Date: Sun, Jul 5, 2009 at 1:14 AM
Subject: questions about the bible/christianity
Hi Pastor Lau,
It's Nicole (again). I really don't know how to phrase my question because my ideas are rather incoherent but I'll try to illustrate what I'm trying to say. Rom 8:29 says that "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers ", so does that mean the places in heaven are already....predestined and fixed?
Date: Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 7:12 PM
Dear Sister Nicole,
Thank you for your inquiries. Inquiry is an excellent means to seek after the truth, and to rightly understand the truth of the Scriptures. So, please continue to inquire after the truth. The Lord has promised his disciples, "seek, and ye shall find."
They are good inquiries, and I hope you will learn and practice the truth that the Lord will show to you. Truth demands allegiance; errors requires abhorrence. Indifference to either is great offense to the God of truth. In Ps 99:8, we read, "Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions." The merciful and gracious God took vengeance against the inventions of His people. The inventions spoken of here are things and ideas - eg. women pastors, and gibberish 'tongues' - they add their own inventions to the worship of God. God's vengeance indicates that these inventions are abominations in His sight. Separate yourselves from those given to their own inventions in matters of doctrines and practices in the Christian religion. "They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger." Deut 32:16
I will leave some comments within your post. Please feel free to ask further if you have any further queries. We will learn together, and see what God has spoken in the Scriptures.
##It's Nicole (again). I really don't know how to phrase my question because my ideas are rather incoherent but I'll try to illustrate what I'm trying to say. Rom 8:29 says that "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers ", so does that mean the places in heaven are already....predestined and fixed?##
I do understand the essence of your inquiry. Any thinking person would have to wrestle with this 'apparent' contradiction. However, there is no contradiction at all. Your inquiry has to do with the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. There is perfect harmony between DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY and HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY - rightly understood. These two biblical truths are most essential for a proper and correct understanding of the biblical doctrine of salvation. Your inquiry touches on so many biblical truths, that I am not sure where to begin.
You asked, "so does that mean the places in heaven are already....predestined and fixed?"
My simple answer is , 'Yes, and Yes.' And the Scriptures provide ample and plain evidence to this biblical truth.
We will start with the passage you quoted, i.e. Rom 8:29-30. Read it real slow and take in the plain truth stated there. You and I are only interested in what the Scriptures declares... and embrace its teaching.
"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. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
First, let us observe some basic truths asserted here in this passage.
1. All the activities mentioned – foreknow, predestinate, call, justify, glorify - are all the God’s activities. They are not only God’s activities, they are wholly divine and monergistic, i.e. God acting sovereignly and freely, without the co-operation or assistance of those acted upon.
2. All the divine activities mentioned are stated in the SIMPLE PAST TENSE. In the purpose of God, all these activities are as good as have happened and completed actions.
3. All the divine activities mentioned are SOLELY AND COMPLETELY by free and sovereign divine grace - of pure and unadulterated divine grace in our eternal salvation, none is conditioned on anything outside of God. From beginning to end - note the unbroken chain between foreknowing and glorification - God alone is the cause and author of those actions.
4. The EXACT SAME NUMBER of people is the subject of EACH of all those activities – “whom he did… he also… whom he did, he also...” All these divine activities embrace and apply to exactly the SAME people… not one less, and not one more.
What this passage is declaring is this:
- God foreknew (loved beforehand, i.e. even before the foundation of the world) a certain number of people out of the fallen race of Adam)...
- God predestinated (predetermined their eternal destination, even heaven) the same people to eternal glory...
- God acted in time to bring the same number of people to eternal glory.
- He called each one of them who were dead in trespasses and sins to life and eternal salvation.
- He justified them by removing them by removing their just condemnation from them and imputed to them the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Sins brings condemnation and eternal death. Righteousness brings forgiveness and life. But it is the righteousness of Christ ALONE that bring forgiveness and eternal life.
- (Those who possess eternal life, i.e. who are God's children are the object of the gospel ministry)
- He glorified them through resurrecting them to eternal glory and blessedness at Christ coming. But this is spoken of in the simple past tense, because in the eternal purpose of God, the glorification of His chosen people is as good as a past and completed event because of its absolute certainty of coming to pass.
See the solid unbroken chain: God foreknew a people... He predestinated these same people to eternal glory. He called these same people out of their sin and condemnation to righteousness and eternal life. He justified these same people... and He glorified the same people. Not one more nor one less. God has FIXED it - by His sovereignty - to bring a fixed certain number of HELL-DESERVING sinners to heaven.
God by His sovereign grace, has not left the whole human race of sinners to their just and deserved desert of eternal hell. He chose to save some, and by His own will and power, assuredly bring them to eternal glory.
I understand that is what the passage says. Others may disagree vehemently. Ask them to give their interpretation.
Here are some passages with a plain message. The Bible speaks of the Book of Life in which many names are written. WHEN were those names written?
Php 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Re 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Re 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Those names in the book of life were written BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD - the names of those who God had foreknown and predestinated. These are the people God gave to Christ that he may come and save them from their condemnation. Jesus said: "37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." John 6.
Those in the book of life are those whom God the Father had chosen and gave to Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ came to save those ONLY, not one more and not one less. Joh 17:2 "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." 'As many as' means just that - not one more and not one less.
Many lying preachers teach that names are written in the book of life when a person believe! They are liars. There are people who believe the gospel because their names were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, and God called them to eternal life in time and enabled them to believe the truth of the gospel.
Here is another passage for your consideration, Eph 1
3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 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: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Meditate one this passage, and draw out some conclusion.
You asked, "so does that mean the places in heaven are already....predestined and fixed?"
Imagine for a moment Nicole! Consider this question carefully.
If God DID NOT already predestinate and fix to save and bring some people to heaven, then what would happen? If God did not foreknow, predestinate, call, justify and glorify any sinner, but instead leave the whole matter to sinners to choose, would any sinner ever be found in heaven?
If God leave it to HELL DESERVING sinners to choose and decide for themselves whether they would want to go to heaven or not, would there be one found in heaven? If you and I were to leave the fish to decide whether they will live in the air, would any be able to decide to do so?
Ah, I praise and bless the Lord that He is the God who has chosen to save poor sinners who are hell-bent rebels against God.
Ro 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Ro 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Would these choose heaven??????
I will respond to the other part later. If you have further questions, please feel free to ask.
your friend in Christ.