Friday, September 9, 2022

The Foreknowledge of God (Romans 8:18-30)

"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29a).

The vast majority of evangelicals today reject the Reformed view of predestination adapting instead a position of prescience or foreknowledge. This Arminian view of God’s electing foreknowledge contends that God looks ahead into time, sees who will choose Him, and then bases His election on that decision. This view errs in two ways. First, it separates God’s will from future events. To say that God looks ahead and decides what He will do based on our future decisions is to make God dependent on man’s decision. God’s choosing us had nothing to do with our works in the present or in the future. Second, this view is based on a misconception about foreknowledge. What God sees in the future is what He has ordained will be. Something cannot exist unless God ordained it. Therefore, if God were to look down through the corridor of time and see our decision, that corridor of time and our decision could only exist because God ordained them to exist. You cannot separate God’s ordaining will from the future. If the future is set, it is because God established it.

God foreknows us in the sense that as our Creator He knows us from the very beginning of time, from all eternity. Those whom He foreknew, He predestined to salvation. He knew us from the beginning and He set His love upon us apart from anything we have done, or will do.

Some may argue that if God is wholly responsible for a person coming to faith, then He must be wholly responsible for a person remaining in unbelief. This springs from a wrong understanding of double predestination. While God actively creates faith in the hearts of some, He does not create unbelief in others. That unbelief is already there. God does not infuse unbelief into fallen man nor does He inhibit someone who wants to come to Him. If a person desires to come to Christ, that desire was given to him from the Father. Double predestination means that God actively brings the elect to faith, but passes over the reprobate. He does nothing for some while He changes the hearts of others. This is fair because all men deserve condemnation. When God chooses some, it is an act of mercy and He is in no way obligated to save everyone.

Read Romans 9:14–15. Is God unjust? Why not? Does this passage incite humility and praise or disdain and anger within you? Examine the root of your feelings. Thank Him if your are humbled. If you are not, ask God to give you the grace to accept His sovereign ways.