Predestination and Love

What Are Election and Predestination? (Basics of the Faith) Richard Phillips’ short booklet on election and predestination is a nice intro to these topics.  Here’s one section I thought was helpful:

“On what basis did God predestined those who are saved?  According to what principle?  Ephesians 1:5 answers this question directly.  ‘In love he predestined us,’ Paul writes, ‘according to…’ what?  In accordance with God’s foreseeing our faith?  No.  ‘He predestined us… according to the purpose of his will.”  Predestination is sovereign and gracious; it rests not on what we are or have done but on God’s pleasure and will.”

“It is here that the phrase ‘in love’ becomes important to our point.  Romans 8:29 says that God predestined us having foreknown us; our verse [Eph 1:5] says that God predestined us ‘in love.’  These two are synonymous, for God foreknew us in the biblical sense – he loved us.  We might read our passage, ‘Having fore-loved us, he predestined us.’  This is what Moses explained regarding the election of Israel in Deuteronomy 7:8-8.  Why did God chose you? he asked.  It was not because you were great or numerous, “but it [was] because the LORD love[d] you.”  Behind the mystery of divine election is the greater and majestic mastery of God’s sovereign love for sinners.”

“…What a difference it makes, what peace and joy it brings, to realize that our salvation depends on God’s love for us.  For God’s love is eternal, unchanging, and almighty.”

Richard Phillips, What Are Election and Predestination?, p. 22.

shane lems
covenant Presbyterian church (OPC)
Hammond, wi