Predestination is a topic many people either disbelieve or refute. Here is the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry’s definition of foreordination:
Foreordination is the same as predestination which means that God ordains what will happen in history and in salvation. It means to appoint beforehand. The word ‘foreordained” is used in the KJV in 1 Pet 1:20. Source
It’s the difference, for example, of God using the circumstances around Esther’s situation to make events come out like He wanted, and causing the circumstances of Esther’s situation, in order to work His pre-planned purposes. Understanding Foreordination means you see the God of the universe as the cause of everything for His purposes and will, instead of a bystander scrambling to pick up pieces from man’s actions in order to work it all out for the good.
See these two of many verses regarding foreordination-
also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11).
to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. (Acts 4:28).
I apologize in advance…but I heard a sermon in which I took notes and forgot to credit the source. I did not make the following up. It’s from a sermon I was listening to, but sadly I don’t remember who spoke it!
In it, we learn that Jesus did not have a problem with foreordination. We also see clearly that foreordination did not nullify Jesus’ will and it did not turn Him into an automaton. Here is the sermon excerpt:
Whenever we find a doctrine to be challenging to us [like predestination] the most helpful question we can ask is: ‘What did Jesus think of this? How did it work out in his life?’
When we ask those questions in connection to God’s foreordination and predestination, and search the Scriptures to see how they worked out in Jesus’ life, what do we discover?
There never was a man so conscious that his life had been predestined by god as the Lord Jesus Christ. But this did not turn him into a an automaton, or a mere puppet. God’s predestination is not biological determinism, nor it is a form of fatalism.
There was, surely, never a freer man, or one more conscious that his actions were his responsibility than our Lord Jesus Christ. He did not become our Saviour by accident on the one hand or merely as a machine n the other. He was destined to be our Saviour; and to that destiny he freely committed himself. He never saw nor felt any contradiction between God’s sovereignty in his life and his own responsibility for his actions., neither should we.
That God had planned His his destiny in advance becomes clear from the very beginning – in the first two chapters of his Gospel Matthew mentions five occasions when Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies when he was too young to have had any choice in the matter.
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).
5 They told him, “in Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'”
15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.
For me, knowing God is in COMPLETE control is a balm. Understanding that He orchestrates events from before the foundation of the world is a relief. He does not have to play catch-up. He does not have to scramble. He is not surprised.
When you read the genealogies, doesn’t it occur to you that God is in control of each and every person meeting and marrying and procreating at the perfect and exact time, so that eventually the line of the Tribe of Judah will produce the Lion? God had to have been behind that since Adam and Eve for the lines to descend in the way He wanted with the bloodlines fulfilling promises and prophecies.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)
If you’d like to learn more about predestination, here is a series by Ligonier. Usually they have a paywall, but not for this series. It’s entirely free.
Here is an essay from Grace To You answering the question: What does the Bible teach about election?