Scripture: Lectionary # 470: Ephesians 1:3-10. Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4,5-6. Luke 11:47-54:
Predestination should be taken positively as attaining blessedness because of our spiritual lives lived in the love of God through the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:29ff. points this out and today’s introduction of the Epistle to the Ephesians gives us the assurance that we are predestined for good. God loves us and wants us to be hopeful and confident that we will return to our Creator who predestined us to be blameless and holy from the beginning of the world.
I remember while teaching in high school that a number of students were convinced they were predestined to be separated from God. Paul does not give that meaning to predestination nor should the negative idea of predestination be forced on anyone by a zealous but unwise teacher, parent, or preacher.
Paul teaches us that all are predestined to be saved through the fact that God’s love and grace are there for us while evil and sin are allurements that distract us from our true predestined calling. Our moral decisions, of course, are important for our being in God’s grace. The great German theologian Karl Rahner states, “When predestination is conceived as destroying our freedom to work out our salvation, we have heretical predestinationism….The mystery of the relation between God’s omnipotence (which implies predestination) and our freedom is only a continuation (on the plane of conduct) of the mystery of the co-existence of God’s infinite being with finite being, which truly exists, that is, is different from God, and for this reason is constantly sustained in being by God.”
Rather than focusing on sin and damnation in predestination, we are encouraged by the divine word of God to be Christ-centered in our orientation toward God. This opening of Paul’s letter should offset any of our negative ideas about our predestination. It is an uplifting prayer of Paul that gives us confidence in a predestined plan of God for our well being and happiness both here and in eternity.
Every spiritual blessing comes to us from the Lord Jesus Christ. It is through the great sacrificial love of Jesus for each one of us that we are assured of being turned toward God rather than being turned away from God. All is to be restored in Christ; all things both on earth and in the heavens. We sing out our response from the psalm: “The Lord has made known his salvation.” Amen.