Predestination and Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:38, Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” NLT.

 

After Jesus did the work of the atonement, He left to sit at the Father’s right hand. From here, Jesus dispenses the benefit of not only faith for forgiveness, but also faith for the power of the Holy Spirit. “Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he has poured out this that you see and hear,” Act 2:33, LEB. To which Peter said, not only is the promise of forgiveness of sin certain for those with faith, but also the baptism of the Spirit that they “see and hear,” in verse 38. Peter then ties both this promise of forgiveness and the baptism of the Spirit into the doctrine of predestination, or that is, ultimate level ontology.  Forgiveness is only tied into predestination by implication, because what Peter is directly tieing into predestination is the baptism of the Spirit.  “For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all those who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Thus, (p) If predestined for faith for repentance, (q) then predestined for faith for baptism of the Spirit.

 

If saved from your sins, then empowered by the Spirit.
You are not empowered by the Spirit.
Thus, you are not saved from your sins.

 

The reformed are found of their pet doctrine of predestination, but apart from applying it in the narrowest sense of forgiveness of sins, they cast it aside under their boots. When the doctrine does not suit their traditions, then they ignore but then still wanting to look like they hold to it will, turn God’s sovereignty into invisible providence (where it becomes unclear), “God’s Will,” and make God into a covenant breaker by sovereignly not keeping His promises. Yet, despite their horrific handing of this awesome doctrine,  God is still sovereign, and He still controls all things directly and absolutely. God is the author of all things directly, so that He is even the metaphysical author of sin and evil.  There is no ontological dualism in Christianity.

The doctrine of predestination is against a person who only wants applies it to themselves for forgiveness and hidden providence, but not to the other things predestination applies to. The bible applies predestination to answered prayers, and to the baptism of the Spirit. In the past, I had people tell me they do not have faith for Jesus to save them, because God has predestined them to. These people claim they cannot receive God’s promise because of God’s sovereignty. One issue that I will not diverge much here is that they are mixing up Christian ontology and ethics. It is irrelevant what God has caused you to do, what you ought to do is obey His commands. God’ caused Pharaoh to not listen to Him, but Pharaoh is not judged by God’s decree, but by His commend. The issue here is the more they abuse God’s sovereignty to explain why they had not received the promise the more they make themselves to be children of reprobation. The Charismatics ought to use this doctrine of predestination against the cessationist, because they doubly do not believe in God’s sovereign decree. Their favorite doctrine is against them exceedingly more than it is against those they criticize with it.

Let us conclude with a crucial point. The Bible uses God’s sovereignty to explain why some people cannot believe the gospel, and therefore cannot receive the promise of God (John 6:44, 65, 10:26, Romans 9:18). They are doomed, and will not be saved. The Bible never uses God’s sovereignty to assert that some people could believe the promise and still cannot receive because of the will of God. Therefore, the more someone claims that he does not receive the promise of God because of the will of God, the more he insists that he is reprobate, made for damnation, and reserved for everlasting torture in the fires of hell. His doctrine is not the voice of Christ, but the screech of Satan. [ Vincent Cheung. The screech of Satan.]

Predestination cuts both ways. God predestined all things. God predestines, by direct control, the unbelief in the reprobates as directly as He predestines, by direct control, the faith in the Elect. Yet this is mostly said about invisible spiritual realities, such as forgiveness of sins. However, this is only one application for faith. We are commanded to have faith for all sorts of things that are given to us by the bloodshed and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If God has predestined you to have faith for healing, then you will have faith for it, just as if God predestines you to have faith for forgiveness, then you will have faith for it. But the issue here is that the accomplishments of Jesus atonement (antecedent) has necessary consequences (logically speaking, like a modus ponens). If the consequent is not there, then the antecedent is denied as well.

On the relative level ontology, which is how Jesus mostly speaks to us, we are commanded to acquire all these good blessings by faith in Him. Christian ethics are God’s commandments. These are not suggestions.

Thus, if there is no sanctification, then we would say, there is no proof of faith in the atonement. (I say this enthymeme as premise 2 and 3 of a modus tollens). Here are a few modus ponens (first premise only) with such gospel accomplishments and effects.

(p) If true faith for forgiveness of sins, (q) then necessarily sanctification will be evident.

(p) If faith in God’s love, (q) then necessarily love for your brother will be evident.

So far so good, but most do not connect these implications the way Jesus did in other applications of faith. For example, consider, Jesus when he replied,

John 15:7,8,15.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit
[i.e. praying and getting what you want], and prove to be my disciples.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed [i.e. Predestinationyou that you should go and bear fruit, and your fruit should remain, in order that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.

 

Vincent Cheung commenting on this says,

God has chosen us, and predestined us. Predestined for what? There was more to what Jesus said: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” God predestined us to bear fruit. What is this fruit? Christian teaching often assumes that fruit refers to spiritual and ethical effects such as improvements in character, works of charity, and also works of ministry, such as saving sinners and building churches. This is not entirely wrong, but the biblical idea of fruit includes much more, and Jesus clearly had other things in mind when he made the statement.”

