Eph 1:4-6 "just as He 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, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved." NKJV
Whoa. Choosing? Predestined? This is stuff that people don't want to talk about because it is so controversial. Is it really true that God determined before the world was ever made, that some of us would be His children? I guess if you take this verse at face value, yes. But what about: "Whosoever will may come"? What about: "Whosoever believes…"? What about: "God is not willing that any should perish…"? Doesn't man have the free will to choose or are we just robots?
I think the thing that we forget about in discussions like this is who God is. Is God God? What I mean by that is, if God is really God, then He has to be in control of everything. If God is really God, then He has to have determined before the foundation of the world how everything was going to play out, both in history and in who was going to be born and who was going to repent…because He is sovereign.
It is so weird that I would run into this now, because it is the very thing that the guys are studying about God in our men's Bible study. We are going through James MacDonald's series called: "Gripped by the Greatness of God" and what did we study this week? God's sovereignty. As he says: "God made all His moves in eternity past! We're stuck in time; God is not. He's not limited to our little life calendar. He is eternal. He completely controls the universe – with His feet up! He's not stretched or stressed in any way. That's what it means to be sovereign." If this were not true, God would not be God.
So what about "whosoever will"? The better question is: Who gives us the willingness? Who gives us the ability to believe? Who puts the desire to choose there? It isn't us. We are dead and dead things can't will or believe or choose. It is the Spirit of God who makes us alive. It is the good pleasure of His will, not mine. It is all God. And His will will always be fulfilled…so when it says He is not willing, then all He wants will come to repentance.
But wait, this isn't fair! Really? We humans are going to tell God what is right…that He is wrong…that He is unfair? Give me a break. Take a look at Romans 9 to see how Paul dealt with the "unfair" complaint.
When I think about this, it just makes me fall on my face in amazement. Why me? Why would God chose me before the foundation of the world? Why would He predestine me to be His son? To the praise of the glory of His grace. He is the One who gets the praise. If I was smart enough to make this choice, then the praise would go to me and I cheapen the character of God…but I wasn't. It was all God and He gets the glory. His grace is made preeminent. I am so unworthy…thank you Lord.