Predestination

If you’re a Christian, you’ve heard of predestination. You must have because the Bible uses the word and teaches the idea. But what is predestination? How does free will fit in? What about man’s sinfulness and God’s sovereignty? Is predestination a fair doctrine or does it make God out to be dispassionate and tyrannical? In this paper, I will attempt to answer those questions.

Predestination is the doctrine that God alone chooses (elects) who is saved. He makes His choice independent of any quality or condition in sinful man. He does not look into a person and recognize something good nor does He look into the future to see who would choose Him. He elects people to salvation purely on the basis of His good pleasure. Those not elected are not saved. He does this because He is sovereign; that is, He has the absolute authority, right, and ability to do with His creation as He pleases. He has the right to elect some to salvation and let all the rest go their natural way: to hell. This is predestination.

In response to this definition, some will protest, “Unfair!” It may seem so at first, but you will see that it is quite fair. More importantly, it is biblical. To help you understand predestination, I would like to address several areas in order:

  1. The Eternal Covenant
  2. Man’s Sinful Condition
  3. The Result of Sinful Man’s Condition
  4. Man’s Free Will
  5. The Necessity of Predestination
  6. God’s Sovereign Election
  7. Conclusion
  8. Objections Answered

1)  The Eternal Covenant
Usually, the best place to start a study is at the beginning, and in order to understand predestination better we need to start at its beginning. Its origin can be found in what is called the Eternal Covenant. says, “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep.” If you have never heard of the eternal covenant, then you need to familiarize yourself with it because it is vital to a proper understanding of one of the ways God deals with His people. Essentially, God works covenantally.

A Covenant is a pact or agreement between two parties. It is a contract. The Old and New Testaments are really the Old and New Covenants. Testament comes from the Latin testamentum, which means covenant. In the O.T. the Hebrew word for covenant is always b’rith. In the N.T. it is always diatheke. There are OT covenants that God made with individuals, i.e. Adam (), Noah (), Abraham (), the Israelites at Mount Sinai (), and David (Sam. 7:12-16), etc., and in the NT there is the New Covenant (; ; ) that was prophesied in .

The Eternal Covenant, then, is the covenant made between God the Father and the Son with regard to the elect. This covenant was made before the universe was created and it consisted of the Father promising to bring to the Son all whom the Father had given the Son. “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day…I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours…Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” ( , NIV).

In the Eternal Covenant, the Father would prepare the Son a body (; ); give the Son the Spirit without measure (Is. 43:1,2; 61:1); always support and comfort the Son (Is. 42:1-7; 49:8); deliver the Son from the power of death (); bring to the Son all whom the Father had given Him (); and give the Son a number of redeemed that no one could number (). The Son’s part was to assume human nature (; ); be under the Law (; ; ); and to bear the sins of His people (; ; ).

In the Eternal Covenant we see that God has given a certain number of people to the Son and that the Son came to redeem them, to “lose none of them” (). We can conclude from this that God had in mind a certain people whom would be His elect. Since God knows all things, He knows those whom He has chosen. Hence, they are predestined from the very beginning of time.

2) Man’s Sinful Condition
Man is sinful. He does not become a sinner by sinning. He sins because he is a sinner. He is depraved, which means that sin has corrupted all that he is: mind, soul, spirit, emotions, and body. Man is so engulfed in sin, so thoroughly touched by it, that there is nothing in him that merits or enables salvation. He, therefore, is born into a state of condemnation: “…and [we] were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (). This is not to say that we are as evil as we can be, rather, that all of what we are is affected by sin.

The heart is often referred to in scripture as the deepest part of man and the center of his spiritual nature (; ; ; ). From the heart man understands (), reflects (), feels joy (), and experiences pain (). Because of his depravity (sinful condition), man’s heart is not only impure but desperately sick: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (). Also, it is out of the heart that we speak “…out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (), and what is in the heart of the person is what comes out of him: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (). It follows then that man’s understanding, reflection, feelings, and experiences are all stained by sin.

