Chosen According to God’s Foreknowledge, or Do You Find that Too Arbitrary?

1 Peter 1- To the temporary exiles dispersed chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8: 28 We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love God, those who are called according to God’s purpose. 29 For those God foreknew God also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Election (being chosen) is discrimination. Election is not a result of a meritocracy.

1. I am not intrinsically less lovable than you

2. what does “intrinsic” mean?

3. Was God less likely to love and elect rich and smart people?

I Timothy 2: God wants them to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Does the sovereignty of God mean that God can and does save sinners even while not teaching them the truth or making salvation involve the sinners ever repenting of the false gospel? NO.

Ephesians 1:9 God has MADE KNOWN to us the mystery of God’s will, according to God’s good pleasure that God planned in Him 10 for the fulfillment of the ages

God elects from all categories

Does God elect more from the category of the poor than from the category of the rich? Does the Bible say that?

Even though we don’t know why God elects one and not another, we know that God makes two kinds of vessels from the one lump. God’s love is not arbitrary but personal

What does “arbitrary” mean?

What’s the opposite of “arbitrary”

Deconstruction locates assumed binary oppositions, with one side of the “other” h parasitic upon its “opposite side” . After the binary (justification, not sanctification, or sanctification, not justification) is set up on the presupposition that the first term must be preserved by reference to the second term We inverse the value system of this binary by showing that the prior term depends upon the second term for its existence This inversion has the effect of calling into question the binary. We push towards dissolution of the terms as they have been structured.

Is the word “natural” the opposite of “arbitrary”?

Is “intrinsic value” the opposite of “arbitrary value”?

Is justice blind and therefore “arbitrary”?

Is election not blind and therefore “not arbitrary”?

If all sinners are disabled, why does God then harden some of these already disabled sinners?
Even if you say that God only “leaves the disabled where they are”, why does God not equally enable all those who are disabled?

God not only discriminates but also disables.

God is always righteous, and therefore God never adjusts to us or need to adjust

Was Christ’s death plan B? Was Christ’s death “arbitrary”. Could God have justified the elect without Christ’s death? Could God have justified the elect without Christ’s incarnation? NO NO NO

1. if righteousness comes through the new birth, then Christ came for nothing

2. if righteousness comes through Christ’s “infinite separation from God”, then there was no need for Christ to become incarnate and die

John Owen–“The fruits of the death of Christ are reckoned as of debt. He for whom a ransom is paid has a right unto his liberty by virtue of that payment”. God declares a value to the death of Christ that is not different from the intrinsic value of the death of Christ. God’s imputation is according to truth. Those God places into Christ’s death are justified.

The Lombard/ Synod of Dordt formula of sufficient for all but efficient only for the elect allows for universal atonement and then a uniting to that universal death by faith. That way you can tell everyone that God loves them but that it is the faith given by the Holy Spirit that calls the elect to that universal death. It is therefore the faith and regeneration that has priority over the death of Christ.

Proclaiming that Christ died for the sins of the elect imputed to Christ by God is saying something different than the Dordt formula. This puts the priority on the death for the elect alone. The ultimate cause of faith is the death imputed not the Spirit uniting to the death. The sinner does not impute his sins to Christ after the Spirit regenerates, nor does the Spirit impute the sins of sinners to Christ. God the Father imputed only the sins of elect sinners to Christ by legal declaration.

I deny that God “could have” willed to forgive without Christ’s satisfaction by death.

Lee Irons—“The voluntarist seizes on the notion of a voluntary condescension expressed by way of covenant. The voluntarist definition of merit is qualified as a lesser merit that cannot even exist apart from God’s gracious acceptation. But God’s sovereign covenants are the revelation of God’s JUSTICE. ”

Click to access redefining_merit.pdf

God’s justice demands the justification of all for whom Christ died

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8 Comments on “Chosen According to God’s Foreknowledge, or Do You Find that Too Arbitrary?”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Election is segregation
    the gospel segregates

    2 Corinthians 2: 14 But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life.

    I Peter 2: 8: Others stumble because they disobey the message. These others were destined for stumbling and disobedience
    9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
    a holy nation, a people for His possession
    in order to proclaim the praises
    of the One who CALLED YOU OUT OF darkness
    into His marvelous light.
    10 ONCE you were NOT a people,
    but NOW YOU ARE God’s people

