Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Romans 8:29-30

29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

The Original Intent

1) What does it mean that God “foreknew”? (verse 29)

Consider the complete knowledge of God, not one thing is missing, obscure, or overlooked in His omniscience. From intricate atomic structure to the number of trees that would one day grow from a singular apple seed, the Lord God knows all things. Before the world was created, God foreknew those who would one day believe in Him for salvation of their souls and who would not. According to Scripture, even faith is God’s gift to us, for even this act we cannot muster up on our own power. “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift.” (Ephesians 2:8)

Even the good works performed by believers are prepared beforehand by God. “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Our faith comes from the Author, our rescue from sin comes from Him, the works He has crafted for us to do were designed by Him. In His perfect knowledge of all things, He foreknew all of these things, but more so, He appointed and structured them to result in praise of His glory and for our great rescue that we might be welcomed by the vast love of an all-powerful, all-knowing God.

The foreknowledge mentioned in verse 29 refers to “divine active delight”. It was from God’s sovereign good pleasure that He set His love upon those who would choose Him. We are both chosen, and we have the freedom to choose; a tension that will exist for our finite minds until we reach Eternity with Christ. To the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord said, “I chose you BEFORE I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

The Everyday Application

1) What does it mean that God “foreknew”? (verse 29)

Christians do not stumble into a saving relationship with God. We did not initiate our coming to Christ for rescue from death and forgiveness of our sin. Before we chose to act on the faith God provided as a gift, Christ loved us first and chose us in Christ first. The initiation and knowledge of us and our rescue have always begun in the heart of God. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16)

Paul means to comfort us in our waiting and suffering by reminding believers we have never been outside of God’s knowing. The God who foreknew us before we were born also perfectly knows every aspect of our current and future circumstances. In the verse prior, Paul described believers as people who are called according to God’s purpose. 

Our calling goes way back to “before”; God foreknew all those who are now, and will be, brothers and sisters in Christ. “He chose us in Him (Christ), before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before Him.” (Ephesians 1:4) The bottom line of this verse is that we can stand secure in our eternal rescue from sin and its consequence of death. The God who foreknew our salvation will not randomly decide to abandon us.

The Original Intent

2) What does “predestined to be conformed” mean? (verse 29)

When Paul assures the Roman saints that God causes “all things to work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (verse 28), it is tied with predestination as a reason why we have such assurance despite trials.

Predestined to be conformed” is both a present, on-going reality and futuristic confidence. If true believers in Jesus look to the future when Christ returns, we understand Paul’s affirmation that God will give believers glorified bodies and perfect relationships with one another and God Himself. Sin will no longer mar any aspect of life! We will be wholly “conformed to the image of His Son” (verse 29) just as we were predestined to be.

As Christ-followers, foreknown and chosen to be His adopted children, His Spirit living in us creates a longing to become more like Jesus. As we surrender our will to His, He accomplishes this beautiful re-making in us. God is conforming us in our present lives and one day, He will finish the work. “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Our goal is “not just to enter heaven at last, BUT to be conformed to the image of God’s Son.” (Hendrikson) Paul speaks of this reality for every true Christian in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The old way of living has died, and the new has come as the Spirit of God shapes us to become like Himself.

The Everyday Application

2) What does “predestined to be conformed” mean? (verse 29)

If you’ve trusted Christ for salvation and you’ve repented (turned away) from your sin and turned toward God, YOU can have complete confidence that your rescue from sin was foreknown by the God who made you His own. More so, you can confidently know you were predestined for the purpose of becoming like Jesus. If you’ve ever wondered what your purpose is, it’s here!

All who trust Jesus for rescue from the consequence of eternal death we rightly earned by our sin have always been predestined not only to salvation, but also to become like Jesus. Consider how the Christian life is not about whether you make it to heaven or hell, rather it’s about whether or not you love God and want to be like Him. Herein is a distinguishing mark of true Christ-followers! This is why we are called to go and make disciples, who really are students of Jesus who then live like Jesus in real, everyday life. (Matthew 28:19)

We are to follow and become like Jesus who is Himself like the Father. We willfully surrender whole-heartedly as God the Spirit leads us into unity with God and His holiness and into the will of God in our daily decisions and plans.

One day, when Christ, in Whom is found our real life, appears, then we also will appear with Him in glory in our fully new selves, perfectly conformed to Christ! (Colossians 3:4) This is the underlying purpose of God’s gracious predestination, the careful crafting of His beloved ones, bearing His image and reflecting the Creator’s glory both in everyday living now and in the life to come that will not end!

The Original Intent

3) How do “predestined, called, justified, and glorified” all fit together? (verse 30)

Four Mighty Words! If predestined stood by itself, one may conclude the only ingredient to our eternal salvation is an action by God whereby one is chosen for salvation. But the remainder of the verse indicates otherwise.

Our salvation is much more than a deliverance from sin and eternal death and requires our faith-response to His call. The background for each of these powerful words is adoption. (Romans 8:14-15) These words don’t belong in a contract drawn up between two parties where we swear allegiance and God trades us forgiveness. We are adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, God the Son, who laid down His life that we might become co-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) We are His own people, His priceless possession. (1 Peter 2:9)

Consider the loyal love of a Dad who fiercely vows to protect, love, and advocate for his child no matter the cost. Adoption fuels the Father Heart of God who lovingly predestined that all who respond to His call through faith will not only be justified through His own sacrifice and their sins eradicated but will also be guaranteed a future glorification in eternity.

In our everyday life as adopted children, we share in the sufferings of Christ (Philippians 3:10, Romans 8:17) Though painful, the Almighty God who wastes nothing uses even our suffering to gradually shape us into the likeness of Jesus Christ; this is the essence of sanctification. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The final aspect is conformity of our physical bodies which will be realized at our eternal resurrection. (Philippians 3:21) Set against the beautiful background of adoption, God’s predestination to make us like His Son, His hearkening call, and His promises of justification and glorification are steps in realizing our divine purpose.  

The Everyday Application

3) How do “predestined, called, justified, and glorified” all fit together? (verse 30)

From the beginning, the Lord God decided to shape the lives of those who love Him to reflect the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity as the “exact representation” (Hebrews 1:3) of what it looks like to perfectly reflect every aspect of God for “the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ.” (Colossian 2:9)

We can see the original intended shape of our lives in Jesus. God predestined us to reflect Him then He marked us with love by calling us by name. As we respond to His call through faith, He sets us on an immovable foundation in clear relationship with Himself by personally paying the penalty we owe for our heavy offense of sin against Him.

He then covenants to remain with His own not only on earth by the power of His Spirit, but for all eternity, thereby gloriously completing the work only He could begin. The One who died for us and raised us to life by the power of His own death and resurrection, is now in the very presence of God advocating for us.

Do you think anyone or anything could drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love? IMPOSSIBLE! No trouble, no suffering, hatred, hunger or homelessness, bullying, backstabbing, not even the worst of sins is powerful enough to tear us away from His rescue. (Romans 8:38-39) His eternal Love for His foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified children knows no limits. God had scheduled each of our entries into HIS family long before we were ever born.

As His chosen ones, He has personally arranged for our salvation and eternal life from beginning to never-ending. Knowing GOD IS IN CONTROL and is perfectly bent on loving us as His own provides us with great comfort. As we surrender our entire being to God, we wait with gleeful expectation to be with our Heavenly Father forever.

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