The unregenerate person is a slave of sin: “For when you were slaves of sin you were free in regard to righteousness” (). That means that doing good is not a concern or need of the unbeliever–and naturally so for a person with a sinful nature. The unregenerate is inherently against God: “by abolishing in His flesh the enmity…thus establishing peace” (). Enmity is hatred, bitterness, and malice toward an enemy. That was our relationship to God prior to salvation; there was enmity between us.

So, the Bible reveals the true nature of man. It is evil (), sick (), a slave of sin (), at enmity with God (), and, of course, naturally belongs in hell (). It then follows that out of his utterly sinful condition, only sinful desires and effects will follow. The question must then be asked, “How can a sinful person ever desire God?”

3) The Result of Man’s Sinful Condition
Because of man’s sinfulness, he is unable to understand God, seek God, or do any thing good: “…both Jews and Greeks are all under sin as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one’” ().

Because of his sinfulness, he loves darkness rather than light; he loves evil rather than good: “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil” ().

Because of his depravity, he is incapable of accepting the things of God or understanding them: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (). The natural man is the unregenerate man. The natural man cannot understand the things of God. Notice it does not say, “has trouble understanding,” or “can if he’s sincere,” or “will be able to if he chooses God.” It says he cannot understand. Salvation is one of those “things of God,” and so is the understanding of being lost, of being a sinner, of needing repentance, etc. All of these are out of reach of the natural man. He cannot understand them.

So, in light of these scriptures, how can an unbeliever come to an understanding that he needs salvation if the Bible teaches that he cannot understand his need (), that his nature is evil () and that he does not seek God ()? It would seem that man’s sinful condition does not permit him to desire, understand, or want God. What effect, then, does this condition have upon his free will?]

 

4) Man’s Free Will
Many believe that man, by his free will, by something that resides in him, is completely able to independently accept or reject God. But this belief is not supported in scripture. As I stated above, man’s will by nature is sinful. What then will a sinful free will choose? It will choose sin. His free will, then, would never allow Him to reach out to God.

But we must ask, “What is free will?”. Generally it is accepted to mean the freedom to choose according to one’s desires. This seems true. But someone is only as free as his nature is free. His will is limited to that which is within his nature. The unregenerate can only choose what his nature allows him to choose. Since he is full of sin, not goodness, his choices can only be sinful.

In other words, a person can choose to do only that which his nature allows him to do. He cannot simply will to suddenly vanish into thin air or fly like Superman because he is incapable of such feats; his nature limits him. So too with the nature of fallen man. He is severely limited by what he can and cannot do.\

The sinful man:

  • cannot understand spiritual things ().
  • is full of evil ().
  • does not seek for God ().
  • is lawless, rebellious, unholy, and profane ().

      How then can the good desire to want God come out of the unsaved’s evil heart? It cannot! How is he able, in his sinful free will, to desire God when his inclinations are always to reject Him? He cannot. How can he, with his blind and sinful will that is deadened, hardened, and enslaved by sin () ever choose God? He cannot! It is impossible. That’s why Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (, NIV).

But some still maintain that God works on a person and slowly teaches and guides him or her into believing. Others say that there is something in a person’s free will that enables him to choose God. They maintain that everyone is equally able to accept or reject. But if they are equally free and equally able, then why don’t they all equally accept God, or why don’t they all equally choose to reject Him? Why are there variations in choice? Are the variations a result of a tendency that God gave them? But God made them that way. Is it because of their environment? But God put them there. Is it because of some physical inclination? But God gave them their bodies. Is it because of their parents’ influence? But God gave them their parents.

The fact remains, man is not entirely free; he is sinfully free. The unsaved can act freely, but only within the limits of their sinful nature which cannot understand spiritual things (), does not seek for God (), hates God, and is in slavery to sin (), etc. That is why Jesus said, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” (), and, “No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father” (). These are not the statements one would hope to find if the sinner were so free to choose to accept or reject God.

