FOREKNOWLEDGE AND GOD'S PLAN part two
God's knowledge and His plan
We are taught about God's foreknown plan of redemption at
Romans 8:29, "for whom He foreknew, he also predestined."
There is no basis for interpreting proginoskō in any other way than what has
already been established.
Jesus is THE ELECT, foreknown and destined to be the Savior of the world.
And by extension, anyone who will become united with Him; in union with Him,
becomes ELECT or CHOSEN IN HIM.
Christ has been assigned a destiny. The believer shares that destiny by
being in union with Him.
The plan was foreknown and pre-designed for JESUS. And the success of that
plan was foreknown.
And since God knew something about each believer that would qualify them to
share in that inheritance (Col. 1:12), believers are said to be foreknown
Doctrine of Election
There is only one thing that qualifies a person to be placed into union with
Christ and into Christ's destiny.
1 Cor. 1:21-30, "through the proclamation (of the gospel, Rom. 10:17) to
save those who believe (V. 21) . . . (V. 30) for from Him (God) you are IN
CHRIST Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and
sanctification and redemption."
Thus, God knew from before the foundation of the world, who would believe in
Jesus. And on that basis He placed that believer into His plan that was
likewise foreknown AND designed before the foundation of the world; in
eternity past - thus PREdestined.
It is difficult to view this as a chronological thing - but then there HAD
to be a starting point for the creation of the physical universe. That is
where the chronology begins. God's desire, His foreknowledge and the DESIGN
of the plan certainly existed in the "mind" of God "forever." Perhaps even
viewed as simultaneous. But at some POINT, in the perfect wisdom and timing
of God's very essence, far surpassing anything that man can conceive of, the
foreknown and pre-designed plan was put into motion by an act of ex nihilo;
creating the physical universe out of nothingness.
And from that very moment that God created the universe, pre-knowing fully
and completely every detail of His "from the beginning to the end" plan (the
plan of the ages, Eph. 3:11), and what would happen within the parameters of
that plan, as a separate and unique "time frame" within the realm of
eternity, He put that plan into operation.
According to Ephesians 3:11 God's "plan of the ages" (from the beginning to
the end - and beyond), revolves around the person and work of Jesus Christ.
And our participation in that plan is based on our relationship with Jesus;
our union with Him - IN CHRIST.
Thus, we who were foreknown before the foundation of the world, to believe
in Christ were predestined to be placed into union with Christ, where we
share Christ's destiny. And then in that very moment of time WITHIN that
plan, when each of us believed, we were actually placed IN CHRIST.
This new position of UNION WITH CHRIST is described at 2 Cor 5:17, "if
anyone is IN CHRIST JESUS, (he is) a new creation; THE old things have
passed away, behold new things have become (come into existence)."
This is not talking about new character or new habits. It is talking about a
change of STATUS; a removal from darkness into light; a removal out of the
authority of Satan into the kingdom of God's Son. Eph. 5:8; Acts 26:18; Col.
Romans 8:29, God foreknew the believer, "for WHOM He foreknew."
Based on that, God placed that person into union with Christ to share
Christ's destiny, "those He predestined."
As previously stated, within the scope of God's absolute existence; His
perfect loving desire; AND with full knowledge of what was needed, and what
would happen, He made a plan to fulfill His loving desire to bring into
being creatures who would freely love and worship Him and in return be the
recipients of His perfect beneficent love.
Thus, in regard to the plan of salvation, God pre-designed (Acts 2:23) that
the Savior would die for the sins of all people (1 Tim. 2:6, "who gave
Himself a ransom for all"). and likewise extend the invitation; the call to
believe, to all people (John 12:32; John 1:9; 3:15), "let the one who wants,
take the water of life freely," Rev. 22:17.
And God pre-designed what is man's required response for entrance into that
plan of salvation, which is faith in Christ. John 1:12, "to as many received
Him . . . those who believe in His name." Gal. 3:14, "that we might receive
the promise of the Spirit through faith."
Gal. 3:22, "that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to
those who believe."
And since God KNEW from the foundation of the world, everything that would
happen within the parameters of His "beginning to the end" plan, He knew
precisely who would believe and who would reject the plan of salvation. But
based on the inherent nature of His love and righteousness, He extends the
invitation to believe to everyone. "For God so loved the world that He gave
His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life."
For indeed, "God is not willing for anyone to perish, but for all to come to
a change of mind." 2 Peter 3:15.
That is, God "desires all men to be saved," 1 Tim. 2:4.
Now, before THAT faith, that places the person into union with Christ, can
be expressed, there needs to be an invitation to which to respond. There
needs to be a clear message that states man's need; God's provision; and the
This gospel invitation or "call" extends to all, and all those who hear and
believe are placed into union with Christ and on that basis share His
At Ephesians 1:3 it is described as having possession of "every spiritual
blessing (located) in the heavenlies IN CHRIST."
