The Apostle Peter starts off his very first letter thusly – “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus . . . ELECT ACCORDING TO THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD THE FATHER, through sanctification of the Spirit . . .” [1Pet 1:1-3]
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)
If God employs fore knowledge in His election of us as Peter has stated it; then what must that mean? If God gives us free will in our choosing of Christ, what does that mean, and are the two compatible or are they inconsistent and opposite one another within our own predestination by God?
Think about what I’m about to say. Predestination apart from foreknowledge makes man to have no will and God alone decides his eternal fate. It would mean that man only has that will which God had given unto him at the time of his every decision from the time of conception. All is planed out in the mind of God, and the salvation determination by God had been made before the foundation of the earth. Since you would have no part in decisions effecting salvation your salvation must be arbitrarily decided on God’s part. But that would be true only if your salvation is determined apart from God’s foreknowledge of your free will decisions.
But, on the other hand, Free will without a predetermined plan for man’s forgiveness and a choice between God, who is good, and the evil resulting from mans worldly choices would only result in total bondage with no hope of ever being completely free.
Two things within this equation change everything. First God introduced Himself a savior. But without His Foreknowledge God would not have known what man would do with Him, who is their savior.
Foreknowledge means that God knew everything that would happen to every man as a result of any action undertaken by forces outside of each man. He knew that given free will man would fall, and would have no means to save himself, because he could not help himself due to the evil desires that would creep into his own heart leaving him in bondage.
Free will therefore necessitated a plan to send Christ even before there ever was an earth, and that plan was only made possible by God’s foreknowledge.
The free will gifted to God’s creation could only be made a possibility through the creation of a choice to be made by each man. A choice between a spiritual God and the spiritual evil that God foreknew would enter and rule within man’s own heart.
How does this effect the man? Paul says: I do not like the evil that I do. How often in life have you hated yourself for what you have done to yourself or to others? But because you can do it you will do it again, for the spirit behind sin effects your self control. This plays out again and again. Until you one day say God I can’t stand who I am, please change me, I want to be better. The gospel presents hope where there was none. It is offered you to make you a new creation. God’s provision through Christ is for even you.
You came to know this evil that you hate , but you also know your bondage to it. The Gospel is your one way of escape. You see Foreknowledge tells us that God knew if you would mean what you say to Him, if you truly desire to be made new, and if you will remain in Him.
Why else would God employ foreknowledge before the foundation of the earth, if it were not to know what you will do with His offer to you of His Son’s work on the cross to bring you new life?
And based upon that knowledge He has written your name in the book of life, or not. And as a warning to you He has told you that you can cause Him to consider the blotting of your name from this book. Your choices have consequences.
God has made His actions and His book known in order to allow you to consider your own actions. God knows that His own words to us are powerful in their impact on our decisions. Satan says to you follow me back into this life of sin and bondage, God says do you love me, walk in My Spirit, keep my commandments and stay on the straight road that you have chosen which leads to eternal life. He already knows your fate, but your freedom to love Him, or not will determine — who you will serve. Jesus paid the price that you might have the power of the Gospel — His Spirit in you in order that you might follow Him, and love Him in freedom from the bondage of sin.
Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (KJV)