God will give me whatever I ask. I will have whatever I ask. What I ask, I get. And I am predestined for this. So I am chosen to get whatever I ask. I am predestined to get whatever I ask. It is my foreordained destiny to receive whatever I ask God in the name of Jesus. If you have never heard this, then you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of predestination, you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of prayer, you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of the name of Jesus, and you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of discipleship. Just several verses earlier, Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (15:7-8). Getting whatever we ask from God is intertwined throughout his discourse with the notions of bearing fruit, being his disciples, and loving one another. Thus getting whatever we ask from God is as pervasive as the gospel itself. It cannot be taken out and thrown away without tearing apart the entire gospel, and thus also our salvation. Here bearing fruit is almost the same thing as getting whatever we ask from God, and by getting what we ask from God, we show ourselves to be true disciples of Christ.[1]

Thus, what are the implications? Remember, it was not some guy on TBN, but Jesus who said you “prove” you are His disciple by getting whatever you asked for, from Him. This is something that no unbeliever can mimic or fake.

(p) If faith in Jesus, (q) then necessarily asking and receiving anything you wish.

(p) If predestined to have faith for forgiveness in Jesus, (q) then predestined for faith to receive anything you ask for.

M.1. (P) If Jesus has predestined you for salvation, (Q) then Jesus has predestined you to be His disciple.
M.2. (Q) If Jesus has predestined you to be His disciple, (R) then you have been predestined to bear fruit of a disciple.
M.3. (R) If you have been predestined to bear fruit, (S) then you are predestined to ask whatever you want from God and you receive it.
M.4.  ~(S) It is not the case, that you are ask whatever you want from God and receive it.
M.5. Therefore , ~(P) you have not been predestined for salvation

What we are taught through Jesus’ resurrection and purchased gift of the Holy Spirit, is that one is a necessary consequence of the other.  The broadest viewpoint is that if Jesus saved you (you doing nothing for it), then necessarily you will be empowered (like Joshua) by heaven’s supernatural program. If the consequent is denied, then so is the antecedent (i.e. modus tollens). The book of Acts, makes its clear what the power of the Holy Spirit looks like. Peter in the first apostolic sermon says that forgiveness of sin, is an entrance in God’s kingdom, so that one might then receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism that leads to healings, speaking in tongues, prophecy, teleportation and miracles. There was a rare example of Christians not being baptized in the Spirit, but these were so out of ignorance, and not from willful unbelief.

Here is Vincent speaking from The Edge of Glory,

Moses

God appeared to Moses and sent him to confront Pharaoh. Although Pharaoh resisted, God was in control. It was time for God to astound all nations by wrecking the world’s superpower — without swords or soldiers, but with words and wonders only. He wanted to remind humanity that he was not like all the idols they worshiped. He was the only God, “majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders” (Exodus 15:11). This would also prepare the way for his people as they moved toward Canaan. Do Christians think that God wants something different today (Acts 5:5, 19:17)?

Pharaoh would have surrendered too easily. But he resisted, because over and over again, God hardened his heart even when he was about to give up (Exodus 8:15, 8:32, 9:12, 9:34, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:8; Romans 9:17). He explained to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD” (Exodus 10:1-2). God pinned down Pharaoh and kept beating him in the face, and did not allow him to surrender. He had a list of plagues to run through, and he refused to be interrupted.

God did it all by himself. The people of Israel did not fight Egypt. They were passive. Even Moses did not have to take up the sword. He only relayed God’s messages, and when God instructed him, he would point his staff over here, or over there, or stick it into the river, and so on. Moses did not fight. Israel did not fight. The significance will become more clear later….

Joshua

The nature of Joshua’s mandate was different from the one Moses received. It was a second stage of Israel’s experience distinct from and subsequent to their liberation from slavery. It was intended to be taken soon after their exodus, but it was delayed because of their unbelief. At the time of liberation, God did all the fighting. The people were passive. At this time of possession, they would fight to seize what God had promised. Now there would be full participation from the people. They would be God’s fellow workers (1 Corinthians 3:9). Their victory was guaranteed, but they would have to fight. The land already belonged to them, but they would have to take it.

The first stage was liberation from their masters in Egypt. The second stage was eviction of their enemies from Canaan. They would not be escaping, but they would be attacking. Under Joshua’s leadership, the people would have to fight. It was not to liberate their friends, but to exterminate their enemies. They would not be fighting for survival, but for prosperity. In fact, this was the reason they were taken out of Egypt in the first place (Exodus 3:8). Freedom was never the final end. They would take possession of God’s promises, of the “milk and honey.”

The Christian experience mirrors Israel’s history. If crossing the Red Sea was like baptism into Christ for freedom (1 Corinthians 10:2), then the distinct and subsequent experience of crossing the Jordan could be taken as baptism with the Holy Spirit for power (Acts 8:14-16, 19:1-2). Centuries later, John the Baptist announced at the Jordan, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:11, Acts 1:8). This is no longer about salvation in terms of the forgiveness of sin. The blood of the lamb was applied back in Egypt. And it is no longer about maintaining a self-sufficient life, or the sanctification of the individual. They lived in this sufficient condition for forty years in the wilderness. Salvation in this sense was never intended as the final end.

Thus in Peter’s first recorded sermon, or the first apostolic manifesto, he made believing in Christ itself as only a necessary step to receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). And to him the Holy Spirit referred to miraculous and prophetic powers for full participation from God’s people: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Acts 2:16-18, Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8). All of God’s people would have the Spirit (Numbers 11:29). All of God’s people would have the power to speak and the power to act. This is not an ethical power, but a missional power….[2]

———EndNotes——–

[1] Vincent Cheung, “Predestination and Miracles,” also, found in, TRACE, 2018 chapter 18.

[2]Vincent Cheung. The Edge of Glory.   Found in “Sermonettes,” Vol. 9. 2016. Pg 85-87.