"ELECT ACCORDING TO THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD"
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…."-I Peter 1:2
Today, we hope to encourage God's people in the same way that Peter encouraged and strengthened the scattered strangers of his day. Though they were persecuted, and could have thought that God had forgotten them, Peter reminds them they are of God's elect. Peter had found great comfort in this glorious doctrine, so he comforts his brethren with the same comfort he had enjoyed in being a member of a chosen and redeemed family. He could find no words more fitted for the occasion than "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father".
In the middle of the 1800's, Spurgeon said, "There is a prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine." Yet, in the spiritual mind it is not only logical, it is also biblical. Peter obviously preached it, Paul preached it and Jesus' sermons were pregnant with election and the sovereignty of God. We find election stated in obvious terms like, chosen, choice, elect, elected, my sheep and foreknown. Every miracle that Jesus performed declared election in its most sublime terms. He healed those who could not heal themselves….He passed over some and healed others. To the human mind, it seems unfair, that God would pass over some and choose others, yet, Jesus did not heal everyone. Spiritually speaking, the Lord would have been just in leaving all of mankind in his fallen condition. If the Lord was under obligation to save any, it would have to be His elect!
Some will say that they believe that God looked down through time and saw those who would do good and chose them for the good He saw in man. But my friends, we must remember what is said of man, "There is none good, no not one". Left to himself, man is helpless. In his argument against this very thought, Paul wrote, "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth." Before they were born, before they could do any good work, God chose Jacob. Regardless of what man will say, the potter does have power over the clay! Election does not limit, it makes the impossible possible. It includes masses who may never hear of the grace of God. Others mock election by saying, "If I believed that, I would live any way I wanted to because I was chosen to go to heaven." What would we think of a wife, who lived unfaithfully towards a husband who had promised to love her with an everlasting love? Would she really love that husband? So we would think of the true bride of Christ. Those who would take election and use it for an occasion to sin were never elected in the first place. Well did Jesus say, "By their fruits shall ye know them". If we find those who love Jesus Christ we can say they are of the elect. If they love the Church, the Lord's people, the solemn assembly, the truths of God's words they are of the elect. If they oppose and hate those things that God has ordained for the good of His people, they are not of the elect.
Historically speaking, the doctrine of election has always been believed and taught by the church in all ages. You will find it recorded in the confessions of faith among the ancient Waldenses who were persecuted for their faith just a few centuries after Christ's death. It is owned by Baptists in all ages. A mere perusal of their creeds only one-hundred years ago will prove this fact. What a great comfort we find in the knowledge of God's eternal choice and love which was made "before the foundation of the world!