All previous preface notes apply, and all Scriptures are still taken from the New Revised Standard.
Populist Christianity, part 3
Predestination, part 2
Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Zechariah 1:2-4: The LORD was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore say to them, Thus says the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.” But they did not hear or heed me.
Amos 7:3: The LORD relented concerning this [his judgment]; “It shall not be,” said the LORD.
Before the fall of man, as mentioned in the previous article, it would seem that mankind was destined to live in the presence of God, while remaining in the Garden. Again, God gave mankind free will, but He also gave mankind a destiny, and that destiny was to live in His Presence.
The Fall is called the Fall for a reason – mankind fell from the presence of God, mankind changed the course of his destiny, and therefore, fell from the grace of God. After the fall however, man’s destiny did not change. God’s desire for mankind did not change, only the nature of man changed. That nature, as described by St. Paul as “the flesh,” also has a “destiny. That destiny is to lust after its own desires, and therefore, through these desires, sin. In away, with the Fall of man, the course of human nature shifts to being predestined to sin, not due to the desires of God, but due to the original sin in the Garden.
Christ, as the new Adam, had the same opportunity as Adam to sin, and to “fall.” This, obviously, for theologians and Christians alike is not a topic of typical back porch discussion, but it is true nonetheless. Christ was tempted by Satan, and Christ was tempted by His flesh. Likewise, Eve was tempted by Satan in the Garden, and likewise Adam was tempted by his flesh – Eve was the flesh of Adam, she came out of him. The difference is a simple, yet extremely important one. Adam fell, Christ rose. Where Adam sinned, Christ redeemed Himself. Where Adam disobeyed, Christ obeyed.
Christ, in being tempted by Satan, was offered the “whole universe,” if He would simply bow down and worship him. Christ, as God, of course knew Satan had no such power, but as Man, the offer did tempt Christ. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ’s own flesh… His own human free will, tempted Him, but in the end, He sacrificed His will to obey the Father.
Because of the Sacrifice of Christ, the course of the destiny of mankind once again shifts. No longer are we condemned, but salvation belongs to the world. Once again, the original destiny, the original predestination that God intended for mankind, can now be obtained. No longer to the faithful remain in the Bosom of Abraham, but they now sit enthroned with Christ and the Father.
The predestination of mankind is not that some are meant to be saved, and some are meant to be damned. The predestination of mankind is that all might be saved, that all may experience the Presence of God.
The question then is, in what does this destiny hinge on. Again, simple, “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6) Granted, mankind’s salvation hinges on more then that, but on an individual level – for those of us who already believe, and for those of us who are evangelizing, this message is the clearest way to the truth. To seek the Lord is to seek one’s destiny in Christ. Every living soul has that destiny, and agreed, not all attain it, but we all share in that same destiny, the destiny to be in the Presence of God.
Why are some saved and others not? They refused to seek the Lord. They refused to know the name of Christ as John write in his Gospel, chapter three. How about those who did not hear the Gospel of Christ? Who am I to judge? I know not the heart of God concerning those who did not hear the Gospel of Christ while on earth, and though I cannot be sure of their salvation, I will dare not say because they lived in North America or South America at the time of Christ, that they were predestined for damnation. Only God knows the heart, in this, Calvin was one hundred percent correct, but unless we seek the Lord, we will never know the heart of the Father.