There are so many theories today concerning foreknowledge, predestination and election, until the mind of the normal and average Christian is so mixed up that he doesn’t know what to believe. If we do not get these three doctrines straight, our whole Christian life will be warped, and soul winning will become a lost grace. Let us turn first to the foreknowledge of God.
I. THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:29)
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:2). *
Foreknowledge means to have knowledge of things to be. Foreknowledge is an attribute of God, while Predestination and Election are acts of God. Only God knows the future. He wouldn’t be God if He didn’t, but the fact that He knows who is going to be saved, and who isn’t going to be saved, does not determine who is going to be saved and who is going to be lost. Someone may ask, “If God does know who is and who isn’t going to be saved, how then, can the sinner get out of it?”
Foreknowledge, in Scripture, never determines what is to be; foreknowledge is only the knowledge of things to be beforehand. It is the same with our scientists, they can tell when there is to be an eclipse of the sun or of the moon on a certain day at a certain hour, minute and second; but the scientists do not bring about the eclipse. God has foreknowledge, and by this foreknowledge knows the future, but that is where it ends.
Of course God knows everything! He knows the very number of the hairs of our heads. He knows the number of stars and calleth them by name. God knows everything, including the future. And, not only that, but God knows what would have happened if things had happened that didn’t happen. He knows the results of all possibilities. The same is illustrated when David inquired of the Lord concerning his enemy. If he should go to one place, would the enemy be there? God said they would. So David went in another direction. Foreknowledge simply means to possess knowledge of things to be.
II THE PREDESTINATION OF GOD
Here is where many saints falter in their witnessing. They read something or other in the Word about predestination and then they reason that God predestinates some people to be saved, and thus predestinates some people to be lost. This is not the case. To begin with, predestination is never for the lost man; but rather, predestination is for the saved man. We have only to read our Bibles, and read the context where it is speaking of predestination, to clearly understand that Salvation is, indeed, a personal matter based upon the “whosoever wills.”
As stated before, Predestination is for the saved man. God knows who is going to be saved, and thus He has predestined certain blessings for those who are going to get saved by faith. In other words, God draws a circle, figuratively speaking, and says that whosoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ will get in the circle. So the believer, upon his faith in Jesus Christ, steps into the circle. Then God says, figuratively speaking, “Whosoever is in that circle by faith, I have predestinated that they shall receive these blessings,” and here they are:
A. “TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON.”
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29a).
This one of the blessings of God has predestinated for the believer–that the believer is going to be fashioned, made, transformed, transfigured into the likeness of the image of Jesus Christ. The things you might be suffering at this moment are happening to you (Rom. 8:28) to make you more like Jesus. And at the rapture, whether we be dead or alive at His coming, we are all going to be changed and be wholly like unto Christ.
B. “UNTO THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY JESUS CHRIST.”
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph.1:5).
Again we want to state that predestination is the predetermined blessings for the saved man and has nothing to do with salvation. Now, in the above text, we are told that the Christian is predestined unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ. It doesn’t say that the sinner was predestined to become a child of God; no, but rather the saint has been predestined unto the adoption of children.
To get a better idea of this great truth, it is well to explain the meaning of adoption. In America and England, when we adopt a child, we go by legal means and take a child of another family and get into court to make it our own. But no so with the Jewish family, nor with the ancient Roman and Greek family. These adopted their own children. Adoption simply means “to declare as a son,” or “son placed.” The fourth chapter of Galatians clearly defines the meaning of adoption. It is the time appointed by the father when his boy ceases to be considered a child and becomes a son. According to even present day Jewish custom it is called BAR MITZVAH–declared to be a Son of the Law, Son of Blessing. The boy becomes of age after his thirteenth birthday, on the day selected by the father. So it is with us: we are children of God, but we are waiting our BAR MITZVAH, our adoption, the time when our Heavenly Father will declare us of age and place us as Sons before the whole universe: “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION, TO WIT, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY” (Rom. 8:23).
This is one blessing that God has predestinated for the saved man, for all who are trusting the Lord Jesus Christ–that we all shall be declared to be of age and as His SONS–at the resurrection!
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*verse added by Grace Notes Editor
Dr. Mark Cambron authored Bible Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954) and taught for many years at Florida Bible College (FBC alumni association site is www.floridabiblecollege.com )
 The author is limiting his analogy to foreknowledge. God’s providence encompasses all things (Prov. 16:33; Gen. 50:20; Phil. 1:12).
 Biblical allusions: Matt. 10:30; Psalm 147:4; 1 Chron. 14:14
 John 3:16; 1 John 5:1; Rev. 22:17
With this interpretation of the biblical terms and doctrines of foreknowledge, predestination, and election, there still remains the mystery of God’s providence in salvation. For further study on this perspective, see Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free (1999, 2001 revised edition). Grace Note: The Sovereignty of God and the Responsibility of Man: A Quest for Balance gracenotebook.com/the-sovereignty-of-god-and-the-responsibility-of-man-a-quest-for-balance/.html