Divine Foreknowledge            

Acts 2:23


     If you would understand the meaning of the word "foreknowledge" as it relates to God, you must consult the Bible, not a dictionary. The meaning of the word is determined by the Holy Spirit's usage of it. Here are four things the Bible teaches about God's foreknowledge.

1. IN THE BIBLE THE WORDS "KNOW", "KNOWLEDGE", AND "FOREKNOWLEDGE" MEAN MUCH MORE THAN "AWARENESS OF", WHEN THEY REFER TO GOD. Though the word "foreknowledge" is not used in the Old Testament, the word know is often used to describe God's gracious favor of and affection for his people (Ex. 33:17; Deut. 9:24; Jer. 1:5; Amos 3:2). This word, "know", is used in the same way in the New Testament (Matt. 7:23; John 10:14; I Cor.8:3; II Tim. 2:19). God's knowledge of his elect is his special, distinguishing love for them.

2. GOD'S FOREKNOWLEDGE IS NEVER RELATED TO EVENTS, THINGS, OR ACTS, BUT ALWAYS TO PEOPLE. God the father foreknew Christ as our Surety and Substitute (Acts 2:23). And he foreknew his elect as his sons in Christ (Rom. 8:28-30; 11:2; I Pet. 1:2). In every place where foreknowledge is mentioned, it refers not to what people would do, but to people themselves. In every place the word "foreknowledge" means "foreloved", "foreordained", "foreaccepted", and "foreapproved".

3. THE BASIS OF GOD'S FOREKNOWLEDGE IS HIS OWN ETERNAL DECREE. God's foreknowledge is not the cause of his decree, but just the reverse. His decree is the cause of his foreknowledge. God's foreknowledge of Christ as our Substitute was the result of his determinate counsel that Christ be our Substitute (Acts 2:23).His foreknowledge of us as his sons was the result of his decree of election by which he purposed to make us his sons (Rom. 8:28-30).

4. DIVINE FOREKNOWLEDGE IS A SOURCE OF GREAT COMFORT AND CHEER TO GOD'S PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD. If foreknowledge were nothing but what God foreknew we would do or be by our own free-will, what comfort could we find in it? Thank God, it is not so. But when we understand, according to the scriptures, that God's foreknowledge is his immutable love and approval of us in Christ, our hearts rejoice (II Tim. 2:19). Those whom God foreknew he will never cast away (Rom. 11:2). In the midst of great trial our hearts are sustained by God's foreknowledge (Nah. 1:7). We rejoice in our knowledge of God. But our hope and confidence is in God's foreknowledge of us.


Don Fortner