did not create evil. And so the presence of evil tells us there had to be someone else with free will in God’s creation in order to introduce evil.
So, is it in God’s power to predestine all things? The answer is yes, it is in God’s power to predestine all things. But did God actually choose to do that? And the answer to that seems to be no. No, God did not choose to predestine all things. God chose to grant people free will.
And some people and some angels have chosen to use that free will to do evil. And while God did not predestine evil, he did foreknow that it would happen and he prepared a plan to deal with the evil that some would do, and that is where our savior enters the picture, and that is what Paul is speaking of here in these verses we have read in Ephesians chapter 1.
Limits of free will
Now, how far does our free will go? That is the next thing I would like to think about a little bit with you. Is our free will limitless? Is every single thing that ever happens in our lives a product of our own free will?
And the answer to that is also no because it is very clear, as we read scriptures, like these ones here in Ephesians chapter 1, that God predestines things. There are things which, God in his sovereignty, has chosen, and those things will be so because God causes them to be so.
God causes good things. His ultimate purpose is for good.
And what is something that we read here that God has predestined? Verse 5 says:
“5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”
God predestined that, and we could compare that back to Romans chapter 8. In that chapter, Paul told us that we have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
And that is a very similar thing to what Paul is saying here in verse 5. God has predestined us to become a completed work through Jesus Christ. Today we are a work in progress. We are a redemption in progress. We have already been adopted as sons, and there is a transformation in progress.
A transformation that will only become fully complete when we see Jesus face to face. As John said, when we see him, we shall be like him. Today we are sons of God, but we are not fully what we will be.
Paul touches this again in verse 11, let me read that verse:
“11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
So in verse 5 we’re predestined to be adopted. In verse 5, we see a predestination for salvation itself. And now that we are adopted, now that we have been saved, in verse 11, we see that we are also predestined to obtain this inheritance.
And this inheritance, in most ways, is something we have not yet obtained. And this inheritance is not houses and lands and gold and silver. This inheritance is the glory of God. It is God’s absolute perfection. It is the radiance of his very being. It is the very essence of his divine nature. And that inheritance is what you and I are predestined to receive.
And so, not only have we been predestined to be adopted, we have been predestined to obtain this inheritance. And that inheritance is something we are still waiting on, a final transformation of our lives and full and total redemption. Not just of our souls, and our spirits, but also of our bodies.
There is an inheritance that you and I has been predestined to obtain. And the inheritance is not just for you and me, but it is for every child of God who has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
And as you think on that, let the full weight of it sink in. And if you come from an ideological background like I do, this is something that tears apart a whole lot of false religious ideas.
Paul is telling us in these verses that if we have been saved, we are guaranteed to receive this inheritance.
There is not another level of something we have to get to in order to have the inheritance. This inheritance does not come your way because after you were saved you kept a special list of rules. This inheritance does not come your way because you learned to understand some special mysteries. This inheritance does not come your way because you were part of a special group.
This inheritance comes your way because you have saving faith in Jesus. Being justified by his blood, you will be saved from wrath. And as Paul repeats over and over here in these first verses of the book of Ephesians, it’s all in him. In Him, in Jesus – and because of our union with him.
Our sins were paid for on the cross because we’re in him, on the cross. We are risen with Christ because we’re in him, in the resurrection. And we will be glorified in the world to come because we are in him.
As in Christ, so in us.
And that is a central point Paul is making in these verses. As in Christ, so in us. What happens to Christ, happens to us because we are in Christ.
And just as assuredly as our sins were punished on the cross with Christ, and just as assuredly as we are risen with Christ in the resurrection, we are equally assured of being glorified with him in the world to come.
And when we take that back to free will and predestination, we can say that you and I do have free will in certain ways. But as it relates to these things we are speaking of, there is no free will.
If we have come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, you will be redeemed. You will receive an inheritance. You will be glorified. And nothing you can do can stop that from being so. You can’t derail it. You may make mistakes. You may have weaknesses. You may take twists and turns.
But when you are in Christ, your ultimate fate is already sealed.
And think about that. Paul is telling us that someone who has been adopted, who has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, they have been predestined by God to receive this inheritance. We are not going to obtain the inheritance as a result of our will or as a result of our own efforts, but as a result of God’s will and as a result of the work God is doing through Jesus Christ.
This leads us into the wonderful truth of eternal security. When you are a child of God, when you are adopted by Him, Jesus said there is nothing that can pluck us out of His hand. We are predestined to obtain this inheritance, and this gives us an indication that we cannot lose our salvation. The inheritance of someone who has been adopted is predestined by God.
As we consider Paul’s Ephesians readers, they are living in a dark society, a society where they are persecuted. Many of the Christians in those days were slaves. Life was not really great for the average Christian in those days, and beyond that, just like today, people were having personal struggles.
Some of them no doubt felt like they were so far away from that image of Jesus Christ they had been predestined to be like. They may have felt very far away from that inheritance. But Paul is telling them, this thing is predestined. It is God’s choice for you to have these things. It is God’s choice for your work in progress to one day be completed, and it will be – because God says so.
And that is powerful, isn’t it? That is comforting. It’s wonderful and amazing, and it opens our eyes to the love and the grace of God. It’s something that can give you hope on a day when things are not looking so good.
Maybe things are not great today for you. Maybe circumstances are hard or unpleasant. Circumstances today may not be what you would like them to be. You may not be where you desire to be. But God has predestined you to obtain an inheritance. God has predestined you to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
What you are facing today – it may be an obstacle to you, but it’s not an obstacle to God. And guess what, your inheritance, your redemption, the completed work in your life, that is not going to be a product of your will; it’s going to be a product of God’s will. It’s not on you; it’s on God, and God never fails. Amen.
That is powerful. Let me read verse 11 again:
“11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
That is amazing. Paul is telling us, in a sense, this thing is as good as done because God is the one who is doing the job and performing the work, and God has already predetermined and predestined how this thing is going to work out in your life.
We are not told these things so we can sit back and turn on our cruise control but so we can have peace and know everything is going to work out in the end. I love that part of it. There is a song that says, there is peace in knowing that God’s in control, and no matter what comes our way, no matter how much others may desire to derail God’s plan, nothing can stop or prevent the ultimate fulfillment of that which God has determined to do because He is sovereign.
No amount of the free will of man can get in God’s way of accomplishing that which He has determined to accomplish because He is sovereign. So, this is one example of something that God has predestined. God has predestined that everyone He has adopted through Jesus Christ will obtain an inheritance in the world to come. It is predestined, and that point is abundantly clear in what Paul is saying here.
He may not give us an explanation of how to reconcile predestination and free will here, and he may not explain to us how the counsel of God’s will works. He may not explain here the basis by which God makes His choices. But he does give us a very clear statement that from the moment we are saved, our inheritance is guaranteed. Nothing can prevent us from obtaining it. Let me read that again, verse 11:
“11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.”
My, that is truly something. We have an inheritance, brothers and sisters. Let me point this out one more time: At what moment in time did we receive a guarantee of our inheritance?
It was when we heard the word of truth – which is the gospel of salvation. When we first believed in Christ – at that moment we were sealed with the Holy Spirit. At that moment, we obtained this guarantee. That is what these verses are telling us.
And, I want to make sure you catch what Paul is saying here. I am making this point again because there are many preachers who don’t believe what Paul said here, especially in the places that we come from. They do not believe the gospel, they do not preach the gospel. They have other formulas for salvation, they have other formulas for obtaining an inheritance. They do not believe that it is all a product of faith alone in Christ alone, by grace alone. They teach another gospel, which is no gospel at all.
But here, we believe the gospel, and here we teach the gospel. And we teach it not according to the apostles of a false message, but according to the apostles of Jesus Christ. Paul tells me that the word of truth is the gospel of salvation, and he tells me that if I have believed in Christ from my heart, I am saved to the utmost.
I have been given the Holy Spirit, that I shall be saved from the wrath to come, and that I have an inheritance promised to me in the world to come, which is to share in the glory of almighty God.
And there is nothing else to be added to it. Amen. That is what Paul tells me.
