Lately it seems I have engaged in conversations about predestination and foreknowledge, it seems to always come up, whether in Sunday school or with the group of men that meet at my house on Saturday mornings to study theology proper or just getting a phone call to help a brother or sister to understand better… And as we try to understand and know God better we read things like this in His word. Acts 2:23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. Jesus death was not an after thought and it was most certainly not the wrong definition of foreknowledge you hear today that God travels through the corridors of history to see if we would respond to His grace and if we do then in turn He would travel back to His holy place and then write our names in the book of life and then predestined us to eternal life. If that was the case then God would have had to do the same for His Son whom He had a predetermined plan to send to the cross to save those who would believe. It seems to me God would be sitting there waiting for His Son to do His will, not knowing and hoping He would.
Look at 1 Peter 1:1-4 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
According to the foreknowledge of God… and then in Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; We discussed earlier what it doesn’t mean (God travels through the corridors of history to see if we would respond to His grace and if we do then in turn He would travel back to His holy place and then write our names in the book of life and then predestined us to eternal life.)
What does foreknowledge mean? Foreknowledge (prognosis from verb proginosko from pro = before + ginosko = to know) literally means to know in advance or beforehand. Thinking about Acts 2:23 He knew beforehand that His Son would do His will right? Why because it was His predetermined plan… Same word foreknowledge same meaning. In 1 Peter 1:1-4 Peter reminds them that they were chosen in Christ beforehand. So not only does God’s foreknowledge mean He knew beforehand but that He also planned beforehand.
Well there is more if you’re not convinced yet, look at 1 Peter 1:20 as he explains Christ… For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. God just didn’t know! But He also predetermined a plan of redemption for sinners through Jesus Christ. Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary “Foreknowledge does not suggest that God merely knew ahead of time that we would believe, and therefore He chose us. This would raise the question, “Who or what made us decide for Christ?” and would take our salvation completely out of God’s hands.“ J.I. Packer writes “The God of Israel is King of kings and Lord of lords… He knows, and foreknows, all things, and his foreknowledge is foreordination; he, therefore, will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man; his kingdom and righteousness will triumph in the end, for neither men nor angels shall be able to thwart him.”
The word of God teaches both God’s sovereignty in salvation and man’s responsibility… I like to put it this way… We love God because He first loved us, we choose God because He first chose us, Look at John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. That word draw literally mean to compel or drag, If he’s drawing you, your coming because in John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. God’s foreknowledge is that He loves me and owns me, foreordained me, and secured me before the foundation of the world! and that give me great joy 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” For the glory of God Amen!