I like to ask questions. I like to be questioned. I like to examine what I believe and correct it if it’s not correct. For me, it’s just helpful to be challenged so I examine my beliefs honestly, and see if they are biblical and consistent.
Today, I’d like to get you to do the same thing. Let’s examine the concept of foreseen faith.
This idea is pretty popular these days and since I’ve posted already about Jesus’ view of why one believes and another doesn’t, though they hear the same gospel message, I thought that this would dovetail nicely with that. Simply put, the concept of foreseen faith is this:
God looked down the corridors of time and saw what we would do with Him, accept or reject and then chose us based on that observation.
I don’t know why this concept is so popular, I think that it’s chiefly a way to get around those pesky election/predestination passages that are so hard to swallow it allows man to retain some of his autonomy. Sometimes it’s used to preserve God’s love; (i.e. a God who doesn’t give everyone the same chance at eternal life is an unloving and cruel God)…yet, does this idea hold up? Is biblical or logically consistent?
Let’s take a look:
We’ll use the example of Person #1 and Person #2.
If God can look into the future and see that a person #1 will come to Christ and that person #2 will not come to faith in Christ, then those facts are already fixed, they are already determined.
God’s foresight of believers’ faith and repentance implies the certainty, or “moral necessity” of these acts, just as much as a sovereign decree.
“For that which is certainly foreseen must be certain.”
If we assume that God’s knowledge of the future is true (and I think everyone would agree), then it is absolutely certain that person #1 will believe and person #2 will not.
There is no way their lives could turn out differently than this.
Therefore it is more than fair to say that their destinies are still determined, for they could not be otherwise. The question is, by what are their destinies determined?
There are 3 choices:
- God Himself determines them.
(If this is true, then we no longer have election based on foreseen faith, but rather on God’s sovereign will.)
- There is another being more powerful than God.
(Of course no Christian would agree that this is true.)
- They are determined by some impersonal force, some kind of fate, operative in the universe, making things turn out as they do.
(We have now traded election in love by a personal compassionate God, for an impersonal force and God no longer gets all of the credit.)
So you can see that only option #1 is a viable one for the Christian. Let’s go a little further:
If we both agree that God foreknows who will be saved and who will not; (putting the idea aside as to “why” for a moment) then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to say also that God is trying to save every man. If God knows who will be saved, then it would be absurd for Him to reason within Himself that more persons might be saved than the original persons He knew would choose Him. It would be inconsistent to assert that God is trying to do something which He already knew could never be accomplished. Likewise no one could consistently say that God foreknew who would be saved and then turn around and teach that the Holy Spirit does all He can do to save every man in the world. In this scheme, The Holy Spirit would be wasting time and effort to endeavor to convert a man who He knew from the beginning would not choose Him.
This unbiblical system collapses in on itself.
As we’ve been seeing from our short study of the book of John, here is the truth right out of scripture:
The Father gives those whom He purposed to save to the Son.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
We see it in Acts:
And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
And is it based on some foreseen faith? No…God tells us why He chooses some:
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Please give this some thought, search yourself and see if this is what you’ve believed; either consciously or unconsciously, and if it is, then ask yourself if it lines up with the word…if it doesn’t, then discard it.
Solo Deo Gloria
PS: most of this material taken from an article at www.Monergism.com by John Hendryx