Ask Your Preacher
Are we predestinated to be saved according to Acts 13:48 and Ephesians 1:4-5 amongst others? Is Calvinism true about predestination?
Chosen By God
Dear Chosen By God,
We here at AYP firmly believe in election, grace, and predestination because they are all terms clearly mentioned in the Bible. The important questions to ask are:
- How are we elected?
- Who receives grace?
- What is predestined?
Many false doctrines have been created because people failed to ask these questions. Calvinism (a very popular false doctrine that has infected many churches) teaches that people are elected by God without any conditions and that it is impossible to choose to serve God; it is all up to God. It also teaches that grace can never be lost and that it is impossible to fall away even if you become an axe-murderer or live a homosexual lifestyle. Calvinism also teaches that God predestined specific people throughout history to be saved and that only those specific individuals will go to heaven – everyone else is lost by default. (For further information on Calvinism, please read “Calvin And Sobs”.) This is an example of how the words ‘election’, ‘grace’, and ‘predestination’ have been abused when we didn’t clarify their biblical meanings.
God teaches that He has elected certain people to be saved. John 6:44-45 says that God draws people to Him through the Bible. When we listen to what the Bible says, we are called by God. 2 Thess 2:14 makes it even clearer when it says that we are called through the Gospel. ‘Called’ is another word for ‘elected’.
Those who turn to Christ will receive grace. ‘Grace’ means ‘unmerited or undeserved favor’; grace is a gift you haven’t earned… in this case, it is the gift of salvation. We receive grace when we live by faith (Eph 2:8). Jesus died and paid a price none of us could ever pay – the price of our sins. When we walk according to His teachings, His blood cleanses us from sin (1 Jn 1:7). A faithful life isn’t a perfect life, but it is a life that is guided by God’s Word (Rom 10:17).
The Bible also teaches that God predestined something to be saved. ‘Predestined’ means ‘to set the limits’. Before God made anything, He set the limits of who would be saved and who wouldn’t (Eph 1:5). God said that those in Christ will be saved (2 Tim 1:9). Everyone who is washed in the blood of Jesus will be saved – He is the only way to God (Jhn 14:6). God predestined only a certain group of people to be saved – the church (Acts 20:28). The question we must all ask ourselves is: am I a part of God’s church?
Can you explain what repent means?
‘Repent’ means to ‘change your mind’. A change of mind always involves a change of action as well. Repentance is when we change our mind about what is important and submit ourselves to Jesus and His Word. Repentance is one of the necessary steps to be saved (Mk 6:12, Lk 13:5, Lk 15:7). Read "Five Steps To Salvation" for all the steps involved in becoming a christian.
How many different types of works does the Bible mention? I'm having a hard time figuring out when something is physical work, spiritual work, or some other type of work.
Hard At Work
Dear Hard At Work,
As a general rule, there are two basic types of works talked about in the New Testament. The works of the law are perfect works, i.e. a life without sinning. These are the type of works that Paul discussed in Romans. We cannot be saved by perfect works because all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23, Rom 3:28).
The other basic type of work found in the New Testament is the work of faith. Works of faith are when we serve God based upon our trust in Him and desire to become more like Him. Works of faith are a requirement for salvation – it is impossible to have faith without some sort of action that shows your trust (Jas 2:17-20). Faithful works aren't perfect, but they show obedience and loyalty.
In the New Testament especially, almost all circumstances can be broken down into those two categories. However, as always, context is final judge.
How are creeds different than publications preachers write?
Looking At Leaflets
Dear Looking At Leaflets,
Religious publications, commentaries, tracts, and other religious writings are not in and of themselves wrong until a church or denomination turns that document into an essential element of their faith – that is what a creed is. A creed is someone’s commentary on Scripture that is given equal weight to the Scriptures.
It doesn’t matter whether it agrees with the Scriptures or not – the wording is man-made and, therefore, not exactly as God intended. A creed draws the lines of fellowship around a human writing. A creed is a statement of faith that superimposes itself over the Bible. Now, instead of using the Word of God as the guide for what makes a congregation and a christian faithful – we use a creed to decide what verses and concepts are (and are not) important. We have no right to do that! God specifically said that we don’t get to decide what is or isn’t important from His Word; we must take the whole thing, no more, no less (Rev 22:18-19, Ps. 119:160). If God wanted mankind to use creeds as measures of faith and fellowship – He would have given us one.
What is faith?
New To Religion
Dear New To Religion,
Faith is belief, trust, and loyalty to something or someone. If you have faith in your friend, you trust them and are loyal to them through thick and thin. If you have faith in your car, you believe that it will run smoothly even though you aren’t a mechanic and aware of everything going on under the hood. Faith always involves trusting something you can’t see or control (Heb 11:1). You have faith in your friend’s judgment to give you directions; you place your faith in the author of a manual or instruction book to help you properly assemble a piece of furniture; you have faith in a traffic light to properly change colors and not direct you into cross-traffic.
In the case of God, our faith is built upon His Word (Rom 10:17). We trust God’s Bible to guide our lives and direct our steps (Ps 119:105). Our faith in God is shown in our actions – it is impossible to have faith without action (Jas 2:17). If someone says they believe in God, but they don’t obey His Bible, they are no better off than the demons (Jas 2:19). Faith in God is a lifestyle. We hear what His Word says, and then we act upon that command. After all, if we love God, we will keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15).