At Ephesians 1:4, it is described as, "just as He elected us IN HIM before
the foundation of the world." (the verb is an aorist middle indicative of
We are elected because we are IN HIM.
Verse 5, "having predestined us . . . IN the beloved."
We are predestined IN CHRIST. Because HE is predestined, all who are in
union with Him are predestined. They all share His destiny.
Verse 7, IN WHOM, we have redemption."
Our redemption; the forgiveness of sins is certainly because He paid the
payment for our sins, but more precisely BECAUSE we are IN HIM. Thus, while
it is true that Christ died for all; paid the ransom for all (1 Tim.2:6),
only those who believe enter into union with Christ and only those who are
in union with Christ will receive forgiveness of sins. Acts 10:43.
Ephesians 1:10-11, "IN WHOM also we have obtained an inheritance, having
been predestined according to the purpose of the One Who works all things
according to the decision of His will."
We have a pre-destined inheritance BECAUSE Christ has an inheritance and we
SHARE that inheritance through union with Christ.
Verse 13 IN WHOM (in union with Christ), you also AFTER hearing the word of
truth, the gospel of your salvation --
IN WHOM (IN CHRIST, repeated for emphasis) also having believed (implied
object is the gospel), you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." You
were sealed IN HIM.
FOREKNOWN, IN CHRIST is not mentioned by Paul here in Ephesians, but as I
have shown, it is established in Scripture as the initial factor, connected
with God's perfect loving-desire, in designing the plan of the ages.
And according to verse 13, man's participation in that pre-designed plan is
based on our choice to believe in Christ.
1. Heard the gospel.
2. Believed the gospel.
3. Sealed in Christ by the Holy Spirit as recipients of the inheritance. (of
God and heirs with Christ, Rom. 8:17).
Paul says more at Eph. 2:5-6,
God made us alive together IN CHRIST
and raised us up together and seated us together in (the location of ) the
heavenlies IN CHRIST JESUS,
in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His
grace in kindness toward us (which is realized) IN CHRIST JESUS.
So now I return to Romans 8.
Romans 8:1, "there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in
Some background is needed. At Rom. 3:22-24, the righteousness of God has
been manifested through faith toward Jesus Christ (FOR all who believe) BY
being declared righteous (justified) freely by His grace through the
redemption which is IN CHRIST Jesus.
This is the first place IN CHRIST is mentioned in this letter. It is stated
without explanation which indicates that the reality of the believer's IN
CHRST status was understood by the recipients. But that status will be
clarified as the letter continues.
(The possibility for en christo, in Christ, to be rendered as "by means of"
or "through" Christ is countered by verse 5:1 where we see, "we have peace
with God THROUGH our Lord Jesus Christ," where the preposition used is dia.
And likewise consistently through the following chapters. Thus, the IN
CHRIST formula is a technical phrase that clearly refers to the believer's
positional status of in union with Christ.)
Redemption does not mean that everyone has been removed from slavery to the
elemental principles of the world. It means that Christ provided the payment
FOR everyone (1 Tim. 2:6) SO THAT those who believe can be transferred out
of darkness into light. Only those who believe actually experience the
results of redemption because the reality of redemption and deliverance from
slavery is based on being in union with Christ - IN CHRIST.
Col. 1:14, IN WHOM we have redemption.
Gal. 3:13-14, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law . . . in order
that IN CHRIST JESUS the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles,
so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
1 Cor. 1:30, "Now from Him (God) you are IN CHRIST JESUS, Who became to us
wisdom from God; righteousness and sanctification and redemption."
And Romans 5:1, advances on our justification, "therefore having been
declared righteous (justified) by faith, we have peace with God
(reconciliation) through our Lord Jesus Christ."
And from reconciliation, we have salvation from the wrath of God at Romans
5:9-10, and the possession of everlasting life at 5:21 (dia) and 6:23 (IN
In Romans 6:1-11, Paul reminds the readers that we have been baptized into
union with Christ; into His death, burial and resurrection. And we share the
victorious reality of being dead to the sin nature through positional union
TOPIC: Sin nature
And through that positional union with Christ, we are promised resurrection
with Him (glorification).
Furthermore, because of that positional victory over the sin nature, we
should live in experiential victory over it which will showcase God's
righteousness in our life here on earth, which constitutes holy living
In 6:20-21, Paul describes the way of life of the unbeliever, enslaved to
the sin nature, producing nothing beneficial to them; only unrighteousness
and shame, and the ultimate destiny of eternal death.
At 6:22-23, he contrasts that with the way of life of the believer who
having escaped slavery to the sin nature is able to now benefit from
righteous and holy living here on earth, and ultimately, after this life -
eternal life IN CHRIST.
