Predestination, and Election
Mark G Cambron,D.D
There are so many theories today
concerning foreknowledge, predestination and election, until the mind of the
normal and average Christian is so mixed up that he doesn't know what to
believe. If we do not get these three doctrines straight, our whole
Christian life will be warped, and soul winning will become a lost grace.
Let us turn first to the foreknowledge of God.
I. The Foreknowledge of God
"For whom he did foreknow, he
also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren."
Foreknowledge means to have knowledge of things to be.
Foreknowledge is an attribute of God, while Predestination and Election are
acts of God. Only God knows the future. He wouldn't be God if He didn't, but
the fact that He knows who is going to be saved, and who isn't going to be
saved, does NOT determine who is going to be saved and who is going to be
lost. Someone may ask, "If God does know who is and who isn't going to be
saved, how then, can the sinner get out of it?"
Foreknowledge, in Scripture, never determines what is to be--
foreknowledge is only the knowledge of things to be beforehand. It is the
same with our scientists, they can tell when there is to be an eclipse of
the sun or of the moon: on a certain day at a certain hour, minute and
second; but the scientists do not bring about the eclipse. God has
foreknowledge, and by this foreknowledge knows the future, but that is where
OF course God knows everything! He knows the very number of the
hairs of our heads. He knows the number of stars and calleth them by name.
God knows everything, including the future. And, not only that, but God
knows what would have happened if things had happened that didn't happen. He
knows the results of all possibilities. The same is illustrated when David
inquired of the Lord concerning his enemy. If he should go to one place,
would the enemy be there? God said they would. So David went in another
direction. Foreknowledge simply means to possess knowledge of things to be.
II The Predestination of God
Here is where many
saints falter in their witnessing. They read something or other in the Word
about predestination and then they reason that God predestinates some people
to be saved, and thus predestinates some people to be lost. This is not the
case. To begin with, predestination is never for the lost man; but rather,
predestination is for the saved men. We have only to read our Bibles, and
read the context where it is speaking of predestination, to clearly
understand that Salvation is, indeed, a personal matter based upon the
As stated before, Predestination is for the saved man. God knows
who is going to be saved, and thus He has predestined certain blessings for
those who are going to get saved by faith. In other words, God draws a
circle, figuratively speaking, and says that whosoever believes in the Lord
Jesus Christ will get in the circle. So the believer, upon his faith in
Jesus Christ, steps into the circle. Then God says, figuratively speaking,
"Whosoever is in that circle by faith, I have predestinated that they shall
receive these blessings," and here they are:
A. "To be conformed to the image of his Son."
"For whom he did foreknow, he
also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son"
This one of the blessings of God has predestinated for the believer--that
the believer is going to be fashioned, made, transformed, transfigured into
the likeness of the image of Jesus Christ. The things you might be suffering
at this moment are happening to you
to make you more like Jesus. And at the rapture, whether we be dead or alive
at His coming, we are all going to be changed and be wholly like unto
B. "Unto the adoption of children by Jesus
"Having predestinated us unto
the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good
pleasure of his will,"
Again we want to state that predestination is the predetermined blessings
for the saved man and has nothing to do with salvation. Now, in the above
text, we are told that the Christian is predestined unto the adoption of
children by Jesus Christ. It doesn't say that the sinner was predestined to
become a child of God; no, but rather the saint has been predestined unto
the adoption of children.
To get a better idea of this great truth, it is well to explain the
meaning of adoption. In America and England, when we adopt a child, we go by
legal means and take a child of another family and get into court to make it
our own. But no so with the Jewish family, nor with the ancient Roman and
Greek family. These adopted their own children. Adoption simply means "to
declare as a son," or "son placed." The fourth chapter of Galatians clearly
defines the meaning of adoption. It is the time appointed by the father when
his boy ceases to be considered a child and becomes a son. According to even
present day Jewish custom it is called BAR MITZVAH-- declared to be a Son of
the Law, Son of Blessing. The boy becomes of age after his thirteenth
birthday, on the day selected by the father. So it is with us: we are
children of God, but we are waiting our BAR MITZVAH, our adoption, the time
when our Heavenly Father will declare us of age and place us as Sons before
the whole universe: "even we ourselves groan within ourselves, WAITING FOR
THE ADOPTION, TO WIT, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY."
This is one blessing that God has predestinated for the saved man, for all
who are trusting the Lord Jesus Christ--that we all shall be declared to be
of age and as His SONS-- at the resurrection!
C. "Predestinated according to the purpose of
Here is the third
blessing for the child of God-- "being predestinated according to the
purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ."
You will notice
that it is not salvation the Holy Spirit is speaking about, but that which
is for those who are saved.
So many fail to read the 12th verse; herein is what God has
predestinated-- that we should be to the praise of His glory; Nowhere do we
find predestination for, or not for, salvation.
"According as he
hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before him in love:"
The New Testament words "chosen, choose, and election" are the
same. The Old Testament word is simply "chosen." From the above Scripture
many have felt that God chooses some to be saved and some to be lost. Again
I want to point out that predestination and election (choosing) have nothing
to do with the lost, but are for the saved.
From the following
Scriptures we learn what the choosing, or election, of God is about: "For
this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have
a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even
by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having
done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might
stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The
elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but
Esau have I hated."
At once we point out
that election, or choosing, has to do with service; THE ELDER SHALL SERVE
THE YOUNGER. It does not say, "The younger shall be saved, and the elder
shall be lost." No, but simply, "the elder shall SERVE the younger." Thus
choosing, or election, has to do with service." "Jacob have I loved, but
Esau have I hated" wasn't said of these two men before they were born, but
hundreds of years after they died. God hated the descendants of Esau because
of their unbelief, and loved the descendants of Jacob because of their
In the 15th chapter of John's Gospel, the Lord Jesus said that He
had chosen (elected) them disciples. For salvation? No, for service. Even
Judas was chosen! For damnation? No, but like Pharaoh, who was a fit vessel
unto wrath- after being given many chances to believe, refused, and thus was
used for God's purpose.
The prophet Isaiah says that Israel is God's chosen people
Does this mean that all Jews are saved? No. It simply means that God has
chosen Israel for a service. And we know what that service was: to give us
the [w]ord of God and to give us the Lord Jesus Christ!
The same prophet, Isaiah, says that the Lord Jesus Christ is the
Chosen Servant of God (Isaiah 42:1). Does that mean that God chose the Lord
Jesus to be saved? Of course not! For He is the SAVIOUR! But God did choose
His Son for a service-- and that service was to be the Lamb of God who would
die for the sins of the world. And He was the obedient Servant, being
obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross!
Now back to the original text, as found in
What has God elected or chosen us for? Not salvation; but He has chosen us
even before the foundation of the world (He knew that we would believe on
His Son) for service-- "that we should be holy and without blame before him
Thus, we conclude
that God does not predestinate or elect men to be saved or lost, but that
salvation is on the basis of "WHOSOEVER WILL!"-"And the Spirit and the bride
say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst
come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."