It’s our first word of 2017! And it’s doozy! Really. I picked it because it was a word I wanted to know more about and God picked a writer who really dug deep to share with you today! I’m excited to introduce you to my new friend Sherry Stahl! Please give her a warm Messy Desk welcome!
For my first WORD NERD WEDNESDAY I’ve been asked to write about one of the most debated words in organized Christianity! I think this may be an initiation process. Let’s hope I’m up for the challenge. ☺
The word PREDESTINED used in ROMANS 8:29 comes from two root words.
A common Greek preposition meaning before.
Most often translated as: ‘before’ but also as ‘in front of’, ‘ahead’
This word was used 47 times in the New Testament.
A Greek verb meaning:
to mark off by boundaries, establish boundaries or to determine
Most often translated as:
‘has been determined’ but also as ‘has been appointed,
‘was declared’, ‘fixes’, ‘limiteth’
The root of this word was used only 8 times in the New Testament.
THESE TWO WORDS (PRO & HORIZÓ) COMBINED TOGETHER TO MAKE UP THE WORD ‘PROORIZÓ’ USED IN ROMANS 8:29
A Greek verb meaning:
‘Determining the boundaries, to determine, pre-planning,
predestined, pre-determine, decide beforehand’
Most often translated as:
There are 6 occurrences of the root word PROORIZÓ in the New Testament. See below in the RESEARCH section for a full listing of the verses and how they were translated.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
ROMANS 8:29 KJV
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
ROMANS 8:29 NIV
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn[a] among many brothers and sisters.
ROMANS 8:29 NLT
READ BELOW IN RESEARCH FOR MANY MORE MODERN TRANSLATIONS OF ROMANS 8:29
‘PREDESTINED’ AND ROMANS 8:29 IN CONTEXT
I feel it is so necessary to study scripture in context. When one word, one verse or even one portion of scripture is not read with the whole of cannon of scripture in mind, it is truly dangerous to our faith and understanding of what God is saying to His people.
Due to the common understanding of this word in our culture and the implications to our salvation, I’m writing in much prayer and to be honest, great trepidation. I know that whatever I write will have many agreeing with me and many disagreeing with me. My personality really doesn’t like that. I want everyone to get along and no one to ever disagree, but I don’t think it’s possible to discuss this verse and have everyone in agreement; well at least not on this side of glory. I can only write from my study, my upbringing and my training. The views expressed are my own and not necessarily that of the WORD NERD WEDNESDAY blog moderator or other contributors.
Romans 8:29 is a part of the portion in Scripture that is under the heading titled “Present Suffering and Future Glory” in the NIV translation and similarly in others.
The theme of God and mankind working together in union for God’s glory is apparent throughout Paul’s teachings and especially in this chapter. Paul explains the tension being lived out between God’s predetermined plan for mankind and the will of man. Reading more in Romans helps believers understand Paul’s teachings on how Christians should live, he explains how it’s only through the Holy Spirit at work within us that we can truly live out God’s predestined plan. The more Christ-like we become, the more we desire God’s sovereign plans for our lives and the more we fulfill our destiny.
I have recorded the second half of this portion of scripture to help bring today’s WORD NERD WEDNESDAY word and scripture into context with a notes from me in ().
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who(i) have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew (that would be all of mankind) he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
ROMANS 8:26-30 NIV
PREDESTINATION & SALVATION THREE BASIC VIEWPOINTS
From my study, it seems there are three basic viewpoints on God’s Predestination as it relates to salvation:
- God predestined some people for salvation, but not all. People don’t have a choice in salvation because God’s sovereignty overrules their freewill.
- God predestined some people for salvation, but not all.
- God sovereignly rules the world but His sovereignty does not cripple our freewill to choose His offer of salvation or not, but the general belief is that predestined people will choose to believe in God at one point in their life because of God’s choosing them.
Some see this word ’predestined’ used in Romans 8:29 and the words surrounding to mean that God planned before the formation of the world to save some people and not to save others.
BLUNTLY PUT, VIEWPOINTS 1 & 2 BELIEVE: GOD PREDESTINES SOME TO HEAVEN AND SOME TO HELL.
