Call to Worship January 2 2022

“As Jesus grew he became increasingly conscious of God’s timetable for his life. He referred to his ministry as a ‘time’ that had been set out in the divine plan. Hence such comments as, ‘My time has not yet come’…even more precisely…his ‘hour’. In John’s Gospel this refers to his passion and crucifixion, which, along with his resurrection, are seen as the foreordained climactic events of his life…There was a definite plan for Jesus. His life was foreordained for him by his heavenly Father.

‘Foreordination’ and ‘predestination’ are sometimes seen by Christians as controversial terms. Certainly we need to handle them ‘with special prudence and care’, lest we either misunderstand them or misapply them…Whenever we find a doctrine to be challenging to us, 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 with God’s foreordination and predestination, and search the scriptures to see how they worked out in Jesus’ life, what do we discover? There was never a man so conscious that his life had been predestined by God as the Lord Jesus Christ. But this did not turn him into an automaton or a mere puppet. God’s predestination is not a biological determinism, nor is it 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 on the other. He was destined to be our Saviour; and to that destiny he freely committed himself. He neither saw nor felt any contradiction between God’s sovereignty in his life and his own responsibility for his actions. Neither need we.”[1]

[1] Sinclair Ferguson, Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2015), 139-140.