“PREDESTINATION”. God’s design for our lives. By Gaius Columbus
Going along with line of thought which I expressed in my previous post , it seems to me that we may have the wrong focal point in our preaching of the gospel. We often emphasize escaping Hell whereas that is merely a first effect and a side benefit of our ultimate purpose—which is to conform to the image of Jesus. Salvation is like learning arithmetic, and matrices etc—all the rudimentary courses—that enable a mathematician to do the more heavy duty math. Salvation is necessary ultimately because it makes possible and available to us all the provisions God has made available for His ultimate goal—that we be like His son. If we focus too narrowly on escaping Hell, we miss the bigger picture.
An analogy is the medical student who fails to see that society desires and supports his training so that ultimately so he can be of service to others. The fat check at the end of the month is a side benefit. If this medical student loses this perspective, he runs the risk of becoming a doctor who focuses on how best to make money rather than how to serve the sick. With his goals misplaced, he may indeed start to do things to fatten his wallet that actually work counter to the ultimate goal society first had for him. He prescribes a drug, not because it benefits the patient but because a drug company is paying him to push the drug, or he acquiesces to patient’s demands for a drug even though he knows it is of no benefit, because he knows it keeps his patient’s loyalty.
Similarly, unless we know our “predestination”, we can become side tracked. We stop striving to become like Him and are content merely to have escaped death and hell. The emphasis Jesus put on the gospel was for men to follow Him. Our altar calls should ask some of the following questions: “Do you know about Jesus? Do you ultimately want to be like Him? Well, if you do, I have good news: God has made provision to enable you achieve this very goal. A fringe benefit, of course, is that you escape hell but this first stop you must understand is merely a necessary step of many steps for getting you into God’s family where the Holy Spirit can start His work of beginning to mould you into the likeness of His son—God’s ultimate goal”....I guess what I am saying is that this ultimate goal should permeate everything we say about the gospel, lest we run the risk of hearing the response, when we protest “Lord, Lord” on the last day, ”Depart from me, you evildoer”. Unfortunately, I fear, there are times when I am not focused on this ultimate goal—in my relationship with my kids, wife, colleagues etc., as well as in my thoughts, wishes, plans, attitudes. Fortunately, God in His mercy gives a fresh chance everyday for me to get back on track.
Finally, realize this interesting fact/observation: we are implored to be conformed to the IMAGE of His dear son. The same God who is opposed to the making of graven images and every false representations of himself—a bird, stones etc—is pleased and desires that we be conformed into living images of His son. It appears that our God is opposed to false representations/images of Himself and not to the true living image that is to be found in His son. After all, we were originally made in His image. It is apparent therefore, that representations of His son are the only images which are to be allowed into heaven. All other images—variants of every thing that is not of Him—are to be banished from His presence forever.
In contrast every variant image of the father of this world, the devil, will be given no admittance. Only those images of God’s precious dear Son will be allowed to adorn heaven’s galleries and hallways, no different than a doting father (or mother) proudly displays images of his or her kids on the walls of his or her home, his or her office, his or her cabin, his or her car and his or her wallet. So we too will be images, photographs of His dear son, in all ways like Him. If we know this is God’s ultimate goal, then we, if we love Him, will start even now, bringing this goal to pass—for this is our ultimate worship and hymn of praise.
How much do I want to be like Jesus? Do I merely pay Him lip service, or do I, knowing how important this is for the Father, live my life every day like I believe it. Like James says faith without works is dead. If I love the Father, I will do what He wants and He has declared that what He desires most from me is that I be like His son. The gospel call, salvation, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, scripture, all of these areas merely tools to be used toward securing this ultimate end. Whatever side benefits we derive as we reach for this ultimate goal—salvation from hell, peace of mind, joy, etc—are to be enjoyed, but should not to be confused with the real goal.
Seen this way, foreknowledge/predestination is not to be seen as a fait accompli but as a target to be reached by men and women who fully understand God’s will for their lives and hope to achieve it out of their love for Him and His pleasure. - G. Columbus