God Foreknows What Will Be Because He Has Decreed What Shall Be

God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be. It is therefore a reversing of the order of Scripture, a putting of the cart before the horse, to affirm that God elects because He foreknows people. The truth is, He foreknows because He has elected. This removes the ground or cause of election from outside the creature, and places it in God’s own sovereign will. God purposed in Himself to elect a certain people, not because of anything good in them or from them, either actual or foreseen, but solely out of His own mere pleasure. As to why He chose the ones He did, we do not know, and can only say, ‘Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure’ [Luke 21:10]. The plain truth in Romans 8:29 is that God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:13). This is clear from the concluding words of the verse: “Predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.’ God did not predestinate those whom He foreknew were conformed, but, on the contrary, those whom He ‘foreknew’ (that is, loved and elected) He predestinated ‘to be conformed.’ Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God’s foreknowledge and predestination.”

– Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God, p.19

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In The Light of Eternity

“At this point it may be wise to pause a moment and consider how much all of us need to develop Paul’s broad perspective. Let me remind you that he was a prisoner in Rome. Not indeed in a cell or dungeon, but still under house arrest and handcuffed to a Roman soldier. Yet, though his wrist was chained and his body confined, his heart and mind inhabited eternity. He peered back ‘before the foundation of the world’ and on to ‘the fullness of time’ and grasped hold of what ‘we have’ now and ought to ‘be’ now in light of those two eternities. As for us, how blinkered is our vision in comparison with his, how small is our mind, how narrow are our horizons! Easily and naturally we slip into a preoccupation with our own petty little affairs. But we need to see time in the light of eternity, and our present privileges and obligations in the light of our past election and our future perfection. Then, if we shared the apostle’s perspective, we would also share his praise. For doctrine leads to doxology as well as duty. Life would be worship, and we would bless God constantly for having blessed us so richly in Christ.”

– John Stott, The Message of Ephesians, p. 44