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Even though the covenant is narrowed down some because the physical child of Abraham are now excluded if they don’t believe the gospel but on the plus side now female spouses and the g physical infants of a Christian is a second way more can get into the covenant and into the church without God’s having placed them into Christ’s death—

    the water baptism is not baptism into Christ and into justification and adoption, the water baptism is merely a preliminary symbol of the potential fact that the person water might believe the gospel and might become justified

    Even though Abraham did not have this preliminary symbol (circumcision) before Abraham believed the gospel, all of Abraham’s children did have the preliminary symbol that they might believe the gospel. The Gentiles were far off, and had no gospel.

    But I do not believe that circumcision was a preliminary sign for those in the Abrahamic covenant. Everybody circumcised was by that seal in the Abrahamic covenant.

    But God’s imputation of Christ’s circumcision (His death) and the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit to Christ, and Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit to those imputed with His death is the seal for those who have left Adam and who have now come into the NEW COVENANT.

    Galatians 3: 26 for you are all sons of God THROUGH FAITH IN Christ Jesus. 27 For AS MANY OF YOU as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment

    Reformed sacramentalists still want to put their own infants in the covenant. But when they do this, do they tell their infants that they are now already children of God through faith? Do they tell their infants that they have already put on Christ? Do they tell every infant in their household that they shall be watered or do they tell every infant in their household that they shall be saved?

  3. markmcculley Says:

    1. All that has happened was meant to be and decreed by God.
    2. The sin of Adam was ordained by God as a means to the redemption of the elect by Christ to the glory of Christ.
    3. The sin of Adam was not a failure to build a culture but eating from the forbidden tree.
    4. The command to not eat from the forbidden tree was not a gift of grace, but law.
    5. Grace assumes sin and the need for grace, therefore there was no grace manifest in the garden before Adam’s sin, even though of course grace was always in the purpose of God.
    6. Adam was not created as neutral “nature” in need of “supernature grace”. Adam was created in a righteous relationship with God.
    7. But this is not to say (with Lutherans) that redemption is a return to what was, nor is it to speculate on what Adam “could have or might have” done in a “covenant of works”, but to say that grace is located nowhere but in Christ’s death for those Christ has loved and elected..

  4. markmcculley Says:

    I peter 1: 20 Christ was foreknown /elected before the creation of the world but was revealed at the end of the ages for you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Christ from the dead and gave Christ glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

    John 17: 24 You loved Me before the world’s creation
    Father, I desire that those You have given Me
    to be with Me where I am.
    Then they will see My glory,
    which You have given Me
    because You loved Me before the world’s foundation.

    John 17: 5 Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence
    with that glory I had with You
    before the world was created

    Arminius really hated supralapsarians and the doctrine of non-election. Arminius could get along with most Calvinists today

    David Engelsma–The truth that Jesus Christ is first in the counsel ought to have been the Reformed response to the Arminian challenge to the Reformed faith at Dordt. In the interests of freeing the atonement from the limitation of election, the Arminians placed the decree of election after the decree of the atonement. This, they argued, made Christ the foundation of election as well as the executor of election. Since in the Reformed order of the decrees, Christ did not appear until after the decree of election, as the Mediator who would carry out the decree of election by redeeming the elect, the Arminians charged that the Reformed reduced Christ to the executor of the decree. The Reformed could not honor Christ as also the foundation of the decree of election.

    The Reformed at Dordt fell back on Christ’s being the decreeing God. But this was to evade the Arminian objection. Christ is indeed the foundation of the decree of election. The elect are chosen “in Him.” But this does not refer to His being the electing God, which, of course, He is. Rather, it refers to Him as incarnate, as the head of the church. As incarnate, as the man Jesus, He is the first decree of God. The election of the church is founded upon the election of the man Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is both the foundation and the executor of the decree of election.

    The truth that Jesus Christ is first in the counsel as the one purpose of God with all things is the deepest intention of the old, and perennial, dispute among Reformed thinkers between supra- and infralapsarianism. Oddly, however, Reformed theologians often carried on the dispute without any reference whatever to Jesus Christ. It is striking that Jesus Christ does not figure in Richard Mouw’s discussion of supra- and infralapsarianism. Mouw leaves the impression that the question is whether the salvation of the elect is the sole purpose of history, or whether the development of culture by the ungodly is also a purpose of God with history, alongside the salvation of the elect. This is not the question, or, at least, the main question. The question is this: Is Jesus Christ the one purpose of God with all things in history, because He is first in the counsel of God?

