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Dave L

Absolute Predestination

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Faber

Hi William,

 Wouldn't they constitute "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" (Romans 9:22)?

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Guest William
1 hour ago, Faber said:

Hi William,

 Wouldn't they constitute "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" (Romans 9:22)?

The issue is that predestination is being equated with foreordination.

 

Do the vessels in Romans 9:22 the reprobate? Yes. The vessels of wrath are passed over and are even hardened. And perhaps taking the analogy a little bit further God withholds the water or Spirit from the marred clay on the Potter's wheel:

 

Calvinist theologian Louis Berkhof defines reprobation as "[T]hat eternal decree of God whereby He has determined to pass some men by with the operations of His special grace, and to punish them for their sins, to the manifestation of His justice."

 

The Bondage of the Will, in Luther's Commentary on Romans, written around 1515, he wrote, "All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned."

 

Predestination is only used in a salvific sense Romans 8:29,30 and Ephesians 1:5,11. Here's the kicker, in both Romans 8:29 and Ephesians 1:5 "predestined" is qualified: "to become conformed à" (Rom. 8:29); and "to adoption à" (Eph. 1:5). Romans 8:30 and Ephesians 1:11 are unqualified only because the qualification has already been mentioned.

 

Predestination is as follows and always used in the affirmative for the Elect and is why I emphasized that double predestination is not symmetrical positive positive but rather non symmetrical positive negative: God loves or sets His affections upon certain people before the foundation of the world and chooses them for salvation (the elect). In choosing some for salvation, He necessarily does not choose others (the reprobate). By His choices and passing over, God renders all His decisions certain to happen (foreordination). When in time and creation God's eternal decrees are fulfilled, the elect are saved by the active intervention of God (regeneration before faith, gift of faith, irresistible grace, efficacious call, etc.) and the reprobate are lost by virtue of their own character, choices and actions (total depravity). Foreordination is used when speaking of the reprobate. Foreordination- God predisposes all that is to come to pass and the conditions in such a manner that all shall come to pass according to God's eternal plan. Thus we say God foreknows because He has foreordained.

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davidtaylorjr
22 hours ago, William said:

The issue is that predestination is being equated with foreordination.

That's because they are synonyms in almost every case. Honestly, you are arguing semantics over terms. The fact is that God does predestine some to ultimate condemnation by choosing to not call them to salvation. There is no way around that fact.

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Faber
1 hour ago, davidtaylorjr said:

The fact is that God does predestine some to ultimate condemnation by choosing to not call them to salvation. There is no way around that fact.

 I agree with this.

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Guest William
1 hour ago, davidtaylorjr said:

That's because they are synonyms in almost every case. Honestly, you are arguing semantics over terms. The fact is that God does predestine some to ultimate condemnation by choosing to not call them to salvation. There is no way around that fact.

It's not semantics and they're not synonyms there's subtle but important distinction. Already made my case, what you're advocating is Hyper-Calvinism. The argument you're providing is usually by those that distort double predestination, however, you're defending the distortion.

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davidtaylorjr
23 minutes ago, William said:

It's not semantics and they're not synonyms there's subtle but important distinction. Already made my case, what you're advocating is Hyper-Calvinism. The argument you're providing is usually by those that distort double predestination, however, you're defending the distortion.

What I am arguing is found directly in Calvin's Institutes.

Quote

 

John Calvin (1509–1564)
Intensifying Augustine’s position, Calvin defined predestination as God’s eternal decree by which He determined by Himself whatever He willed to happen with every person, creating some persons for eternal life and others for eternal damnation. Calvin held to an infralapsarian model of predestination, in which God first understands humans as fallen and therefore lacking the mental faculty to accomplish spiritual good. Then God actively decrees to save some and damn others in a double predestination. This predestination is part of the eternal and immutable decree of God, established prior to the existence of those affected by the decree. Predestination is unconditional because it is based on God’s free decision, not on anything in the elect or the reprobate. Election occurs in order to make people holy, not because they would be holy (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 677). Moreover, reprobation occurs for no other reason than that God wills to exclude certain persons from the inheritance that He predestines to His children; reprobation is not simply a matter of divine permission, as Augustine held (Calvin, Institutes, 3.23.1).


