Jew and Gentile
Restored to Israel
Slaves to Sin
Slaves to God
Slaves Serving God
Life by Faith
Service by Faith
Modified from Irving
L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's
Survey of the NT"
FOR WHOM HE FOREKNEW: hoti ous proegno (3SAAI): (Ro
11:2; Ex 33:12,17; Ps 1:6; Jer 1:5; Mt 7:23; 2Ti 2:19; 1Pe 1:2; Rev
introduces the argument to which the preceding words refer.
These verses (Ro 8:29ff) give the
proof that God in all tings co-operates for good with the called. They
show how His gracious purpose, beginning with foreknowledge and
foreordination perfects all that concerns them on to the final glory.
(Nicoll, W Robertson, Editor: Expositors Greek Testament: 5 Volumes. Out
of print. Search Google)
from pró = before + ginosko = know)
know about something prior to some temporal reference point. For
example, to know about an event before it happens, to know beforehand,
or to have foreknowledge. Proginosko describes God’s eternal
counsel and includes all that He has considered and purposed to do prior
to human history. In the language of Scripture, something foreknown
is not simply that which God was aware of prior to a certain point, but
also includes the idea of that which God gave prior consent to or which
received His favorable or special recognition. Hence, proginosko
is reserved for those matters which God favorably, deliberately and
freely chose and ordained.
- 5x in 5v - Acts 26:5; Rom 8:29; 11:2; 1 Pet 1:20; 2 Pet 3:17. NAS -
foreknew(2), foreknown(1), knowing...beforehand(1), known(1).
God's foreknowledge is much more than just having prescience of what
will happen in the future, but its full meaning is beyond our finite
comprehension. [Acts 2:23] speaks of Christ as being delivered to be
crucified "by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God."" His
works surely were not planned merely by His foreknowledge of what they
would be for that would place the power in the hands of man -- some say
because it seems "logical" from our perspective that God looked into the
future, saw what men would do and then He predestined them to salvation.
That's not what Scripture says. That would put the initiative and impetus
for salvation in the hands of depraved God hating men. We simply have to
acknowledge that we don't have to explain this -- what we do have to do
is rest in whatever He says for His ways are higher than our ways. By
the way no where in Scripture does it say God foreknew or predestined
anyone to hell.
God foreknew that Israel would be His people (Ro 11:2-note), yet He later
chose them by His own will. It clearly suggests planning ahead of time,
not just knowing ahead of time. Nothing takes God by surprise; His
decisions are not determined by our decisions. Yet in every case where
God's planning and predestinating are involved (Acts 2:23), it is also true
that those who acted according to His foreknowledge carried out those
acts of their own volition.
Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (see note
And yet God also says that
He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (see note
Our finite minds
cannot fully apprehend both truths concurrently, yet we can rejoice in
both with our hearts. God understands, because His understanding is
infinite, and we rest in that.
Before I loved Him, He loved me
Before I found Him, He found me
Before I sought Him, He sought for me
Yes, Jesus cares for me
-- Ron Hamilton
HE ALSO PREDESTINED CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON:kai proorisen
summorphous tes eikonos tou huiou
autou: (Eph 1:5,11; 1Pe 1:20) (Ro 13:14; Jn
17:16,19,22,23,26; 1Cor 15:49; 2Cor 3:18; Eph 1:4; 4:24; Php 3:21; 1Jn
When Paul assures
the Roman saints that “God causes all things to work together for good
to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”
(Ro 8:28-note), he then follows in this verse with God’s work of
predestination as a reason why we can be assured of this truth. In
short, predestination, far from being given to cause division, is given
that it might bring comfort and assurance. The next verse looks at
predestination from a futuristic perspective. That is to say, that if
one looks to the future when Christ returns, he sees Paul's clear
affirmation that God has determined to give believers in Christ perfect,
glorified bodies. From eternity to eternity God has acted with the good
of his people in mind. But if God has always acted for our good and will
in the future act for our good, Paul reasons, then will he not also in
our present circumstances work every circumstance together for our good
as well? In this way predestination is seen as a comfort for
believers in the everyday events of life.
