Because of the complex nature of predestination and the need to see the harmony of the whole counsel of God, this topic is addressed in four parts:
1. What is the biblical definition of predestination?
2. Can we impact our own predestination?
3. How does predestination impact evangelism?
4. What about Romans 9?
Let's revisit the definition of predestination as delivered by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 17:26-27 (NIV) "From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. (Predestination) 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us." (Purpose of Predestination)
In verse 26, God shows His favor to "all nations" by marking out "appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands."
In verse 27, God shows the potential of His deliverance (salvation) if we choose to "seek him and perhaps reach out for him...."
Now, let's notice Peter's words and tie them to the passage above.
2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
Q: Why is God "patient" with us?
A: When these two passages are tied together, it becomes obvious that God predestines us to "appointed times in history and the boundaries" (Acts 17:26, NIV) in order that we would "reach out to him" (Acts 17:27, NIV) because He does not want "anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9, NIV)
While certain parts of our existence ("times," "boundaries") certainly are manipulated by God, it is equally important for us to conclude that, in spite of His predestination and his goal for us to "find him," there is still a responsibility for us to "seek him" and "reach out for him."
One of my greatest concerns about the popularity of Reformed Theology (Calvinism repackaged) is that their conclusions force them to turn evangelism into humanitarianism.
They rob the church of the example of Christ ("to seek and to save the lost," Luke 19:10, NIV) and the consequential assignment He gave us ("go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ... and teaching them," Matthew 28: 18-20, NIV).
Let me explain.
Because of the erroneous doctrines of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election and Limited Atonement, the emphasis of the church turns from meeting the spiritual needs of the lost to meeting their physical needs. Calvinists hesitate to identify the lost. To do so would imply there is a human responsibility and free will choices to be made by both the saved and the lost with regards to eternity.
Because God's predestination for our soul is a goal and not an assignment, we have the great responsibility to not only exercise our own free will and "reach out for him" (Acts 17:27, NIV) but also to "go and make disciples" (Matthew 28:19, NIV) presenting them with their own free will choice to "reach out for him" (Acts 17:27, NIV). This is how predestination impacts evangelism.
Missed the beginning of the study on predestination? Go to:
Part 1: "What is the biblical definition of predestination?"
Part 2: "Can we impact our own predestination?"
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