Sermon Illustrations

Sermon Illustrations > Predestination, cf. election, sovereignty > Predestination

R. C. Sproul, Tabletalk, 1989

Some have argued from Romans 8:29 that predestination is based on God's foreknowledge in the sense that God looked down the corridors of time and saw who would freely choose to believe, and then predestinated them. This position assumes that foreknowledge here only means "knows in advance." In the Bible, however, knowledge is often used in a sense of personal intimacy, as when Adam "knew" Eve and she conceived a son (Genesis 4:1). God's foreknowledge is linked to His foreloving. We see in Romans 8:30 that everyone who was "foreknown" was also "predestined, called, justified, and glorified." Does God glorify everyone? Does God justify everyone? No. Clearly then, in terms of what this passage is dealing with, God does not call everyone, does not predestine everyone, and does not foreknow everyone. In Romans 8:29-30, "foreknowledge" must have the sense of intimacy and personal calling, and can refer only to God's elect. God's predestination does not exist in a vacuum, and it is not simply for the purpose of saving us from sin. Verse 29 shows us the goal or purpose of salvation: that we might be conformed to the likeness of His Son. Ultimately, the reason God has saved you and me is for the honor and glory of His Son, "That He might be the firstborn." The goal in creation is that God would give as a gift to His Son many who are reborn into Christ's likeness.