Tuesday December 4, 2018
3f. The believer is elected according to the foreknowledge of God.
We have seen that in the Bible, the writers use foreknowledge only in reference to those whom God foreknew would enter into a special covenant relationship with Him. These are Jesus Christ, the elect of the church, and the nation of Israel.
We have noted that the believer in this age is elect according to the foreknowledge of God, ROM 8:29; 1PE 1:2.
We have noted that the Son of God was predetermined and foreknown to be delivered up for the sins of all mankind, ACT 2:23; 1PE 1:20.
Israel was foreknown in ROM 11:2 and other passages that we will see this evening. The point of this study is to see how God uses foreknowledge in the context of His revelation. We are not trying to conclude anything about the workings of God’s decree that we cannot know because they are not revealed.
Common in scripture is the concept that knowing something isn’t only perception. Knowing something involves a relationship.
GEN 18:19 "For I have chosen him [Heb: yada = to know. “I have known him”], in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him."
“chosen” - yada = to know. This doesn’t only mean that God foreknew that Abraham would be, not mere perception. He had a special, covenantal relationship with him.
EXO 2:24 So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
EXO 2:25 And God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice [yada = knowledge] of them.
God did not simply perceive that Israel had been in Egypt for hundreds of years. He has a special relationship with them.
I cared for you [yada = knew you] in the wilderness,
In the land of drought.
God knew them before the wilderness, but this refers to a special relationship.
AMO 3:2 "You only have I chosen [yada] among all the families of the earth;
Therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities."
God knew of the other nations but He had no special relationship with them, no covenantal relationship, and because of the covenant given to them, which was not given to other nations, their judgment was more severe and intense.
MAT 7:15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
MAT 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?
MAT 7:17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
MAT 7:18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
MAT 7:19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
MAT 7:20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.
MAT 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
MAT 7:22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
MAT 7:23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'
Being omniscient, He knew them, but had no unique relationship based on faith in Christ.
Unfortunately, some have used this verse as a tool to evaluate people who claim to be Christian and aren’t behaving like it. Jesus was warning us about false teachers. We are not to listen to them or follow them if they lack the fruit of the Spirit and instead we see the fruit of sin.
1CO 8:1 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
1CO 8:2 If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know;
1CO 8:3 but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
He knows everything about everyone. “Known by Him” - There is a special relationship with believers.
GAL 4:1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,
GAL 4:2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.
GAL 4:3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.
GAL 4:4 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
GAL 4:5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
GAL 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
GAL 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
GAL 4:8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.
GAL 4:9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?
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.
In the foreknowledge passages, it never says what He foreknew. It always says “whom” He foreknew. It never says that He foreknew their faith.
ROM 11:1 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
ROM 11:2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.
Not everyone in Israel were believers. In Elijah’s time, out of the millions of Jews in the Northern Kingdom, only 7000 were believers.
Not everyone in Israel were believers. But it is the nation of Israel that He foreknew because He had a special covenantal relationship with them.
ROM 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;
He doesn’t say that He foreknew their faith. What was foreknown by God was an individual with a special relationship to Him, and that makes it certain. Yet, He did not force you to believe.
Predestined - proorizo [pro (beforehand) + horizo (mark out) = to mark out beforehand.
this Man, delivered up by the predetermined [hoizo] plan [counsel] and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
This is another link between the believer and Christ’s humanity. We were both marked out beforehand and foreknown. Christ obviously did not need saving faith, but we do. Nowhere does the Bible say that such faith was forced upon us or given to us because we did something good. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and when He made this known to you, you believed it while an unbeliever rejected it.
While it may be tempting from time to time to fill in the gaps with our own reasoning in an attempt to answer the whys and the hows, we must resist it. God instructs us to use our reasoning, but only within the boundaries of His revelation. If we conclude anything without clear revelation from scripture, then something will be wrong and incorrect within that conclusion, and that error may run itself like a cancer through other doctrines and distort them as well.
Foreknowledge doesn’t mean knowledge of the future only. Omniscience covers that. It means a special relationship.
Obviously, faith in Christ is the condition of salvation. It carries no merit as the gospel is revealed by the Holy Spirit and faith places all its merit in the object. By sticking solely with the scripture, we would say that omniscience involves all men while foreknowledge involves all who would enter into a special covenantal relationship with God.
3g. The elect are royal priests in the kingdom of God.