The unfolding of the Gospel and the centrality of CHRIST in that Gospel are part and parcel of the whole Bible, from the beginning in Genesis unto the consummation of the Ages as revealed in The Revelation. To try and decipher the Truth as it is set forth in the Scriptures, without an emphasis upon that SUBJECT, is to strive “about words to no profit”, subverting the hearers, thereby. Much learning does indeed make religious men “mad” as they center their thoughts upon the works and ways of men, attempting to encourage and enable men to keep the law and perform righteous deeds of one type or another, or proposing that they shall gain favor with the LORD by actions of their supposed free will, producing partial obedience at best.
Those who have eyes to behold the unsearchable riches of CHRIST, take great delight in the exaltation of HIS PERSON and rejoice in a consideration of that work which HE, alone, has performed in the behalf of those whom HE loves and does presently perform as HE works in them both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure. They can find no comfort nor take any rest in the activity of their sinful flesh, but gladly confess that unless the LORD builds the house they labor in vain who build it.
One truth which seems incontrovertible to us, and upon which all expectation of our future existence and/or blessing rests, is that of a GOD who is in absolute control of all events and persons, past, present and future. The Bible describes the ONE true and LIVING GOD as just such an ONE. HE does not exist because we believe HE does, nor because the Bible says HE does, but rather because HE is the BEGINNING and the END; the great I AM. David described HIM (in contrast to the gods of man’s imagination) like this, “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psa 115:3) John records this; “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3)
We worship ONE GOD who has revealed HIMSELF to men in the PERSON of JESUS CHRIST. It is impossible for any man to know HIM apart from a knowledge of JESUS CHRIST and if any man has (by HIS grace) gained any understanding of GOD, it is through the revelation of CHRIST. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:18)
The LORD JESUS clearly set forth this truth when HE told the Pharisees, “Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.” (John 8:19) Then HE reminded Phillip of who HE is; saying, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John14:9) Thus HE thought it not robbery to be equal with GOD, because HE is GOD, beside whom there is none else.
As we consider the incontrovertible truth of an Absolutely Sovereign GOD who rules in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, then we must admit that all things (which transpire in the earth or the heavens), take place according to HIS determined purpose. We could spend a lifetime contemplating the complexities of HIS creation and the orchestration of all of the thoughts and deeds of men without ever exhausting that trove. Yet we have not been called to spend our time upon such matters, though we have not the least doubt of such.
The true glory of the predestination of all things by HIS hand and according to HIS purpose, is put on the most glorious display when we are given grace to behold HIS determined purpose of sending JESUS CHRIST, the only begotten SON of GOD, into this world to suffer, bleed, and die for HIS elect BRIDE who was chosen in HIM from before the foundation of the world..
When Peter stood on the day of Pentecost and declared the gospel to those Jews gathered there he most plainly declared this very truth saying, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” (Acts 2:22-24)
It seems quite plain (in the scriptures) that the actions of the wicked men who crucified the LORD were as much ordained of GOD as was the time and place of HIS birth in a stable in Bethlehem. Even in the same fashion as the activity of Judas, whose foul deeds were predestined to occur, in order that the LORD might be delivered into the hands of HIS accusers. The LORD came into the world in order that HE might redeem HIS people (see Mat.1:21) and went “as it was determined” through the very actions which led HIM to the fulfillment of HIS eternal purpose.
There can be no doubt that HE who “determined” that HIS people would be redeemed, also determined the means and process by which that purpose would be fulfilled. In the unfolding of that purpose we are made to fall down and worship HIM, for it is by this means that HE became both JUST and the JUSTIFIER of HIS people. HIS whole life was ordered to this end. “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. “ (Act 4:28)
If HE “determined” that HE would “save HIS people from their sins”, then it must be true that HE did indeed have “a people” unless we are to believe that HE did not “determine” that HIS redemption would be successful. Some preach as though that is the case. They deny that HE came into the world to save a particular people. Those who preach such don’t actually deny “election”, they believe very strongly in it. They just believe that men are the ones who do the “electing” rather than GOD who has plainly declared, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.(John 15:16) They ignore the Psalmist who said, “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts.” (Psa 65:4) And they have no understanding of what Luke says in Acts concerning the elect Gentiles, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained (i.e.; chosen) to eternal life believed.” (Acts13:48)
As glorious as the doctrine of the unconditional election of a people in CHRIST, is; it is the revelation of HIS determinate purpose for this “election” that causes the people of GOD to fall down in utter praise as HIS mercy and grace are put on display. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:4-7)
For it pleased GOD to give a people to HIS SON to be redeemed in order that HE might present them as holy and righteous before HIS FATHER. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:26-27) “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Eph 1:4-7)
Yes indeed the SON of man “goeth as it was determined”; for the exact purpose which HE determined without any input or cooperation by those for whom HE came. HE alone is the SALVATION of HIS people, as HE has gotten the victory for them by HIS own hand. Who can prevent HIS determined purpose. Shall HE not “see of the travail of HIS soul and be satisfied?” “I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 10:25-30) Do you hear HIM?mam