“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. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
These passages tell us that God has predestined to save people in Jesus Christ. To do so, God has called them in Christ, justified those whom He called, and glorified those whom He justified. All the basics of the Scripture are planned and worked out within Jesus Christ. This is what the Book of Romans tells us, yet many theologians and false ministers have turned this clear and simple truth into a mere doctrine, consisting of their own thoughts and self-interests, and earnestly spread it. We will now turn our attention to examine how many misunderstand this truth.
Some theologians deduce five major doctrines from this passage: 1) prescience, 2) predestination, 3) effective calling, 4) justification, and 5) glorification. These five doctrines are known as the “Golden Chain of Salvation” and have been spread as the truth to both believers and non-believers alike. But their claims are full of flaws.
All five doctrines speak only of what God has done–that is, “God already knew, already elected, already called, justified, and glorified someone.” But the Doctrine of Predestination is a doctrine that claims that God has unconditionally elected those whom He would save even before their births. Yet the Biblical truth of predestination teaches that God has made sinners His children by pouring His love over them. Having thus elected them, God has called them, justified and glorified them.
The Error of the theological doctrines of predestination and election
In Christian theology, we can find the “five great doctrines” of Calvinism proclaimed by John Calvin. Among them are the Doctrine of Predestination and the Doctrine of Election. In the following discussion, I will point out the Biblical errors of these doctrines and bear witness to the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Doctrine of Election originated from a theologian named John Calvin. Of course, God spoke of the election in Jesus Christ long before Calvin’s time, but his Doctrine of Election has led many to confusion. This false doctrine limits God’s love and defines it as discriminatory and unfair. Fundamentally speaking, there are neither limits nor boundaries to God’s love, and as such, the Doctrine of Predestination that imposes such limits on God’s love cannot be anything but wrong. Yet the reality is that many believers in Jesus today have accepted this doctrine as natural and fatalistic.
The ideas of this Doctrine of Predestination have come to rule over many minds, as the doctrine is fitting for those who like philosophizing, and, as such, dominate their minds, making it believable to them. The doctrine claims that even before Creation, God unconditionally predestined and elected some, while others were predestined to be left out of this election. Were this doctrine true, those souls that were not selected would have grounds to protest against God, and He would turn into an unfair and prejudicial God.
Because of these doctrines, today’s Christianity has fallen into great confusion. As a result, many Christians are suffering while wondering, “Have I been elected? If God had reprobated me before Creation, what is the use of believing in Jesus?” They end up being more interested in whether they were included or excluded from God’s election. This is why the Doctrine of Predestination has produced so much confusion among the believers in Jesus, as they assign more importance to the question of their elections rather than to the true gospel of the water and the Spirit, given by God.
This doctrine has turned the truth of Christianity into just another world religion. But it is now time for us to cast these wrong doctrines out from the Christendom with the gospel that has born witness to the righteousness of God. As such, you must first see to yourself whether the Doctrine of Predestination is correct or not and be delivered from all your sins by knowing and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who have truly been selected by God are those who know and believe in His righteousness.
The predestination and election spoken by the Truth
Ephesians 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” The election spoken in this passage from Ephesians is an election chosen “in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). It also tells us that Jesus Christ has not excluded a single person from the grace of the salvation from sin.
From this passage, we must ascertain what is exactly wrong with the Doctrine of Predestination. The fundamental error of this doctrine is that it is bias against the standard of God’s election–that is, its basis of who is to be saved or not does not depend on the Word of God, but instead on His arbitrary and unconditional decision.
If we were to base our faiths in Jesus on the logic of such unconditional predestination and elections, how could we ever believe in Jesus in our nervous uncertainties and worries? Calvinism preaches of a false doctrine that turns the just God into an unfair and unjust God. The reason why Calvin made such a mistake is because he took out the condition of “in Jesus Christ” from God’s predestination, and the error has been grave enough to confuse and mislead many. But the Scripture clearly tells us, “God chose us in His Son Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4).
If, as the Calvinists claim, God unconditionally chose some in order to be their God while excluded others without any reason, what could be more absurd than this? Calvin turned God into an unfair God in the minds of many people. But the Bible tells us in Romans 3:29, “Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also.” God is the God of everyone and the Savior of all.
Jesus is the Savior of all. He gave redemption to everyone by taking upon all the sins of mankind on Himself with His baptism by John and His blood on the Cross (Matthew 3:15). The Scripture tells us that Christ saved every sinner by bearing all the sins of the world with His baptism and carrying these sins to the Cross (John 1:29), being judged for these sins in our place (John 19). Also, John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus Christ took upon everyone’s sins with His baptism, died on the Cross, and arose from death for all of humanity in God’s righteousness.
Our understanding of whom God has called must be based on His Word. To do so, let us take a look at the passage from Romans 9:10-11. “And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls).”
