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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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William

About Predestination

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"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many bretheren. Moreover whom He predestinated, these He also called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these he also glorified." (Romans 8:28-30)

 

The concept of predestination has confused and separated Christians for generations. Some claim that God, through predestination, is being unfair. Others would just rather leave it out of their Bible. Indeed, most modern churches have chosen to simply ignore it.

 

Yet, all of the Protestant churches that came into being out of the Reformation held to the doctrine. But today, with so much humanism in the church, the idea of a sovereign God who controls all things is not popular. However, God's sovereignty is spelled out for us throughout the entire Bible and so is predestination.

 

As a doctrine, predestination states that God sovereignly elects who is to be saved. He makes this choice totally independent of anything that we may do. He does not choose us based upon faith because our faith is a gracious gift of God to those He has chosen. Nor does He choose us based upon our good works. Nor does He look into the future to see who would choose to believe. He elects people to eternal salvation based purely on His own good pleasure. Those not elected are not saved. Does this sound a bit unfair? In reality, it's just the opposite.

 

THE HIGHWAY TO HELL

 

Man is a sinner and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Thus, all of us would be on our way to hell without the salvation graciously provided by God. "...Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. "As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." (Romans 3:10-12).

 

Because of this situation, man is incapable of understanding the things of God. "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14). Thus, from his birth, man is on the highway to hell. He cannot and he will not, choose to come to God. So God ". . chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." (Ephesians 1:4-5).

 

FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE?

 

God chooses us. We do not (for we cannot) choose him. Can you imagine the sovereign God of the universe sending his Son to die for sinners who may or may not choose to come to him? Does it make sense that, after His resurrection, Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father and began to wait for sinners to choose whether or not to come to him? That would mean that, on the cross, Jesus died for no one in particular. But, that is not the case.

 

Christ's atonement was specifically for his people - "I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:15). He did not shed his blood for those who would not come to him. He has not paid the price for their sin - they will. "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours." (John 17:9).

 

UNDESERVED MERCY

 

Is that unfair? Hardly. Fairness is that we all go to hell. All men are sinners and deserve to go to hell. God owes us nothing. Yet, God has chosen to save some from that eternal punishment. C. H. Spurgeon said, "The amazing thing is not that everybody isn't saved, but that anybody is saved."

 

Instead of being unfair, this is mercy at its utmost. God does not have to show mercy to any one. "For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." (Romans 9:15). "Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?" (Romans 9:21)

 

GOD IS IN CONTROL

 

With a closer look, predestination is not seen as the unfair doctrine that so many would claim it to be. Predestination is the result of God's mercy and love. It guarantees the salvation of the ones He has called. It reveals the true nature of man to be sinful and rebellious toward God.

 

It puts God in total sovereign control, where He belongs. It removes man's ability to take any credit for his own salvation, because even the act of believing can not be created in a sinful free will. It allows the saved to rest assured in the knowledge that it was God himself who made their salvation sure.

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