(Article for publication week of 11-17-2010 AD)
“For whom He foreknew, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
Some who deny the absolute sovereignty of God have tried to explain away predestination by saying that predestination is simply God foreknowing all things. It is amazing what lengths to which some will go to try to deny the sovereignty of God! Man just cannot have it that God is sovereign instead of himself!
All Bible believers will acknowledge the foreknowledge of God. That God is omniscient is a truth that no one can deny. In Acts 15:18 we read, “known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” The reason God foreknows all things is that he has predestinated all things. If God foreknows all His works, it is apparent that he foreknows them because he had already decreed them. To acknowledge the foreknowledge of God is to acknowledge also His predestination. Since God foreknows all things, it follows that what He foreknows is certain to occur. Now if a thing is certain, then what is it that makes it certain? It is either certain because man wills it, or because God wills it. No reasonable person could have it that anything is certain because of the will of man. Even an unbeliever knows that man cannot ordain anything with absolute certainty. Only God has that kind of power. So why argue against predestination? If you believe in an omniscient God, you must also believe in an absolutely sovereign God Who has decreed all things from before the foundation of the world.
Now the wonderful thing about our text this week is the particular foreknowledge and predestination which is under consideration here. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image” of Christ. The word “for” indicates that verse 29 is an explanation of verse 28 where we read “we know that all things work together to good for them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose”, and then follows our text explaining it. God is working all things for good to them who love Him. And those who love Him have Him have been called according to His purpose. And these were foreknown and predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ.
The reason that any sinner ever comes to love God is because God’s saving purpose has been set upon that sinner from all eternity and the Sovereign Lord has decreed the end of His purpose is that His elect people would be restored to the image of Christ. Man was made to be the image bearer of God, and that image was shattered when we fell in Adam. God’s sovereign grace restores elect sinners to be image bearers of God’s Son. Through the justifying righteousness of Christ, God’s elect people have a good record before God. Through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, God’s elect have a new nature that is now being conformed to the image of Christ. Finally, God will glorify all those He foreknew and predestinated to be like His Son for eternity. The final happiness of God’s people rests not on their own fickle will, but on the sovereign purpose of God Who has decreed salvation as an absolute certainty.
If you love God and believe in His Son, it is because God foreknew you and predestinated you to be saved. Such a wonderful God ought to be loved and worshipped.