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The Foreknowledge of God - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
March 17, 2023 12:00 am

The Foreknowledge of God - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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March 17, 2023 12:00 am

Why is it so important to place our faith in God's knowledge versus human insight?


Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, March 17. What does it mean to be elected by God? Today's podcast addresses that question as the series on the character of God resumes.

One of the problems that arises when we talk about predestination and election or God's foreknowledge is this. Some people ask the question, do you mean to tell me that God can't send some folks to hell if he wants to? Why sure he could if he wanted to.

So I want to establish a simple fact here. God cannot violate his own self-imposed attributes. God cannot act unholy. When we say, are there things that God cannot do?

He can do anything and everything except violate his own character. If he chose to, he could send us all to hell. The question is not, what is God able or unable to do? The question is, what has God said he will and will not do?

So I want us to look at these matters in the light of that. Now, whether you use the word chosen, elected or whatever it might be, it's the same Greek word. Now, let's look at several scriptures and let's just look at some simple ones first. Let's just take John 3 16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Well, we would all agree to that, but some people would say that's right.

But only those who are elected will be the whosoever's. Well, the next verse says that Jesus Christ came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. Why did he come to offer salvation only to certain men and not to others? Has he elected some men to go to hell and some to go to heaven? There are all kinds of opinions when it comes to that point. But when he says that it is not his will that any man should perish, that he came into the world to give his life a ransom for many.

Somebody says, aha, the word many. Only those who are elected, only those who are chosen. I cannot believe, according to the scriptures, according to what grace in itself means, that God has predetermined that a portion of mankind would not believe. And listen, if he has already determined beforehand that they will not be saved, they cannot. And somebody says, well, that means that he knew that if they had the chance, they wouldn't anyway, so they can't. That is not true.

That's not what that means. Brother, you and I are saved by pure naked grace, and there is nothing in it but grace. He says in Romans chapter 10, if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Is that offered to some men and to all men? And here's Paul, who's attempting to evangelize the world of his day, and I don't think Paul ever preached the gospel under the idea that some of the people to whom he preached never had a chance, couldn't be saved, would never want to be saved because God never elected him. Verse 13, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Whosoever shall call, does that mean that only those who are elected are going to call the rest, will not call because they cannot be saved, and therefore salvation is only offered to a segment of society? I can't believe that, and I do not believe that's what God teaches. When Jesus Christ's arms were stretched out at Calvary and they drove spikes through him and he stretched out his arm, he enveloped the whole world, and whosoever shall call upon him can be saved.

One thief believed in him and the other one did not. Did that mean that when those three crosses stood at Calvary that God the Father had already said, one of them I have elected, the other I've cut off? If atonement is limited to only a select few, who are the few? Now I realize that that's a human question and irrelevant to some degree, but it's still a question. Now sometimes the argument is that people who believe that are not missionary minded.

I won't say that, but I will say this. How in the world can I ever have any zeal? What would motivate me? What would stir me?

What would move me? If the decision has already been made, if it is predetermined who's going to be saved, and in essence I'm only a vessel and I can float through my ministry knowing that if I miss them, God's going to get them anyway, then brother, I might as well settle down and stop being so excited and just relax and just teach the Word of God and we enjoy ourselves and float through our religious experience and hope everybody who's got a ticket gets on board. But when I think about the love of God, I cannot see the love of God with a broken line down the middle cutting out people. Somebody says, but wait a minute, they're lost? They're wicked?

Does it make any difference what they are or not? So am I. So are you. We're all wicked at heart apart from Jesus Christ, but we're saved by the grace of God. You see the fact that God does all things according to his good pleasure. Listen, it does not limit, it does not cast a reflection upon his omni, whether it's presence or omnipotence or his omniscience. There is no reflection upon God.

You see, somehow we've got to get it crossed up. We think, well, you're limiting God when you say God can't do this, that, and the other. The only thing he can't do is violate himself. It is the fact that this book does not teach that God has drawn the line and men cannot be saved because God has decided he's only going to save some, he's not going to save the others.

And the fact that with those he's not going to save, they're not going to want it. All right, let's just take our coat off for a moment and let's get into the hard cold facts. Let's take your wife, brother, and your sister, and your 14 year old boy, and your 12 year old girl. You mean to tell me that you have a theology that is based on the Bible, that God may have already chosen to send your beautiful sweet 12 year old daughter to hell because she's not one of the elected. Well, so let's don't get sentimental. Let's stay with the Bible.

I'm staying with it. I'm facing a few facts. I want to know if you really believe that. Then what we are saying to these children in Sunday school, we need to restate. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Except son, now I want to tell you that you may not be one of the elect. That is horrendous.

It is not humorous. If you're not the elect, if God hasn't chosen you, listen son, you cannot be saved. You won't want to be saved. And let me ask you something.

Suppose you thought you were one of those. You see, the Bible doesn't teach that. God can open his arms to the whole world. And I want you to listen very carefully.

