In the Bible we find numerous references used to describe those who have, or will at some point in time, come to faith in Christ. These references
describe believers with words such as “predestined”, “chosen”, “elect”, and as those who are “called” by God. With this in mind, we must admit that the subject of predestination is mentioned in the Bible, and at some point during our walk as believers, we will find ourselves wanting to know more about this teaching.
What exactly do the Scriptures teach us about predestination, and does man himself have a choice in the matter of his own salvation? Predestination refers to one’s eternal destiny after their life here on earth is over, and the issue of that eternal destiny having already been decided beforehand by God.
Some interpret the Bible as saying that God’s salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is an offer that is open to each and every human being who has ever lived, and that their ultimate destiny rests with their own decision either to accept Christ or reject Him. Those who interpret salvation in this way will say that predestination, or God’s choice of those who will be saved, refers to those whom God foreknew, or knew before hand, would make the decision to accept Christ as opposed to rejecting Him, at such time as they are drawn or enabled by God to do so.
Others believe the Bible teaches that those who will receive eternal life are predestined to come to faith in Christ, in that they are foreknown and chosen beforehand by God Himself to be brought to faith, regardless of any works of their own whatsoever, including any decision made while they are still dead in their sins as to whether or not they will accept Christ. In this second case, God foreknew from before the creation of the world those individuals whom He will call to faith in His Son. This calling is effectual, meaning that all of those who are called to faith in Christ will come to Him, and none will refuse that call.
So we see that there are two widely held and different interpretations of the biblical doctrine of predestination. Regardless of which interpretation we hold as being the correct biblical teaching, let us resolve to do as the Bereans did when they considered the message brought by the Apostle Paul, and let us search the Scriptures ourselves, to see whether these things are true (Acts 17:11).
As we begin our study of predestination, we should first consider what the Bible teaches about the depravity of man. When we understand what the Scriptures reveal to us about man’s sinfulness and the extent of his
wickedness and depravity, we will better understand our own salvation and what God has done for us through His saving grace.