Author: Ron Graham
Predestinarianism and the Cross
In this Bible lesson, we look at how the doctrine of Predestinarianism affects the doctrine of the crucifixion, especially its meaning and purpose.
We will lay aside all the details of Predestinarianism, and deal with one fundamental, namely the cross of Christ. Paul said, he knew nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1Corinthians 2:2).
This core doctrine does not escape damage from Predestinarianism. That's what I am about to show you. This is not an academic side issue unworthy of your attention, but a heresy that spoils the simple message of Christ’s sacrificial death. I refute Predestinarianism not because I love arguments, but because I love the pure message of the cross.
1 What is Predestinarianism?
Predestinarianism is part of the theological system known as "Calvinism". John Calvin was not the inventor of this doctrine, but one of its greatest promoters, so his name is used as a nickname for the heresy.
The core of Calvinism is the idea that, before the foundation of the world, God chose, those who would be saved. God did this merely of his own will, taking no account of any quality in those he chose. Likewise, those whom God did not choose he passed by and damned taking no account of any characteristic in them.
According to the heresy, this choice by God, was "particular". This means that God chose each person individually and specially, and he chose the exact number of individuals, none to be added, none to be lost.
Therefore Predestinarianism says that the names and the number of the elect (the chosen ones) was eternally settled in God’s mind before the world was created rather than in the Judgment at the end of the world.
2 How Does Predestinarianism Spoil the Message of the Cross?
Predestinarianism concludes that the atonement Christ wrought on the cross must not be for all sinners, but only for some, the number which God chose. This is a consequence of their doctrine which Calvinists readily accept, and it is labelled "Limited Atonement."
In simpler language, that means that if you weren't chosen, then Christ didn't die for you, and you are going to hell, with no way to avoid it.
This contradicts the Bible’s statement that all who can be condemned can also be justified (Romans 5:18-19). It also contradicts Jesus who says that salvation is offered to the world. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
The Sins of the World (1John 1:1-2 ESV).
"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1John 1:1-2 ESV).
Predestinarianism says that "the world" God loves, and Christ died for, is not the wide world that includes everyone, but a world of the elect alone. Jesus died for some, and not for others. That's what they say. Did Jesus die for you and everyone else in the world? That's the issue at stake when we deal with Predestinarianism.
3 What Did Jesus Accomplish By His Death?
"Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God" (1Peter 3:18 ASV). Christ suffered for "the unrighteous" —for all the unrighteous not a select portion of them. Christ, by his suffering, is able to bring anyone to God. who wishes to come.
"The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price" (Revelation 22:17 ESV) By his death, Jesus made eternal life available to all who seek it.
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2Peter 3:9 NKJV) God’s will was that Christ should die so that everyone could be promised life and allowed to repent.
And so, by the death of Christ on the cross, "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all humanity" (Titus 2:11).