Romans Chapter 8

Covenant of Redemption

Chapter 8, Verses 28-30 Part 5

The covenant of redemption reads in Rom. 8:28‑30, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." 

 In this essay we will look at a limited specific aspect of God's foreknowledge, i.e., "whom he did foreknow."  The scriptures tell us that God knows all things, therefore he knows all things past, present, and future.  Thus, he knows about all people who ever have or ever will live on the face of the earth.  However, the "foreknow" in the covenant of redemption is not speaking about God knowing about all people, but is speaking about a very specific portion of those who have or will live on the earth.  

We read what Jesus said in Matt. 7:21‑23, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  And in thy name cast out devils?  And in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."  The Lord told these who were claiming to prophesy in his name, cast out devils, in his name, and to do many wonderful works in his name that he never knew them.  This certainly isn't to say that he never had knowledge of them or that he never knew about what they had claimed to have done.  But, it is teaching us that he never appointed them to do the works they were claiming they had done.  Thus, the Lord said, "I never knew you." 

The Lord knows about all people and all things, though he has not appointed all people and everything that comes to pass.  As pertaining to things, the scriptures say that "God is not the author of confusion."  Certainly, he knows about confusion and sin, but he is not the cause of confusion and sin. 

 Our understanding of how God foreknew a people is illustrated for us in Jer. 1:5 when the Lord said unto Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."  As we have pointed out before God knows about all people but he has only appointed some.  God knew Jeremiah before he ever formed him in the belly.  God knew him in a special way in that God had appointed him to be a "prophet unto the nations."  This appointment took place before Jeremiah had any existence except in the mind and purpose of God.  Those that God foreknew in the covenant of redemption are those that God appointed before the world began to be his!  Eph. 1:4 reads, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."  Thus, God made choice of a people before the world began to be his.  In future essays we will study on what basis God appointed a people to be his, i.e., works, faith, or grace.  We will also consider that God gave these he foreknew to Christ to redeem and wrote their names in the Lamb's book of life and that they were place "in Christ" to fulfill God's covenant and look at the consequences of these actions of God. 

We close this essay with a quote from I Peter 1:1, 2, "Peter an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you and peace be multiplied." 

Rom. 8:28-30 Part 6 

In this essay we will consider on what basis God foreknew or chose a people to be his covenant people. 

One idea is that God looked down through the annals of time and saw who would do good or who would accept him or seek after him and thus chose them on that basis.  God did indeed look down from heaven, but what he saw is recorded for us in Ps. 14:2, 3 and Ps. 53:2, 3 as follows: "The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Ps. 14:2, 3) The fact is that because of the total depravity of man there is none that had the capability of doing good or of seeking after God until God imparts a new spiritual nature within in the new birth.  Thus we see that of all mankind there was none that understood, or that sought after God or that did good.  Thus God's choice of a people could not be on the basis of their understanding and seeking God or of their doing something good. 

 Furthermore, that God's choice of a people is not of works is further illustrated for us in Rom. 9:9‑13, "For this is the word of promise, At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.  And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (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;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."  Based on this passage we make the following observations: 

     1.  God's choice of Jacob over Esau was according to God's purpose of election.    

     2.  God's election is not based on works, either good or evil.    

     3.  God's choice was made before the children were capable of doing any works. 

Again in Rom. 11:5, 6 we are told that God's choosing of a people is not based on works as follows: "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.  And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."  Thus we are told that God's choice of a people is by grace and not works.  Furthermore, we see the impossibility of mixing grace and work in this choice.  It is not part grace and part work.  It is either all grace or all works and he tells us plainly that it is all grace.  Now grace is defined as the "unmerited favor of God."  Thus those chosen have done nothing to merit God's choosing them! 

Finally we are told in Rom. 9:14‑16 that God's choice of a people is not based on man's will (choice) or man's efforts: "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?  God forbid.  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."  From this passage we draw the following conclusions:

     1.  God's choice of a people manifests God's sovereignty.

     2.  God's choice of a people is pure and simply mercy and compassion toward them.

     3.  God's choice of a people is not based on their will or choice.

     4.  God's choice of a people is not based on their efforts (running).

     5.  It is not unrighteous for God to make a choice based on his sovereign will. 

In conclusion, God's choice of a people is by grace (unmerited favor) alone.  God was under no obligation to choose any one, but he did and we should be extremely thankful that he did. 

In our next essay we will look at how the elect were given to Christ and when and for what purpose they were given to Christ.