DID GOD CHOOSE YOU BECAUSE HE ‘FORESAW’ YOU WOULD BELIEVE?
“Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son”. [1Peter 1:2; Romans 8:29]
Did God elect men because He foresaw they would repent and believe? The question itself appears dumb or stupid to all those who have truly come to believe in the doctrines of ‘Sovereign Grace’ and an ‘Unconditional Election’, and yet THAT is exactly what MANY who claim to hold the doctrines of election believe!
They cannot out-rightly DENY the doctrine of Election for the Bible is full of it! But they have a totally wrong concept of what this doctrine actually teaches!
There are many who have a totally wrong concept of the term ‘Election’! According to them, God elects only those whom He looked into the future and foresaw would believe of their own ‘free will’!
So ‘election’ according to these Arminians is not ‘UNCONDITIONAL’ as the scripture clearly affirms, but is CONDITIONAL on the merits of the individual elected!
Yes, God foresees ALL THINGS! “Known unto God are ALL His works from the beginning of the world”! [Acts 15:18] And if there was anything God ‘foresaw’ concerning His elect or chosen ones, it is THIS – that if left to themselves they would NEVER EVER ‘choose Him’ but freely choose everything that is contrary to Him and wind up in Hell!
THIS is why in the ‘fullness of time’ or in ‘Day of His power’ He sends forth His Spirit and sovereignly regenerates them and draws them to Himself! “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power”! [Psalm 110:3]
Foreseen faith and good works, then, are never to be looked upon as the CAUSE of the Divine election. They are rather its fruits and proof. They show that the person has been chosen and regenerated. To make them the BASIS of election involves us again in a covenant of WORKS, and places God’s purposes in TIME rather than in ETERNITY. This would not be PRE-destination but POST-destination, an inversion of the Scripture account which makes faith and holiness to be the CONSEQUENTS, and not the ANTECEDENTS, of election (Eph. 1:4; John 15:16; Titus 3:5).
Here are some comments from divines of the past as to what THEY thought of this warped view of predestination –
A.W. PINK (1886-1952): Was it because God foresaw they would believe? No; for how can those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” believe in Christ? How could God foreknow some men as believers when belief was impossible to them? Scripture declares that we “BELIEVED THROUGH GRACE,” Acts 18:27. Faith is God’s gift, and apart from this gift none would believe. The cause of His choice, then, lies within Himself, and not in the objects of His choice. He chose the ones He did, simply because He chose to choose them.
C.H. SPURGEON: Now, God gives faith, therefore He could not have elected them on account of their faith, which He foresaw. There shall be twenty beggars in the street, and I determine to give one of them a shilling; but will any one say that I determined to give that one a shilling—that I ELECTED him to have the shilling—because I foresaw that he would have it? That would be talking nonsense. In like manner, to say that God elected men because He foresaw they would have faith would be too absurd for us to listen to for a moment. Faith is the gift the God. Every virtue come from Him. Therefore it cannot have CAUSED him to elect men, because it is His gift.
THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): It is absurd to think that anything in us could have the least influence upon our election. Some say that God did foresee that such persons would believe, and therefore did choose them; so they would make the business of salvation to depend upon something in us. Whereas God does not choose us FOR faith, but TO faith. “HE HATH CHOSEN US, THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY,” Ephesians 1:4―not because we would be holy, but that we might be holy. We are elected TO holiness, not FOR it.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Mark―not because He foresaw that they would be of themselves holy, but that they should be holy―this was that God resolved He would make them to be.
AUGUSTINE (354-430): The grace of God does not find men fit to be elected, but makes them so. Here undoubtably falls to the ground the vain reasoning of those who defend the foreknowledge of God in opposition to His grace, and affirm that we were elected before the foundation of the world, because God fore-knew that we would be good, not that He Himself would make us good. This is not the language of Him who says, YE HAVE NOT CHOSEN ME, BUT I HAVE CHOSEN YOU, John 15:16.
JOHN KNOX (1514-1572): Let the whole Scripture be read and diligently marked, and no sentence, rightly understood, shall be found that affirms God to have chosen us in respect of our works, or because He foresaw that we should be faithful, holy and just. But to the contrary, many places shall we find―yea, even so many as treat of the matter―that plainly affirm we are freely chosen, according to the purpose of His good will, and that in Christ Jesus.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD: For my own part, I know of no other doctrine that can truly humble man; either God must choose us, or we must choose God; either God must be the first mover, or man must be the first mover; either God must choose them on account of some goodness, on account of some purity, or acts of piety, or God must choose them merely of His grace, for His own name’s sake, and to let us know that we have not chosen Him, but that He has chosen us.
Whatever men’s reasoning may suggest, if the children of God fairly examine their own experiences—if they do God justice—they must acknowledge that they did not choose God, but that God chose them. And if He chose them at all, it must be from eternity, and that too without anything foreseen in them.
C.H. SPURGEON: I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that doctrine. I am bound to the doctrine of the depravity of the human heart, because I find myself depraved in heart, and have daily proofs that there dwelleth in my flesh no good thing.
A. W. PINK: “In LOVE having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will.” It was “in love” that God the Father predestined His chosen ones unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according—ACCORDING to what? According to some excellency He discovered in them? No. What then? According to what He foresaw they would become? No; mark carefully the inspired answer—According to THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL.