Summary: God’s will for every Christian is maximum family resemblance to our Elder Brother. God seeks to order our lives to achieve this lofty purpose. Christ-likeness is the wondrous outcome which God has purposed in our salvation.
ROMANS 8: 29 & 30
God has just said that He works all things together for good for those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose. But what is this "good" that is promised? We find the answer in verse 29. God’s will for every Christian is maximum family resemblance to our Elder Brother. God seeks to order our lives to achieve this lofty purpose. Christ-likeness is the wondrous outcome which God has purposed in our salvation (CIT).
Salvation can be viewed from the perspective of man’s responsibility and action or it can be viewed from God’s eternal perspective. The couplings of Salvation’s Links in this passage are represented as divine action, so that we may be assured of salvation’s certain accomplishment. But be sure that human responsibility and action are not intended to be ruled out.
There are five links in this section. [Note that the predicate of the first clause becomes the subject of the next clause, a construction called sorties.] The links to be examined are God’s foreknowledge, predestination, call, justification, and glorification. They each fit together to form "the Links of Salvation." The end result of this sanctification process is "the good" to which God is transforming His children, becoming like Jesus. What better, more glorious end could there be?
Let us look and see how secure and good salvation is for those who love the Lord, for those called to His purpose.
I. GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE.
II. GOD’s PREDESTINATION
III. GOD’S DIVINE PURPOSE, 30.
"For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;"
I. GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE.
These verses give Paul’s explanation of what it means to be one who has "been called according to His purpose" and why God keeps on working all their experiences together to their benefit (v. 28).
Believers are those God foreknew. This does not mean simply that God foreknows what believers will do, but that God foreknew them. [Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy; The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, S. 474]
"For those whom He foreknew." So the passage is concerned with the "whom" of His foreknowledge, not the "what." That God knows in advance what is going to happen poses little problem to most people, although some wonder why He let it happen when He knew in advance what would transpire. But the question that has occupied many believing minds for centuries is does Paul mean simply that God knew in advance who would respond to Him or did He know them in advance because He was going to save them?
"Whom He foreknew" looks back to the words immediately preceding. Those God foreknew are those who love God and are called according to His purpose. The link seems to be initiated by a response to the love and purpose of God. [Foreknew is , 2 Aor. act. ind. of pro-gin sk , "to perceive or recognize beforehand, to know previously" (Zodhiates AMG. P. 1216). For a fuller understanding look up the following passages: 1 Cor. 8:3; Acts 2:23; 26:5; Ps. 1:6 LXX; Mt. 7:23; 1 Peter 1:20].
" ‘Foreknowledge’ means that ‘God foreknew those in every nation, who would believe, from the beginning of the world to the consummation of all things." [Briscoe, D. Stuart; Ogilvie, Lloyd: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol 29: Romans. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1982, S. 174]
Foreknowledge is not simply God’s all-knowing, it is His foreknowing of individual persons. It is the knowing that comes about because of a personal relationship with Christ Jesus [or those who are "in Christ"]. Galations 4:9 says, "But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God...."
It is written in Genesis 4:1 that "Adam knew his wife; and she conceived." They had relation with one another. That is how they knew one another; the intimate knowledge of personal relationship. [Stott, John. Romans. IVP. Dower Grove, IL. 1994. p 249.]
Philippians 3:8-12 talks about Paul knowing Christ. Does it that mean Paul did not know about Christ meaning facts and data about this One he was persecuting before he was saved? Obviously not. Paul meant knowing Christ relationally, an intimate relationship knowledge [that was become deeper as his life was being transformed into Christ’s image].
In John 17:3 Jesus said that eternal life is knowing God and Himself. Did He mean facts or data about God would save? No He meant the personal knowledge that comes from having established a relationship with God.
How can one know God in relationship? One comes to know God only by the Cross of Jesus Christ. There is no other way to know God other than through Jesus Christ. He is "the way the truth and the life no man comes to the Father but through Him."