    Scripture’s plain teaching that Christ is first in the counsel conclusively rules out the notion that God has a purpose with creation alongside His purpose of redemption in Jesus Christ. God never had an “original purpose with creation,” whether grounded in infralapsarianism or anywhere else, which He carries out after the fall by common grace. The theory of “multiple divine purposes” shatters on the rock of Jesus Christ as first in the eternal counsel. Inasmuch as the idea of two distinct divine purposes of God with history is fundamental for the theory of common grace, the theory of common grace likewise shatters on the rock of Jesus Christ as the one purpose of God.

    Mouw–This is where I find Herman Hoeksema’s thought … most puzzling. Here is a typical Hoeksema comment: “in the counsel of God all other things in heaven and on earth are designed as means to the realization of both election and reprobation, and therefore, of the glory of Christ and His church.” Here is another: “All the things of the present life are but means to an eternal end.” So the goal of bringing the elect and the reprobate to their eternal destinies, for Hoeksema, is the divine goal, and all other seemingly independent goals are really to be viewed as means to the attainment of that one goal. Thus Hoeksema is committed to a perspective in which the paths of the eagle’s flight and the ocean’s waves are ordained by God simply as means to the goal of bringing human beings to their foreordained destinies, and in which the divine delight in such things is necessarily connected to the role they play in fulfilling the eternal salvific decree. I find this belief no less puzzling when I extend it—as surely it must be extended from Hoeksema’s perspective—to the actions of non-elect human beings

    David Engelsma –The explanation of His being the one purpose of God with all things is that Jesus Christ is first in the counsel of God. Here we enter (with the caution that dreads speculation, but with the boldness that dares to follow where revelation leads) the mysterious, awesome, holy realm of the supra-/infra- debate. Christ is first in that He is the one purpose of God to which all the other decrees of God, for instance, the decree of creation and the decree of providence, including the fall of Adam, are subordinated. Freely, wisely, graciously, the triune God thought and willed Jesus Christ as the object of His love, as the one with whom He would have fellowship, as the one whom He would exalt, and as the one in whom He would glorify Himself.

    This is the meaning of the teaching in Colossians 1:15, that Jesus Christ is the “firstborn of every creature.” As decreed, the creature Jesus Christ opens the womb of the counsel of God to the decree of all other creatures, they following Him and serving Him in the counsel. In this sense, Jesus Christ is “before all things” (Col. 1:17).

    All things must know this! They must know their place! They must know that they are not “before” Jesus Christ, or apart from Him, but after Him and for Him. Gifted, prominent unbelievers, especially the Tiger Woods of this world, arrogantly suppose that they are quite something in themselves, regardless of Jesus Christ. Common grace with its two-purposes-of-God-with-history idea encourages them in this foolishness. The biblical gospel disabuses them of this folly.

    That Jesus Christ is first in the counsel of God, even before the decree of the election of the church accompanied by the reprobation of the others, is the teaching of Ephesians 1:4: “he [God] hath chosen us in him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world.” If we were chosen in Christ, Christ was before us in the counsel. God chose Him first. Our election was grounded in His election.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Why say that Christ died for specific sins when instead you can say that Christ’s Divinity suffered “the pains of hell infinitely” for all sinners in order to make it just for God to save those sinners God has chosen?

    Most of the people who tell us that God doesn’t save sinners “without executing justice” are also defining justice as “Christ died for all sinners in order to make it just for God to save some sinners”

    John 3: 16 1. perish does not really mean perish—it means to sin forever in the bad place where you get tortured forever because God’s wrath is never quite satisfied. 2. “but have lasting life” is no big deal because every human has immortality and will exist somewhere forever, just like Jesus died for every human in order to make them an offer about where they want to exist forever. and 3. let’s not get into 19-21 because that says that Christians do works approved by God and that can’t be because we are still only sinners, and 4 let’s not get into 3:13-15 because they imply that granddaddy is not up in heaven with Jesus right now and also that implies that Jesus being lifted up on the cross is somehow more important than what the Holy Spirit is doing in my heart… everybody already knows what 3:16 says

    I Timothy 6:13 13 In the presence of GOD WHO GIVES LIFE , and of Christ Jesus, who gave a good confession before Pilate, I charge you 14 to keep the command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 God will bring this about in God’s own time.

    But preacher says that God is timeless, and that God has no time

    Those God does not cause to believe the gospel will never be given immortality.

    if the non-elect sin forever and die forever without ever dying, then death will never be abolished.

    God doing something or having done something before the ages began does not prove that God is timeless. Some have taught that God the Father’s plan before the ages is superior to God the Son’s execution of the plan during the ages, but the Bible does NOT teach that God the Father has a different plan or a different Deity than God the Son has. Nor does the Bible teach that God has no before and after.

    It is not only God the Father who has saved us and called us

    Nor does this text does not teach that humans are already immortal

    II Timothy 1:9 God 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 given to us in Christ Jesus
    before the ages began.
    10 This has now been made evident
    through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,
    who has abolished death
    and has brought life and immortality to light
    through the gospel.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    the antinomians say, don’t ask yourself if you believe the gospel
    think instead about the faith of Christ and not about if you have faith in Christ
    since our works are excluded in salvation, preachers say, our faith in Christ is also a work
    so don’t even think about your own faith in Christ

    preachers say, look to Christ don’t look to yourself
    but end up separating Christ and Christ giving us faith
    though the elect do not receive faith by faith,
    the elect receive both Christ’s death and assurance from Christ’s death
    but some preach justification already for those without faith in the gospel
    preachers say, don’t look to yourself looking to Christ
    look to Christ alone, but without looking at your looking

    but i don’t know what it means to look to Christ
    while trying hard not to look at yourself looking to Christ
    Christ was there then, I am here now
    does this mean, since i was not there then, I cannot here now look to Christ?
    you were already born saved, they say, before you look, without looking
    Christ, I trust you not only for the salvation of the elect whoever they may be
    Christ, I look to you for MY salvation

  7. markmcculley Says:

    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 first born among many brethren.
    The foreknowledge of God is not His mere prescience of all things that shall ever come to pass or His omniscience; it is not a prescience of actions and beliefs of men, for the statement is not what he did foreknow, but whom He did foreknow. The same Greek word that is here translated “foreknow” is in I Peter 1:20 translated “foreordained”. So that with doing no violence to the scripture; we may say that; whom he foreknew is equivalent to whom he foreordained. The biblical sense of foreknowledge as the word is used in the subject verse is; whom He loved before and foreordained according to that love. God’s love is like Himself eternal, immutable, and constant. The love of God must be in agreement with all His attributes, it must be eternal for God is eternal, it must be immutable for He is immutable. Therefore, whom God loves today He has loved from everlasting, and will love to everlasting. “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed,” (Malachi 3:6). The scripture is precise in its description of the love of God; for the statement is “yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee,” (Jeremiah 31:3). Here the love of God is shown to be individual and eternal, for He says “I have loved thee” what is here applied to Jeremiah may be applied to all believers of all ages, for all believers are of one Father (Hebrews 12:9)

    That which God had determined before to be done by the “gathering together of both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel,” as the instrumental means of accomplishing His eternal purpose of reconciliation of His elect in the blood shedding and death Christ Jesus; that He fulfilled, for, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand,” (Isaiah 53:10).
    All the attributes of God are satisfied and agree together in all things that God has predestinated, all His attributes as: His wisdom, justice, truth, holiness, grace, love, mercy and whatsoever may be named of His attributes. . Whatsoever God has determined as good in His sight and as desirable to come to pass according to His pleasure and answerable to all His attributes that He willed in His determinate counsel, and, that He decreed to come to pass according to His will. And it is written “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased,” (Psalms 115:3) and “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places,” (Psalms 135:6). “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:” (Isaiah 14:24). Again the Holy Ghost declares by the prophet Isaiah “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

    those whom God foreknew are His people; “God hath not cast away his People which he foreknew” (Romans 11:2) for Christ Jesus came into this world to “save his people from their sins,” (Matthew 1:21). His people were chosen “in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:5) “not of works but of Him that calleth” (Romans 9:11). “Not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy,” (Romans 9:16). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9) So that the grace whereby we are saved was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; for Paul wrote to Timothy “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” (II Timothy 1:8-9). Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us,” (Titus 3:5). It is not what God foreknew about certain people but whom He foreknew in covenant love. For the Holy Ghost has spoken by Jeremiah the Prophet “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” And again “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore by lovingkindness have I drawn thee,” (Jeremiah 1:5; 31:3). It is not that God saw anything in the elect that made them worthy of redemption, for it is not of works; it was because God had known and loved His children from everlasting in Jesus Christ.
    A. J. Ison

  8. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Donald Macleod–Granted that there cannot be mercy without need, how can it be that there is mercy for some of the needy and not for others?

    Click to access 03-2_47.pdf

    Macleod—Assigning God’s love to his will does not mean that it
    is capricious or without reason, or an act of ‘pure will’ in the
    Scotist sense, but simply that the origin of God’s love is not due to his reaction upon learning of human sin and misery, but is a determination of his will which is wholly in accord with his character

    According to the doctrine of limited atonement the elect do not experience God’s justice as it concerns them, for it is satisfied by the atonement of Christ for them. All are liable to punishment for their sin, but only some are punished since the elect are ‘punished’ in Christ their substitute.

    So it is not that some experience both love and justice while some
    experience justice only. lt is rather, according to the doctrine, that some experience love, some justice, neither both and each one or the other. The inequality is thus symmetrical, and the incidence of divine love and justice does not provide the least reason for supposing that those who hold this view hold that justice is essential to God while love is arbitrary,

    If God cannot but exercise mercy as he cannot but exercise justice,
    then its character as mercy vanishes. If God has to exercise mercy as God has to exercise justice then such ‘mercy’ would not be mercy. For the character of mercy is such that each person who receives it is bound to say ‘I have no right to what I have received. It would have been perfectly consistent with God’s justice had I not received it’. And so in this respect the logical character of mercy is vastly
    different from that of justice. A justice that could be unilaterally
    waived would not be justice, and mercy which could not be unilaterally waived would not be mercy.

    An employee who thought that because his employer owed him wages he also owed him a gift as well would reveal that he had not properly understood what a gift is.

    McLeod Campbell appears to wish to maintain that (1) Each of God’s
    attributes e.g. his love and his justice, is necessary to God. That
    is, each of God’s attributes is possessed essentially by God; if God
    lacked any of these attributes he would not be God just as if I lacked
    the attribute of being a person I could not be me. Lurking behind (1)
    is the further claim that God is simple, that (2) Each of God’s
    individual essential attributes is identical with each other of his
    individual essential attributes. If God is simple then divine love is
    divine justice, divine justice is divine wisdom, and so on. While (1)
    does not require (2), clearly enough (2) requires (1), and McLeod
    Campbell seems to assume . he does commit himself to
    the following:

    (3) The unequal exercise of distinct attributes can only be the result
    of arbitrariness. And so, on the assumption that arbitrariness in God
    is undesirable (and indeed logically impossible if divine simplicity
    is true, sin~e freedom from arbitrariness in the exercise of any
    attribute must entitle freedom from arbitrariness in the exercise of
    any other, since each attribute lS the other)

    Thus, If infinite love and infinite justice are essential attributes of
    God, it would follow from ( 4) that God’s love is exercised on exactly
    the same number of people as his justice. If his justice is experienced by all then so must his love be. So far so good. It is a
    fact about logic, however, that one cannot call a halt. to an argument
    when one pleases. Adopting an argument is not like callng a taxi.

    Such an argument has unwelcome consequences for McLeod Campbell’s own view. ( 5): Any attribute necessary to God is necessarily exercised by God equally on all on whom it is logically possible to exercise it. What (5) says is that not only if arbitrariness is to be avoided must the divine attributes be exercised on all, they must be exercised equally upon all.

    The so-called ‘scandal of particularity’ is not only a so-called scandal about God’s redemption of sinners, it is also a so-called scandal about his creation of the universe. Why is it that
    a God who is loving and wise, and necessarily loving and wise, should ordain a universe with manifest angularities? Why is it that some are strong, some weak, some male, some female, some healthy, some diseased, and so forth?

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