Friday, November 30, 2018
Title: Ephesians; 1:4 - Election of church age believer, part 15.
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
“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.
These “whoms” that God states He foreknew are never random. It is not that God simply wants to show off His power of knowing the future. Neither is any prophecy a matter of God showing off or looking for fame, like a fortune teller. Prophecy always has the specific goal of impacting the hearts of people toward their relationship with God. Foreknowledge is much the same, but it is a word that only impacts the elect. The unbeliever has no care for it, nor can he understand it.
God is telling you, the elect believer, that He foreknew you and planned for you before the world was. It is a tender message to you of His love and commitment to you.
Let’s say that we all have heard of a mother who had a son in the military who was stationed in Afghanistan. One day she came to find out that her son was in dire trouble, lost in the mountains, alone, hunted by the enemy, and on the run in terrible heat without water or food or shelter. The first thing she does is buy a ticket to Pakistan. When she arrives, she elaborately disguises herself to look Middle-eastern and then she finds a smuggler and pays a large sum for him to take her over the border. Once safely in Afghanistan, she then pays a large sum to a group of Bedouin nomads to take her into the mountains, while some of them go out to attempt to track the movements of her son. It takes weeks scouring the mountain ranges, but then one of the scouts finds her sons dog-tags, and then tell-tale footprints, which their group, including the loving mother, track all day and night, and then, in the middle of the night, in a cave, they find the sleeping son, hungry, dehydrated, almost dead. The mother wakes her dear son and he is so shocked to see her in this place that he thinks he’s dreaming. She kisses him, hugs him, and tells him that he’s safe now and that she’s going to take him to safety and soon they’ll be home together.
Then, let’s say that the son won’t go with her until she tells him every single detail of how she happened to find out he was in trouble and how she was able to find him in the remote cave. He’s adamant about it. And then after she tells him some of these details, he says that he won’t leave the cave until she can tell him why all the other moms having come to rescue their own sons who have been in trouble in the war. What would we say of the young man? That he is a fool.
So it is with election, predestination, and foreknowledge. God is telling us that He has done the impossible for us and that He planned every part of it before the universe leapt into existence, and although He allowed the free-will and self-determination of every human, including you, that you were foreknown as His elect and predestined child before the whole thing started. Would we not rejoice, express our deepest and sincerest gratitude, love Him for it, and feel blessed until He explained every detail of how He did it? If we did, and some unfortunately have, we would be fools.
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 are “known” by Him.
The foreknown, or what is sometimes said in the scripture, the known, are all in a special relationship with God which was not true before salvation.
The Word never says that He foreknew faith. Of course, He did, which we would classify as His omniscience, but He doesn’t use foreknowledge in association with faith in the Scripture.
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.
Last time we looked at the example in ACT 2:23.
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.
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 fact that the crucifixion of the Son of Man was planned and foreknown by the Father, made its occurrence a certainty, yet Jesus wasn’t under compunction to do it. He clearly said that He was laying down His body by His own choice. When the event had finally arrived, just hours before He would be nailed to the cross, forsaken by His Father, and judged for every sin of mankind, He prayed for another way, knowing full well that there wasn’t one.
Let’s look at the next example of foreknowledge being used for Christ.
In 1PE 1:20, Christ is the One who was foreordained before the foundation of the world to be the Lamb who was to take away the sins of lost humanity.
1PE 1:17 And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth;
1PE 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
1PE 1:19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
1PE 1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
1PE 1:21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Thus, in 1 Peter 1:2, the word "foreknowledge" refers to that counsel of God in which after deliberative judgment certain from among mankind were designated to a certain position called elect.
The paradox is that your salvation is “through” faith in time and only at that point did you become elect, and that faith was not forced upon you, but of your own free will.
Our old man had to be crucified and our new selves resurrected. God could not die and resurrect as He was. He had to become a man in order to do it.
It also cannot be forced upon you. One might think fancily that God could have just ignored our sins or maybe He could have remade us into creatures that could not sin.
JOS 24:14 "Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
JOS 24:15 And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
No relationship in life, nor even quality of life itself could have any value if it was not chosen. If everything was forced by God to work out in your favor then your life would be boring and unfruitful. Yet to have choice combined with intelligence and will, a person can go bad or good.
Yet, badness or sin, is not a thing in itself. It is a perversion. Something could not be a sin if there wasn’t a good way that could be broken or perverted.
Hence, Satan is a fallen angel.
“You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created,
Until unrighteousness was found in you.”
When God allowed choice in His divine decree, His creatures could go wrong, but they could not be created wrong. Sin and evil are perversions and distortions. That’s why the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has Good listed first. One cannot be evil unless there is Good. Good always comes first. Because we fell from the Garden, from Good and Perfect, then we went bad and brought the promised curse of death upon ourselves. So, the old selves had to be crucified and only God could do it.
If God made a world that only moved when He pulled the strings, it would be a sort of toy world in which objects always moved as He willed and that had no choice in the matter. In order to inject real joy, love, and goodness God has to give some of the creatures a free-will, but once He does that, some will use their free-will to do bad things that are against His will.
EPH 4:17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
EPH 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
EPH 4:19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
EPH 4:20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,
EPH 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
EPH 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
EPH 4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
EPH 4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.