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About Doctrines

Foreknowledge



One of the hardest trios of Scripture may well be the combination of foreknowledge, election, and predestination. At a theological level these issues separate many great believers. One cause of such misunderstanding is the consideration of each of the doctrines without inclusion of the other two. That the three are related appears to be closely defined by Scripture. In fact, there is not only a relationship, but an order.

Foreknowledge is the first.

According to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christís blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure!
1 Peter 1:2 NET

1 Peter 1:2 tells us foreknowledge determines election and predestination assures the election. "Fore" simply means that God knows beforehand the future, including our individual lives and choices. This is an action of God's omniscience. Since God is outside of time, He may view the entire span of time from beginning to end. Nothing escapes Him. God has a clear view of our choices and the events the create before they occur. 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 8:29

Foreknowledge, then, is an act of God's will.

Isaiah 41:4
Who has done such mighty deeds, directing the affairs of the human race as each new generation marches by? It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last. I alone am he.
NLT

Thus, foreknowledge is God marking out the boundaries of our lives in advance. To foreknow is to choose or to set special affection upon. The details of our individual salvations were arranged in an eternity before time began. God's purpose and counsel refer to the actions of God Himself exercising His divine and sovereign will to accomplish what He desires. It is God's love, not His foresight of human actions and choices, that is the basis of foreknowledge.

Ephesians 1:11
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will NKJV

Counsel refers to nothing more than the way, means and methods employed by God in obtaining His full purpose. God's Will and Purpose, His Decree as some call it, is the driving force behind all of God's actions. It is important to keep in mind that nowhere does the Bible provide us with how divine foreknowledge works in providing our election and predestination. Election refers to those chosen in God's sovereign and eternal purpose to be sons of God. This is a fact known by believers.

The issue is whether or not God sees ahead of time that some persons will believe, thus, calling them "elect," or did He give them or plan specifically the faith that allows the "elect" to believe?

Clearly foreknowledge is the initial step in God's Plan. All the steps are designed to complete God's Plan. To foreknow is to call. The calling is through the work of the Holy Spirit, who moves a person to believe in Christ. Salvation is a gift offered to us by God.

But, the gift may be refused.

Pharaoh is the example of such refusal. If Pharaoh could not have accepted the gift, there would be no reason for Scripture to record he hardened his own heart!

Exodus 8:15
But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said. NIV

Foreknowledge is a mystery, but it is still a vital part of God's Plan of salvation. Foreknowledge does not mean that God picked the "elect" by individual name in some "arbitrary" fashion before time and space.

 

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