In an earlier post we were looking at how Peter identifies his readers (and us). The first thing he said is that we “elect exiles.” But he doesn’t stop with that. He proceeds to define election both in terms of its basis and goal.
(1) We are elect, says Peter, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”
The first thing this tells us is that divine election was an eternal, pre-temporal act of God before the foundation of the world. According to Paul in Ephesians 1:4, God “chose us” in Christ “before the foundation of the world”; he “predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ”. In 2 Timothy 1 Paul says that God “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (v. 9).
If that weren’t enough, in Revelation 13 and 17 John speaks of God’s elect as those whose names were written in the Lamb’s book of life “before the foundation of the world.”
“Foreknowledge” does not mean that God merely observes the elect or sees them or is aware of them or has knowledge of who they are or has information concerning their lives. Nor does it mean that God simply predicts our conversion or knows about it in advance.
Many times in Scripture know has a pregnant meaning which goes beyond that of mere cognition. It is used in a sense practically synonymous with “love,” “to set regard upon,” “to know with peculiar interest, delight, affection, and action” (cf. Gen. 18:19; Exod. 2:25; Psalm 1:6; 144:3; Jer. 1:5; Amos 3:2; Hosea 13:5; Matt. 7:23; 1 Cor. 8:3; Gal. 4:9; II Tim. 2:19; 1 John 3:1
See, for example, Matthew 7:23 where Jesus reveals his future response to false disciples at the last judgment: “I never knew you, depar