Predestinated in Christ

by J. D. Watson

Ephesians 1:5 declares the second of eight great riches we have in Christ: "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Part of our wealth as true Christians is that God has "predestinated" us to something.

The word "predestination" has probably caused more trouble than the word "election." But the word is actually a very simple one. The Greek proorzo simply means "to designate before." The real depth of it, however, is in the fact that it is a compound word. Pro, of course, means "beforehand," but horzo speaks of a "boundary or limit," and is actually where our English word "horizon" comes from.

So, just as the horizon marks a limit between what we can and can't see, God has placed us within a certain limit, a certain "horizon." He has put us in a place where we can see and comprehend many things but where many other things are hidden from our sight and comprehension. Many things are beyond our horizon. Further, even if we walk closer to the horizon, discovering new things as we go, a new horizon appears before us.

This word graphically demonstrates that God has marked out something for each of His elect; He has marked out a destiny. Much of this destiny is hidden from us; it is beyond the horizon. But, praise be to God, He reveals more of it with each new step we take towards it, but the horizon is still ahead. What a wonderful God we worship!

What, then, is that destiny? The primary purpose in God's predestination is, "that [Christ] might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29), that is, that Christ might be made preeminent. Scripture reveals that the firstborn always had preeminence. God's ultimate object, therefore, is to glorify His Son. As we'll see in our next installment, Ephesians 1:5 also tells us that God predestined us to "adoption," making the true Christian Christ's sibling. Think of it! Each of us is either a brother or sister to our dear Savior and "elder brother." In Ephesians 1:11, we read that we are also predestined to an inheritance, that is, spiritual riches, in Christ.

So, may I submit that, like the doctrine of election, no controversy is warranted on the subject of predestination. Predestination is simply God's marking out a destiny befitting His elected people. And, as we will see in our next installment, all this comes because of the good pleasure of His will; it flows from His love, His good will, His good intent, His benevolence, and His gracious purpose.

Dr. Watson is pastor-teacher of Grace Bible Church, Meeker, Colorado

His full exposition of Ephesians and other resources are available on-line at

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