In “Bible Study on Romans 8” (1976), in his discussion of verses 29-30, Lesslie Newbigin writes (bold mine):
The doctrine of predestination has been misrepresented and misunderstood in such a way as to make it abhorrent to many Christians. If it is truly understood it will be seen to be utterly central and essential to the whole of the Gospel. Predestination is not (as the Westminster Confession seems to say) something before and apart from Christ. The New Testament explicitly teaches that predestination is only in Christ. Man was predestined for sonship in Christ before he was created through Christ. And as Christ is not for himself but for all men, the Saviour of the world, so those who are predestined in Christ are predestined not for themselves but for witness and service to Christ’s universal purpose. The biblical teaching has been monstrously misconstrued to imply that those who are chosen are chosen for themselves; in truth they are chosen to share in Christ’s universal purpose, for the salvation of all. And what of those who are not chosen; who are rejected – as the unbelieving Jews of Paul’s time seemed to be? It is precisely to this deeply perplexing question that Paul immediately turns in the following chapters (9-11). One should read them continuously with this 8th chapter. The end of that long argument is this: that even the rejection of the Jews is for their ultimate salvation. Why this must be so must be the subject of another bible study, but the outcome is clear. ‘God has shut up all under disobedience that he might have mercy on all.’
The full study is available online from the newly launched Newbigin Resources website.
Related Posts from Gospel Encounter:
- Lesslie Newbigin, “The Spirit and Our Election in Christ”
- Lesslie Newbigin, “The Logic of Election”, plus a free ebook