predestination isn’t unfair

This post will sound familiar to some readers, because it’s a reconstructed version of something I wrote somewhere else a while back.

It’s fundamental to understanding what the gospel is all about, to realise that the heart of every single human being on the earth is hard and rebellious, and nobody deserves to be saved. It’s also fundamental to recognise that, when God chooses some specific sinners to save and not others, neither their ‘good works’ nor their sinfulness enters the equation (he says, ‘I have loved you because I have loved you,’ and other words to the same effect).

But when God does foreordain that some sinners will not be saved, nobody can complain – it isn’t unfair of him when sinners remain unsaved, because they are themselves personally responsible for their sin and their hard-heartedness and refusal to believe. All the provision for the salvation of sinners has been made in the gospel: this is a Saviour God who provides everything that he demands (faith, repentance, a renewed will, a submissive heart etc) – Christ is exalted to give repentance; faith is a gift which he gives; and sinners have to go to him to get the gifts he gives: ‘Come unto me,’ he says, ‘and I will give you rest.’

People who hear that, and refuse to believe it, are responsible for their own unbelief: it’s their own sin that leads them to treat God as a liar and his word as unbelievable, whatever excuses they might make in defence of that decision.

If the gifts that the Saviour offers aren’t the gifts that a particular sinner wants to obtain, then the problem lies with that sinner and nobody else. Salvation is available – we can have it if we want it – and if someone doesn’t want it, or if they don’t want it on the terms that it’s given on, then they can’t complain if they end up without it. They certainly can’t try and shuffle off the blame onto God’s predestination or foreordination, as if they could second-guess God’s secret will (Rom 9:15, 18, etc) and make out that God’s revealed will wasn’t good enough for them (John 3:16, Isaiah 55:6-7, etc).

‘And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. … All that the Father gives me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37.


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