May 5 I Saturday
1 Kings 19-20
“In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will…” —Ephesians 1:4-5
I was on a flight a number of years ago from Seattle to New York City with a stopover in Dallas. Upon arriving in Dallas, I boarded a new plane, settled into a seat and waited for the doors to close. As the aircraft pulled away from the gate and headed to the runaway, the captain said over the intercom, “Our flying time to Oklahoma City is 1 hour and 55 minutes.” Confused, I called the flight attendant who informed me I was on the wrong plane and it was too late to turn around. The New York flight had already left the gate, and I would have to make alternate travel plans upon my arrival in Oklahoma City. By virtue of being on that plane, I was now predestined to fly to Oklahoma City.
Many Christians struggle to understand predestination, and there is sadly much potential for differences in understanding to prompt friction between believers. Like being chosen in Christ, there are some who think predestination has more to do with how we become a Christian than what is guaranteed for us once we are a Christian. The problem is that Scripture does not use the word “predestination” to describe our eternal destinies. The opening Scripture verse speaks of believers who have been predestined “to sonship through Jesus Christ,” while Romans 8:29, the other main “predestination passage,” says we have been “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.”
Predestination simply means that there are certain results—destinations, if you will—guaranteed of those in Christ. To return to the plane example, I was predestined to go to Oklahoma City because I was seated in a plane bound for Oklahoma City. There was nothing I could do to change that final course. The same principle applies to biblical predestination. Our adoption to sonship and the conforming of our character to that of Christ are guaranteed to come to fruition because we are in Christ.
When we accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord, we are set on a journey where God will complete His good purpose of taking ordinary, fallen people, indwelling us with His Spirit, and conforming us to His moral character. Predestination is about the glorification and adoption process, not about salvation or whether we choose God or God chooses us. Predestination assures us that what is true of Christ will one day be totally true of us, and the process begins the moment we believe in Him.
The doctrine is entirely Christ-dependent and gives us confidence grounded in God’s faithfulness that He will complete His purposes within us.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank You that in believing in Christ, I am predestined to be Your child and to become like Him. May I begin to see that transformation occur in my life now as Your Spirit works in me. Thank You, Lord.