It says here that the purpose of God might stand “of Him who calls.” Whom, then, has God called in Jesus Christ? They are precisely sinners whom God has called. Between Esau and Jacob, whom did God love? He loved Jacob. God did not love people like Esau, who was full of his own righteousness, but He called sinners like Jacob and allowed them to be born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This was the very will of God’s righteousness that chose sinners like Jacob to love and call through Jesus Christ.
Because Adam was the forefather to everyone, all were born as the offspring of a sinner. In Psalms 51, David says that he was conceived in sin from when he was in his mother’s womb. Because people are born as sinners, they commit sins, regardless of their determinations. Throughout their lives, they continue to bear the fruits of sin until the very end. Mark 7:21-23 tells us that just as apple trees bear apples and pear trees bear pears, humans are bound to live in sin for their entire lives because they were born with sin.
You must have had an experience of committing a sin against your wishes. This is because from the very beginning, you were born a sinner. People are born with evil thoughts including adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, and others such sins in their minds. This is why everyone lives his or her life in sin. Sin is inherited. Since we were born with the sins that our forefathers passed on to us, we are fundamentally determined to live in sin. This is the reason why we need to believe in Jesus as our Savior and believe in God’s righteousness.
Does this then mean that God’s first work, Adam, ended in failure? No, it doesn’t. God decided to make mankind His children, so He allowed the first man to fall into sin. He fundamentally permitted us to be sinners in order for God to save us and make us His children with the baptism of Jesus Christ and His blood. So, we must know that we were born as sinners without exception.
However, God decided to send Jesus Christ to this earth before Creation, knowing that mankind would become sinners. He then placed on Jesus, through the baptism of Jesus received from John, all the sins of the world and had Him die on the Cross. In other words, He decided to bestow upon anyone who believed with the blessing of the redemption from sin and of becoming God’s children. This is God’s plan and His purpose for creating mankind.
Some people might ask in their misunderstandings, “Look at Jacob and Esau. Was not one selected and the other abandoned by God?” But God did not unconditionally elect those who insisted to be saved outside of Jesus Christ. He clearly chose to make everyone His children through Jesus Christ. When only considering the Old Testament, we may get the impression that God chose only one side, but with the New Testament, we can unmistakably see that He elected people like Jacob to save all sinners through Jesus Christ. We must have a clear understanding and believe in whom God called with His Word.
Of Esau and Jacob, who did God call and love? He called no other than Jacob, a man full of shortcomings, deceit and unrighteousness, to love and save him in God’s righteousness. You, too, must believe in this truth, that God the Father has called you through Jesus Christ in His righteousness. You must also believe in the fact that the gospel of the water and the Spirit in Jesus Christ is the very righteousness of God.
Why, then, did God choose such people as Jacob? God chose Jacob because he was a representative of all unrighteous humanities. Jacob’s calling by God was a calling congruent to His will; a calling in accordance to the Word of God that “we were chosen in Jesus Christ.” This calling is also consistent with the Word of truth that “the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls.”
The way to save sinners through Jesus Christ was to completely fulfill the righteousness of God with His love. This was the law of salvation set by the righteousness of God for sinners. To clothe them in His righteousness, God called people like Jacob, who had no self-righteousness at all, and those who answered His calling through Jesus Christ.
Did God call those who were self-righteous and who seemed just fine? Or did He call those who had no self-righteousness who were full of shortcomings? Those whom God called were people like Jacob. God called and saved sinners bound for hell because of their sins. You must realize that from your very birth, you, too, have been a sinner who has come short of God’s glory, and as such, were bound for hell. You need to know, in other words, your true self. God called all sinners through Jesus Christ and saved them in His righteousness.
The people of God are those who have been justified by believing in His righteousness. God predestined to call all sinners and redeem them in Jesus, and He fulfilled what He had predestined. This is the predestination and the true election in Jesus Christ that God speaks of. To understand the true election of God, we must first understand the background of this truth on election, as described in the Old Testament.
Background to God’s election from the Old Testament
Genesis 25:21-26 tells us about the story of Jacob and Esau while still in the womb of their mother, Rebecca. Between the two, God chose Jacob. Calvin based his Doctrine of Election on this passage, but we will soon find out that his understanding departs from the will of God. There was a reason why God loved Jacob more than Esau. This reason is that people like Esau, rather than relying on and trusting in God, live by believing in their own strengths, while people like Jacob live by their reliance on and trust in the righteousness of God. When it says that God loved Jacob more than Esau, it means that God loved people like Jacob. This is why we were “chosen in Christ” (Ephesians 1:4).
“Unconditional election” without Jesus and outside of God’s righteousness is only a false Christian doctrine. This idea is akin to bringing and believing in a god of fate into Christianity. But the truth tells us that God elected all sinners in Jesus. Because God chose to save all sinners “in Jesus Christ,” His election was a just election. Had God chosen Jacob unconditionally and reprobated Esau groundlessly, He would have been an unfair God, but He called us in Jesus Christ. And to save those whom He called, He sent Jesus to this earth to take upon the sins of the world with His baptism, which has fulfilled the righteousness of God, and to shed His precious blood on the Cross. This is how God has chosen and loved us through Christ Jesus.
