Predestination is one of the most misunderstood terms in the Bible. The most common view in the religious world today is that God actively chooses who he wants to save and who he doesn’t want to save. They say it’s absolutely impossible to have faith; to believe, unless God steps in and gives it to you. Is this what predestination in the scriptures is all about?
Let’s see what our Apostle; Paul has to say.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Pay attention to the order: FOREKNOWN-PREDESTINED-CALLED-JUSTIFIED-GLORIFIED
FOREKNOWN: “Foreknow” is the greek proginōskō (G4267), which means to know beforehand or to foresee. God knew *something* about someone… Without jumping to conclusions, let’s move on to the next point.
PREDESTINATED: Those God foreknew *something* about, he did predestinate to to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he (Jesus Christ) might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Predestinate is the greek proorizō (G4309), which means to predetermine; determine/ordain before.
It’s obvious that Jesus Christ is the firstborn because he can’t be conformed to his own image…to himself, as that would make no sense. We also see that to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, has something to do with being related to and identified with Jesus Christ. Not only that, they’re also related to one another, as brethren.
So, what is God talking about here?! The body of Christ! Let’s take a look at a couple of verses:
Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the
afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that
we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
So, we see that the body of Christ is today’s church. A spiritual organism of people who are identified with and joined to Christ (his body), as well as being joined to each other, as members of that same body. The only way God could make us into a representation (image) of Christ is to put us in Christ.
Now, we come to the really interesting part of this study: How does one get a member of the body of Christ?
Ephesians 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
“By the gospel”-the gospel (good news) Paul preached; the gospel of the grace of God.
Ephesians 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain
the enmity thereby:
Paul preached the cross work of Jesus Christ, and the accomplishmens of that cross work where our sins are concerned:
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
17 Therefore if any man bein Christ, he isa new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18And all things are ofGod, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
You see, sin is a done deal! God made Jesus Christ to be sin for the entire world. He was judged for those sins and died for them, taking them out God’s sight forever. God forgave us of our sins, and as a proof of that God raised him from the dead on the third day.
And yes, Jesus Christ did in fact die for ALL:
2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died
for all, then were all dead:
1 Timothy 2:5-6
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
How are we saved?
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Faith is taking God at his word: taking your stand where God takes his stand. If you want to know that you have faith, simply take your stand where God takes his.
Salvation is freely given to us the moment we believe the gospel of the grace of God! It’s a gift, and no works are required or desired!
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
It should now be absolutely clear that God foreknew/foresaw who would believe the gospel of the grace of God. He then predestinated/predermined them to be conformed to the image of his Son Jesus Christ!
We’ve also covered parts of the next point, and that is how God calls people to salvation. We’ve seen that God does this by the gospel, which the next verse confirms:
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
It’s the gospel message itself, the word of God, that makes us believe. That’s what gives us faith.
JUSTIFIED: As members of the body of Christ, we’re identified with Jesus Christ. We’re IN Christ and we have put on Christ. That’s how God sees us today. We’re rigtheous/justified, because he’s righteous/justified. Well done, God!
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
The baptism here is the spiritual (dry) baptism performed by the Holy Spirit the moment a lost soul believes Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 12:13)
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
It’s all about the faith OF Christ; HIS faith, and HIS righteousness!
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
We’re glorified IN Christ, both in this life and the life to come! We’re God’s representatives on earth.
Galatians 1:24 And they glorified God in me.
2 Thessalonians 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
In other words, Romans 8:28-29 can be read like this: Those he foreknew (that would believe the gospel), God also determined (at that time when he foreknew) that he would conform those (who believe) to the image of his Son, so that Christ would be the firstborn among many brethren.
God didn’t predestinate us to believe. He predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his Son, because He knew who would believe! God has given everyone the opportunity to be saved, but only he knows for sure who will accept that opportunity. God has foreknowledge of faith 😉