Calvin’s approach to predestination is very anti-speculative and is rooted in a conjunction of his Augustinian doctrine of original sin and the data of Scripture rather than metaphysical conjecture. Anticipating possible objections to his doctrine of predestination, Calvin warned that humans must not pry into the secret counsels of God and that humans must not go beyond the boundaries of Scripture, instead embracing a “learned ignorance” (docta ignorantia) of what God has chosen not to reveal (Calvin, Institutes, 3.21.2). To the charge that predestination makes God unrighteous, Calvin appealed to divine voluntarism in maintaining that the will of God is the supreme rule of righteousness, such that everything God wills must be held righteous by the mere fact of His willing it (Calvin, Institutes, 3.23.2).

 

Lexham Bible Dictionary, Bellingham Washington

 

 

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davidtaylorjr
31 minutes ago, William said:

Already made my case, what you're advocating is Hyper-Calvinism.

This is also simply not true. I am not a Hyper-Calvinist nor do I argue for such.

 

You can't say God chooses for some people but does not choose for others while also stating that we cannot choose Him without Him.  You have a logical problem in that scenario.

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Guest William
7 hours ago, davidtaylorjr said:

John Calvin (1509–1564)
Intensifying Augustine’s position, Calvin defined predestination as God’s eternal decree by which He determined by Himself whatever He willed to happen with every person, creating some persons for eternal life and others for eternal damnation. Calvin held to an infralapsarian model of predestination, in which God first understands humans as fallen and therefore lacking the mental faculty to accomplish spiritual good. Then God actively decrees to save some and damn others in a double predestination. This predestination is part of the eternal and immutable decree of God, established prior to the existence of those affected by the decree. Predestination is unconditional because it is based on God’s free decision, not on anything in the elect or the reprobate. Election occurs in order to make people holy, not because they would be holy (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 677). Moreover, reprobation occurs for no other reason than that God wills to exclude certain persons from the inheritance that He predestines to His children; reprobation is not simply a matter of divine permission, as Augustine held (Calvin, Institutes, 3.23.1).


Calvin’s approach to predestination is very anti-speculative and is rooted in a conjunction of his Augustinian doctrine of original sin and the data of Scripture rather than metaphysical conjecture. Anticipating possible objections to his doctrine of predestination, Calvin warned that humans must not pry into the secret counsels of God and that humans must not go beyond the boundaries of Scripture, instead embracing a “learned ignorance” (docta ignorantia) of what God has chosen not to reveal (Calvin, Institutes, 3.21.2). To the charge that predestination makes God unrighteous, Calvin appealed to divine voluntarism in maintaining that the will of God is the supreme rule of righteousness, such that everything God wills must be held righteous by the mere fact of His willing it (Calvin, Institutes, 3.23.2).

 

Lexham Bible Dictionary, Bellingham Washington

Predestination implies that God "primarily caused" the reprobate to be reprobate. The Lexham dictionary defines double predestination as "God actively decrees to save some and damn others in the doctrine of double predestination. This is why as Grudem states that double predestination is often avoided by theologians but it's commonly used by those that oppose it. The Lexham continues this misinformation if the Lexham is stating that this is the classical historical view of double Predestination rather than a distortion. The Lexham also states that Augustine contrasted Calvin and fails to mention that Grudem sides with Augustine which is provided in the OP from Grudem's Systematic Theology though they quote Grudem. Not to mention R.C. Sproul sides with Augustine and Grudem. Furthermore, the Westminster of Faith CHAP. III. – Of God’s Eternal Decree Paragraph 3 states, "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death." The Westminster Confession of Faith further states in Paragraph 7, "The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extendeth or witholdeth mercy, as He pleaseth, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice."

 

Note there is a clear distinction in that predestination is positively used for the Elect and foreordination is used for the reprobate.

