This passage oozes with the notion of predestination. That’s a “churchy” word meaning different things to different people. Known as a Christian doctrine for some denominations, it has been debated by theologians for centuries. Basically, it means that God has figured everything out ahead of time, knows what’s going to happen in our lives, and there is nothing we can do to change it. Does that give you assurance or scare you just a little bit?
In terms of our salvation, however, this can be a bit unnerving. What if God didn’t “choose” me to be saved? I have a hard time believing that some people of faith would not be saved because they weren’t “predestined.” After all, Jesus commanded us to evangelize and make new disciples. Why would he do that if it was already predestined who would be saved?
Any time we come upon a passage in Scripture that leaves us a bit perplexed, we should dig deeper into the Bible for answers. I found some great passages I’d like to share:
- Acts 2:23: “But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:7: “No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.”
- Ephesians 1:5: “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
- Ephesians 1:11: “Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.”
There are probably other passages, but these clearly support the idea that God has a plan. We regularly talk about “God’s plan,” or God’s will. But to what extent does that plan become “predestination?” When we think of all the prophets who foretold of future events, we know that God had given them those messages to proclaim. The complexity of God’s wisdom is beyond our comprehension.
I understand why Solomon wrote about this—it’s a hot topic. People are always wanting to know what the future holds, even dreaming of their “happily ever after.” Remember when you were a child? Time can’t go fast enough to reach the next milestone. For me, it was being old enough to get my ears pierced, be able to drive, and then go on a date. Did God know when all those things were going to happen?
The future is still unknown to us, no matter how old we are or where we are on our faith journey. We don’t know how long we’ll be alive or when Jesus will return. God knows those things. God has a plan for our lives. How detailed that plan may be is hard for us to fathom. I think that’s the idea. God wants us to be in awe of him and his creation.
God loves each person on this planet, but not everybody returns that love. God desires for us to love and trust him, be obedient to him, and to tell others about him. We can play a part in that plan!
We shouldn’t allow ourselves to get caught up in speculation about this. Let the scholars and theologians battle it out. Jesus told us we are to love God and love others. If we can do a better job of that, I’m sure whatever God’s plan is for us will be set in motion.
Let’s pray. Father God, this was a difficult passage to reflect on at first. I don’t know what to think about predestination, but I do know that I am so thankful for how you are working in my life. Thank you for always being close to me and desiring a relationship with me. Forgive me for those times when I stumble and question you more than I should. Help me to trust in the plan you have for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.