I would listen. I would not say that God has not decided that he's going to do certain things in certain people's lives and he's going to put the pressure on until they do it. I would never question that. Now when I'm saying that God has elected, that is when he's chosen, I do believe that God has chosen some people to work through them in a special way and he will wear them out till they do what he says do. We either get in his will and get blessed to get out of his will and he sometimes routers right back in there or we get the penalty. Let's go back to Romans chapter one, for example. If you recall this passage, that's a problem with a lot of people because they say, well, what I will notice, what happened to the heathen, the poor heathen. Paul has talked about here how he's not ashamed of the gospel. Verse 17, therein that is in the gospel is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written, the just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and all unrighteousness of men who hold the truth and unrighteousness. God reveals himself because that which may be known of God is manifest in them. Listen, in them for God has shown it to them. Now listen, when he says in them, he means in their consciousness, that is their awareness. They are aware of a supreme being. He said he's revealed himself and shown himself to them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power in Godhead so that they're without excuse. Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations. Their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like the corruptible man to birds, four-footed beasts, creeping things, wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lust of their own hearts to dishonor their own bodies between themselves. And verse 26 says he gave them up again. Now listen, God is just. That means, listen, from his point of divine view, that is he makes no mistakes. So that the heathen who has never heard of Jesus Christ, what will God do?

God will do the just thing for the heathen who has never heard of him. You see, here's the problem. There is a fine line between God's sovereignty, God's good pleasure, God's goodwill, his foreordination, his predestination, his election. What we want to do is we want to unravel the whole thing and say, well, look how simple it is. It is not simple.

There is no simple solution. So what we have to do is to ask, according to the scripture, what is the nature of God? According to the scripture, what is the plan of God? According to the scripture, what is the will of God? According to the scripture, what is the desire of God?

According to his redemptive plan, is it limited to a few or is it available to all men? I do not believe that the atoning death of Jesus Christ excluded anybody. There are many people who don't want to be saved. They will never believe as you and I believe. They will never even believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

If somebody says, but what about that guy who's never heard? My answer to you to that is that God is just. Thank the Lord, I do not have to make that decision, nor do you have the right to make it. God is a just God.

You see, here's the thing. If you'll read the scriptures, here's what he says he judges men according to. Because he's just and because he's fair, God is going to judge men on certain basis.

For example, let's look, if you will, to let me see if I can find it right quick. If you'll turn to Matthew chapter 11 for a moment. And you remember when Jesus was preaching in these cities what he said.

Matthew chapter 11, beginning in verse 20. Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done because they repented not. Woe unto thee Chorazin, woe unto thee Bethsaida. For if the mighty works which were done and you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And bow Capernaum, which are exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell. For if the mighty works which had been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I said to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.

Now here's what he's saying I believe. That God's judgment is based upon three things. Number one, the light of truth men have.

He said you've heard me. Sodom and Gomorrah had no Bible, no tracts, and no Christ. He said in the day of judgment, it will be better for, easier on, more tolerable for men who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah than you who lived in Bethsaida and Chorazin.

It'll be better for them than for you because you have more light than they had. Which says that God's judgment of men, his judgment is absolutely just. And he will make his judgment based on the light of truth he omnisciently knows men have had. Secondly, he's going to base his judgment on the opportunities that men have.

All men don't have the same opportunities. God isn't going to judge you because you didn't win as many people as Jesus Christ as Billy Graham. He didn't choose you to do the same thing. He chose you as a mother to raise your children, to teach them the word of God, to teach them how to pray, and to live before them an example, and to raise them in a way that their lives would magnify our Lord. He will judge you and reward you according to what you've done as a mother, not as a preacher. So he judges you according to the light of truth that you've had, and according to the opportunity that God gave you. He doesn't give us all the same opportunity. Therefore, he doesn't judge us all alike. The third thing that I think he bases that upon according to the scripture is this, and that is what we do with the light and the opportunity God has given us. God is just.

He makes no mistakes. He treats no men unfairly from his divine point of view. Granted, I deserve hell. You deserve hell. We all deserve hell, but the grace of God has made it possible that we don't have to go. In the 24th chapter of Matthew, the Bible says that God has prepared hell for the devil and his angels. He did not intend for us. And I believe if God had intended to send half of humanity or a third or 20% of them to hell, that more than likely he would have said that hell is prepared for the devil and the angels and the non-elect, because that's really what it would mean.

Didn't say that. Every believer has been chosen. Every believer has been elected. And who cannot be saved? Is there anybody beyond the grace of God? Listen, is there anybody that God says, I'm going to save you and you, but you, I'm not going to save.

I'm casting you out because I've chosen not to save you. On what basis did he make the choice? Granted, none of them deserved it, but why would God send one man to hell and not another? Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Look, if you will, just for a moment in Titus, let's see, Titus chapter two, verse 11 says, for the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Why would God let it appear to all men if he didn't offer it to all men? Was it because he was condemning them?

You see, there's some answers. I do not think we can logically, spiritually, reasonably come up with if atonement is limited to a few. I believe that doctrine does a great deal of damage to the people of God, the church of God, the whole missionary movement, the whole evangelistic zeal of the body of Christ. Our responsibility is to thank him that we are part of the body and share his gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit to every body we meet, believing that every man can have his name in the book of life. Thank you, dear Father, we never have to deserve anything, but rest in your matchless grace and know that all of our salvation came from you. You're the one who convicted us of our sin.

You're the one who reached down and forgave us. You're the one who wrote our name in the Lamb's book of life, and you're the one who sustains us daily. Thank you, Father, that when Jesus Christ died, he died for all men, and that whosoever will may come. And as you said in that last book of the scriptures, and the Spirit and the Bride say come, and all about us there is the evidence of your wooing and your pulling and your tugging at men's hearts. And we pray that our lives may be so lived that men will see in us what you predestinated to become a reality, Jesus Christ within us, being conformed to the likeness of his perfect will. And we'll thank you for that and praise you for it in Jesus' wonderful name. Thank you for listening to The Foreknowledge of God. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-17 03:58:24 / 2023-03-17 04:05:36 / 7

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