December 4, 2020 Brethren Letter

Dear Brethren,

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8:29).

When I was a young man in my late teens, I had a false concept in my mind about the words “predestined” and “predestination.” All I knew at the time was that those words had a Biblical context. I assumed the words meant that some people (at God’s discretion), were pre-determined to receive salvation, while others (also by pre-selection), would not. That puzzled me. However, my conclusion at the time was, “It’s not for me to reason WHY…” So, I did not spend much time thinking about the subject until years later.

Even if you look at the definitions of “Predestination” in a dictionary or encyclopedia, you will find various beliefs. Chambers Dictionary gives this definition:

The doctrine that whatever is to happen has been unalterably fixed by God from the beginning of time, esp with regard to which souls are to be saved and which damned (theology)

In Wikipedia, we find this opening statement under the word “Predestination”:

“Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God.”

Both definitions above are INCORRECT! The Bible defines itself! A closer look at Romans 8:29 and the surrounding verses, will give us the correct understanding (from God’s point of view).

(28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom

He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8:28-30).

“Predestination” is about the TIMEFRAME for being called spiritually, and not about a pre-selected, promised salvation for some. Here are a few paragraphs written on this subject from Mr. Armstrong’s booklet, PREDESTINATION Does the Bible Teach It?…

Notice it in the passage in Romans 8:28-30: “For

whom he did foreknow ….” How great is God! If you are one now called, God “foreknew” you. And “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate” — to be lost? No, “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 ….” Not will call in the future — called, now, in this age.

There it is. Note it.

“Whom he did predestinate, them he also called.”

Predestination has to do with being called. Not with being saved or lost. Those now being called, in this age, were foreknown, and PRE-destinated to be called now — to be the first to put their hope in Christ. All others have their call later.

God does not decide for you, in advance, whether you shall be saved or lost. He did decide far in advance which ones He would call in this first calling, to be a priest or a king in His Kingdom — to have part in the saving of others.

Now, the question is, if we were predestined to be called, does that mean God also knows what you and I will do tomorrow, next month or next year? Does He already know how each of us will handle our spiritual lives, or where our failings will be?

In the book of Jeremiah there is something interesting about God’s plan concerning the prophet Jeremiah. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Clearly, God knew Jeremiah even before he was formed in his mother’s womb. Now, does that mean Jeremiah could not fail as a human being? Was his eternal salvation already pre-decided?

How about us? We know that we were predestined to be called by God at this time. (John 6:44; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-5). Does this mean that God knows what we will do tomorrow? Does He already know the outcome of our own personal salvation?

I will continue the subject of “Predestination” next week. Please have a wonderful Sabbath!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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