 

Below is John Calvin's Institutes Book 3, chapter 23 section 1. Please point out where Calvin used the term "Predestine" for the reprobate.

 

Section 1. Error of those who deny reprobation. I. Election opposed to reprobation. II. Those who deny reprobation presumptuously plead with God, whose counsels even angels adore. III. They murmur against God when disclosing his counsels by the Apostle.

 

John Calvin. 

 

The human mind, when it hears this doctrine, cannot restrain its petulance, but boils and rages as if aroused by the sound of a trumpet. Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an invidious charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated, (Bernard. in Die Ascensionis, Serm. 2). This they do ignorantly and childishly since there could be no election without its opposite reprobation. God is said to set apart those whom he adopts for salvation. It were most absurd to say, that he admits others fortuitously, or that they by their industry acquire what election alone confers on a few. Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children. Nor is it possible to tolerate the petulance of men, in refusing to be restrained by the word of God, in regard to his incomprehensible counsel, which even angels adore. We have already been told that hardening is not less under the immediate hand of God than mercy. Paul does not, after the example of those whom I have mentioned, labour anxiously to defend God, by calling in the aid of falsehood; he only reminds us that it is unlawful for the creature to quarrel with its Creator. Then how will those who refuse to admit that any are reprobated by God explain the following words of Christ? "Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up," (Mat 15: 13). They are plainly told that all whom the heavenly Father has not been pleased to plant as sacred trees in his garden, are doomed and devoted to destruction. If they deny that this is a sign of reprobation, there is nothing, however clear, that, can be proved to them. But if they will still murmur, let us in the soberness of faith rest contented with the admonition of Paul, that it can be no ground of complaint that God, "willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had store prepared unto glory," (Rom 9: 22, 23). Let my readers observe that Paul, to cut off all handle for murmuring and detraction, attributes supreme sovereignty to the wrath and power of God; for it were unjust that those profound judgments, which transcend all our powers of discernment, should be subjected to our calculation. It is frivolous in our opponents to reply, that God does not altogether reject those whom in levity he tolerates, but remains in suspense with regard to them, if per adventure they may repent; as if Paul were representing God as patiently waiting for the conversion of those whom he describes as fitted for destruction. For Augustine, rightly expounding this passage, says that where power is united to endurance, God does not permit, but rules (August. Cont. Julian., Lib. 5, c. 5). They add also, that it is not without cause the vessels of wrath are said to be fitted for destruction, and that God is said to have prepared the vessels of mercy, because in this way the praise of salvation is claimed for God, whereas the blame of perdition is thrown upon those who of their own accord bring it upon themselves. But were I to concede that by the different forms of expression Paul softens the harshness of the former clause, it by no means follows, that he transfers the preparation for destruction to any other cause than the secret counsel of God. This, indeed, is asserted in the preceding context, where God is said to have raised up Pharaoh, and to harden whom he will. Hence it follows, that the hidden counsel of God is the cause of hardening. I at least hold with Augustine that when God makes sheep out of wolves, he forms them again by the powerful influence of grace, that their hardness may thus be subdued, and that he does not convert the obstinate, because he does not exert that more powerful grace, a grace which he has at command, if he were disposed to use it, (August. de Praedest. Sanct., Lib. 1, c. 2).

 

John Calvin. Institutes of the Christian Religion (Kindle Locations 18390-18391). Kindle Edition.

 

Further Reading:

 

R.C. Sproul:

 

The Double-Predestination Distortion

 

The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God works in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.

 

This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.

 

The Reformed View of Predestination

 

In sharp contrast to the caricature of double predestination seen in the positive-positive schema is the classic position of Reformed theology on predestination. In this view predestination is double in that it involves both election and reprobation but is not symmetrical with respect to the mode of divine activity. A strict parallelism of operation is denied. Rather we view predestination in terms of a positive-negative relationship.

 

In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the “hardening” of the sinners’ already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, “work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us.”2 Luther continued:

 

When men hear us say that God works both good and evil in us, and that we are subject to God’s working by mere passive necessity, they seem to imagine a man who is in himself good, and not evil, having an evil work wrought in him by God; for they do not sufficiently bear in mind how incessantly active God is in all His creatures, allowing none of them to keep holiday. He who would understand these matters, however, should think thus: God works evil in us (that is, by means of us) not through God’s own fault, but by reason of our own defect. We being evil by nature, and God being good, when He impels us to act by His own acting upon us according to the nature of His omnipotence, good though He is in Himself, He cannot but do evil by our evil instrumentality; although, according to His wisdom, He makes good use of this evil for His own glory and for our salvation.2

 

Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin. Sin falls within the category of providential concurrence.

 

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davidtaylorjr
15 minutes ago, William said:

By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God

This is not what I am arguing. I understand this to be error. They are already sinners. But God chooses to not elect them, therefore predestining them to damnation. There is no way around that and I don't see how that is not understood.

 

17 minutes ago, William said:

In this view predestination is double in that it involves both election and reprobation but is not symmetrical with respect to the mode of divine activity.

This is precisely what I am saying. But you cannot separate the fact that while there is a sense of passiveness, God is making an active choice to not give the effectual call to those individuals.

 

18 minutes ago, William said:

Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children.

This shows that choice and, as I said, I am arguing the exact same position that both Calvin and Sproul argue.  I think you are misunderstanding what I have been saying.

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Guest William
16 minutes ago, davidtaylorjr said:

This is precisely what I am saying. But you cannot separate the fact that while there is a sense of passiveness, God is making an active choice to not give the effectual call to those individuals.

That is the point I was arguing in the beginning. However, I am pointing out that it is wrongly stated that Predestination is used for the reprobate. The correct theological term would be foreordination for the reprobate. Another way of looking at this, Predestination is only used in the negative schema towards the reprobate as God passed over them leaving to themselves, that is the negative effect (God did not "cause" the reprobate to be reprobate). However, the correct term to use is foreordained when referring to the reprobate.

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davidtaylorjr
45 minutes ago, William said:

That is the point I was arguing in the beginning. However, I am pointing out that it is wrongly stated that Predestination is used for the reprobate. The correct theological term would be foreordination for the reprobate. Another way of looking at this, Predestination is only used in the negative schema towards the reprobate as God passed over them leaving to themselves, that is the negative effect (God did not "cause" the reprobate to be reprobate). However, the correct term to use is foreordained when referring to the reprobate.

This is where I am confused, even Sproul argued that Predestination involves election and reprobation in the article you quoted.

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Guest William
5 hours ago, davidtaylorjr said:

This is where I am confused, even Sproul argued that Predestination involves election and reprobation in the article you quoted.

Sproul is arguing a negative "effect" and not such much a passive or unintentional decision as some are interpreting Sproul's interpretation of double predestination. Of course God is active as in some cases God may deliberately "harden" someone. However, He does not actively cause someone to be reprobate.

 

Not to stray any further than I am, but the whole purpose of the doctrine of Predestination is to bring someone to Soli Deo Gloria. God loved us (Elect) that much before we were even conceived. He loved us when we were reprobate and at enmity against Him!

 

God bless,

William

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Faber
2 hours ago, davidtaylorjr said:

This is precisely what I am saying. But you cannot separate the fact that while there is a sense of passiveness, God is making an active choice to not give the effectual call to those individuals.

 If I see 1000 people walking towards a cliff with a mile drop into jagged rocks and when I call and warn 100 of them and they all stop and turn and go another way to safety but I don't call 900 of them and they all fall and perish is it not my choice not to call the 900?

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Guest William

Of course it is God's choice. But did He initially "cause" the other 900 to perish?

 

If you notice this is putting the burden, accountability, and responsibility on the shoulders of God to save everyone.

 

Is God impotent?

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Faber

Good question.

If I created them knowing that they would not turn unless I called them did I not cause them to be in that position to begin with?

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Guest William
2 minutes ago, Faber said:

Good question.

If I created them knowing that they would not turn unless I called them did I not cause them to be in that position to begin with?

