God Predestined us, God called us and God justified us. We wait Patiently in Hope for our Resurrection. Nothing we face here on Earth is a threat to that Outcome. Romans 8 – Conclusion
Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
So as you reach verse 28, you come to understand that as we wait patiently in hope for our resurrection, nothing we face here on Earth is a threat to that outcome. Nothing! Life can be hard, you will have trials, the enemy will bear down on you in his own way as he has an opportunity. But none of that comes between you and God. Nothing can frustrate your hope, nothing has the power to stop the good that God is intending to bring.
God called us and God Justified us
The worse things get, it is just a sign of how hard God is working to bring more good things. That’s a really good general rule. If you are suffering a lot that means you’re hardheaded. No joking. Spiritually speaking if you are going through a lot of trials, that means something is stuck in your heart and God has found a way to get it out, but it is requiring a lot of extra effort. You can see this in your own life. When you are in a soft-hearted time of life and you are learning and listening to God. You don’t find yourself being dragged through things in the same way as perhaps other times in life when you are resistant to the Spirit’s movement and you are determined to have your own way. You’re just not, in the mind of Christ, you’re in the flesh and God just starts banging away at you. He’s going to get through to you one way or another. You’ve heard the saying, there’s an easy way or there’s a hard way. God is in the business of making us more like Christ, as Paul said in the passage you just read. His point is Christ will be the first among many brethren. He is the prime example against which everyone else is judged and in God’s way will be conformed to.
Understanding what Paul is saying here as he goes on from 8:28 into the foreknowledge and the predestination and so on. This is Paul’s crescendo, his final climactic statement for what God’s sovereignty in all matters of life means for us from an eternal perspective. To understand what Paul says in Romans 8:29-30 properly rests on two things. First, are you keeping Paul’s point in mind? That is, what is this whole chapter been about? Where has it been leading? What’s his point? Keep this in mind, don’t stray into these alleys of conversation that sometimes come out of these individual words and think you will be okay. Secondly, are you willing to read the words and accept their plain meaning without explaining their meanings away in some novel or imaginative way? Are you willing to accept what Paul says? If you do that you will come away with something meaningful. God called us and God Justified us
Let’s begin with some observations. First in Romans 8:28,29, and 30 there is an obvious chain of events being described here. Paul is connecting his chain here with the linking word “also“. Romans. 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. And on verse 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. god justified us
You see the chain there. It’s the linking of events. God is the actor in this chain. Notice Paul repeats He, before every verb in the chain. He did this, He did that… So the actor for all these events is God. To put it simply, God does one thing and He follows with another thing always for the same group of people. And each link in that chain is as certain as the previous link according to Paul. So if the first link is true then all the links that follow will be true. Paul never inserts a conditional phrase or thought in this chain. Second observation, Paul is using these verses to support his earlier statement that we can be assured no bad experiences in this life will bring our undoing. You can see his point clearly by briefly looking at the succeeding verse.
Romans 8:31 (NKJV)
God’s Everlasting Love
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? god justified us
That is the ultimate conclusion here. There is no one out there that is going to interfere with our relationship with God. Clearly, Paul wants to reassure the reader, what God has begun in our life. What He started doing, He will certainly finish since all the work is His to do and by starting it He has shown us a willingness to do it all. In fact, if any link in that chain could be seen to be in doubt, then the entire chain is in doubt and Paul’s point is moot. What confidence has he offered us in that case? If the entire chain is unbreakable, then Paul’s assurance is clear. But if any part of it is breakable his assurance is empty and worthless. He can only assure us of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty if everything in life ties back to His work. God called us and God justified us
Every link in his chain is an absolute certainty. What is this chain about? Well, it is not about all of mankind. No, because the people in view in this chain are the same ones who have been in view in verse 28: That is Christians. So we’re talking about believers. You may have thought that was obvious but you would be surprised. Some people would use the argument that Paul here is talking in more general terms about mankind. But in doing that they make it meaningless. Because clearly not all of mankind is going to heaven. God justified us
Now, this is speaking specifically what God does for the believer and he says God foreknew. A lot is made of this word when you hear people debating the meaning of this passage. Proginosko is the word in Greek– from which we get the word, prognosticate. It means to understand the future with certainty. God understood – He understands everything before it exists. His understanding predates knowledge itself. He knew Christians before time began. Another way to say it, we were on His mind before we had a mind. Foreknowledge is an understanding of things before they come to pass.
