There is a purpose behind the selection of an object when we need that item for a particular work. A hammer is selected to drive a nail. A pan is selected to suit a particular use when cooking a meal. God’s people have been selected, foreordained by God, to be made like unto Christ [Rom.8:29]. God has a predetermined reason for those He has elected. It is God’s goal to make us like Christ. God’s purpose for His own people was not some casual afterthought. He intends us to be people who will serve and honor Him. God has always known who we are and His love and grace have been directed toward us being who He intended us to be, and doing what He intended us to do. This becomes real to us when we read His Word to maintain fellowship with Him by listening to Him, and then applying ourselves to becoming like Christ through prayer and learning what our Lord was like when He was here as a man among men.
“According” to His electing grace, He has set us apart and marked us out beforehand, and then saved us “according” to the plans He had. Those plans did not only mean He was going to save us, but He was going to make us personally involved in those plans. As His own children we have a vested interest in all He is doing now and will do in the future. We are limited at this present time as to most of what that means because we are only aware of that which He has placed in our hands to accomplish. But for His own reasons we have been selected to serve Him and be blessed by Him. Every saved person is a child of God by the new birth, but “according to the good pleasure of His will,” we have been publicly placed as adult sons to serve Him openly with heart-felt enthusiasm that makes it possible for us to be to the praise of His glory.
There was an ancient practice of adoption in which a trusted servant could be brought into a family with all the benefits and privileges associated with that family including being an heir. The adopted person would have the same rights as biological children in spite of what their position in life was in the past. The one to be adopted and the one who was going to adopt him would publicly declare, “Thou art my father,” and the father would say, “Thou art my son. This day have I begotten thee.” When that happened, the adopted person who was elected, was then predestined to represent all that belonged to the adoptive father. This is the relationship into which we have been brought. The only motivating factor in the adoption process was the will of the father. That which would motivate the one who was adopted to please his new father, would be appreciation for being chosen; love for the one who chose to set his love on an undeserving person; and a desire to please his new father in any way possible. All of these motivating factors are true to us today because God chose to set His love on us, make us His children, and make us “joint-heirs with Christ.”
This is what unifies the people of God today. True children of God realize we are in the body of Christ because God has placed us there by His own sovereign will. We have confessed “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Every one in that universal body is there because God wants us there to function in the way an “intact body” should properly function. There are many who have been born again into the family of God, and are in that body, who do not understand the significance or impact of being placed as an adult son or daughter in this dignified holy position. To publicly confess Jesus Christ as Lord, and to say of the Almighty God, “Thou art my Father,” is no small matter. This is not the lisping words of an infant child who says, “I love you” to a doting parent without realizing all that means. This is the confession of a understanding adult who realizes they have been brought into a loving relationship with God and knows they represent Him in every aspect of their life. There are far too many “spiritual infants” who do not grow any farther than an initial, “I love You,” to God and then remain as children all of their lives.
Predestination as presented here does not focus our attention on what it means to be a child of God and brought into a place of kinship, but rather being placed into the body of Christ and the relationship this has to do with our service. The objective has to do with our link to the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Head of the body. He did “always those things that pleased the Father.” We also should be committed to that same purpose. He exemplified the kind of human God intended when He was here on earth as “God with us,” and “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” “God was manifest in the flesh” is to be true of us in the same way it was true of Him. We are to live holily, righteously and godly in this present world.” He was identified as the Son of God – the Son of the Father – when He was here. We are to “glorify God in our bodies and spirits which are God’s.” Our salvation is His doing, so the designation of who we are and what He has gifted us to do is up to the “good pleasure of His will.”