29For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was [a]aware and [b]loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.
30And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being].
Today as we begin our study of the subject foreknowledge and predestination please know that this is a doctrine that has many different points of view. However, in teaching any bible doctrine the theology of it all will cross many different paths. Therefore we will attempt to explain to you in very simple terms what the bible teaches us concerning this subject.
One of the greatest difficulties in discussing theological issues is recognizing and understanding the assumptions upon which any particular theology is built, as well as the questions, perspectives and points of emphasis that give shape to how it unfolds. Those are almost always influenced by the needs of a community of faith in particular historical circumstances. The logic of a theological system is rarely the source for contention, nor is the fact that particular communities formulate theology based on the kinds of questions they ask from a particular historical frame of reference.
However, the way those questions are formulated from that historical situation is almost always a function of the assumptions that support the theological system, sometimes even more so than the theology itself. That gives rise to a great many points of contention, especially if the theological system is built on ways of thinking in one group or at one time that are not shared by another group or at another time.
Therefore we come to the point of knowledge, knowing how God works, and how He created all things before the foundations of the world to work for His glory. We as human had no input into how the outcome would be. Let us know the reality of the situation is this, everything in this life is directed towards the goals of God and Him only. What happens may not itself be good, but God will cause everything to work together for the ultimate good of his children, to meet his ultimate purpose for their maturity. The point is, God works all things for good, not all things work out. Suffering will still bring pain, loss, and sorrow, and sin will bring shame. But under God’s control, the eventual outcome will be for our good.
God works behind the scenes, ensuring that even in the middle of mistakes and tragedies, good will result for those who love him. At times this will happen quickly, often enough to help us trust the principle. But there will also be events whose results for good we will not know until eternity. Our ultimate destiny is to be like Christ. God’s design is more than just an invitation; God summons us with a purpose in mind: we are to be like Christ and share his glory.
We as believers are those people whom God knew in advance. God’s foreknowledge refers to his intimate knowledge of us and our relationship with him based on his choosing us. God chose believers to reach a particular goal: to become like his Son. When all believers are conformed to Christ’s likeness, the resurrected Christ will be the firstborn of a new race of humans, who are purified from sin. Because we are God’s children, we are Christ’s brothers and sisters.
Let us look at it from another point of view: Foreknowledge means to have knowledge of things to be. Foreknowledge is an attribute of God, while Predestination is the act of God. Only God knows the future. And He does know the future. He wouldn’t be God if He didn’t, but the fact that He knows who is going to be saved, and who isn’t going to be saved, does NOT determine who is going to be saved and who is going to be lost. Someone may ask, ”If God does know who is and who isn’t going to be saved, how, then, can the sinner get out of it?” Foreknowledge, in Scripture, never determines what is to be – foreknowledge is only the knowledge of things to be beforehand. It is the same with our scientists, they can tell when there is to be an eclipse of the sun or of the moon: on a certain day at a certain hour, minute and second; but the scientists do not bring about the eclipse. God has foreknowledge, and by this foreknowledge knows the future, but that is where it ends.
Of course God knows everything! He knows the very number of the hairs of our heads. He knows the number of the stars and calls them by name. God knows everything, including the future. And, not only that, but God knows what would have happened if things had happened that didn’t happen. He knows the results of all possibilities. The same is illustrated when David inquired of the Lord concerning his enemy. If he should go to one place, would the enemy be there? God said they would. So David went in another direction. Foreknowledge simply means to possess knowledge of things to be.
Therefore let us understand what it means to chosen? What keeps foreknowledge and predestination from being determinism? How can belief in predestination avoid leading someone to despair over the futility of any human choice? God’s foreknowledge does not imply determinism—the idea that all our choices are predetermined. Since God is not limited by time as we are, he “sees” past, present, and future at the same time. Parents sometimes “know” how their children will behave before the fact. We don’t conclude from these parents foreknowledge that they made their children act that way. God’s foreknowledge, insofar as we can understand it, means that God knows who will accept the offer of salvation. The plan of predestination begins when we trust Christ and comes to its conclusion when we become fully like him. Receiving an airline ticket to Chicago means we have been predestined to arrive in Chicago.
To explain foreknowledge and predestination in any way that implies that every action and choice we make has been not only pre-known, but even predetermined, seems to contradict those Scriptures that declare that our choices are real, that they matter, and that there are consequences to the choices we make. What is clear is that God’s purpose for human beings was not an afterthought; it was settled before the foundation of the world. Humankind is to serve and honor God. If we have trusted Christ as Savior, we can rejoice that God has always known us. His love is eternal. His wisdom and power are supreme. He will guide and protect us until we one day stand in his presence.
God’s plan for the salvation of those who believe in Christ has three steps: chosen, called, and glorified. When we are finally conformed to the image of Christ, we will share his glory.
Now let me close with this final thought for each one of you who have taken the time to read this entire lesson and the many lessons we teach here daily, “Think globally, and work locally. Looking beyond ourselves in the real and on line world, to reach out to others who might be in need, for we all are truly our Brothers Keeper, salvation is FREE for the asking. If you are lost and have not received the saving grace of Christ, take a moment wherever you may be, and ask the Lord to come into your heart. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and if you have spoken these few simple words in truth, you are saved, and now have eternal life. May the grace of God abide in you now and forever, in Jesus name, Amen. I remain your Brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.