“O, Arminian, Arminian, thou that distortest the prophets and misinterpretest them that are sent unto thee; how often have I told you your children the plain truth... and ye would not let them understand.” - Gordon Clark.


Once it has been established that all of the events of history have been planned and ordained by God, it is a simple step to understand that this plan includes the destiny of those who shall be saved and those who shall be lost.


At this point, many Christians will object that such a thing just could not be true.  After all, doesn’t the Bible teach that anyone can believe in Jesus Christ and be saved?  How could anyone claim that God has chosen certain people to be cast into an eternal death in hell?  However valid these questions may seem to be, we cannot hide behind them to ignore the multitude of passages found in the Bible which teach the doctrine of predestination and election.  Our first question must not be whether or not I like this teaching, but what does the Bible say?





The sixth chapter of John relates a discourse which Jesus gave at Capernaum by the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  He speaks to those who have seen His miracles.  There are many who are now listening who had been present when He fed the five thousand (compare John 6:5-11 with John 6:26).  They had seen an obvious miracle.  They had tasted the bread and eaten the fish which He miraculously produced.  And yet, they had not recognized that this One is the Son of God.  They have been following Him merely for the sake of benefiting from His miracles.  They have seen, but they still have not believed.  There has been no commitment on their part.  It is in this context that Jesus now introduces His teaching on election.


            Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.  But I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.” (John 6:35-36).


Jesus begins with the simple declaration that He is the “Bread of life.”  This is seen in contrast to the bread that He had recently produced to feed the multitude.  They sought only to satisfy their physical hunger and thirst.  Jesus offers much more.  In verse 36, Jesus points out the root of their problem.  They have seen the miracles, heard the teachings, but they still have not believed.  Why had they not believed?  The answer is given in the following verses.


            “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” (John 6:37-39).


Jesus says that certain people have been given to Him by the Father.  All of those who have been given to Him will come to Him.  He does not say that all men have been given to Him.  This would be universalism and Jesus never taught that.  He does say that those which the Father had given to Him would eventually come to Him.  This means that there are not any who have been given to Him by the Father who will not come.  Now this is not speaking of some higher level of spirituality.  The issue is not the super-spiritual.  The issue concerns the converted versus the non-converted.  This is speaking of salvation.  Jesus is speaking to the unbelieving multitude.  Many of them shall not come to Him.  Why?  From their point of view, it is because they refuse to commit themselves to Him.  But there is a deeper, more underlying reason.  The deeper reason that they will not come to Him will be because they are not among those whom the Father has given to the Son.  On the other hand, those who do come will never be cast out.  No man ever need worry that he might come to Jesus and then find that he has not been chosen.  All who come to Him in faith will be saved.


At first this seems to be contradictory.  On the one hand, those who have been chosen to be given to the Son are the ones who come to Him.  On the other hand, anyone who comes to Him will not be cast out.  Does this mean that there will be others who come to Him who were not chosen to be given to the Son?  Not at all.  The truth is that no man will come to the Son unless the Father draws him.  This will be pointed out by Jesus in verse 44.


You might be reading this and beginning to seethe.  How dare that I suggest that such a thing is so!  You are in some interesting company.  As Jesus said these things, the Jews who are listening to Him also began to seethe and to grumble.  They were ready to believe that Jesus is a miracle-worker.  But they could not believe that He is the Son of God who came down from heaven.  They will come to Him to eat the food as He feeds the five thousand, but they will not come to Him to receive the bread of life.


Why won’t they come?  Jesus answers in verses 43-44.  It is because there is a sense in which they are unable to come.


            Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.  No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws Him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:43-44).


Jesus said that the only people who are able to come to Him are those whom the Father draws to Him.  Unless a man has been drawn by God, he simply will not come. Why?  Why is it that men cannot come to God on their own initiative?  Why will they not come unless they are first drawn by God?  It is because man is inherently sinful and rebellious against God.  Man’s will has been corrupted by sin.


            As it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God.” (Romans 3:10-11).


It has been said that the man who chokes on the doctrine of election has not yet swallowed the truth of his own depravity.  As a sinner, man is totally helpless to turn to God for help.  It is God who first turns him toward Himself so that he will even begin to seek a cure.  Therefore it is only when a man is drawn by God that he will come to Jesus and be saved.


This is not a new teaching that Jesus was giving to the multitude on that day.  It was a teaching that went all the way back to the Old Testament Scriptures.  Jesus Himself quotes from the prophet Isaiah to show that it is God who initiates His work in the hearts of men so that they come to Him.


            “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’  Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.” (John 6:45).


Jesus is not talking about the entrance of Christians into some higher level of Christian service.  He says these things to unbelieving Jews.  The implications are obvious.  The reason that they have not come to Him in faith is because they have not been drawn by God.


If you are having problems with these sayings of Jesus, then I want you to know that you are not alone.  There were many of the disciples of Jesus who also found these teachings to be difficult.  The reason that they were difficult was not because of their lack of exposure to the truth.  Rather it was because they had not really believed.


At this point, you might be saying, “Ah, I knew that in the end it would be a matter of whether you believe or not!”  Before you get too excited, look at what Jesus said to His disciples.


            “But there are some of you who do not believe.”  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.  And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted Him from the Father.” (John 6:64-65).


The words of Jesus could not be more clear.  The reason that these pseudo-disciples did not believe was because it had not been granted to them from the Father to believe.


In conclusion we see that salvation is a free gift which is offered to all men.  Any man who comes to Jesus Christ in faith shall be saved.  No man who places his faith in Christ shall ever find that he has been cast out because he was not one of the elect.  However it is also true that none but those who have been chosen and drawn by the Father is able to come to Jesus.  It is only when God intervenes in a man’s will and accomplishes His work in a man’s heart that such a man will come and believe in Christ.


I have often heard it argued that Jesus claimed that He would draw all men to Himself - that He draws all men and only those who believe in Him out of their own free will actually come.  The passage which is used to prove this teaching is John 12:32 where Jesus says:


            “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32).


How are we to understand this verse?  Does it teach a universal drawing of all men to Christ?  If it does, then it teaches too much, since Jesus has already used this very same term to describe the drawing of certain men in John 6:44 and, within that context, He has explained that all who are drawn to Him will be raised up on the last day (John 6:44), will be taught of God (John 6:45), and will certainly not be cast out (John 6:37).  Unless one is willing to adopt the doctrine of universalism - that all men everywhere will be saved and that none will ever be condemned - then one cannot take this reference in John 12:32 to describe a universal drawing of the same sense described in chapter 6.


How are we to understand this drawing of “all men”?  Once again, it is the context that explains the passage.  When Jesus speaks of “drawing all men” to Himself, He does so in a situation in which some Greeks had just been brought to Him.  He responds by speaking of His impending crucifixion, the result of which will be to draw all men.  Up to this point, the ministry of Jesus had been almost exclusively directed toward the Jews.  But this will now change.  Once Christ has gone to the cross, He will gather into one body both Jews and Gentiles.  There will be no distinction between races or sexes or social strata.  He will draw ALL types and races and people.





One of the most remarkable prayers of Jesus is the one which He delivered after pronouncing His condemnation upon the Galilean cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum.


            At that time Jesus answered and said, “I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes.  Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight.” (Matthew 11:25-26).


We dare not divorce what Jesus says in these verses from the previous paragraph.  Jesus has just denounced Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum for their unbelief.  He has compared their unrepentant state to Sodom, Tyre and Sidon, three of the most infamous cities in Israel’s history.  Now He turns to the Father and thanks Him that things are still going according to plan.  He thanks the Father for hiding the truth of the gospel from these cities.


Sometimes we get the idea that, when people hear the gospel and do not accept it, God’s plan has somehow failed.  This is not the case.  It was the Lord’s will to hide His message of salvation from these certain cities.


Now I want to ask you a question.  What is the deciding factor in whether the gospel is hidden from someone or revealed to that person?  Is it his faith?  Or is it his willingness to believe?  No, it is ultimately the willingness of the Son to reveal the gospel to him.


            “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27).


The only people who come to know the Father are those whom the Son determines will have the Father revealed to them.  It is in this context that the familiar invitation is made for all who are weary and heavy-laden to come and to find rest.





In his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul makes the point that men do not come to God on the basis of their intellectual reasonings.  It is not the intelligent who are chosen by God.  It is often just the opposite.


·        Not the WISE, but the FOOLISH.

·        Not the MIGHTY, but the WEAK.

·        Not the NOBLE, but the BASE and the DESPISED.


I can imagine Paul sitting back for a moment to reflect over the status of the membership of the church at Corinth.  He asks the Corinthians to do the same:  For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble (1 Corinthians 1:26).


Paul is speaking to believers.  He exhorts them to consider their calling.  They have been called to become followers of Jesus.  To put it in the terms that Jesus used, they are among those whom the Father has drawn.


There were very few among the Corinthians believers who were rich or powerful or famous or influential.  To be sure, Paul does not say that there were not ANY wise or mighty or noble.  But he does indicate that the majority of the church did not fit this description.  Why is this?  Why do most Christians come from the ranks of the foolish and the weak and the base and the despised?  Karl Marx suggested that it was because the oppressed classes and the weak turned to religion as a crutch to hold them up and to stabilize them.  But this is not a Biblical answer.


Paul says that the reason Christianity is filled with the foolish and the weak and the base and the despised is because GOD HAS CHOSEN these kings of people to be in His kingdom.


Notice the emphasis that Paul places upon the elective activity of God.  Three times in this passage Paul repeats that it is God who has chosen:


            For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, 29 that no man should boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).


The phrase “God has chosen” is repeated three times in this passage.  It emphasizes the fact that our calling and our salvation is God’s choice.  God has not chosen to leave these things up to blind chance.  Paul’s entire point is that it is by His doing you are in Christ Jesus (1:30).


The point is made that God has not chosen the wise or the strong or the noble.  Why not?  Why have the wise and the strong and the noble been rejected?  It is so  that no man should boast before God (1:29).  No man can ever say, “I found God as a result of my clever intellect or as a result of my strength of will or because of my noble birth.”  You will never be able to boast that you gained eternal life by choosing God, for the truth is that He chose you.


The result of understanding this truth is that God is glorified.  If a man were saved on the basis of his own decision, then he might boast that he at least had the good sense to come to Christ and to place his faith in Christ.  But Paul removes any such ground for boasting by showing us that we have been chosen apart from any reason within us.  The result?  “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”





In setting forth the infinite and eternal blessings that God has bestowed upon the believer, Paul begins with the doctrine of predestination.


            Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6  to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6).


One cannot help but to notice the complete lack of any mention of man’s involvement in the process of salvation.  God is the One who is seen accomplishing salvation; man is seen only as the receiver of such blessings.


In the same way in which God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, so also in that same way He chose us.  Just as He is the source of our every blessing, so also He is the source of our election.  As we did not bring the blessing upon ourselves through our action, so also we did not bring our election upon ourselves.  It was God who chose us.


Furthermore, God is said to have chosen us long before we ever chose Him.  He chose us before the foundation of the world.  When God placed Adam and Eve into the Garden of Eden, He had already determined those who would be in Christ.  This was a determination made in the eternal mind of God.


This is more than a mere knowledge of future events.  This is more than an election and predestination of the plan of salvation as if God merely predestined the plan of salvation but not who would be a part of that plan.  This is personal.  Paul says that God chose us.  God predestined us.


Why?  For what reason did God predestine us?  It was certainly not because of any merit on our part.  Paul says that it was according to the kind intention of His will (1:5).  God is the reason that God chose us.  This is amplified when we come to verses 11-12:  In Him 11  also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).


The Arminian would prefer to read that we have been “predestined according to our faith by the One who works all things after the way His foreknowledge sees that we shall believe.”  Instead we see that predestination is according to HIS purpose and is accomplished after the counsel of HIS will.





It is sometimes argued that, if God has predestined only certain people to be saved, then it

is inconsequential whether Christ has died for their sins, since the elect will be saved regardless.  In answering this objection, we must point out that a proper understanding of predestination will greatly enhance the value of the saving work of our Lord.  Paul explains the relationship between predestination and the saving work of Christ.


            Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8-10).


In the midst of exhorting Timothy to join him in suffering for the sake of the gospel, Paul describes the salvation to which that gospel proclaims.  There are five parts to that description:


1.         This salvation, as well as its accompanying call, is not according to our works (1:9).  This is contrary to the heart of man.  Man naturally wants to approach God on his own terms.  He thinks that he can do something that will satisfy God.  But salvation is not on the basis of anything that man does.  It is provided on the basis of what Christ did on man’s behalf and quite apart from anything that we might try to add to it.


2.         This salvation has been provided according to God’s own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity (1:9).


We have already seen from Ephesians 1:4 that God chose us to be in Him before the foundation of the world.  From all eternity, it has been determined that you would be in Christ Jesus.  Who made this determination?  It was not you, for you did not yet exist.  Nothing existed except for God and so no plan could have yet existed except for His eternal counsel.


3.         This plan was selective.  It did not merely call anyone who happened perchance to believe.  It did not draw a circle in the sand and say that anyone who steps within that circle would be saved.  Paul is very careful to say that we were called not according to our works, that is to say, not by anything that we did, but according to His own purpose and grace (1:9).


4.         It is not only the salvation, but also the calling that is according to the purpose and plan of God.  This means God did not only plan the fact that you would be saved, but He also ordained the means and the method by which that salvation would be brought to you.


The substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross has always been a part of the plan and purpose of God.  This does not render it insignificant.  To the contrary, it means that the death of Christ is the most significant event in all of time and eternity.


5.         At the appointed time this salvation was revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus (1:10).  It was at this time that the central factor of God’s plan of predestination and election came to pass.  This is the central point of all of history.  All of the events of human history have focussed and will forever focus upon this one moment in time when God became flesh and died for sins.





If we are to understand that man’s salvation is predetermined by God, then is it necessary for man to hear the message of the gospel and to respond to it in faith and repentance?  Shall men not be saved solely on the basis of whether they have been predestined and quite apart from their faith and repentance?  What if a man who has been elected by God dies before he hears the gospel and believes?


The answer to all of these questions is quickly understood when we realize that God’s predetermined plan is not limited to the area and scope of who shall be saved.  It also involves the means and the manner in which that salvation is to be brought to each individual.


In the last chapter, we established that all events in history have been ordained by God.  The fall of every sparrow and the plucking of each grey hair has been carefully planned by the Lord of the universe.  Every decision, every discovery and every chance happening has been foreordained by Him.


What does all of this have to do with salvation?  It means that God has determined and planned all of the events that work together in a man’s life to bring him to the point where he repents and believes the gospel.  God’s plan included who would be the one to tell you of the sacrifice that was made for your sins.  It included the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work in your heart as you heard the message of the gospel.  It included the decision that you made to believe that message and trust in Jesus Christ to save you.


God’s plan included all of these things.  This is visibly illustrated in the book of Acts when we read of the salvation of the Gentile believers in Antioch.


            And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:38).


These Gentiles heard the message of the gospel and a number of them believed the message and were saved.  Luke describes this number as those who had been appointed to eternal life.


Notice who is described as doing the action in each of these clauses:


The Gentiles did this action...

The Gentiles are passive...

They heard...

They began rejoicing and glorifying...

They believed...

They had been appointed to eternal life


Who appointed these Gentiles to eternal life?  One might try to suggest that they appointed themselves, but that would be an improper use of the passive voice.  Furthermore, the Greek verb is a perfect passive participle (tetagmenoi).  The action of the perfect tense precedes the action of the main verb.  This means the appointment of these Gentiles to eternal life took place before they believed.


Since it is in the passive voice, the action was been done TO them - they were not the ones doing the appointing, but rather someone else had already done that.  The same form of the same word is used in Acts 22:10 where Paul is told to “arise and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that HAS BEEN APPOINTED for you to do.”  Paul did not appoint himself to be an apostle and these Gentile believers did not appoint themselves to eternal life.


At the same time, we see that these Gentiles were not saved apart from the hearing of the message or apart from the believing of that message.  Paul and Barnabas preached to them the good news of the gospel.  They heard the message and considered it.  The Holy Spirit worked in their hearts to bring them to an understanding and an acceptance of that message.  As a result, they believed.  And yet, we are made to understand that those who now believed had been previously appointed to eternal life.  Who appointed them?  The answer is obvious.  It was the Lord who appointed them.


God had previously ordained that these Gentiles would have eternal life.  But that is not all that God had ordained.  He had also ordained that they should happen to be at Antioch on that particular day and that they would hear the preaching of Paul and Barnabas and that they would believe.  Truly they were saved by the One who works ALL things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).





It is often argued that a belief in the Biblical doctrine of predestination will lead to a falling away in the area of evangelism.  If the salvation of men has been predetermined, then why should I witness?  If I teach that men’s destinies have been determined by God, then will it not stop believers from their motivation to spread the gospel?


An examination of Church History shows that this has not been the case.  Men such as Calvin, Luther, Whitefield and Spurgeon give ample evidence from the past that an understanding of this teaching need not be a deterrent to evangelism.  A modern-day example is seen in the president of Evangelism Explosion International, Dr. D. James Kennedy.


The fact that God’s sovereignty is not a deterrent to evangelism is understood when we realize that God has not merely predestined the END RESULT of man's salvation, but also the MEANS from which that end was obtained.


God has predestined the evangelistic process just as He determines those who will respond to that process.  Rather than being a hindrance, this can serve as a great impetus to evangelism.


Paul sets forth this principle in his last epistle to Timothy.  He writes this epistle from a prison in Rome.  He has been arrested and is awaiting trial before the Emperor Nero.  He knows that he will soon be put to death.  He has suffered great hardships for the cause of the gospel.  In the midst of this situation, he writes of HIS MOTIVATION in enduring these sufferings:


            Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.  For this reason I endure all things FOR THE SAKE OF THOSE WHO ARE CHOSEN, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:8-10).


Paul endured all of these things for the sake of those whom God had chosen.  He saw himself as an instrument which God was using to bring those chosen ones to salvation.  Thus we see that in the very context of his teaching on election, Paul proclaims his own responsibility in bringing men to Christ.


But this is not all.  Paul also realized that the message of the gospel would not be imprisoned just because he was now in a Roman dungeon.


Don’t miss this!  Paul knew that God's plan would not fall apart just because Paul was not there to oversee it.  He knew that God would not fail.  He knew that God had planned for Paul's imprisonment and that, by enduring that imprisonment, the cause of the gospel would be furthered.


If it is true that God has predestined men to be saved and, if it is also true that God has ordained the means through which they will come to Christ (ie., the hearing of the gospel), then predestination is a guarantee that my faithfulness in the preaching of the gospel will bear fruit.  The reason that the Lord can say that His word shall accomplish what He desires (Isaiah 55:11) is because He has determined the fruitfulness of the presentation of His gospel.


