Redemption is the Mystery of His Intention

All Scripture references are taken from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.” Ephesians 1:7-10.

Biblical Predestination is NOT the Doctrines of Hyper-Calvinism

The Bible clearly teaches predestination, but not the doctrines of Calvinism. Notice the phrase “In Him.” God foreknew, before the foundation of the world, that He would save people to be “in Christ” because of His sacrifice and secured by His resurrection, and through their expressed faith by His grace. Both the limit and condition of salvation were foreknown just as is found in 1 Peter 1:20-23, “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory,  so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” Peter also speaks in verse to what Paul writes in Romans 10;11-14 concerning how lost souls are born-again,, “For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”  How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” For those who say that God chooses those who will be saved or lost without decisions they make toward His Son is simply false. The gospel is the avenue by which God calls everyone to hear is to be taken by those already ‘in Him’ to all creation Matthew 28:18-20.

God Does NOT Predetermine Anyone to An Eternal Destination

What we do understand is that every person who has lived after the ascension of Christ is given an opportunity to repent and to be born-again. Jesus taught that people must not only be invited, but they must also accept the invitation, Matthew 22:1-14, and look at what Jesus says about those who do not accept the invitation, that is, express faith in Him, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Who are chosen? Those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Those who believe in the view of Calvin cause God to appear as a hypocrite because in that doctrine is something quite to the contrary to what Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:7-9, “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” This is not what Calvinism teaches.

Please note that Paul writes in v. 7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” Salvation comes through the blood of Jesus by His grace which He abundantly provides for the forgiveness of sin. With that, I have one question, “Why the crucifixion, why the pain and agony the Savior endured if God decided beforehand who would be saved and who would not? “Because He is sovereign” does not provide a biblical explanation.

We Now Know the Mystery of His Will

In v. 9 we find a somewhat perplexing phrase, “He made known to us the mystery of His will,” Before the Resurrection, the Jewish leaders and people were concerned how He was going to rebuild the Temple in 3 days after it was to be destroyed even though Jesus said the Temple of which He spoke of His body. “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?  But He was speaking of the temple of His body. John 2:19-21 NASB. The real issue here is just like the Jews standing before Jesus when He spoke these words, there are untold numbers of folks who have simply dismissed Him.

A brief statement is necessary here concerning those about predestination. No one is chosen by God to go to Heaven or to condemnation as in predestination. However, He does know and did know in advance when someone will choose to follow His Son or to reject Him and those that choose to believe in him are then given the gift of eternal life. This person is clothed in Christ and the promised Holy Spirit takes up residence in the new Believer NEVER to lose the gift because the Holy Spirit seals that relationship. Now, there are those, as we read in the Word of God, who have been chosen to serve His divine purpose in view of the coming Messiah, the Savior crucified and resurrected, and as Lord.

The Pharaoh was chosen to confront Moses. David was chosen to be the King of Israel. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other OT prophets were chosen to confront Israel with their sin against God. Nebuchadnezzar was chosen to orchestrate the captivity in Babylon. Mary and Joseph were chosen to be the earthly parents of Jesus and Judas Iscariot were Chosen to betray Jesus. However, none of these compares to the doctrine of predestination.

The Church is His Chosen Vessel

Finally, the Church is chosen to proclaim the Gospel to the World in order to make disciples in Jesus’ Name. All of this is done to demonstrate “the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him.” For everyone who is a born-again Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ are for the purpose of accomplishing His will in Christ Jesus, “with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.”

Jesus is Lord

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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