Foreknowledge or Predestination

  • Romans 8 v.28-29: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Foreknowledge speaks of God’s awareness of the actual and potential future (Acts 2 v.23 and 26 v.5; Rom. 8 v.29 and 11 v.2; 1 Peter 1 v.2 and v.20; and 2 Peter 3 v.17).

Predestination does not mean that God chooses whom he wants in heaven. Far from it. It means God knows what each of us will do in our life even before we are born. Even if we live 60 years as a sinner, then accept Christ and walk faithfully with Him, we are still saved the same as any other Christian. Doesn’t mean that our life as a sinner was easy during our years of unbelief, and speaking for myself, it certainly wasn’t. But boy did it change when at the age of 62 I committed my life to God. He knew I would all along. I was predestined from birth although I didn’t know it most of my life. Praise God. (And did my life drastically change after that point)

The word means “foreordination” (Acts 2 v.23 and 1 Peter 1 v.20) Those whom God foreknew, He also loved and ordained to be conformed to the image of His Son. On the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter vividly illustrated the harmony between God’s sovereignty and man’s personal responsibility. Even though the Cross was in the eternal plan of God and part of His sovereign will. Therefore they bore personal responsibility for the Christ’s death. We too are responsible for our personal actions and behavior (Acts 2 v.23)

  • Romans 8 v.30: Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Called: The calling of Romans 8 v.28 is pretemporal; it occurred before the creation of the world (Eph. 1 v.4). The calling here is temporal and refers to the effectual communication of the gospel, resulting in salvation. Justified (see Romans 3 v.24). Glorified: Glorification is God’s doing. While God’s foreknowledge and predestination take place in eternity, and while God’s calling and justification are realized in history, God’s glorifying is yet future. It is as certain, however, as the previous works. Hence glorified is in the past tense. From God’s point of view it is already accomplished.

  • 2 Tim 1 v.9: Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

“Who hath saved us”, (Paul speaking of God) “and called us with a holy calling”, looks at the means by which our salvation was effected. “His own purposes and Grace” and “was given us” indicates that our salvation was totally unmerited.

  • 2 Tim 1 v.10: But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

“Abolished death and brought life”, (eternal union of the soul with God) and “immortality (incorruption) which is guaranteed by His resurrection.

  • Eph. 1 v.4-5: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

What does this word predestinate mean? Does it mean that if we were not chosen, we would not go to heaven? The verb predestinate literally means “to mark off or choose before.” God chooses those He knows will participate in His plan of salvation and extends it to all who respond in faith. The doctrine of predestination in Scripture relates to the foreknowledge of God (Rom 8 v.29). Predestination is especially noticeable in the conversion of the apostle Paul. Since he was a blasphemer and persecutor of the church, some Christians had a difficult time believing Paul could be saved even after he so testified (Acts 9 v.13 and v.26). Still, knowing what was ahead and how Paul would respond, God chose him as Apostle to the Gentiles. When we understand that God has chosen and predestined us, we should also realize we have been ordained to good works (Eph. 2 v.10), to bear fruit (John 15 v.16), and to become like Jesus (Rom 8 v.29).

Adoption: Five times the apostle Paul uses the word adoption to describe an important aspect of the salvation experience (Rom. 8 v.15, 23; 9 v.4; Gal. 4 v.5; Eph. 1 v.15). Under Roman law, adoption was a common means of appointing an heir. It legally transferred a person from the natural father’s authority to the authority of the adoptive father. Paul uses this term to describe the believer’s position with God. This is the means whereby the Christian becomes a son of God, and therefore an heir with Christ. When Abraham was without a son, he apparently considered adopting Eliezer his servant as the heir of his household. Because the Christian is an adopted son of God, he can enjoy an intimacy with his heavenly Father (Gal. 4 v.6)

  • Eph. 1 v.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:

This may also read, “By whom we were also made an inheritance.” That is, believers are God’s treasure. Why would Paul regard this as a blessing? As God’s treasure Christians are the apple of His eye, the special objects of His love. He is then determined to care and provide for His people who are His heritage.

  • Eph. 2 v.10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

“For” verifies the assertion of man’s good works having no part in obtaining salvation. “Workmanship” refers not to our original or physical birth, but to our spiritual birth: what we are spiritually in the good sense is due to God, not ourselves. Created in Christ Jesus unto good works means “having been (morally) re-created by Christ Jesus for good works”; that is, Jesus remade our spiritual lives so that we could then do good works. The apostle’s thinking is this: since the Christian has been given spiritual life for the purpose of doing good works, there could have been no good works by him prior to conversion that would merit salvation. Good works follow, they do not precede, salvation.


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