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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 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” (Ephesians 1:3-5).


Predestination is one of the hardest doctrines for many to accept. They think God must be unfair to choose some while He bypasses others. They wonder how God can choose people without taking away their free will and turning them into puppets. I begin with the following parable.


Fred has decided that he wants a wife. He is a gentle, yet strong man with a steady job, so he has a lot to offer a prospective bride. In his circle of acquaintances, there are ten suitable young ladies. Through common friends, Fred makes it known that he is interested in pursuing a deeper relationship, with a view to possible marriage. Although the young ladies can see that he has many good qualities, they all reject his suit. One doesn’t like his hair; another thinks he is too smart; a third is looking for a good dancer, which he is not.


After all ten have turned him down, Fred selects one of them, Wilma, and focuses his attention on her. He pursues her with steady persistence and gradually overcomes her initial reluctance. Wilma begins to see him in a new light. She appreciates his kindness, his thoughtfulness, his integrity, and his good sense of humor. In short, she falls in love with him. She finds him irresistibly attractive, so when he asks for her hand in marriage, she gladly says, “Yes.”


Similarly God has revealed His power, glory, wisdom, and kindness in creation (Psalm 19:1; Psalm 104:24; Acts 14:17). He has revealed His righteousness in the consciences of mankind (Romans 1:32; 2:14-16). And to some, He has given preachers of the gospel who extol the beauty of Christ’s death and resurrection for sinners. Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that God has displayed many of His good qualities for all the world to see, the whole human race has refused the Lord’s gracious invitation to a deeper relationship.


Though many claim to be seeking God, in fact no one does so. “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).


What does God do in view of mankind’s universal rejection of Him? He reveals more of His glory to the hearts of chosen sinners. He pursues them as Fred pursued Wilma until by the secret work of the Spirit in their hearts they see the purity of God’s holiness, the justice of His judgment, and the wonder of His grace in the cross of Christ. When God thus shines His beautiful light into their hearts, they find Him irresistibly attractive. He speaks to their hearts saying, “Come, my beloved,” and they gladly answer, “Yes.”


God is not unfair because when people reject Him, He is under no obligation to reveal more of Himself to them. God does not turn people into puppets because He does not force people to believe against their wills. He makes them willing by showing them His irresistible attractiveness.


Published in the Allentown Morning Call October 24, 2009

An excerpt from The Beauty of God for a Broken World


© 2009, John K. LaShell