Wednesday, July 1, 2009

7/1- Foreknowledge and Election

[Image of God's all-seeing eye found on the Great Seal of the United States and the dollar bill-caricatured as only an illuminati symbol]
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

7/1- Foreknowledge and Election

7 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. 10 But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him. (Deuteronomy 7:7).
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

Calvin: When we attribute foreknowledge to God, we mean that all things always were, and perpetually remain, under his eyes, so that to his knowledge there is nothing future or past, but all things are present. And they are
present in such a way that he not only conceives them through ideas, as we have before us those things which our minds remember, but he truly looks upon them and discerns them as things placed before him. And this
foreknowledge is extended throughout the universe to every creature. We call predestination God’s eternal decree, by which he compacted with himself what he willed to become of each man. For all are not created in
equal condition. III.21.5

Acts 13:48 makes it clear “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Election is not on account of our believing, but our believing is on account of our election (“ordained to eternal life”= election). If God foresaw we would have faith and therefore elected us, where did we get that faith? The scriptures say it is the gift of God. The question of whether election precedes foreknowledge or foreknowledge precedes election is an unanswerable question- they both come at the same time. Time is not an issue for God (as Calvin says above)- He transcends time, partially because of where He is. Einstein said that if we had a telescope strong enough and we moved 200 light years away, we could see what happened on earth 200 years ago. God sees everything all the time- past, present, and future. He is before time, and yet intersects with time. I remember one person saying, if we knew every variable about every factor we could predict the future. We do this a little bit with the weather- windstreams, temperatures, stage of the moon, sun spots, are some of the variable the weather forecasters can plug into their computer programs to forecast the weather. But God knows every variable. He created everything, and knows each thing well. I know some things and some people, but my little brain is limited. I do not know everyone well, and cannot see into their thoughts (as Jesus did those around him). The foreknowledge of God is really a segment of His knowledge. It is amazing to think of God’s great knowledge. The Psalmist said, “such thoughts are too wonderful for me.” But it is not out of knowledge of what we do or believe that God chose us. It is out of sheer love and grace. No one deserves to be chosen. We deserve hell. Some of us appear to even choose our hells (Governor Mark Sanford’s continual meltdown is a public example of that). Election is that God comes to us and saves us from our personal hells and also the eternal one- not because He knew us. In some ways it is despite His foreknowledge that He chooses. Yet it is also with His foreknowledge that the choice is made (Those he foreknew he also predestined- Romans 8:29). The Message version gives Romans 8:29 as “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning.” We must trust in God’s amazing knowledge. But we also must be in awe that God knew us and chose us anyway. I have thought that many times about my wife- she knew me and chose me anyway. God knew Israel and chose Israel anyway- out of grave and love. If you believe, you can rejoice and have peace that this has been done for you too.

Prayer: Lord, it is hard for us to go deep in your Word thinking of your foreknowledge and election. Thank you for giving us faith. Thank you that though you knew our sins ahead of time, you still chose us. Help us to live grateful and holy lives, trusting in you.

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