from pró = before + horízo = to determine,
as by a boundary or limit in turn from horos = boundary, limit <>
Source of our English word "horizon" = God's boundary between
heaven and earth) literally means to mark out beforehand or set the the
limits or boundaries in advance of any place or thing. When used
of persons, proorizo means to put limitations upon that person
thus conveys the idea of to determine his destiny. Though proorizo
meant simply to plan in advance, in the New Testament it attracted a
special meaning. Here the idea is a divine decree of God, whereby He
determined in advance that something should happen.
Here in Romans
8:29 Paul is saying that God has
predetermined the destiny or the future of each believer, a glorious
future in which he or she will be like Christ, conformed to the image of
His Son! And so we see that predestination need not be a frightful word for the believer but in fact a
wonderful doctrine which should bring comfort , encouragement and
thankfulness to our heart. God is in control. He has a plan
for your life and mine! Note carefully that it was not the fact of our
faith as foreknown by God that moved Him to "foreordain" us. The
blessings and mercies recounted in this section are the result of His
eternal purpose in Christ.
reminds us that God is the supreme historian who wrote all history
before it ever began and it is therefore not surprising that proorizo is
used only of God in the NT.
Note that the Scripture
predestination to mean that God has predestined certain people to
eternal condemnation. A person is condemned because he or she refuses to
trust Christ. Stated another way the truth of predestination applies
only to saved people. Peter explains the heart of the Father...
The Lord is not slow about His
promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing
for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (see note
2 Peter 3:9)
used 6 times in the NAS (Acts;
each use translated as predestined. In the KJV, proorizo is
translated determine before, 1; ordain, 1; predestinate, 4. These 6
occurrences in the NT, all refer to the predestination of events and
peoples by God before all time or before their concrete historical time.
In each case proorizo speaks of God's plan for man or events and
the inescapable implication is that God's plan will be fulfilled.
Here are the 4
other uses of proorizo (not counting the uses in Ro 8:29-30)...
Acts 4:27-28 "For truly in
this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus,
whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the
Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, (4:28) to do whatever Thy
hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur."
The Jews and Gentiles did what and only what God had planned beforehand.
God did not force Jesus’ adversaries to engage in acts of violence
against their will, for the evidence shows that they took full
responsibility. Instead, God allowed them to conspire against Him that
He might accomplish salvation for his people. Having done their
worst, they merely succeeded in fulfilling God’s eternal plan. These
verses contain another striking example of the conjoining of human
responsibility and God's sovereignty in the same context, with no hint
of this being a problem.
In a parallel
passage (although not using proorizo) Luke records that Jesus...
Acts 2:22-23 "Men of Israel,
listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God
with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in
your midst, just as you yourselves know--the Man delivered up by the
predetermined (Greek = horizo = marked out) plan and
foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men
and put Him to death.
Comment: Again observe the
juxtaposition of divine predestination and human responsibility. That
these two truths exist in harmony that is beyond human comprehension is
clearly taught in Scripture and must be received on faith in the
infinitely wise, omniscient Creator God. He is the Potter and we are but
1Cor 2:7 but we speak God's
wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined
before the ages to our glory; 2:8 the wisdom which none of the
rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they
would not have crucified the Lord of glory
Comment: The meaning is that
God’s wisdom in relation to the Gospel of His grace was predetermined by
Him before any periods of time began. It was not an afterthought, not a
plan contingent upon changed conditions or circumstances. Before time
began, our heavenly Father determined to give us His saving wisdom that
would lead ultimately to our eternal glorification.
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to
Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, (see
also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined
according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His
Morris writing on predestination in Ephesians 1 says that...
