Skip to main content

Search LearnTheBible


Doesn't the Bible indicate that God has already chosen those He will save, we just do not know who they are, because we do not have the "foreknowledge" spoken about in the Bible?

You seem to be quite familiar with the subject, so your mind may be made up. However, I will gladly take a bit of time to give you my position on predestination. The actual word is found four times in the Bible (twice as predestinate and twice as predestinated). These references are in Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5, 11. I understand that other scriptures can be brought to bear on the larger topic but for the sake of space I will keep this huge topic fairly limited. Here are some biblical truths I see from these passages.


First, the Bible clearly states that predestination is based on the foreknowledge of God. In Romans 8:29, God predestinated those "whom he did foreknow." This matches with 1 Peter 1:2, which begins, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." That is, God predetermined our destination (predestinated us) on the basis on what He knew about us ahead of time (His foreknowledge). What did God foreknow about us? In His omniscience, He foreknew who would accept Him and who would reject Him. The Bible does not teach that God chose those individuals whom He would save ahead of time. No, he predestinated those whom He foreknew. That is a different thing. This brings us to the results of predestination.


Second, the biblical results of predestination have often been misstated. According to the verses referring specifically to predestination, here are the results of predestination:

  1. We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of God's Son (Romans 8:29). In other words, those foreknown by God (that they would accept Christ as Saviour) have had their lives custom-made so that all things are working together (Romans 8:28) for the good effect of them being made more like Jesus. Their life circumstances are prearranged in order to conform them to the image of Christ. What a wonderful blessing!
  2. We are predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself (Ephesians 1:5). That is, God has predestined that those who are going to accept Him will be adopted into the family of God by Christ Himself. Adoption, though concurrent with salvation, is not a cause of salvation (like justification or propitiation). Rather, it is one of the blessings of being saved. Again, the individual is not predestined to trust in Jesus Christ, but to receive the blessings of salvation.
  3. We are predestinated to receive the inheritance of the believer (Ephesians 1:11). In the eyes of God and in accordance with the knowledge He has beforehand (foreknowledge), we have already obtained the inheritance (just as in His eyes we have already been glorified - Romans 8:29-30). However, this does not translate into an irresistible call that results in an unstoppable compulsion to believe in Jesus Christ. No, predestination is based entirely on God's foreknowledge.


The doctrine of predestination is the blessed truth that God knew us before we accepted His call. He knew that we would accept His wondrous offer of salvation and, because of this, would receive the power to become the sons of God (John 1:12). Then because of His place outside of and above time (He inhabits eternity - Isaiah 57:15), He pre-determined that we would have all the blessings and benefits of His great salvation. When we got saved, they were already waiting for us. This predestination goes to the extent of God planning and preparing the very circumstances of our life even before we were saved so that we would have a life especially designed to conform us to the image of Christ.

If I read your letter correctly, I assume that you will disagree with this. Certainly, God has given you the ability to do this. However, I will not get into involved arguments. You asked what I believed and I have told you. I hope it is a help to you. I am also glad that we agree that we need to take the message of salvation to a lost and dying world.