Peter, in his first letter, began by addressing those who were, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Paul, in Romans 8 says in verses 28-31, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
There is a theme in the Bible that is clearly there although it flies in the face of the doctrinal positions many of us have adopted; Or, does it? We shudder at the idea of Calvinism but what do we do with the myriad of verses that teach what we have rejected? In my view, believing these, and many other passages that say the same things, are not in conflict at all with those of us who believe salvation is of the Lord and not of us.
Even Luke in the Acts uses this terminology, “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48b). Then there is that troubling passage in the Gospel of John where Jesus said to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit” (John 15:16a).
Then that classic first part of the letter to the Ephesians is almost offensive to anyone who does not believe in the doctrine of election at all. I will not quote it but suggest you read carefully the first 14 verses of chapter 1.
One of the marks of deity is “omniscience”, the fact that God infinitely knows everything. If this is true (and it is) then God surely knew before time began who would and would not become obedient believers in His love gift, the Lord Jesus Christ. And, as Peter said it, we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father“. It would be a completely different dynamic if we were elect, period! But, Peter makes it clear that in agreement with what God knows (or knew) we are elected to be His.
I am no theologian so please be kind to me. This is one way I think of these amazing ways of our great God. I have 6 grandchildren. I love them completely! I love them so much that often I will give them what I know is not best for them just because they want it. (I do have an excuse, I am not as wise or as good as God!) If the younger of my twin grandsons is offered ketchup for his french fries, he will reject ketchup every time and request mustard instead. I know this as well as I know almost anything. Howevcer, my knowing does not in any way invalidate his freedom to choose what goes on his fries. So, I can say to you that my first twin grandson is destined to be a mustard lover. Yes, this is perhaps a weak analogy but I think it makes the point quite well, at least the way I understand God’s choosing as stated by Peter in 1 Peter 1.
Just for the sake of brevity lets assume I am correct. One fact is clear, God has chosen those who are His own. Now lets examine that Romans 8 section.
- “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son“
- “whom He predestined, these He also called“
- “whom He called, these He also justified“
- “whom He justified, these He also glorified”
God knew us in eternity past, He predestined that we would be not only called but conformed to the image of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and those He called He justified, and those He justified He also glorified! All of these things are spoken of in the PAST tense!
How many of those He forknew will be justified, or “set right” with God? ALL who are called! How many of those who have been justified will be glorified? ALL of them!
Now the following question makes lots of sense doesn’t it? “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Grace to you,