“…before the foundation of the world…” (Eph. 1:4)
There were many momentous things that occurred before God spoke this world into existence in Genesis 1 that secured the eternal salvation of God’s children before the world that we inhabit was even created. Man certainly can lay no claim to any participation in his eternal salvation because he was not around to mess it up. I’ve heard it said that God created man on the sixth day because if God would have created him first, then Adam would have tried to take credit for all of creation. That’s probably a very accurate statement, knowing the pride and innate carnality of man. That may have been some of God’s intent to fully purpose our eternal salvation before man was created to keep man from trying to take credit for God’s sovereign work, although some still try. Before the foundation of the world, God loved a people, chose a people, promised eternal life, wrote their names, and prepared an eternal kingdom as the final destination for His beloved.
Before the foundation of the world, God loved a people. In John 17:23, Jesus declares that God has loved His people in the exact same manner and duration that God has loved Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. So just how long has God loved his Son? “For thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24b). God has loved His children since even before the foundation of the world and before they had even been created. God’s love is not conditional on any action we undertake because God’s love was bestowed upon His children before the world was even formed or before man was made a living soul.
Before the foundation of the world, God chose a people. “According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…” (Eph. 1:4). Those that God loved, He chose to salvation by nothing more than His own purpose and grace (and this “grace” was given us before the world began too, 2 Tim. 1:9). God did not “foreknow” who would be obedient unto his command to believe (because none would, Ps. 14:2-3) and chose His people based that condition, but rather “foreknow” means “before (fore) loved (knew)”. The word “know” speaks of the intimacy and love between a husband and wife, not of a cold, academic knowledge of a future event.
Before the foundation of the world, God promised eternal life to His people. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot life promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). The beauty of the promise of eternal life that God made before the world began, is cemented in God’s perfect character and righteousness; He cannot lie. God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and God the Holy Spirit made a promise and a covenant to redeem Their chosen people, ensuring that promise will be fulfilled and that covenant will ultimately be ratified. That’s why the work of salvation in God’s mind was seen as fully completed before the foundation of the world (Heb. 4:3, Rev. 13:8). And therefore, God’s children are already viewed as being fully “glorified” (Rom. 8:30), even though that event has not yet occurred for the elect.
Before the foundation of the world, God wrote the names of all His people in the Lamb’s book of life. In Rev. 17:8, in the last days, all those on the earth will marvel and worship the beast “…whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world…” The names of the non-elect have never been written in the Lamb’s book of life, not even since before the foundation of the world. Their name was not removed during their life because of disobedience or sin, but rather they have never appeared in that book. Those that God loved and chose before the world began, however, He penned every single one of their names in the Lamb’s book of life, ensuring they will never finally fall away or be forgotten by God. This book containing the names of God’s chosen elect was sealed, complete, and finished before the world began, and will not be opened again unto the final, general judgment after the return of Jesus Christ
Before the foundation of the world, God prepared an eternal kingdom for His people. All of those people that God loved, chose, bestowed grace upon, promised eternal life, and penned their names will be with Christ for all of eternity in God’s celestial kingdom. God “predestinated” (or predetermined) the final destination of God’s elect, which is God’s eternal kingdom. And God also “predestinated” the final state or condition of God’s elect, which is to be “conformed to the image of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 8:29). So on the last day, after Jesus has returned and vanquished every foe, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:34)
Originally published October 2016