“It was pretty ornery preaching,” Huckleberry Finn mused when he found himself in church one particular Sunday morning, “and had such a powerful lot to say about faith and good works and free grace and preforeordestination, and I don’t know what all, that it did seem to me to be one of the roughest Sundays I had run across yet.”
But “free grace and preforeordestination” were never meant to produce rough Sundays or “ornery preaching”!
Here’s what the doctrine of predestination provides for the people of God, according to the Scriptures:
1. Comfort in trials, because–if God is capable of choosing zombie rebels and turning them into beloved children–there is no hardship in all creation that he won’t be able to work together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28-30).
2. Motivation for praise, because praise was part of God’s purpose in predestining particular people for salvation in the first place (Ephesians 1:5-6).
3. Encouragement for evangelism, because sharing the gospel with unbelievers is the necessary human means that God uses to bring his predestined people to faith and repentance. Paul persisted in evangelism and church planting even during times of persecution precisely because he knew that God had already chosen particular people for salvation: “I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:10).
Excerpted from the forthcoming book PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace