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Predestination and Foreknowledge

 April 03, 2011

Many of the Calvinists and their offspring teach salvation by either grace alone or faith alone. Many of them go so far as to condemn baptism for the remission of sins as a "works doctrine" and having nothing to do with the remitting of sins. That is because John Calvin and many man since have lifted certain scriptures out of context and created new doctrines that did not originate with God. The apostle Paul, when writing about grace or faith versus works was referring to the works of the Law of Moses! It had nothing to do with baptism versus grace or faith.

Bernie Parsons 

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Predestination and Foreknowledge

By Bernie Parsons


Presented to Globe church of Christ on 04-03-2011

Presented to Load  church of Christ on 04-10-2011



That the scriptures teach God’s predestination and foreknowledge of the saints is indisputable.


Romans 8:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."


What is to be disputed is the erroneous doctrine of the Calvinists and their spiritual offspring, who claim that God decided before He made our world which individuals among us would be saved and who would be destroyed eternally.


God determined ahead of time to save those who believed in Jesus as the savior of the world, calling them through the preaching of the gospel, and justifying them by their faith in Christ.


Context is invaluable in studying predestination and foreknowledge of God, as relates to our eternal salvation. The apostle Paul is explaining that we are saved by God’s grace when we believe in Jesus as the Messiah. He did that because there were Jewish Christians who were trying to get converted Gentiles to circumcise their males and learn and keep the Law of Moses.


Read Romans chapters 10 and 11 to get the full context. Better yet, read all of Romans!


Romans 11:1 "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew."


God had determined ahead of time that through Abraham’s offspring all nations of the earth would be blessed. He reserved, and preserved, this bloodline until the promise was fulfilled.


Acts 2:22 "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."


The “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” shows that God used His own wisdom to choose the time and the way of salvation in Jesus Christ. He determined that His son would be crucified as an offering for the sins of the world at the appropriate time.


1 Peter 1:1 "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."


1 Peter 1:18 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."


Peter corroborated what Paul wrote, pointing out that the saved are elected through God’s grace, realized in the person of Christ as the obedient son who sacrificed Himself, giving His life-blood to take away sins (verses 2 and 3). In verses 19 and 20, he explained that God decided before He even made our world that this would take place. In the other verses around these, Peter points out that the elect are saved by their obedience to this will of God (verses 2, 5, and 20 - 22).


This is where the Calvinists and their offspring overlook the truth of what is written. They teach that each individual was chosen ahead of time to be saved. What is taught is that God, ahead of time, laid the plan that the way of salvation would be realized in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Individual salvation results when each person believes that plan, and trusting that God will do as He has promised, follows – or, obeys – that plan.


Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world."


How do you get faith? By hearing the word of God, the gospel of Christ – that Jesus is the savior of the world, verse 17. They have all heard, verse 18, but not all have obeyed the gospel, verse 16. That is, they heard, but did not believe.


Acts 13:48 "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region."


Again, note that the Gentiles had to first hear the message, and then believe it. Faith always follows hearing the gospel message preached.


Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."


Once the gospel is heard and believed, it must be obeyed. That is, one must be baptized into the Lord, and then maintain faith and good works. Otherwise, the first faith was in vain.


1 Corinthians 15:1 "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain."


1 Peter 4:17 "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"


Romans 6:16 "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"


God knew ahead of time (foreknowledge) that He would send Jesus to die for our sins (predestination) so that we might hear the gospel preached, and obey it! Salvation is in obeying the gospel, not hearing it only.


Luke 6:49 "But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great."


Let us hear, believe, and obey the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therein lies our salvation.


James 4:17 "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."



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