Its over-all purpose is to be "to the
praise of his glory" (Ep 1:6, 12, 14, 3:21-notes Ep
Since our minds are finite, we are unable to comprehend the infinite
character of the plan and purpose of God, which is exactly the situation
with regard to the clearly Biblical truth of predestination. In no way
does this preclude the ability of God to plan also the paradoxical truth
of human freedom and responsibility, which also are clearly Biblical
(remember God's ability is infinite). We cannot fully comprehend with
our minds, but can believe and rejoice with our hearts that God has
known and chosen us believers for Himself even before the world began.
Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
Study Bible has the following note explaining that..
Predestination and election
have always been the subject of theological inquiry. Several truths
about election should be noticed in this passage. Here, as in 1Pe 1:2
(see note), God's foreknowledge logically precedes the elective or predestinative act of God.
Another truth to be affirmed is that
the Scriptures present salvation as viewed in two very different
spheres. The earthly sphere sees man as totally responsible for his
actions and faced with the necessity of choosing either to reject or to
accept the atonement of Christ. The heavenly perspective in no sense
contradicts the earthly, but it does add a new and infinitely more
profound dimension. This new dimension declares that God has an elective
purpose and that all which ultimately transpires conforms to His
purpose, including the salvation of the elect.
Difficulty arises in man's seemingly
unending efforts to reconcile the heavenly insight with the earthly
perspective. Wrong answers are not infrequently the result of erroneous
questions. Instead of attempting harmonization of those truths which are
ultimately understood only by God (Ro 11:34-note), one ought to ask the
"Why is the doctrine of election
present in the Scripture?"
Four distinct answers emerge from
(1) As long as the doctrine of
election is in the Bible, salvation must be the gift of God alone.
Predestination framed in God's foreknowledge assures us that salvation
is from start to finish the work of God.
(2) The doctrine of God's elective
purpose guarantees the perpetuity of salvation. Unthinkable is the idea
that one of God's elect could forfeit his salvation. Those whom He has
justified He will glorify. So certain is that sequence that "glorified"
is an aorist tense in Greek, meaning that glorification is already a
settled issue in the mind of God (Ro 8:30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37,
38, 39). How could God lose one of
(3) The doctrine of election assures
a peculiar providence which attends the way of every believer. If God's
heart is set on us in His elective purpose, we may be sure of His
concern and providential intervention in our behalf (Ro 8:28).
(4) Finally, that same personal
providence bound up in election extends throughout the entire course of
history. There is no runaway world. God's hand is systematically guiding
the age to its intended consummation (Ro 8:21, 22). (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
commenting on proorizo writes that...
The genius of the word is that
of placing limitations upon someone or something beforehand, these
limitations bringing that person or thing within the sphere of a certain
future or destiny. These meanings are carried over into the New
Testament usage of the word. Thus, the “chosen-out” ones, have had
limitations put around them which bring them within the sphere of
becoming God’s children by adoption (Eph 1:5-note), and of being conformed
to the image of the Lord Jesus (Ro 8:29).
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
predestination with this simple picture. When we came to Christ,
it was like walking through a gate. On the outside were inscribed these
words: "Whosoever will, may come." Once we passed through the gate into
the Saviour's arms, we could look back and see these words inscribed on
the inside: "Chosen from the foundation of the world." We can praise Him
for His sovereign and saving grace.
He who believes
in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and
loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For
everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light,
lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes
to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in
(4832) (summorphos from sún = together with +
morphe = form) refers to the conformity of
children of God "to the image of His Son".
Here Paul explains
the goal of predestination - that believers would "be conformed
to the image of His Son"!
As Denny puts it...
The Son of God is the Lord Who
appeared to Paul by Damascus: to be conformed to His image is to share
His glory as well as His holiness. The Pauline Gospel is hopelessly
distorted when this is forgotten. (Ibid)
In Philippians 3
Paul describes the physical conformity to the body of Christ's glory
writing that in the future the Lord Jesus Christ
will transform the body of our humble
state into conformity with (summorphos) the body of His glory, by
the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to
Himself. (see note
Hendricks writes that
The Bible was not written to satisfy your curiosity, but to
make you conform to Christ’s image. Not to make you a smarter
sinner, but to make you like the Saviour. Not to fill your head with a
collection of biblical facts, but to transform your life.
