What Is the Meaning of Foreknowledge?
Foreknowledge means having information on events, ideas, situations, etcetera before they happen. You know the decisions that a person will make beforehand. Say, for example, you have two children. Both of them receive an allowance each week. You know that one of your children is a saver and you know that they will stash their money away to save for something big. Your other child likes to live for the moment. And from experience you know they will beg to go to the store each week to spend what they have. This is an example of how I see God dealing with us in foreknowledge. He knows beforehand who will be saved, but He gives us free choice to accept Him or not. Like a parent, He is not trying to make us get saved, but He does make life easier for those who do His will. Salvation makes our lives easier.
Also, we as humans can only explain to you how we believe things to be. We are not God, and we are not all-knowing. If God chooses to flip the script on some things, He can do that. He is God. I know sometimes when people really mess up, but you might want to see them get just what you believe they deserve. God gives them mercy whether we like it or not. God sent Jonah to Nineveh. Jonah did not want to go. He figured that those people did not need to get saved because they were so wicked. God saw differently. Read the book of Jonah. It has four chapters.
You may know the story of how Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale because he did not want to go to Nineveh and preach unto them. God had planned to send some destruction to Nineveh. Jonah avoided going for as long as he could. He went in a different direction and even had the wrath of God come on those who were around him. These men were smart enough to figure out that someone had made God mad. It is amazing how God can work in situations. Even those who are not saved and say they do not believe can figure out when someone is running from God or not doing what they are supposed to do.
Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale after being thrown overboard a ship that he was in.
In the end, Jonah obeyed God. The people of Nineveh believed what Jonah had to say because he was the messenger of God. The king called for everyone to fast from the least of them unto the greatest (Jonah 3:4-9). The king declared that everyone should be covered with sackcloth and cry out mightily unto God. God heard them and did not do what He had planned to do to them which was to bring destruction. We are so fortunate that we have Jesus standing in the gap for us. Even when you do not do what the prophet says, you can still go home and repent and receive forgiveness because of the blood of Jesus. If a prophet is warning you and it lines up with what you believe God is saying, straighten up.
What Does the Bible Say about Foreknowledge?
We know that God is all-knowing. He is omniscient. That is His character. Acts 15:18 declares, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” If you have a problem with the fact that God knows what you are going to do before you do it, get over it. There is nothing that you can do about that. You cannot go back and rewrite whatever laws God has established from the beginning of the world.
Compare this to being a new employee at a company. You might come in with your own ideas and agenda, but at the end of the day, you will have to fall in line with the mission of this particular company or you can find yourself a new job or start your own company. Christianity is different. You cannot rewrite the laws of God. God gives us free will and often He covers us when we do not follow the rule book because we repent and ask for forgiveness. Jesus refers to foreknowledge in John 1:47-48. When he saw Nathanael coming, he said, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” Of course, Nathanael wanted to know how Jesus knew so much about him. Nathanael was convinced that Jesus was the Son of God because Jesus knew specifics about his life.
If God Is All-Knowing, How Are We Free?
We are free because whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Look at John 8: 31-34. If you are in sin, you are a servant of sin. Life is a lot harder. Being saved affords us more freedom and sweatless victories. People who are living in bondage to sin are not really having as much fun as they would have you believe.
I submit to you today that they have several restless nights. They try to give the appearance that everything is going well, but it is not. Listen to the conversations of some people who you believe are not saved. I am not saying that nothing ever happens to people who are saved, but we miss a lot of stuff that could have happened to us because we are saved.
I have seen enough gangster movies on television to know that that is not the life. Unfortunately, those who have various addictions have become servants to those addictions. The only way to become free is to ask Jesus for help.
Why Is This Such a Hard Concept to Grasp?
It’s hard to grasp because some would argue that the fight is already fixed, but it is fixed in our favor. God wants us to win and to be saved. He cannot reward lawlessness. Look at Satan. He is so far gone that there is no redemption for him. God does not want us to be like that. Satan had free will and he just took it to the nth degree. Sometimes people just do anything and want God to cosign on that. That is not happening. We have a rulebook that we go by, and it is called the Bible. I know that people say that religion is here to enslave people. That is not true. Over the centuries, people have taken religion and manipulated the people of God with it. That does not mean that the Bible or Christianity is not true. That just means we have had some bad actors along the way.
We should seek to be different and live our lives pleasing to God. Be thankful that you are on God’s mind and that He wants you to be saved. The word of God says that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all will come to repentance. Look at 2 Peter 3:9. It says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” I believe God. Read the Bible and study. Do not just take people’s word for what is written in the Bible. Pray and ask God for revelation knowledge concerning things. Read the book of Revelation. If you read it enough, you might begin to have more clarity.
Many of you reading this article have insight into God’s plan and can share it with others. Even though you do not have a title yet, you can still encourage God’s people. Do not let the argument about predestination discourage or confuse you. Live your life pleasing unto God.
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Dr. Sandra Hamer Smith is a Christian and wife to Sylvester Smith. She has one stepson, Greg. Smith lives and resides in Memphis, Tennessee. The University of Memphis alumnae has been in education for about 20 years after receiving the call to teach. Dr. Smith primarily teaches language arts. Prior to education, she worked in local and national television news for 13 years including positions as an overnight news anchor, reporter, and assignments editor at two local network affiliate stations. Smith was also a freelance correspondent for BET news. Dr. Smith has freelanced for the Tri-State Defender newspaper and Contempora magazine. She is the author of the self-published novel GLORY…THE HAIR. Smith is also a playwright and poet. The Tennessee native is a member of Temple of Deliverance COGIC, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Omicron Delta Kappa, The Golden Key International Honour Society, and Kappa Delta Pi.