Predestination and Confidence
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (v. 28).- Romans 8:18–28
Yesterday’s lesson brought us to the subject of predestination, which occupies the thoughts of the apostle Paul in Romans 8–11. We shall settle down and consider this awesome subject for several lessons before moving on through the rest of Romans.
John Calvin and the other Protestant Reformers emphasized that the doctrine of predestination is often misunderstood and needs to be handled with special care. Often people react against the notion of God’s predestination, and we don’t get an opportunity to handle the subject at all, carefully or not. When we do deal with it, we should be careful to respect the limits of human knowledge and ability.
We must say that God predestines and controls all things; otherwise, we are not talking about a creator God at all. To create the universe, God created time and “created” every event in time. This is something we will never understand, because we would have to be God in order to understand it. We must affirm the truth of it, however, or else we will have to say that there are some things that are outside of God’s plan and control. If such things really exist, then God is not God, and we cannot trust His promises. After all, one of those things outside of His control might wreck His best intentions. A God who does not create all things and predestine all events is nothing more than Zeus.
The Bible tells us that God’s sovereignty undergirds our salvation and our freedom. He works all things together for our good, and He must be completely sovereign in order to do this. Not all things are good, in the sense that they reflect God’s original good intention for the world (Genesis 1:31; 2:18); but all things work together for good under God’s guidance. Even our sins, which bring God’s judgments, are woven into His amazing plan. In order for God to do this, He must be all powerful, and He must be sovereign over all events in history.
This should not cause us to cringe in fear. God’s sovereignty is for us. He is controlling all things for our good. He is working all things together not simply for His own purposes, but for the good of those He has called into His kingdom.
That God is sovereign is nonnegotiable. If anything had power over God, that thing would have to be “god.” It would be the most powerful thing in the universe and would be due our worship and adoration. Thank and praise God for His might, and for the peace we have in knowing He controls all things.
Passages for Further Study
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred (where applicable). If no such link exists, simply link to www.ligonier.org.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343