Secondly, for everyone He foreknew, He also predestined it says to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. Now here’s where careful observation of plain language comes in. It says those He foreknew He also predestined. Notice they are two different words. They two different words in Greek as well as English. They are not the same word. That’s important because here again a common mistake in understanding this passage is to blur the lines between foreknowledge and predestination so as to suggest they are really the same word. That is God foreknew who was going to be believing and foreknowing who was going to be believing, He then chose all those who were going to be believing. But that is just two uses of the word foreknowledge. Foreknowledge is to know something in advance but the word predestine is a very specific word. It is proorizo in greek. It means to determine beforehand. In other words to know something beforehand versus to act before something. One of the uses of the word comes in an often overlooked passage of Acts:. God called us and He Justified us
Acts 4:27-28 (NKJV)
27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before (predestined) to be done. god justified us
What Stephen is saying In that context, God had intended Jesus would die on the cross. His death was no accident. It wasn’t bad luck, it didn’t happen at the whim of Pontius Pilate. It didn’t happen because the Jews conspired against Jesus’. It happened because God predetermined that it would happen. Stephen reminds the crowd what we all know from scripture, that the Father intended to put His Son to death from long before it happened. (Isaiah foretold of this) And He determined the manner of that death. Stephen says that Jesus died because God predetermined that Jesus would die on the cross. And when the appointed time arrived, God’s predetermined plan was carried out under God’s guidance and direction. As Stephen says, they did whatever your hand and purpose predestined (predetermined).
God predetermined that “those” He foreknew would be conformed to the image of His Son. The image here means likeness or representation. To be conformed to His likeness means to be like Christ, to be conformed to His likeness is something He determined for each of us beforehand. He foreknew us and He predetermined us for that outcome. He also predetermined us to join Him in His suffering and ultimately to join Him in His glory. Remember Paul’s point is that nothing can stop this chain of events. If God knew you to be one of His from before anything existed, and on top of that He assigned you to become like His Son before any of the events of your life began to transpire. How can anything in this world interrupt a plan that began before the world, itself began? Paul’s whole point in raising this chain of events is to give you evidence of the larger point. Which is, you have nothing to worry about. How can you worry about something God predetermined beforehand? Before the world existed?
That’s how Paul brings this chain to a conclusion in the next verse: called, justified, glorified. Those are the parts of the experience we will know personally. Those are the parts we have something to experience. We experience the call. It just comes to us in one way or another. It can be someone who brings the Gospel to us along the street or in church or on television or whatever. Somehow God brought the call to us when it was His choice to do so. And as we accepted it, we were justified. We remember that moment. There is a day to come that we will be glorified. God determined to conform you to His Son’s likeness, so naturally God at a time He appointed He began to act to bring it to pass. So you will answer that call so you will be justified by faith. He’s been describing a chain of events that led you to your salvation. That’s Paul’s point…it’s the climax of his essay on righteousness.
For every believer who has ever read this letter, the letter to Rome, including those of you who are reading it now. You can look back on every step in this chain as a part of your personal history…except one of these links…every believer, ever since this letter has been written has been in the same place you are right now. We can look at every one of these links and we know them as our history except for one. The step of glorification has yet to be fulfilled for any believer, even those who died in the first century. Every believer sits right now in history at the same point on this chain, whether alive or dead. We are all waiting for glorification.
Paul wants every believer to be just as assured of that future state as you are of all the history that preceded it. If you are sure you were foreknown, predestined, called, and justified then you can be assured of the last link because it is an unbreakable chain. The fact we haven’t seen that last link, none of us have, that is why we call it, hope. That’s why it depends on faith. But it is just as assured as the rest, that’s Paul’s point for the chain so that you know you are part of a process that is already 4/5’s of the way finished. Why start doubting on the last 1/5? Paul says it this way in Ephesians 1 as we conclude chapter 8:
Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV)
Redemption in Christ
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made (bestowed grace upon) us accepted in the Beloved.
So what’s there to worry about?
Thank you for taking the time to follow this study of Romans 8. If you have enjoyed this study please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you. Grace and peace be with you as you serve our Lord, Crist Jesus…
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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