and I will be his God and he shall be My son

GOD'S PURPOSE continued


Book of ROMANS
A Study of Chapter 8

Part 16
Romans 8:29-30


“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.” – Rom 8:29-30 NKJV

As we studied last time, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Yes, God has a purpose. And for those who truly love Him, He will cause everything we encounter and experience in this life to work for good: to refine us and perfect us, that we might be made ready to fulfill His ultimate purpose for creation.

Oh, do we really know what we’ve been called to? Earlier in this chapter, we read about being “glorified with Christ” if we suffer with Him, Paul sharing his future hope – “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” (Rom 8:18)

We’ve been “taught” for so long that we can never be worthy, that we’ve failed to press in and grab hold of the fullness of the promise and purpose of God: that we would “become children of God” (John 1:12), in actuality, not just in name or association, but actually glorified brothers & sisters of Christ Jesus, made in His image.

“God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 For this purpose He called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - 2Thess 2:13b-14 NRSV

And while God truly “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2:4), there are some He has chosen to be His firstfruits: those through whom He will bring deliverance to the nations. (I know this is undemocratic perhaps, but it IS Scriptural.)

“For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” – Rom 8:29 NIV

FOREKNEW ‘to know beforehand’ (Strong’s 4267)

When Jesus prayed to the Father, following His last meal & communion before His crucifixion, He acknowledges that His disciples were known by God beforehand.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” – John 17:6 NKJV

God knew each one of us from the beginning of time. In Acts in tells us - “He has made from one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” (Acts 17:26 NKJV)

I believe that as was said of Esther, many have been brought “into the kingdom for such a time as this.” (Est 4:14). We are here now, in this time of history, because God ordained it. He knew it was in this chapter of time that we could best serve His purpose.

“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

- Psalm 139:13-16 NKJV

Paul testifies of this in his own life, writing in another letter of God “who set me apart before I was born and who called me by His grace.” (Gal 1:15) Although he had once persecuted those who followed Christ, God’s hand had been upon Paul for His purpose before he had even been born. We read the same concerning Jeremiah, where God, Himself, tells the young man whom He purposed to be His prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I separated you for Myself.” (Jer 1:5). They were born & used by God in His time.

And is it not said of those called to be firstfruits, the God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” (Eph 1:4)

God knew us before the world began. And has a purpose for us in His plan (see Eph 2:10)

PREDESTINED mark out beforehand, foreordain (Strong’s 4309)

Webster’s original dictionary defines ‘predestined’ as -
To predetermine or foreordain; to appoint or ordain beforehand by an unchangeable purpose.

Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.   Romans 8:29

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself. Ephesians 1:5

Not only did God know us before we were born, and set us in this time and place in history, but He predestined us for something. Again, this is all according to, and for, God’s own purpose. We just get to be a part of what He is doing to “bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.” (Eph 1:10 GNT)

“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,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, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
- Eph 1:3-6 NKJV

Our heavenly Father predestined us to be His sons. That is His desire. I pray we know and believe this always. In the good times and in trying situations.

Paul continues…

“7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” – Eph 1:7-12 NKJV

Predestined to be sons (and daughters), “children of God… who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)

Predestined to an inheritance as children. “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:17)

CALLED divine call or invitation to partake of blessings of redemption (Strong’s 2564)

Firstly, we are “called to belong to Jesus Christ… loved by God and called to be His holy people.” (Rom 1:6,7). We also are “called to be free” (Gal 5:13)

Paul’s prayer for the saints was -
“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” – Eph 1:17-21 NKJV

We have been called as well to inherit creation along with Jesus. This has been part of God’s purpose since the beginning of creation. As we are told in Paul’s letter to Timothy, it is God “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling… according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2Tim 1:9)

As we saw earlier, Paul testified to this concerning himself, when we wrote that “God, had chosen me and set me apart before I was born, and called me through His grace” (Gal 1:15) for His purposes.

And of the saints, of those “chosen out of the world” (John 15:19) - for not all are chosen to this purpose - it is written - “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” - 1Pet 2:9 WEB

We’ve been called out of darkness, to walk with Jesus in the Light, to have fellowship with God, and enter into His wonderful plan of redemption for all creation. Let us “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Gal 4:1-3 NAS)

And just as “being saved” is the beginning of our walk with Christ, so too, being “called” is the first step toward glorification. For those called must then be “chosen” from those ranks (Matt 22:14), and must “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” (Eph 4:1)
Finally these must prove “faithful” til the end, if they (hopefully we) are to appear with Christ when He returns. “those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Rev 17:14)

JUSTIFIEDprimarily “to deem to be right” “to declare to be righteous” by man or God
                           “to pronounce to be righteous by God concerning men, who are declared righteous before Him on certain                                       conditions laid down by Him.’
(Strong’s 1344)

Justification was prophesied long before Jesus was born, died, and rose again. Through the prophet Isaiah came this Word of the Lord -

“Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.
24 He shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength.
To Him men shall come, And all shall be ashamed
Who are incensed against Him.
25 In the Lord all the descendants of Israel
Shall be justified, and shall glory.’”

