How Do I Know If I Am Predestined?
Since the Scriptures teach that God chooses (predestines) some to be his sons and daughters (Eph 1:4-5, Rom 9; John 15:16), how do we personally know if we ourselves are predestined? Did God choose me? How do I know if I am predestined? Where I look for assurance? Do I rest on the words of others? Do I look at my own experience? Is there another way?
Calvin is helpful here:
“if we have been chosen in him, we shall not find assurance of our election in ourselves; and not even in God the Father, if we conceive him as severed from his Son. Christ, then, is the mirror wherein we must, and without self-deception may, contemplate our own election. For since it is into his body the Father has destined those to be engrafted whom he has willed from eternity to be his own, that he may hold as sons all whom he acknowledges to be among his members, we have a sufficiently clear and firm testimony that we have been inscribed in the book of life [Rev 21:27] if we are in communion with Christ.
Now he gave us that sure communion with himself, when he testified through the preaching of the gospel that he had been given to us by the Father to be ours with all his benefits [Rom 8:32]. We are said to put on him [Rom 13:14], to grow together into him [Eph 4:15], that we may live because he lives. Frequently this doctrine is repeated: that the Father did not spare his only-begotten Son [Rom 8:32; John 3:15] “that whoever believes in him may not perish” [John 3:16]. But “he who believes in him” is said to have “passed out of death into life” [John 5:24]. In this sense, he calls himself “the bread of life” [John 6:35]; he was our witness that the Heavenly Father will count as his sons all those who have received him in faith…
For it is his will that we be content with his promises, and not inquire elsewhere whether he will be disposed to hear us. This prudence will free us from many traps if we know how to apply to a right use what has been rightly written; but let us not inconsiderately draw out hither and thither what ought to be kept within limits” (Institutes: 3.24.5)
Our confidence that we are predestined is found not in our experience or feelings, but in our communion with Christ. In our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we believe God’s words that all who receive Jesus will be saved and we rest in this through faith. Here is our confidence that we saved: God’s very promises experienced in our communion with Christ.