5) The Necessity of Predestination
I’ve laid the foundation: Man is completely a sinner who is incapable of understanding and coming to God and has a sinful free will capable only of rejecting God. Therefore, in order for salvation to occur, God must predestine. It can be no other way. If this is so, then there should be verses supporting it. There are:

  • : And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; AND AS MANY AS HAD BEEN APPOINTED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.
  • : But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, WHO WERE BORN NOT OF BLOOD, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD.
  • : FOR TO YOU IT HAS BEEN GRANTED FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE IN HIM, but also to suffer for his sake.
  • : FOR WHOM HE FOREKNEW, HE ALSO PREDESTINED to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
  • : HE PREDESTINED US to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.
  • Also WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE, HAVING BEEN PREDESTINED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE who works all things after the counsel of His will.

The preceding scriptures clearly show that the Lord is very active in salvation. He did not simply provide the means of salvation, the cross, but He also ensured the application of the blood of Christ through predestination.      

Please consider that it is God who:

  1. – draws people to Himself ().
  2. – creates a clean heart ().
  3. – appoints people to believe ().
  4. – works faith in the believer ().
  5. – chooses who is to be holy and blameless ().
  6. – chooses us for salvation ().
  7. – grants the act of believing ().
  8. – grants repentance ().
  9. – calls according to His purpose ().
  10. – causes us to be born again ().
  11. – predestines us to salvation ().
  12. – predestines us to adoption ().
  13. – predestines us according to His purpose ().
  14. – makes us born again not by our will but by His will ().

It is man who:

  1. – is deceitful and desperately sick ().
  2. – is full of evil ().
  3. – loves darkness rather than light ().
  4. – is unrighteous, does not understand, does not seek for God ().
  5. – is helpless and ungodly ().
  6. – is dead in his trespasses and sins ().
  7. – is by nature a child of wrath ().
  8. – cannot understand spiritual things ().
  9. – is a slave of sin ().

How can it be any other way than God’s loving predestination to make our salvation not only possible, but also a reality? Left to man, salvation is impossible: “When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (). That is why it must be God who opens the heart: “And a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” ().

This is what truly glorifies God, that in His infinite mercy He is gracious enough to save those who would always reject Him, always hate Him, and always malign Him. Praise Him and His love!

6) God’s Sovereign Election

God is sovereign. Sovereignty means that God is supreme in power and authority, that He answers to no one, and that He may do as He pleases for whatever reason He chooses. “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (); “…to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur” (); “…this Man [Jesus], delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross…” ().

Out of a people of utter sinfulness and inability, God has chosen, by His sovereign grace, to elect some into salvation and not others. Remember, there is nothing in man that merits any favor, blessing, or mercy whatsoever. For there is no favoritism with God (). Each and every person is entirely worthy of wrath and incapable of saving himself. That is why God has chosen a people to Himself out of the good pleasure of His heart. Because without His choosing, none would ever come to Him. Therefore, predestination is a loving doctrine: “…In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ…” ().

He chooses some and ignores others not because of what the person has done, or what is foreknown that he would do, but simply because of God’s sovereign choice: “[God] who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (); and, “for though the twins had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’” (; see also, ).

Sovereignty is why God has mercy on whom He desires and hardens whom He desires: “For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy…So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires” (). This is sovereignty! It is God who is in control.

Some He has elected to salvation, others He has not: “…for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed” (); And, “What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory” (). It seems quite clear that God prepares some for mercy and not others. That is sovereignty.

7) CONCLUSION

With a better understanding of scripture, predestination is not the tyrannical doctrine that so many make it out to be. Predestination is really the manifestation of God’s mercy and love. It ensures the salvation of the ones He has called. It properly reveals the true nature of man to be utterly sinful, rebellious, and antagonistic to God. It puts God in total sovereign control, where He rightfully belongs. It removes man’s ability to take any credit at all for salvation, because even the act of believing could not be self-authored in a sinful free will. And, finally, it reveals the greatness of God’s mercy and love and causes the saved to rest in the knowledge that it was God who made their salvation sure, and not their own faulty, sinful wills.

8) Objections Answered

1) How does this doctrine of predestination fit in with a loving God?
But predestination is loving. Without the loving predestination of God () no one would ever be saved. All would go to hell.

