Presuppositions are at the heart of our doctrine. If we presuppose predestination without also including foreknowledge we arrive at different understandings.
We know that Paul being a pattern of God’s grace for man’s future salvation is a consideration in understanding saving grace. But it does not change two basic facts of scripture. Paul was a sinner (all men are sinners). Jesus came to save sinners.
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 1 Timothy 1:12-13 KJV
Paul was called and chosen of God in a predestined way. But I contend it was based on God’s foreknowledge.
If you recall many were cut off from the Olive tree that was theirs because of this very unbelief that Paul himself confesses.
Yet, Jesus, prayed to the Father, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. All who Jesus prayed for there on the cross were guilty of this same ignorance and unbelief that Paul confessed. Paul was one of them, but Jesus didn’t pray just for Paul did He? He prayed for all giving us an understanding that He the God man who was suffering for their sin was also willing to forgive it. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15
And it is this same Jesus in chapter 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (Pauls words concerning Him).
1 Timothy 2:4 KJV some verses certainly fly in the face of the lost being individually predestined to hell. Will the lost go to Hell and the lake of fire?— yes.
But was what Jesus prayed on the cross in opposition to what the Father had told Him?
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
John 14:23-24 KJV
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
John 14:10 KJV
Was Jesus not praying in the Spirit when on the cross?
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (by) Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Ephesians 1:1,4-5,7,10 KJV
And yes certainly the all things of which Paul speaks here are all things which are left following His testing and His judgment of all things including us. Is chapter one of 1st Peter to be left out of this discussion?
In chapter 1 of first Peter we are told that we are chosen vs1 by the foreknowledge of God vs2, to a living hope through the resurrection vs4. That though tried and tested v6&7, our faith may be found to result in His praise and glory at His revelation.
Thus even the chosen are tested. For what reason? When predestination is considered with a foreknowledge of how we will react, it takes on a different perspective.
If Jesus taught us that we are to love even our enemies how is it that some seem to think that He did not love His? If He did love His enemies how is it that He did not offer them His grace whereby they might be saved as these want us to believe?
If God knows the hearts of man, and there was at one time no one — not even David who had a heart freely seeking after God, should He not then be justified in destroying the earth and wishing that He had never created it? And certainly He is justified when He finally does destroy the earth, but why was Noah the only man who found grace in the eyes of the Lord in his day? Could it be that all others willfully did evil in the sight of the Lord, yet Noah was predestined through God’s foreknowledge which allowed God to know that Noah was not yet that fully corrupted. And God fully knowing that there was a very small Remnant who over time would accept and love Him and be saved could have planned to call Noah who was part of that Remnant?
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
Genesis 6:5-6,12 KJV
Why was God grieved over man whom some would tell us He created (apparently if this scripture is true) to only through not rebellion but predestination cause Him grief? “All flesh had corrupted his way”. Even Noah, but God in His foreknowledge looks upon the heart.
Is it entirely possible that Gods foreknowledge determines the timing of His interventions so that His grief will not destroy men with a free will, so that when some are enlightened and called they will seek God over this corrupt world? Was Noah not evidence of that timed intervention? It is highly possible that only after a man is in Christ and remains there that he is then predestined.
Though it may be true that no man can come to Christ unless the Father call him; it also would seem equally true that God would refuse no man, who though possibly missed by His call, would still seek after Him. And though it may be true that only God can sustain us through this faith in Salvation —this faith which is gifted to us; yet it also must be true that God will thrust him into the lake of fire who of his own will would deny this salvation gift by refusing to abide in Him, who had called him unto this so Great salvation. God looks upon the heart of man for what reason?
Bless you my brethren as you study His word line upon line and precept upon precept.
God said that whosoever will may come. That my friend would seem to be God’s call to every man. What he does with that call is fully known by God through His foreknowledge. God’s foreknowledge is not to be overlooked in this journey into doctrine.