PRE-DESTINATION or POST-DESTINATION?
FAITH AND GOOD WORKS ARE THE FRUITS AND PROOF, NOT THE BASIS, OF ELECTION.
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). The statement that we were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world,” excludes any consideration of merit in us; for the Hebrew idiom, “before the foundation of the world,” means that the thing was done in eternity. And when to Paul’s statement that it is “not of works, but of Him that calleth,” the Arminian replies that it is of future works, he flatly contradicts the apostle’s own words.
That the decree of election was in any way based on foreknowledge is refuted by Paul when he says that its purpose was “that we SHOULD BE holy,” (Eph. 1:4). He insists that salvation is “not of works, that no man should glory.” In II Tim. 1:9 we read that it is God “who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.”
Calvinists therefore hold that election PRECEDES, and is not BASED UPON, any good works which the person does. The very essence of the doctrine is that in redemption God is moved by no consideration of merit or goodness in the objects of His saving mercy. “That it is not of him that runs, nor of him that wills, but of God who shows mercy, that the sinner obtains salvation, is the steadfast witnesses of the whole body of Scripture, urged with such reiteration and in such varied connections as exclude the possibility that there may lurk behind the act of election consideration of foreseen characters or acts or circumstances — all of which appear as results of election.”
Foreordination in general CANNOT REST on foreknowledge; for only that which is CERTAIN can be foreknown, and only that which is PREDETERMINED can be certain. The Almighty and all-sovereign Ruler of the universe does not govern Himself on the basis of a foreknowledge of things which MIGHT HAPLY come to pass. Through the Scriptures the divine foreknowledge is ever thought of as DEPENDENT on the DIVINE PURPOSE . . . .
AND GOD FOREKNOWS ONLY BECAUSE HE HAS PREDETERMINED.
His foreknowledge is but a transcript of His will as to what shall come to pass in the future, and the course which the world takes under His providential control is but the EXECUTION of His ALL-EMBRACING PLAN. His foreknowledge of what is yet to be, whether it be in regard to the world as a whole or in regard to the detailed life of every individual, rests upon His pre-arranged plan. (Jer. 1:5; Ps. 139: 14-16; Job 23:13, 14; 28:26, 27; Amos 3:7).