And here is where we get into the weeds. Here is when some of the more in-your-face holders of the Calvinist doctrine will come out of the woodwork and call me a heretic, one who is irredeemably reprobate, and one whose doctrine is evermore erroneous to the utmost.
Why would they do such a thing? Because I dare use the word ‘foreknowledge’ rather than ‘predestination’ and I dare say as Peter did that we are elect according to the foreknowledge of God, and not the predestination of God.
We are elect not because of some arbitrary preference, not because God chose a handful out of every generation to save and sentence all others to eternal darkness, but because He foreknew those who would obtain salvation through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
God doesn’t just say, ‘you I like, so no matter what you do, you’re golden. You will make it to heaven even if I have to drag you there, and no matter how much you resist, it’s still going to happen.’ By the same token He does not say, ‘you I don’t like, so no matter how penitent, how righteous, how faithful, how true you strive to be, or in fact are, the doors are closed, and there’s no way you’re getting in. No matter how much you pray, you weep, you repent, you beg or you plead, the answer is still no.’
This is no small thing. We are not splitting hairs. This is not one of those issues where we can agree to disagree, and I will tell you why.
If God operated on predestination rather than foreknowledge, one would be in the right to wonder until their final breath if they were on the special list, or if they suffered and died in vain only to discover that they didn’t make the cut, they didn’t get drafted, and all that remains is eternal darkness.
If God did not operate based on foreknowledge, then not one of those who lived and died for the name Jesus would have that blessed assurance that their death and sacrifice was not in vain, but rather that the inheritance was waiting for them beyond the veil.
What if I suffer and it turns out I wasn’t chosen? What if I suffer and it turns out I wasn’t predestined? What if I go through the most horrendous of torture and loss, only to be told that my name didn’t show up anywhere on the guest list and so, away with me?
We can be intellectually dishonest at this juncture ant start putting up the straw men we so lovingly tend to, such as ‘no one that isn’t truly saved would ever suffer like that’, but the guys who walk into crowded market places and detonate themselves aren’t saved, yet they make the ultimate sacrifice for a lie all the same. So that argument falls by the wayside, that straw man burns in the flames of truth.
Men suffer every day for imaginings of their own making, and the empty promises of dead or inexistent gods.
It is in God’s foreknowledge that we are able to greatly rejoice in our tribulations, because it is according to His foreknowledge that we are elect.
So what is the difference between foreknowledge and predestination?
The best way I can describe it, is that foreknowledge is someone knowing both where you will be and how you will get there many years from now based on your own choices, while predestination is someone knowing where you will be and how you will get there many years from now because they will have forced you to keep to a certain route whether or not you wanted to, chose to, or desired to.
Again, this goes back to whether or not we believe that man is inherently evil from the moment he is born, and I for one cannot come to that conclusion reasonably or logically. Man is born fallen since Adam, but every man can be reconciled unto God through repentance. Man has the ability to humble himself, to repent, to seek forgiveness, and find it at the foot of the cross through Christ Jesus. I do not believe men are simply born evil, wherein every action from the moment they are born to the moment they die is geared only toward the darkest of evil deeds. If this were so, the world would be a far darker place than it already is.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.