11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
For a second time we run into the controversial word “predestinate.” If you’ve read my comments to the fifth verse you will remember that it means “to mark out the boundaries beforehand.” Whenever Paul uses the term he is referring to what God has predetermined will happen to a follower of Christ. From the other passages we learn that a believer is to become like Jesus (Rom 8:29-30), is given wisdom (1 Co 2:7), and is adopted into God’s family (Eph 1:5). So what does this verse teach us about what God has predestinated for us?
The verb “obtain an inheritance” in the original Greek is in the passive voice (forgive my grammar references). All this to say that a better translation should be “we became an inheritance.” Paul is basically saying that God has predestinated His followers to become His own heritage. In other words, before the world came into being God marked out believers to be His own possession.
I know I’m probably wading into controversial waters with what I will say next, but there is nothing here to indicate that God chooses who will be or won’t be a believer. Any opinion on that matter must come from other verses.
Should there be any doubt as to the Lord’s ability to do what He has predetermined, Paul goes on to say that God’s will is ultimately victorious. The words “all things” are in the absolute sense to mean everything. The term “counsel” refers to intelligence and deliberation, while the word “will” means a desire based on emotion. This verse shows us how God doesn’t make decisions based on a whim or a good or bad mood, but His actions are deliberate and for good reason (even if we don’t always understand them).
I would like to digress for a second. Some may understand this verse to mean that the evil we see all around us is caused by God’s will. The Bible is clear that the Lord does not sin, nor does He prompt anyone to sin. God is holy. Yes, He allows evil, but that doesn’t mean that it originates with Him. Let me use the first crime ever recorded as an example. God approached Cain before he killed his brother Abel. In the conversation that followed the Lord encouraged Cain to “master the evil that was crouching at his door.” In other words He was telling him not to do what he had planned. Unfortunately Cain acted against God’s will and committed the murder (Gen 4:6-8). God had nothing to do with it! But what is amazing, and what Paul is saying in this verse, is that God’s purposes and desires prevail no matter what. Despite all the opposition and all the devil’s schemes the Lord’s will is victorious! God can turn everything around for His purposes. Evil will be defeated.
Let me get back to the main message of this verse, which is that followers of Christ are God’s inheritance. We belong to Him. And God isn’t disappointed with His inheritance, He wanted us! He chose us. He did everything to get us. Imagine, God could have created and had any being at all, and He created and wanted you and me!
Picture: Carol Schlorff