It is our position IN CHRIST that is the basis for the possession of eternal
The Mosaic law was an instrument of spiritual death because it confirmed the
existence of the sin nature and man's guilt before God. Rom. 7:13.
But through union with Christ, the believer has died to the law, having been
redeemed from the condemnation the law imposed. Rom. 7:4.
"Therefore my brethren you also were made to die to the law through the body
of Christ, so that you may be joined to another (placed into union with
Christ), to Him who was raised from the dead, so that we might bear fruit
However, the law is still a moral compass that is holy, righteous and good.
As such it becomes a guide to righteous and holy living.
Rom. 8:4, "in order that the righteous standard of the law might be
fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the
The presence and influence of the sin nature is still an issue for the
believer living here on earth. The sin nature wars against the Spirit and
the Spirit wars against the sin nature (Gal. 5:17). And the warfare has many
victories and defeats throughout the believer's life. Here Paul explains the
conflict and the basis for victory which is an extension from 6:12-14.
Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN
CHRIST Jesus. This then picks up from 7:4, 6, "joined to another" - to
Christ (This is placement into union with Christ), and from 6:23, "we have
eternal life IN CHRIST."
This continues the issue of experiential victory over the sin nature that
was developed in Romans 6 and 7.
Since the believer has been positionally set free from the sin nature
through union with Christ, the issue for his life here on earth is to live
in victory over the sin nature and not return to an imitation of the
Rom. 6:12, "therefore do not let THE sin nature reign in your mortal body
that you should obey its lusts."
Rom. 7:25, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then on the
one hand, I myself with the mind am serving the law of God; but on the other
hand with my body I am serving the law of the sin nature."
Rom. 8:12-17, "so then, brethren, we are under obligation not to the flesh
to live according to the flesh."
Rom. 8:14, "for all who are being led by the Spirit, these are sons of God."
The point is that such ones as these, not only ARE sons of God, but
demonstrate their son-ship by living according to the righteous standards of
the moral law of God.
Because we are in union with Christ, we are sons of God IN HIM; we share His
son-ship and we share His inheritance.
"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the
GLORY that shall be revealed in us."
This compares our earthly sufferings with our future resurrection GLORY. And
even while living here on earth, everything that comes our way, "He works
all things together for good to those who love God; to those who are the
called ones according to His purpose." 2 Cor. 4:16-18.
And no matter what pressures and sufferings we encounter in this life, God
is faithful to work all things together for the ultimate benefit (according
to God's viewpoint of what "benefit" is) of the one who loves God and the
one who is in fact a child of God.
And the end-stage of that benefit is the resurrection body, "glorified."
And our HOPE, prayers, and our PRAISE is in anticipation of that
There are two things that qualify the believer to come under this promise of
benefit. One is experiential and the other is positional. One is based on
our status of in union with Christ and the other is based on our spiritual
or fellowship consistency of loving God.
Because we are IN CHRIST, children of God, God wants us to experience the
greatest GOOD (benefit) possible during our life here on earth, and of
course in eternity.
This "good" is secured for us because we are "the called ones according to
This means that we are IN THE PLAN.
Called ones is a plural adjective; klātos. It carries a technical meaning
that advances beyond the simple "call" or invitation of the verb, kaleo. It
refers to someone who has BOTH received the "call" (invitation to believe)
AND has accepted the invitation by trusting in Christ as Savior. It thus
refers to someone who is actually IN the plan; in the status of salvation.
Accordingly, believers are designated as "called saints." Saints because
they have BOTH received and accepted the invitation to trust in Christ.
(Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2). Jude 1, "to the called ones, loved by God and
preserved IN Jesus Christ."
It is used 9 times this way after the gospels and two times in Matthew for
just the invitation alone.
The ultimate BENEFIT (good) that God works is the reality of resurrection
glory, the certainty of which became ours at the very moment that we became
"united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection . . . (for) we believe
that we shall also live with Him." Rom. 6:5, 8.
This promise is ours because we "are the called ones according to His
purpose." Because we have been BOTH called and accepted by God by being
placed into union with Christ (IN CHRIST), and placed into the family of God
as His forever-children.
1. BECAUSE: hoti - answers HOW it is that the believer can have this
assurance of both GOOD and GLORY.
It is because of God's plan for the believer, which revolves around the
status of being IN CHRIST.
2. There are two things from the perspective of eternity past: foreknowledge
A. Whom He foreknew: proginoskō as an aorist active indicative.
1. This shows the "starting" point for God's TEMPORAL plan
for the salvation of those who will believe in Christ.
2. The FACT of God's foreknowledge has already been
3. The normal meaning of proginoskō has already been
established, as knowing about something prior to its actual occurrence.
