by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 4 June 28, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
1901 ASV Translation:
20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake,
21 who through him are believers in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.
I. The Issue of the Redemption Plan.
A. What difference does it make that Christ, as the redemption "Lamb", was "foreknown" before the foundation of the world?
1. Clearly the issue indicates that the eventualities of sin and redemption were already "known" before they became historical realities.
2. Just as clearly, this should be no surprise to anyone who believes that God is omniscient.
3. The question is this: what kind of impact upon his readers did Peter intend by bringing this truth into play? What has this truth to do with the motivation of believers to enter into the actual process of spending their earth-time in "fear" under the reality of an impartial judge?
a. Fundamentally, the "foreknowledge" issue, as it relates to the Redeemer, makes one realize that God had the solution before there was a problem. Peter is not unclear about the fact that he is dealing with the locus of his readers' "faith and hope", nor is he unclear about how great an impact this makes upon human beings. That God was not "surprised" by the eruption of Sin (indeed, it had already occurred in the angelic realm before it occurred upon the earth among men) is a given, and the fact that He went ahead with "creation" in spite of this inevitability has to mean that He considered the outcome worth the consequences. There are many who struggle over the fact that God went ahead, knowing full well the pain of the irruption of Sin. If God is "loving", why would He deliberately "plan" a very painful process? The answer -- at least part of it -- rests in the fact that such a question is asked. Those who are truely "loving" honestly do not mind having to pay out whatever "cost" their "love" requires of them, so they would never ask such a question. It is only those who are significantly "unloving" who would have a problem with being subject to "a very painful process". In other words, at least part of the reason for the "Plan" is the addressing of the kind of self-centeredness that objects to having to live under painful circumstances. If self-centeredness was not in the picture, there would be no "pain", neither would there be any objection to it. This is fundamental "T"heology: God's opposition to Sin is not rooted in the pain it causes Him; it is rooted in the pain it causes others. His enormous anger toward Sin is real, but it is not rooted in what it costs Him. He has no objection to paying a loving price, but He has an enormous objection to the attitude that "I can inflict pain upon others because of what I want." Thus, we can conclude this about Peter's deliberate injection of the "foreknowledge" issue: those who are in the process of having their innate self-centeredness addressed need to understand that the God of that process went into the process with a clear-eyed grasp of the Self-sacrifice that it would require and of the fact that such sacrifice has to become an essential aspect of all creatures who are to eventually inherit a more perfect kingdom. In other words, what is true of God must become true of the heirs of His kingdom before that kingdom can be what it is supposed to be. They must be as willing as He to willingly pay the price as well as hate the attitude that brings such a price into the picture...without losing the focus that the "price" was "redemptive" (other focused).
b. Just as fundamentally, we, as creatures of indemic selfishness, need to be aware that our futures will be determined by an impartial Judge Who is fixated on one point: selfishness as opposed to love; or love as opposed to selfishness. All impartial judgment will seek out the motivation that drove the actions under judgment.
B. What implications are brought forward by the "latter day manifestation"?
1. First, the very fact that there was such a long time of human selfishness before the primary manifestation of unselfishness was given means that the problem of human selfishness is so profoundly ingrained that it was to take this long time just to get all of the threads of the impact of the manifestation in place so that it could have maximum impact. It was in "the fulness of the time" that God sent forth His Son to pay the redemption price (Galatians 4:4-5). Ephesians 1:10 also indicates that there is another "fulness of times" in which all of the threads of the plan to gather all things together in Christ will come together. But it, too, has taken more than 2000 years to develop and is not here yet.
2. One of the more difficult problems is the fact that human beings only live about 70 years in their setting in the historical process of the overall Plan and they may, or may not, have access to the finer parts of the manifestation. Yet, with, or without, that access, they are to learn selfless love or inherit little to nothing.