On a wall near the main entrance to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, is
a portrait with the following inscription:“ James Butler Bonham—no
picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major James
Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by
the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died for
freedom.” No literal portrait of Jesus exists either. But the likeness
of the Son who makes us free can be seen in the lives of His true
Romans 8:28 is an easy verse to believe when the sun is shining, but it's
something else entirely in the darkness of human tragedy. We doubt this
verse for two reasons. First, Paul says "we know" when most of us don't
feel like we know. Second, Paul says "all things" when most of us would
rather say "some things." Surely the key word is the word "good." For
us, "good" usually means happiness, health, prosperity, and good
fortune. Those things are indeed good, but God's good far exceeds our
limited vision. (Ro 8:29) tells us that God's good is that we should be
conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Anything that makes us like
Jesus is good. This gives an entirely new perspective to heartaches and
tragedies. They are part of God's plan to chip away little by little at
our character until Jesus is fully formed in us.
THAT HE MIGHT BE THE FIRST BORN (reflecting His priority & supremacy) AMONG MANY BRETHREN: eis to einai (PAN) auton prototokon en
pollois adelphois: (Ps 89:27; Mt 12:50; 25:40; Jn 20:17; Col
1:15, 16, 17, 18; Heb 1:5,6; Heb 2:11, 12, 13, 14, 15; Rev 1:5,6)
That He might be the First Born
- The end in this process of our being conformed to the Son's image is
the exaltation of Christ.
from protos = first, + tikto = to bear,
bring forth) can mean first-born chronologically (Luke 2:7) but as used
by Paul refers primarily to position, or rank. In both Greek and Jewish
culture, the first-born was the son who had the right of
inheritance. He was not necessarily the first one born. Although Esau
was born first chronologically, it was Jacob who was the “first-born”
and received the inheritance. Jesus is the One with the right to the
inheritance of all creation (cf. He 1:2-note;
Re 5:13-note). Israel was
called God’s first-born in Exodus 4:22 and Jeremiah 31:9. Though not the
first people born, they held first place in God’s sight among all the
nations. In Psalm 89:27 (note), God says of the Messiah,
“I also shall make Him My first-born”
Then the psalmist
defines what He means...
“the highest of the kings of the
- 8x in 8v - Luke 2:7; Rom 8:29; Col 1:15, 18; Heb 1:6; 11:28; 12:23;
Prototokos - 103x in the Septuagint - Gen 4:4; 10:15; 22:21; 25:13,
25; 27:19, 32; 35:23; 36:15; 38:6f; 41:51; 43:33; 46:8; 48:18; 49:3;
Exod 4:22f; 6:14; 11:5; 12:12, 29; 13:2, 13, 15; 22:29; 34:19f; Lev
27:26; Num 1:20; 3:2, 12f, 40ff, 45f, 50; 8:16ff; 18:15, 17; 26:5; 33:4;
Deut 12:6, 17; 14:23; 15:19; 21:15ff; 33:17; Josh 6:26; 17:1; Judg 8:20;
1 Sam 8:2; 14:49; 2 Sam 3:2; 13:21; 19:43; 1 Kgs 16:34; 2 Kgs 3:27; 1
Chr 1:29; 2:3, 13, 25, 27, 42, 50; 3:1, 15; 4:4; 5:1, 3, 12; 6:28; 8:1,
30, 38f; 9:5, 31, 36, 44; 26:2, 4, 6, 10; 2 Chr 21:3; Neh 10:36; Ps
78:51; 89:27; 105:36; 135:8; 136:10; Jer 31:9; Ezek 44:30; Mic 6:7; Zech
Jesus is called “the first-born of the dead,” even though He was not the
first person to be resurrected chronologically. Of all ever raised, He
is the preeminent One. Here in Romans 8:29 Jesus is the first-born in
relation to the church. In all these uses, the first-born clearly
means highest in rank, not first created.