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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Calvinist Misuse Of Ephesians 1:1-13

  • Calvinists View The Following Passage Of Scripture As Conclusive Evidence For Their Belief In Unconditional Election: 
          -"just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will...also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will." (Ephesians 1:4-5; 11)

          To preface, it should be noted that the verses in question do not actually say anything about God choosing before the creation of the world which individuals will be saved. In fact, Ephesians 1:1-13 does not even mention anything about the unrepentant and the unbelieving, nor an irresistible calling of the human will. The text says nothing about being predestined to be a Christian, either.

          Quite simply, this passage from Ephesians discusses God predetermining the character, purpose, and plan of those who get saved. It concerns predestination for blessings, not salvation. It concerns what will happen to those who get saved. Those who are faithful to God have been predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. He wants to have a relationship with mankind. He wants to redeem us. He wants to make us His children. We are included in Christ the moment we believe from the heart the message of the gospel (Ephesians 1:13). We were not predestined to be in Christ. Rather, we are predestined "in Him".

          The truth of the matter is that Calvinists misunderstand Scripture due to having a confirmation bias. These people take out of context words such as elected, predestined, foreknew, and before the foundation of the world to fit their deterministic theological paradigm. Thus, Calvinists altogether miss the point of Ephesians 1:1-13. The same is true of other texts that Calvinists use to substantiate their view on predestination such as 1 Corinthians 2:7 (which discusses God predetermining His plan of salvation). In other words, the contents mentioned within this article apply equally to texts similar to Ephesians 1. Scripture very clearly tells us that salvation is for all who come to God by faith and the gospel. A God of love would obviously not give us something beyond our reach.

           If our eternal destinies have already been determined by God since the beginning of time, then why would the Apostle Paul exhort people to keep themselves pure (1 Timothy 5:22)? Why would Paul pray for the salvation of all people (1 Timothy 2:1-2)? Does God believe and repent on behalf of the sinner? How could God reason with His chosen nation Israel (Isaiah 1:18)? Why would He tell His people to make the choice of either serving Him or idols (Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:15-19; Jeremiah 21:8)? Why would the Lord draw near to those who seek Him (1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Jeremiah 29:13)? How is it possible for people to harden their own hearts against the Lord (Psalm 95:8)? Why should Christians even be concerned about the loss of heavenly rewards (1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 John 8-9)?

           Hence, the Calvinist view of predestination is irrational at best. The Bible presupposes the existence of our free will. It presupposes our capacity to reach out to God through faith and humble repentance. God has no desire in punishing the wicked (Ezekiel 18:30-32; 33:10-11). God delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). The Lord does act in a contingent manner (i.e. Jeremiah 18:1-13). Election is conditional, not unconditional.

4 comments:

  1. I disagree with Calvinism as well, I have scheduled a post refuting the five points of Calvinism as well. Its scheduled for release next year.

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  2. I think this verse is misunderstood by almost everyone. Here's my take.

    ""just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. "

    God created Adam and Eve in His image. God chose mankind to be holy and blameless in His sight.

    "In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will"

    The Catholic Church Teaches that God created us for love. He created us in order to love us and for us to love Him in return.

    "...also we have obtained an inheritance,"


    He is speaking of those who have faith in Jesus Christ and do the works which Jesus commands. In other words, the Commandments.

    " having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will." (Ephesians 1:4-5; 11)"

    If you look at the episode of Pharao, where God hardened his heart. You see that God predestined the Pharao to condemnation because Pharao hardened his heart against God, first.

    Similarly, God predestines men to salvation only after they prove their faith and love by doing the works which God has prepared for man from the beginning. The Commandments.


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    Replies
    1. De Maria,

      I agree with much of what you said, but I do not know if I would say that the Lord "predestined" the Pharaoh to condemnation. Rather, he was "destined" for condemnation as a result of his sins.

      His eternal destiny was conditional based on whether he would choose to accept or continually resist God.

      My stance on divine election is that God predetermined, not the identity, but the character, purpose, and plan of the saved. Believers are predestined "in Christ".

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    2. Jesse, you said:

      De Maria,

      I agree with much of what you said, but I do not know if I would say that the Lord "predestined" the Pharaoh to condemnation. Rather, he was "destined" for condemnation as a result of his sins.

      Well said. That is what I intended to say, but you said it more clearly.

      His eternal destiny was conditional based on whether he would choose to accept or continually resist God.

      Perfect, Those who choose to accept God, obey Christ. that is why Scripture says:

      Revelation 12:17 King James Version (KJV)

      17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

      and also:

      Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

      My stance on divine election is that God predetermined, not the identity, but the character, purpose, and plan of the saved. Believers are predestined "in Christ".

      Agreed. Those who have come to Christ, are in Christ and are therefore, predestined to salvation. But this is not an absolute salvation. As many will and have fallen away. Judas Iscariot is proof.

      1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

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