Even writing those words is hard for a person with my viewpoint. I struggle to understand how the first and second viewpoints can agree with 1 Timothy 2:4 that says God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but yet feel God has predestined some to Hell? To me it seems incongruous with God’s character and my overall understanding of scripture. In preparing for this post I have read so much and still come out believing as I did before I started this journey, which is viewpoint #3.
God’s plan of salvation was for the whole of mankind. God’s perfect plan; predetermined before the foundations of the world, would be that all mankind would choose salvation and live as His image bearers. God pre-planned for salvation through Christ, but gave each person a freewill to choose salvation from God or not.
PREDESTINATION & GOD’S WILL FOR BELIEVERS’ LIVES
From my study and life lived, it seems there are some basic viewpoints on God’s Predestination as it relates to God’s plan for believers’ lives:
- God plans everything in our lives out for us and we follow along much like puppets on a string.
- God is uninvolved in the affairs of mankind. He’s too busy running the universe. He’s far removed up in the sky.
- We can choose or not choose to follow God’s predestined plan for our lives.
- Wrong choices take us out of God’s predestined plan and it’s almost impossible to get back on plan.
- God’s will for all our lives is to be conformed in likeness to His Son—Jesus.
- God allows me choices for things that are within his overall will for my life.
- It’s difficult for us to ‘fall out’ of God’s will for our lives.
- As we get closer to God and grow in likeness to Christ we desire more of what God’s will is for our lives. (Psalm 37:4)
I think we can all agree that there is a lot of confusion surrounding predestination and God’s will for a believers’ life.
As I read the verses surrounding Romans 8:29. I see the word predestined and understand this to mean that God planned in advance for His people… but it seems clear to me that God’s people are not left without a will or without a choice.
I believe scripture is teaching us that God does know what is going to happen. I don’t believe God makes anyone choose salvation but that salvation is God’s plan for all mankind since before the foundations of the world. According to the verses surrounding John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:4 I feel it’s made clear that “God doesn’t want anyone to perish”.
I also believe that God has given each person breath and a freewill. The Jewish Virtual Library site explains that the belief in freewill most lines up with Jewish theology. It is my understanding that by our beliefs and choices that we can choose to follow the predestined plan that God has for our lives or we can choose to live contrary to God’s predetermined plan.
In God’s perfect character He is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, full of love and at the same time, full of justice. This is the only way I can explain how God predestined for the world to know Him, yet allows us to reject Him. God’s love caused Him to prepare a plan for salvation that anyone can receive, but His just character brings about just judgements on those who reject His plan.
I believe God made everyone with a factory pre-set to long for relationship with Him but sadly many change the dial. Thankfully, God gives us the choice to hit that reset button!
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9 NIV
May your heart be enlightened as you seek to have a proper understanding of scripture.
Sherry is an International Speaker Certified with the John Maxwell Team, author of Water In The Desert & the Soul H2O Devotional taken, from her refreshing blog. She’s a fun, passionate Bible teacher whose desire is to lead others to the life-giving Water in the Word! Her weekly Soul H2O devotions bring refreshment to the soul. She’s the VP of Operations for Women In Music & Media (WIMM Canada) and Canadian Ambassador for Christian Women In Media Assoc. (CWIMA). Sherry’s a race car enthusiast, happily married to her artist hubby Todd Stahl, author of 40 Days In The Man Cave. Todd & Sherry are co-founders of TAKE THE 40 DAY CHALLENGE. A program to enhance or help build the habit of personal daily devotions; for Individuals and Churches.
Together Todd and Sherry have 4 kids between them with Bookend Brandons ☺ The oldest is Sherry’s son Brandon, next is Todd’s daughter Morgan, followed by Sherry’s daughter Shelby and Todd’s son Brandon. The kids are all ‘recently adults’, making Todd and Sherry ‘recently’ empty-nesters!
Twitter & Insta: @sherry_stahl
Website & Blog: www.sherrystahl.com
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Word of God Speak, Testimony Tuesday, and Chasing Community.