We need to throw away our human thoughts and believe in the Word of the Scripture, not in a faith of literalism, but in our spiritual faiths. God the Father, in other words, chose all of us through Jesus Christ. But how does Calvin treat God’s election? True faith is found when one knows and believes in God’s righteousness. To believe in human thought as the truth is the same as worshiping an idol, not God.
Believing in the righteousness of God through Jesus is clearly distinct from believing in the erroneous Doctrine of Predestination. Were we not to know and believe in Jesus according to the written Word of God, we would be no different from mere beasts incapable of reasoning. We have been chosen as God’s children by the seal of God’s righteousness “in Jesus Christ.” We should examine our faiths with the basis of the Word of the Scripture.
One of the five doctrines of Calvinism speaks of “limited atonement.” This doctrine claims that among the many people of the world, some have been excluded from God’s salvation. But God’s love and His righteousness cannot be so unfair. The Scripture tells us that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). If the blessing of salvation were a limited blessing that is granted to some but not permitted to others, there would be many people who would give up on their faiths in Jesus. Those who believe in such false doctrines must return to the gospel of the water and the Spirit, be saved from their sins and receive eternal lives by knowing and believing in Jesus Christ as their Savior. God has saved everyone through Jesus Christ with His righteousness.
If God had indeed loved some and hated others, people would turn their backs from God. Let us suppose that God is standing right here, right now. Were God to select all those who were standing to His right for salvation and those who were standing to his left for hell without any reason, would this be just? Those who are to His left would have no choice but to turn against God. If God were like this, then who in this world would serve and worship Him as the true God? All those who were unconditionally hated by God would protest and in turn, they, too, would hate God. Even the criminals of this world are said to have their own morals and fairness. How, then, could our Creator be so unfair, and who would believe in such an unfair God?
Our Father decided to save all the sinners with the righteousness of God found in His Son Jesus Christ. This is why the Calvinist Doctrine of Limited Atonement has nothing to do with God’s righteousness. Yet because of such erroneous doctrines, many people are unfortunately still going astride, believing in God wrongfully or turning away from Him, all from their own misunderstandings.
An untruthful movie
Stephen King’s novel entitled, “The Stand,” was made into a TV mini-series some years ago and was highly acclaimed all over the world. The plot of the novel unfolds like this: In the year 1991, a plague strikes America, leaving only a few thousand people alive, who are “immune” to the epidemic. Of the survivors, those who instinctively serve God meet in Boulder, Colorado, while those who worship the “Dark Man” are drawn to Las Vegas, Nevada. The two groups separately rebuild societies, until one must destroy the other.
Among the survivors, a young man named Stuart repeatedly dreams that the end of the world has come, and an elderly woman named Abigail tells him in his dreams to go to a certain place, reminding him that God elected him already. In this movie, God saved this young man because He predestined him before Creation, even when he did not believe in God or Jesus.
Does God, then, unconditionally save those who do not even believe in Jesus? Of course not. God has predestined everyone in Jesus Christ to save those who believe in His righteousness from their sins.
The storyline of this movie is based on Calvin’s Doctrines of Predestination and Election. This movie is merely a story that only tells a part of a theologian’s doctrine. How could God arbitrarily decide to send some people to hell and yet elect others for salvation? Because God is just, He has predestined and selected everyone through Jesus Christ, and there is none who is barred from the salvation of His righteousness. God’s predestination and election without Jesus Christ are meaningless and unbiblical. It’s unfortunate that so many theologians continue to claim that God elected some while He reprobated others.
Even before He created the universe, God planned to save all sinners and make them His children with His righteousness through Jesus Christ. He elected, in other words, all sinners through the gospel of Jesus. How, then, do you believe?
Do you believe that the Buddhist monks meditating deep in the mountains are excluded from God’s election? If God’s predestination and election were unconditional without Jesus Christ, there would be no need for us to preach His Word, nor believe in it. If, without the Savior Jesus Christ, some people were destined to be saved and others were not, there would absolutely be no need for sinners to believe in Jesus. That Jesus has saved us from our sins through His baptism and His blood on the Cross, in the end, it would also be meaningless. But in the righteousness of God found in Jesus Christ, God allowed salvation to even these Buddhist monks who do not believe in Jesus, only if they repent and turn their minds toward God.
There are many people in this world who live their lives believing in Jesus. Were we to divide them into two groups, one group would be those who are like Esau and the other would be those who are like Jacob? People like Jacob identify themselves as sinners bound for hell, and as such, are saved from their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus. The other group is made of people like Esau, who try to enter the gates of heaven by adding their own efforts to their faiths in Jesus.
Who are you like? Jacob or Esau? Do you believe in the righteousness of God? Or do you believe in the erroneous Doctrine of Predestination? Your choice between these two faiths will decide where you will end up–in heaven or hell. You must throw out these erroneous doctrines and receive the righteousness of God to make peace with Him by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, spoken of by God’s righteousness. Only this faith gives us perfect deliverance from our sins and eternal lives.