For many the word predestination is a scary word that causes them to doubt the goodness of God but the biblical perspective is entirely different it leads to assurance not fear. the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1, paints an entirely positive picture.
He says. 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Here,we see that God’s sovereign purpose is the bedrock of the believers assurance, we are chosen before the foundation of the world, this whole concept fills Paul with a spirit of praise and worship because of the amazing grace of God. Paul sees our very adoption of us as children of God as rooted in God’s sovereign grace. However,we may feel if we have been born again we can be sure that God is for us, and nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus ( see Romans 8). We can be certain of our salvation because it is all of God, he drew us to himself, he revealed the love of God in Christ Jesus to us and he will hold us to the end.
Problems occur with this glorious doctrine when we try to work out how God works this out. The Arminian view denies God’s sovereign of some to eternal life to try to preserve the free will of man. On the other hand,the Hyper-Calvinist so exalts God’s sovereignty that any freedom in man is denied. The Hyper-Calvinist will not urge the unbeliever to flee to Christ because they feel this is a denial of God’s sovereignty despite what the Scripture says to the contrary. I was raised in the Hyper-Calvinist group known as The Gospel Standard Strict Baptist, their emphasis on God’s sovereignty is tied to an experiential system that creates spiritual bondage because they are always looking for the marks of election. It is sad to see many people being held in a yoke of slavery because they are not told that the mark of election is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
On the Arminian side of the debate there is always the fear of loosing ones salvationand this is equally sad when scripture provides us with a rock of assurance, I have met people whose Christian life is dominated by the fear of loosing one salvation, will the next time they sin cause them to loose salvation? Some Arminians put a greater emphasis on the preserving work of God but still there is a chance that salvation will be lost.
The glory of Paul’s position is that he exalts the glory of God’s grace and power without negating the responsibility of humankind (see Acts 17:16-34 and Romans 1-3). Spurgeon felt that he could evangelize because of the doctrine of election because he knew God would use the preaching of the Gospel to draw sinners to Christ (for more on this see J.I.Packer, Evangelism and The Sovereignty of God).
In conclusion,I would urge my readers to accept the plain meaning of scripture and know that it is the sovereign God that saves you by his grace and being assured of this live a life to the glory of your great Saviour.