2) If God predestines us, and our sinful wills would never allow us to seek God, then wouldn’t God be violating the wills of those He calls?
No, because He doesn’t violate their wills when He regenerates them first. Since God calls (), He first regenerates the nature of the person called. Since the person is then regenerate, with a new nature (), he is then able to desire God. Therefore, God does not violate his will.

But some say that faith brings regeneration. Again I ask: How can an unregenerate person have faith in the true God? He cannot. It is regeneration that brings faith.

3) Does this mean that even if you wanted to be saved you couldn’t if you’re not predestined?
This question doesn’t reflect a proper understanding of the condition of man. The unsaved don’t want salvation or the true God, so they wouldn’t ever seek salvation. Also, anyone who truly desires salvation is only wanting it because the Lord is drawing him.

4) Doesn’t prove that God looked into the future and foreknew who would accept Him?: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called.”

There are two reasons why these verses cannot be used to support that idea. First, if you read the verse, there is a key word that is often missed: “also.” The verse says that the ones foreknown are ALSO predestined. In other words, the same ones foreknown are the ones predestined. It does not say that He foreknew all and predestined some; otherwise it would say, “Of those He foreknew, some He predestined.” It says He ALSO predestined those whom He foreknew. The foreknown are the group He has predestined to be saved.  

Second, God only “knows” believers. He does not “know” unbelievers.

  1. says, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
  2. says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I KNOW THEM, and they follow Me”;
  3. says, “I do not speak of all of you, I KNOW THE ONES I HAVE CHOSEN…”
  4. says, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather TO BE KNOWN by Him…”
  5. says, “…The Lord KNOWS those who are His…”

These verses show a “knowing” that is related to salvation. Only Christians are “known.” Only the foreKNOWN are predestined. God foreknew; that is, He foreloved His chosen ones and predestined them into salvation. God knows believers, hence the word “foreknown.” Therefore, doesn’t support the idea that God looked into the future to see who would pick Him.

In addition, God would not look into a person to see if he would pick Him, because if that were so, then God’s choice would depend upon Man’s choice and God would not be sovereign.

5) What about the verses that suggest you choose God?

“Whosoever will believe…He who receives… etc.” We see in Scripture both God’s and Man’s hands in salvation. God elects, predestines, draws, and saves. Man chooses, but only after God has saved him (see objection number 2). We experience and understand the act of choosing, but this is because we do so after we’re regenerate. If someone says that he freely chose to accept God and that predestination is untrue, then he is establishing doctrine by his experience. This is something that is to be avoided.

describes the “whosoever.” They are the ones who are appointed to believe: “…and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” It is obvious from this verse that the ones who believe are the ones who are appointed by God to believe. Remember also : “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” God grants that the elect believe. That is why we are born again not of our wills but of the will of God ().

6) But it isn’t fair to only choose some.

Fairness is that we all go to hell. ALL people deserve damnation (). God would be perfectly just to let all slide into the eternal abyss of damnation–and He would still be just as loving, because that is His nature. God doesn’t owe us anything. The question isn’t “Why would He only choose SOME?”; but rather, “Why did He choose ANY?”

7) What about verses like “I will draw all men to Myself” ()?

The “all” are only the Christians. This may sound absurd at first. The Bible says that Jesus is the only way to the Father () and that there is no other name under heaven by which a man may be saved (). Can the “all” here mean everyone? What about those who never heard the gospel, like the Aborigines 100 years before Christ? Does the gospel message apply to them? I ask this because how can anyone be saved apart from Jesus, especially when they haven’t had the opportunity to hear the gospel? It seems to me that the “all” of this verse must apply to the elect.

Incidentally, a discussion of sheds light on the biblical usage of “all” when it says, “…there resulted justification of life to all men” (NASB). The “all” there obviously cannot mean everyone, but only a select group, i.e., “the many” spoken of in the following verse.