From the moment we are adopted as children of God, we can be assured that our inheritance is predestined. When we go back to verse 5, we see there was also an element of predestination in the adoption itself. Today, we are not going to examine election, or how it is that God came to choose us. That will be another subject for another day. Paul does not give us a deep explanation of that here, but he does give us a more solid explanation of the predestination of our inheritance.
Verse 5 lets us know that predestination was in some way involved when God chose us before the foundation of the world. I am going to speak on that for a moment before I close because God’s predestination in election, or, another way to put it, God’s predestination in the plan of salvation, tends to be the most debated part of predestination.
As I have mentioned before, I believe that when we look at scripture, we find that scripture tells us that both free will and predestination are at play. There is an element where God chooses us, and there is also an element where we choose God. God chose us first. He chose us before we were ever born, as we can see very plainly in verse 5.
God, through Jesus Christ, has made this wonderful salvation available to us, and we can say God is the first mover in the process. While we were yet sinners, God showed us His love through Jesus Christ. As we come to see that love of God toward us, as His marvelous grace permits our eyes to see and our ears to hear the truth of the gospel, there has to come a confession of faith from our hearts. Paul said, “if we believe with our heart and confess with our mouth, we shall be saved.”
God has done all the work of salvation for us, but a confession of faith, a decision to call out to God in faith, is an exercise of the free will God has given us. It was an act of God to open our eyes to the truth of the gospel, but it is an act of our free will to make that confession of faith in response to God, who by His grace made the first move toward us.
That, brothers and sisters, is the best of my understanding of what I see in scripture. There is a mystery there, an aspect that I still find mysterious. I truly believe God has left it mysterious on purpose because that mystery itself drives us to worship God. It causes us to be amazed that God could design something of such intricate complexity that we cannot fully unravel its understanding. Amen.
Does God Predestine Everything?
And let me make one final point here, and it is concerning the mystery of it all.
There are things which the scripture plainly tells us are predestinated and predetermined by God, and they will be so because God is God. Then there are other things which scripture plainly tells us God has left to our liberty or to our free will. And there are a great deal of other things which the Bible does not tell us one way or another. There are all manner of things where you and I are simply incapable of discerning whether or not what we are seeing is the result of people’s free will or if it is an act of God’s predestination.
There is just simply no clear way to know. Did the stock market crash because of mankind? Or did it crash because God predestined it? Was the internet invented because of the free will of man? Or was it invented because it was predestined by God? I really don’t know the answer to those sorts of things.
God foreknows everything, and nothing ever caught God by surprise. But God is not the one who causes everything that happens in His creation. When someone is sick, is it a judgment from God? Is it the work of the devil? Or was it your neighbor’s fault for coughing on you?
Some people are always quick to attribute everything that happens to the devil, or to God, or to whatever else. If you are in that category where everything that happens, you sort of look at as something you have no control over and you are just being carried along the stream of life, that might not really be the truth because you have a paddle in this stream, you have a rudder, and you have some ability to steer your way, and so do those around you.
If you are someone who is always certain you always know who or what is causing everything that is happening, I would caution you to be careful with who you make responsible for things that happen in the world. God doesn’t cause evil, and not everything bad that happens is the work of the devil either. Men and women also have free will, and in their fallen condition, they don’t need the devil to make them do bad things. They will do bad by their own fallen nature. Sometimes the spirit making people behave badly is their own spirit, it’s their own lusts.
As we bring this lesson to a close today, as you ponder over predestination, maybe you understand it better than me. But whatever the case, I hope as you think on these things of God, you ultimately let it lead you to a place of worship and praise of God.
Realize this: you are predestinated to an inheritance that God has prepared for you. Even if some things are hard to understand, this part isn’t. We are God’s children, we have been adopted as sons and daughters of God through Jesus Christ, and there is nothing that can prevent us from one day obtaining the full possession of that inheritance God had predestined us to have.
Let me close reading verses 11 and 12.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Praise God, let me close in prayer.
Lord God, you see and know our hearts, and it is truly our desire to fully know and understand all that you would reveal to us by the Holy Spirit through the scripture. Lord, we are limited beings with limited ability to know and understand, but we know it is written, “Who can know the things of God, except the mind of God?” But we have received the mind of Christ. Lord God, show us light, we pray, and we will walk in it. Let it be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.