4. There is no Scriptural basis or linguistic basis for
making this word mean anything other than what I have already established to
be the normal and Scriptural FACT of God's perfect and absolute
pre-knowledge of everything that would occur, both mentally and physically,
within the parameters of His TEMPORAL plan for the universe (the beginning
from the end, and beyond).
B. these He also predestined: prooridzō as an aorist active indicative.
There are two aspects to our destiny IN CHRIST.
1. Heavenly destiny: The STATUS of sharing His inheritance
which will find its realization through resurrection. The heavenly destiny
is not in view here because it is covered in the word, glorified.
2. Earthly destiny: This aspect of our destiny refers to
experiential imitation of Christ; shining forth His love and righteousness
during our life here on earth; walking as He walked.
3. Christ's experiential purpose or destiny was "to do Your
will" (Heb.10:7). John 4:34; John 8:29; Jesus Christ the righteous.
4. The believer shares Christ's destiny because the believer
is in union with Christ. But the believer remains here on earth as a
representative of Jesus to the world of darkness. The believer's purpose is
to "proclaim the exellencies of Him, who called us out of darkness into His
marvelous light," 1 Peter 2:9. We have been CALLED (invited AND accepted
into God's plan) for this purpose . . . to follow in His steps."
1 John 2:6, "we ought to walk in the same manner as He walked."
5. This can only be fulfilled as the believer progresses in
spiritual growth and maintains sinless consistency by letting the word of
God saturate and control the soul (fellowship; walking in the light; in the
Col. 3:16, "let the word of Christ richly dwell within you." Rom. 12:1; 2
C. to be conformed: The Adjective, sumorphos indicates a likeness that
reflects the essence of something. In this case it is the character essence
of the God-man Jesus Christ.
D. to the image of His Son: The word is eikon and refers to the image of
Christ's character that is perceived through knowledge of Him that comes
from the Scriptures. The growth process of the believer here on earth is
designed to -
1. Be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the
renewing of the mind. Rom. 12:2
2. Put on the (character of ) the Lord Jesus Christ. Rom.
3. As we let the word of God dwell in us; as we gaze into the
revelation about the character of Christ (the glory of the Lord) and absorb
it into our soul, we participate in a process of transformation into the
same image (character) that the written word of God reveals to us. 2 Cor.
4. Eph. 4:21-24, "if indeed you have heard Him and have been
taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus . . . to put on the new man, which
according to the standard of God is created in righteousness and holiness
through the truth."
E. that He might be the firstborn among many brethren:
Firstborn does not have reference to salvation from sin. But Christ is
in fact the first born.
1. In a physical sense, through resurrection, Christ is the
first fruits of those who have physically died as at 1 Cor. 15:20-23.
2. Many brethren refers to union with Christ whereby all who
believe become sons of God, and Christ is not ashamed to call them brethren
1. There are two things from the perspective of time:
Called and justified.
A. And whom He predestined, these He also called:
kaleō as an aorist active indicative.
This refers to BOTH the invitation and the acceptance of those who are
called AFTER they trust in Christ as Savior.
The word group, kaleō, klātos, kāsis focuses both on the invitation that God
gave to all, but indicates that God has subsequently accepted those who
It embraces the word group eklektos, eklegomai (chosen, elect), which looks
at the completed work of God that places the believer into the plan of God
without reference to the actual "call."
B. And whom He called, these He also justified:
dikaioō as an aorist active indicative. It means to declare righteous.
It is stated at 1 Cor. 1:20; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:22-26
The call to faith, heard and accepted results in God giving to that person
new life; spiritual life; a born-again life; everlasting life, and
immediately placing that person into union with Christ. 1 John 5:11-12.
"God has given us everlasting life and this life is IN HIS SON; he who has
the Son has the life."
In between the accepted call to faith is regeneration and redemption.
After redemption is justification, reconciliation and sealing.
2. One thing looks to the ultimate destiny that completes everything else.
And whom He justified, these He also glorified:
doxadzō as an aorist active indicative.
This extends "conformed to His (character) image" to conformity to His
Our destiny is to be transformed into a body exactly like His resurrection
It is available through the New birth: 1 Pet I 3
It is Based on Christ's own resurrection:
I Pet l:3; Jn l4:19; I Cor. 15:2O-24
It is reserved for us: I Pet I:5
It will be revealed at the rapture: I Pet 1:5; 1 Thes 4:l4-l7
It is accomplished by God the Holy Spirit:
Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:14; Rom. 1:4
It will be lust like Christ's body: Phil. 3:21; 1 Jn. 3:2
It is called the redemption of the body: Rom. 8:23
A. No physical mutation of the sin nature: Rom. 6:5-7
B. No limitations from the physical curse: I Cor. 15:5O-53