This is just some of my thoughts after listening to John Piper’s sermon on predestination, available here: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/those-whom-he-predestined-he-also-called-part-1 (part of a series, maybe listen to the whole series)
Apologies that this doesn’t make much sense and is quite long.
“God works all things for the good of those who love him”
God chose beforehand those who would know and love him, based on no merit of our own.
We all deserve hell -> Jesus is so good.
But if God picks his children, why not pick more to join his people or even all? He could hav covered everyone’s wrath at the cross, and does cover everyone who comes to him, and we don’t know who these people will be.
I just find it hard knowing that Christ died for our sins, yet the majority of people have little to know interest in this, and will die in their sins to spend eternity in hell seperated from God in hell. And that’s always been the way - God’s always kept a remnant for himself. So many of my friends don’t know God (lots do, which is great). That’s why I pray for them all, and people that I know but not as well, on and off, and really do hope that I’ll see the majority if not all come to know Jesus for themselves.
But is there point in praying for them if God’s already decided before they were even born? ”Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” was said even before they were both born. I can’t change God’s mind through my prayers. Yet maybe that is part of the good works that were prepared in advance for me to do. And God does say that persistently asking for things will result in him paying attention - the story of the judge and the person knocking at their door.
It’s a bit of a paradox because I really do believe that prayer changes things. And prayer is such an important part of relationship with God.
How does this fit with free will? We do make choices, but God always knew what those would be and works things in such a way as to be without excuse in rejecting Him. “The heavens declare the works of your hands.” “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’. “
Yet he also decides who will and won’t be there, and has complete control over that as he chooses who to give his Spirit to and who not to.
I wouldn’t wish God’s just wrath on anybody; and yet doesn’t David in some of the Psalms, fully aware of how his own sins seperate himself from God. This is when they’ve shown no signs of repentance and continue to treat David badly for acting righteously.
Maybe this is all coming from a very comfortable western perspective that views all people as good, not bad, and struggling to understand the level of wrath due us prefering to view God as a bit of a softie who would rather pretend we’re all rather perfect and everything’s ok, turning a blind eye to all the evil in the world. Because everything’s not ok. Thank God for Jesus and for the time we’re given to repent and follow him. But also thank God he won’t leave the wicked unpunished forever.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
becasue the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor,
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion -
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendour.