God Loved Us Beforehand
“…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…”
1 Peter 1:2 (NIV UK)
As father-to-be I remember the excitement as my wife and I approached the birth of our first child, a beautiful daughter. I knew beforehand of her existence, and I knew most of the circumstances into which she would be born. I also knew that I planned to love her come what may, and already had invested emotionally in her.
Such human feelings of anticipation are gifts that God has given to humanity, and perhaps we can see them as pointers to the reality of God’s foreknowledge of us.
There is extensive scriptural background to Peter’s phrase “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” in his introduction to his first epistle. For example, Paul explained that we are all called to participate in God’s purpose and grace. God has foreknowledge of each of us, and “those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:29). God’s plan is that we all become like Jesus, and he anticipates when we will be glorified with Christ.
Our heavenly Father not only knows of the fact of our existence prior to our birth but he also foreknows us in a loving, caring and compassionate way. He loved us before the world began. He knows that we belong to him in Christ ahead of our first breath. “God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows who are his’” (2 Timothy 2:19).
The way Peter positions the phrase about God’s foreknowledge of us modifies this whole section of scripture. It is as if it overshadows the other descriptions of being chosen and of being temporary residents. His foreknowledge means he understands our problems and our situation in life. He knows that in this life we may suffer awhile, and that he, “the God of all grace…will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast’ (1 Peter 5:10).
In his foreknowledge of us God loved us, and he continues to know us and love us.
By James Henderson, from DayByDay on Friday 11 July