Wednesday, March 21

Romans 8:29

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

In the photo above, the Blue Angels’ tight formation requires that the three wingmen be conformed by following the speed and three dimensional direction changes of the lead aircraft. Christians are likewise conformed to Christ by following Christ through sanctifying grace.

In the verse above, God predestines those whom he foreknew to be conformed to the image of his Son. This is not based on what God foreknew through foreknowledge but is based on whom God foreknew. The meaning here for foreknew is the same as in Matthew 7:23 where Jesus told the hypocrites, “I never knew you.” This verse is the first of a two-verse chain where Paul reveals that God does everything required to bring the children of God to conformity with Jesus Christ. Those he foreknew are those he chose through his sovereign grace, and these are the ones he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. This conformity to Christ is not completed until a believer is glorified after death, but the process is begun when a believer comes to faith in Christ. This process of becoming conformed to Christ is called sanctification, and all who are predestined to be conformed respond in varying degrees to the urging of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.). This verse does not allow for any possibility that some would not respond to this sanctifying grace. This is but one of hundreds of passages that refute and destroy the false teaching that a person can be saved and continue in a life of sin with no interest in following Christ. The verse ends with the glorious truth that believers, who are conformed to the image of Christ, are brothers of Christ.

Praise God that, through his grace and mercy, he saved and conformed many to be brothers and sisters of Christ.


Scribe said...

I find it comical that arminian interpretations render foreknew as a substratum for information. As you have so aptly pointed out that the antecedent is "whom" (personal) and not "what" (impersonal.

donsands said...

Thanks for the clear thoughts on this deep verse.

"For both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers."

Incredible, that we are His brothers. Astounding!

Shiloh Guy said...


I love the way you handle "proginosko" here. This is a powerful and revealing truth. The Hebrew equivalent, "yada," is used in exactly the same way, "to know, to love, to choose." For example, intimate knowledge, "Adam lay with his wife Eve" (Genesis 4:1) and "knew" her. "You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth" (Amos 3:2) When Jesus said of the hypocrites that he never "knew" them, it would have been heard with the flavor of "I never knew you, loved you, or chose you."

If God particularly loves us he chooses us. If he chooses us he knows us. If he knows us he loves us. Praise God for such an amazing truth!

jazzycat said...

Scribe, donsands, and Dave:
Thanks for the comments. I have really enjoyed studying Romans 8 as I proceed through it. This whole chapter seems to point us to a total dependence on our triune God for everything we receive in our salvation. As Dave said praise God for this truth.

bluecollar said...

Wayne, this is exactly the way I see 8:29. I loved your exposition here. Thank you.