Monday, August 15, 2011

Predestinated to Obedience

“Predestination leads to antinomianism,” goes the tired old Arminian objection. They have never gotten tired of this worn out motto, despite the fact that Dort anathematized it as false and every Reformed theologian worth his weight in feathers has torn it to ribbons. Some people never learn. What saith the Scripture? - - -

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 1 Peter 1:2

Peter says, “foreknowledge of God the Father,” referring to His foreknowledge of the Fall, which foreknowledge made it necessary that election should be decreed to take effect not independently from the Son and Spirit (sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ). This shows us five important truths.

1. All three divine Persons are equally concerned in the salvation of sinners. The Father elected them; the Son shed His blood for them; the Spirit sanctifies them.

2. The objects of election were considered, in that eternal decree, as fallen. How else could they be chosen unto the sprinkling of Christ’s blood and sanctification of the Spirit?

3. Election, though productive of good works, is not founded upon them. On the contrary, they are one of the ends for which the elect are chosen. – “Elect unto obedience.”

4. Those who have been elected by God the Father, shall be sprinkled by the Son, that is, legally purified by His atonement as their pardon. Further they shall experience the Spirit’s sanctification in beginning, advancing and perfecting the work of grace in their souls.

5. The elect, this sprinkled and sanctified, are made to obey the commands of God. They imitate Christ as a pattern as they trust in Him as their propitiation.

An Arminian may seize upon my words “made to obey,” and ask, “Are the elect robots?” No. Of course not. God’s people are made willing (Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. Ps. 110:3). There is no such thing as a willing robot.


  1. It is also true that when the elect fall into terrible sins that this also is God's decretive will since nothing happens by mere permission. This does not remove the accountability of the sinner but it does acknowledge that God works His will through secondary causes...

  2. WCF Ch. 5 Of Providence

    4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men,1 and that not by a bare permission,2 but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,3 and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends;4 yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.5

    See also: WLC 19


    1 Rom. 11:32,33,34; 2 Sam. 24:1; 1 Chron. 21:1; 1 Kings 22:22,23; 1 Chron. 10:4,13,14; 2 Sam. 16:10; Acts 2:23; Acts 4:27,28.

    2 Acts 14:16.

    3 Ps. 76:10; 2 Kings 19:28.

    4 Gen. 1:20; Isa. 10:6,7,12.

    5 James 1:13,14,17; 1 John 2:16; Ps. 50:21.

  3. 19. What is God's providence towards the angels?

    Answer: God by his providence permitted some of the angels, wilfully and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation,1 limiting and ordering that, and all their sins, to his own glory;2 and established the rest in holiness and happiness;3 employing them all,4 at his pleasure, in the administrations of his power, mercy, and justice.5

    See also: WCF 5.4


    1 Jude 6; 2 Pet. 2:4; Heb. 2:16; John 8:44

    2 Job 1:12; Matt. 8:31

    3 1 Tim. 5:21; Mark 8:38; Heb. 12:22

    4 Ps. 104:4

    5 2 Kings 19:35; Heb. 1:14

  4. Thanks for the comments, Charlie. I appreciate the input. Dort anathematized those who claimed that Predestination led to lawlessness. Arminians have a hard time seeing how this can be, because they automatically think of it as a license to sin with impunity.


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