In addition, other verses worth examining in this context are and . It says in , “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” Adam represented everyone in his death. Christ represented the elect in His death as is evidenced by the fact that the only ones who are made alive in Christ () are the Christians. The “all” can only be the elect.

says, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” The only ones who die in Christ () are the Christians. The “all” can only be the elect.

If you are interested in a more thorough analysis of verses that say things like “God wants all men to be saved” then click on “All Men Saved.”

 

8) But I actually did choose to accept God.

That is right. You did. But only because God first regenerated you, freed your will from sin, and thereby allowed you to be able to choose Him. Regeneration precedes faith. The regenerated person is no longer the slave of sin () and is therefore able to desire God. He then DOES choose God.

This act of regeneration is what God does. Remember, your believing is something God has given you: “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (); Also, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent'” (); And, “…and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” ().

This is also why we are born again not by our own wills, but the will of God: “But as many as received Him…[these] were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” ().

presestination

 

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, (ESV)

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (ESV)

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (ESV)

17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

22 When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. 23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him. (ESV)

28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. (ESV)

20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (ESV)

28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)

22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. (ESV)

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

35 Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
36 “If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”

37 Thus says the Lord:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.” (ESV)

39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

John 17:9

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

John 17:24

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (ESV)

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. (ESV)

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me; (ESV)

2:1 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (ESV)

39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

John 17:9

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

John 17:24

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (ESV)

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.

Psalm 72:17

17 May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in him,
all nations call him blessed! (ESV)

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,

Galatians 4:5

to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (ESV)

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Hebrews 2:11

11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,

Hebrews 2:14

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

Hebrews 2:15

15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (ESV)

I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.” (ESV)

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,

Galatians 4:5

to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (ESV)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (ESV)

12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors. (ESV)

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:15

15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (ESV)

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (ESV)

39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. (ESV)

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (ESV)

Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?” (ESV)

37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. (ESV)

17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, (ESV)

But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. (ESV)

O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense. (ESV)

19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (ESV)

14 behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart,
but you shall cry out for pain of heart
and shall wail for breaking of spirit. (ESV)

20 Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart
is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day,
and like vinegar on soda. (ESV)

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? (ESV)

34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (ESV)

21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (ESV)

15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, (ESV)

21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? (ESV)

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (ESV)

15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, (ESV)

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (ESV)

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.” (ESV)

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (ESV)

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (ESV)

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (ESV)

21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)

11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God. (ESV)

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (ESV)

21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)

11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God. (ESV)

understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, (ESV)

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (ESV)

26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (ESV)

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (ESV)

11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God. (ESV)

17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,

Romans 6:20

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (ESV)

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (ESV)

65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (ESV)

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (ESV)

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (ESV)

29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, (ESV)

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)

he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (ESV)

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (ESV)

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:65

65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (ESV)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me. (ESV)

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (ESV)

28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (ESV)

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love (ESV)

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)

29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, (ESV)

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (ESV)

who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (ESV)

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)

he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (ESV)

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (ESV)

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (ESV)

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? (ESV)

21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (ESV)

10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.” (ESV)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (ESV)

2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins (ESV)

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (ESV)

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (ESV)

16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (ESV)

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (ESV)

14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (ESV)

10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (ESV)

28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. (ESV)

23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (ESV)

11 For God shows no partiality. (ESV)

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

Ephesians 1:5

he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (ESV)

who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, (ESV)

11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (ESV)

The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (ESV)

15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

Romans 9:16

16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Romans 9:18

18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (ESV)

and

“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (ESV)

22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— (ESV)

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

Ephesians 1:5

he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (ESV)

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV)

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (ESV)

22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (ESV)

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (ESV)

18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ (ESV)

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? (ESV)

19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (ESV)

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (ESV)

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (ESV)

29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, (ESV)

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (ESV)

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (ESV)

32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (ESV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (ESV)

12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (ESV)

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. (ESV)

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (ESV)

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; (ESV)

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (ESV)

11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:10

10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (ESV)

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; (ESV)

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (ESV)

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (ESV)

29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, (ESV)

29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (ESV)

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (ESV)

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

John 1:13

13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (ESV)

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