- Isaiah 45:22-25 NKJV

Setting aside the meaning of “all the descendants (seed, offspring) of Israel” for now, knowing that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (Rom 9:6), let us look at this “justification and glorification” being for the “predestined and called.”

I’m sure many here know that the understanding of justification for the Christian has faced an on-going debate for centuries, at least since the days of Martin Luther, whose teaching was ‘justification by faith alone’, brought about by his experiences with man-made religion.

Looking solely at the Scripture we see that Paul writes that we are “justified freely by (God’s) grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3:24), and that “we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” (Rom 3:28). Then bringing Jew & Gentile together, he states, “there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.” (Rom 3:30). And Paul uses Abraham as an example of being justified because he believed God. (Rom 4)

Then from the teachings of Jesus, and many other passages in the epistles of the Apostles (including Paul), we know that our faith is proven only by our deeds, actions and the honesty of our tongue. 
As Jesus taught about the fruit of our lives, good or evil, that comes from our hearts, revealed by our words, He said – “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt 12:37)

And we know the teachings of Jesus’ brother James. In using Abraham and Rahab as examples of being justified by their works, he concludes - “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24)

I see both of these views in the Greek definition of being “justified” which, in part, reads -
‘to pronounce to be righteous by God concerning men, who are declared righteous before Him on certain conditions laid down by Him.’

These ‘conditions’ include both faith and works. Not works of the Talmud and Midrash which had been added to the pure moral Law of God embodied in the Torah, (to which Paul always & only referenced when teaching on this topic), but the works which God had prepared for us from the foundation of the world (Eph 2:10), and our obedience to the commands of Jesus and His Apostles. And this we do by the grace which He provides.

We see God’s purpose again in this is to bring us to into the image of His Son and share with Him in His inheritance, where Paul writes that “having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal Life.” (Titus 3:7 NKJV)

GLORIFIED“to make glorious” (Strong’s 1392)

In Revelation, when John saw Jesus in all His glory, “His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” (Rev 1:16 NIV)

This is the image to which we’ve been called. Has not God predestined us to “be conformed to the image of His Son.” (Rom 8:29). As Jesus appeared to John, so shall we be able to appear. This is not automatic for all that have been called. For some will not attain, “having loved this present world”, or they will have “buried their talent.”  But praise God some will! May we be among those who do. Coming forth in the “image of His Son” is what the Scripture teaches will be True of those who love Him, have overcome and have purified themselves.

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” – 1John 3:2-3 NKJV

Paul taught the same thing, saying that it is the “Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power which enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.” (Phil 3:21 RSV)

Do we really believe this? That one Day there will be others besides Jesus who will be revealed with bodies just “like His glorious body”? Oh, let us grab hold of this Truth!
Does not the Word say as well to the saints that “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the Man of heaven.” (1Cor 15:49 ESV)

In the next chapter in Romans we find that God has some who were “prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called” (see Rom 9:23-24)

And in Daniel’s vision we read that in the Last Day -
“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.

- Dan 12:2-3 NKJV

This was the Apostle’s goal, yearning to share in Christ’s pain, His death, and the resurrection to glory of the firstfruits. For Paul knew even that his predestination, calling and justification were not the end. But he needed to stay the course, fight the good fight and endure faithful til the end, to be raised to that First Resurrection of the saints who will be glorified with Christ.

“Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I don’t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” - Phil 3:12-14 WEB

As we’ve been studying, the purpose of the glorified saints is to bring salvation and Life to the nations. The bulk of mankind since creation will be the inheritance of those who have become part of Christ, truly His brethren, conformed into His image, His Spirit fully dwelling in them.

To these who will inherit the nations, the Word of God declares -
“you will summon a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you will run to you. For the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel, has glorified you.” – Isaiah 55:5 HCSB

God’s purpose will be fulfilled in these. They will have attained to actual glorification. My prayer is to be among those who shine with the eternal Light of Christ.

“Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
– Matt 13:43 NKJV


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