Didn't God create everything very good?

 

That's a deep question. Did God directly cause Adam to sin? Obviously God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil there. God in his providence ordained the serpent to be there.

 

Again, Judas betrayal, Pontius, hostile Jews, the Crucifixion. Did cause all these people to sin?

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Faber

 Need to think more about this one William. To be honest it was because of you (and I'm sure others from this site) that I became to believe in Predestination. Many years ago I was strongly against it, but the past few years I was on the fence about it. It wasn't until this year (I think) that I embraced it.

 

 I am wondering if those in the Lake of Fire bring glory to God. Of course He knew from all eternity they would be there. I think they do in that His absolute and supreme justice is meted out in perfect holiness.

 

 Since I am so new to this subject I think I would have to study it more. With some topics I think I feel pretty well grounded but this one I am pretty much a novice.

 

 Thanks

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deade

I prefer to think of the people not called as God is not done with them yet. Until all things play out the way they are ordered, God is not done with any of us.

 

 

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Faber

Hi deade,

 

 I m curious to know in what sense do you mean that God is not yet done with them yet.

 

 Thanks

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deade
On 12/23/2018 at 8:39 PM, Faber said:

Hi deade,

 

 I m curious to know in what sense do you mean that God is not yet done with them yet.

 

 Thanks

 

Can you say for sure that we can predict one's future destination. I can't.  

 

 

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davidtaylorjr
42 minutes ago, deade said:

Can you say for sure that we can predict one's future destination. I can't.  

I don't think anyone here has argued that.

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Placable37
4 hours ago, deade said:

Can you say for sure that we can predict one's future destination. I can't.  

I can in light of these verses. I believe it is called having faith in Christ that He will keep His Word.

Heb 10:22-23
(22)  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
(23)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Heb 10:35-39
(35)  Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
(36)  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
(37)  For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
(38)  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
(39)  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
 

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Guest William
10 minutes ago, Placable37 said:

I can in light of these verses. I believe it is called having faith in Christ that He will keep His Word.

Heb 10:22-23
(22)  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
(23)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Heb 10:35-39
(35)  Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
(36)  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
(37)  For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
(38)  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
(39)  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
 

Right, we can have assurance of personal individual salvation but I am convinced not of anyone else without violating Luke 6:37. Though we may have assurance of salvation we approach salvation and God with fear and trembling Philippians 2:12. Fear in itself of God is a gift and a fruit of regeneration Jeremiah 32:40, "I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me."

 

A good indicator of personal salvation then may be that we truly fear the Lord. Such fear will prevent us from sinning in order that grace may abound etc Romans 6:1

 

God bless,

William

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Matthew A.Duvall
On ‎11‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 1:13 AM, William said:

Curious as to whether anyone understands the benefit of learning the doctrine of predestination?

 

In my mind, in the life of the believer this doctrine draws out a simple response "Soli Deo Gloria!"

Predestination is a repulsive doctrine to the "Almost Christian ". I don't wish to sound sarcastic ,but only a genuine believer can identify with God's true plan of salvation . The book of Romans gives a clear picture of how God's salvation works . It does not give any indication as to why it works . The only reason for God's plan and purpose in salvation was to please him and glorify His gracious name . I once had an elderly friend that ran a reformed  book store for many years before she left us and went to her glorified eternal destiny . I asked her the question pertaining to predestination once and she said that no one will ever completely understand it while here on this earth. But when the true saints of God die and go immediately to be with the Lord, they enter Heaven through a giant gate and when past it they look behind them and see their plan and purpose spelled out and once read continue through the gate with the full knowledge of why God predestined them to life eternal and the glory of Heaven.  That may not be biblical ,but it does make a lot of sense .

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Guest William
8 minutes ago, Matthew Duvall said:

Predestination is a repulsive doctrine to the "Almost Christian ". I don't wish to sound sarcastic ,but only a genuine believer can identify with God's true plan of salvation .

I absolutely agree. And I have to admit I often wonder what kinda Christian is this that rejects the biblical doctrine of Predestination?

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