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Ephesians; 1:4 – Election of church age believer, part 14. Foreknowledge, always of "who" and never "what".

length: 57:49 - taught on Nov, 29 2018
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Class Outline:

Thursday November 29, 2018


3) Passages where election is applied to believers in this age:


3d. Election is to Christ’s love which is to unify our entire heart in compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness, COL 3:12-17.


3e. The elect endure all things for the sake of one another, which pleases God, 2TI 2:1-10.


3f. The believer is elected according to the foreknowledge of God. 


1PE 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout [all are parts of Asia Minor] Pontus [north], Galatia [central], Cappadocia [west], Asia [east], and Bithynia [north], who are chosen


The Greek word for “aliens” refers to those who live amongst foreigners. It literally means to be “alongside the heathen.” Peter is writing to Christians who live amongst many unbelievers in Asia Minor.


“aliens” - Peter is reminding them that they are ambassadors for Christ among the unsaved who are watching them.


The word “scattered” is diaspora, which is used by John and James for Jews living outside of Palestine and is likely used in the same way here. Peter is writing to Jewish Christians who live all over Asia Minor.


1PE 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.


God holds man accountable for his decisions all throughout the Bible. Yet, God also is Sovereign. Foreknowledge is more than God knowing something in advance.


Foreknowledge refers to “whom” God knows has a special covenant relationship with Him. The Bible never tells us “what” God foreknew.


These “whoms” that God states He foreknew are never random, nor are they outside of His covenant relationship. God uses this word in His Word of those who have had a special, covenant relationship to Him. This doesn’t exclude His foreknowing everyone and everything in His omniscience. It is however the case that when He uses foreknowledge it is always in reference to someone or some group (Israel) who would have a special relationship with Him.


God has omniscience and so He knows everything about everyone. Foreknowledge is always used of those who have a special relationship with Him.


He knew us before we were saved, but when we entered into salvation, we entered into a special covenant relationship with Him and so are from then on “known” by Him in a special relationship sense which was not true before salvation.


The Word never says that He foreknew faith. Of course, He did, but He doesn’t use foreknowledge in association with faith in the Scripture.


In the foreknowledge passages, it never says what He foreknew. It always says “whom” He foreknew. It never says that He foreknew their faith. And yet, nothing should be implied from that that is not stated in the Scripture, for instance, that He predestined some to heaven and some to hell, or that the atonement is limited, or that God forced certain men to believe, none of which is stated in the Bible.


Predestination and foreknowledge happen at the same time. When God foreknows something, it has to happen. It not chronological. God foreknows things because He planned out those things and within that plan, He allowed certain human freedoms/choices.


For example, God foreknew that Judas would betray Jesus and that made it certain, however, Judas was not under compunction from God. He chose to do it.


Let’s look at a main example of the use of the word.


ACT 2:23 this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.


Predetermined plan is two words - horizo = to determine (perfect tense); and boule = counsel.


The words "counsel" and "foreknowledge" are in a Greek construction which makes both words refer here to the same act.


The act of the delivering up of the Son of Man is presented in its two aspects. In the determinate counsel of God the act was foreknown. The meaning of foreknowledge is not merely previous knowledge.


The perfect participle of horizo shows that the determined counsel or plan of God is forever unaltered. It was planned that Jesus would die and so it was foreknown. Foreknowledge in the NT is only used in this way.


“Determined” (horizo) literally means to put limits upon something. When you and I attempt this, we may be successful or we may not, but when God does this, it is certain. This is the divine decree.  


The word "foreknowledge" therefore refers to that counsel of God in which after deliberative judgment, the Lord Jesus was to be delivered into human hands to be crucified.


The foreknown believer is not Christ, obviously, but the word foreknowledge always refers the people in this age who have entered into a special covenant relationship with God, namely, the new covenant in His blood.


Therefore, foreknowledge and election go hand in hand as being a part of the “kind intention of His will” (EPH 1:5), and His “purpose and grace” (2TI 1:9), and “who works all things after the counsel of His will” (EPH 1:11). Foreknowledge is never used of merely seeing something beforehand.


And yet, Christ died for all mankind, the gospel is to come to all mankind, and the saved are saved by faith from their own free will and the condemned are judged for their refusal to believe from their own free will.


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