Foreknowledge, Predestination and Election (Part 2 of 2)


Here is the third blessing for the child of God–“being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Eph. 1:11,12).

You will notice that it is not salvation the Holy Spirit is speaking about, but that which is for those who are saved. So many fail to read the 12th verse; herein is what God has predestinated — that we should be to the praise of His glory; Nowhere do we find predestination for, or not for, salvation.


“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” (Eph. 1:4).

The New Testament words “chosen, choose, and election” are the same. The Old Testament word is simply “chosen.” From the above Scripture many have felt that God chooses some to be saved and some to be lost. Again I want to point out that predestination and election (choosing) have nothing to do with the lost, but are for the saved.

From the following Scriptures we learn what the choosing, or election, of God is about:

“For this is the word of promise, ‘At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.’ And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, ‘The elder shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated’ ” (Rom. 9:9-13).

At once we point out that election, or choosing, has to do with service; The elder shall serve the younger. It does not say, “The younger shall be saved, and the elder shall be lost.” No, but simply, “the elder shall serve the younger.” Thus choosing, or election, has to do with service.” “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” wasn’t said of these two men before they were born, but hundreds of years after they died. God hated the descendants of Esau because of their unbelief, and loved the descendants of Jacob because of their faith.

In the 15th chapter of John’s Gospel, the Lord Jesus said that He had chosen (elected) them (to be) disciples. For salvation? No, for service. Even Judas was chosen! For damnation? No, but like Pharaoh, who was a fit vessel unto wrath — after being given many chances to believe, refused, and thus was used for God’s purpose. [4]

The prophet Isaiah says that Israel is God’s chosen people (Isaiah 41:8). Does this mean that all Jews are saved? No. It simply means that God has chosen Israel for a service. And we know what that service was: to give us the word of God and to give us the Lord Jesus Christ! [5]

The same prophet, Isaiah, says that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Chosen Servant of God (Isaiah 42:1). Does that mean that God chose the Lord Jesus to be saved? Of course not! For He is the Savior ! But God did choose His Son for a service — and that service was to be the Lamb of God who would die for the sins of the world. And He was the obedient Servant, being obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross!

Now back to the original text, as found in Ephesians 1:4. What has God elected or chosen us for? Not salvation; “but He has chosen us even before the foundation of the world” (He knew that we would believe on His Son) for service –“that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

Thus, we conclude that God does not predestinate or elect men to be saved or lost, but that salvation is on the basis of “whosoever will !” “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).

Dr. Mark Cambron authored Bible Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954) and taught for many years at Florida Bible College. (FBC alumni association site is )

[1] The author is limiting his analogy to foreknowledge. God’s providence encompasses all things (Prov. 16:33; Gen. 50:20; Phil. 1:12).

[2] See Matt. 10:30; Psalm 147:4; 1 Chron. 14:14
[3] See John 3:16; 1 John 5:1; Rev. 22:17
[4] See Luke 6:13-16. Pharaoh first hardened his own heart (Ex. 3:19; 7:14,22; 8:15; 9:34), then God judicially hardened his heart (predicted-Ex. 4:21, accomplished- Ex 9:12; 10:20,27).
[5] See Gen. 12:3; Rom. 9:4-5

*verse and footnotes added by Grace Notes Editor

With this interpretation of the biblical terms and doctrines of foreknowledge, predestination, and election, there still remains a mystery regarding God’s providence in our salvation. For further study on this perspective, The Radio Bible Class booklet (PDF) at, Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free (1999, 2001 revised edition), and Grace Note: The Sovereignty of God and the Responsibility of Man: A Quest for Balance

Posted in