This has a very practical application.  It means that whenever I share the gospel, God has ordained both the fact of my being there to do that service, as well as the result which the gospel will have on those who hear.  If I have a correct view of election, then I will realize that I have the guarantee of success in my presentation of the gospel.


There is nothing that is more motivating to an evangelist than a guarantee from the God of the universe that his evangelistic effort will be successful.





All Christians believe in predestination.  They cannot help but to do so, for the Bible very clearly says on a number of occasions that God predestines and chosen.


            He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will (Ephesians 1:5).


            ...we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).


            But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13).


All Christians hold these verses to be a part of the Bible and an accurate reflection of God’s actions.  Where theologians part company is over the question: Did God predestine men according to His own will and purpose, or has God merely chosen certain men on the basis of what He foreknew their decision would be?  Stated differently, we ask, “Does our salvation depend upon God who has chosen us, or does it depend upon our own free decision?”


One popular view is the one stated by Dr. Thiessen, the former chairman of the Faculty of the Wheaton Graduate School.


            By election we mean that sovereign act of God in grace whereby He chose in Christ Jesus for salvation all whom he foreknew would accept Him (Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1949, Page 344).


Over against such an interpretation are an abundance of passage that clearly state that it is God who has chosen us according to His will (Ephesians 1:5) and that it does not depend upon the man who wills or the man who runs (Romans 9:16).


However we ought not to neglect those passages that mention the relationship of foreknowledge with predestination.  There are two primary passages that deal with this subject.  They are Romans 8:29-30 and 1 Peter 1:1-2.


1.         Whom He Foreknew, He also Predestined.


            For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30).


How are we to understand this foreknowledge?  The Arminian states that this means God foreknew what each believer’s decision would be and then predestined him on that basis.  Thus God is said to have “looked down the corridors of time” to see that John Stevenson would believe in Christ and He said, “Since I can see that John is going to believe the gospel, I shall elect him to be one of My chosen people.”


The problem is that this verse does not state this to be the case.  Paul does not say that God knew something about certain individuals.  He says that He knew THEM.


This is important.  We know that God foreknows all things and all people, both saved and unsaved.  There is nothing that God does not know and there is nothing that God does not know beforehand.  Yet we read here that it is those people who have been foreknown that have been predestined and justified and glorified.  The Arminian wishes to make the passage appear as such:


God looked down the corridors of time and foreknew all men









Only those whom He saw would believe


He also Predestined


He also Justified


He also Glorified


If we say that this passage merely refers to God’s knowledge of of all men, then it must refer to both believers as well as to unbelievers, since God’s awareness is not just limited to that of believers.  If His foreknowledge is of all men equally, then this passage not only says that God foreknows all men, but also that He predestines and justifies and glorifies all men.  Unless one is prepared to hold to a doctrine of universal salvation in which every man under the sun is to be eventually saved, we much conclude that the foreknowledge described in this verse refers to more than a mere general knowledge about all men.


Paul’s statement does not fit Arminian Theology.  He says that all those whom were foreknown were also predestined and justified and glorified.


All those whom God Foreknew


He also Predestined


He also Justified


He also Glorified


What kind of knowledge is this describing?  It is the knowledge of relationship, similar to that which is described in Genesis 4 where we read that “Adam knew his wife.”  This is an idiom for the closest possible relationship.  In the same way, there are a number of passages that demonstrate the use of the term “knowledge” to describe that special relationship that God has with His people.


            God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew (Romans 11:2).


            But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him (1 Corinthians 8:3).


            But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? (Galatians 4:9).


It is obvious that each of these examples uses the term “knowledge” to refer to that which is much deeper than merely an understanding of all of the fact.  In each case, the term is used to describe a love relationship.


            “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  23  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:22-23).


Whether or not a person is known by the Lord is seen as the determining factor in one’s eternal destiny.  When Jesus says to certain men, “I never knew you,” He does not mean that He did not know anything about them.  Rather He means that they shared no relationship.


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