Romans 8:29-30 NIV
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
First of all, do not get hung up on the word “predestined”
God did not and does not single out individuals to be saved, while condemning all others to eternal damnation. That simply would not be our Heavenly Father.
The Asbury Bible Commentary explains it well, and addresses this point as follows:
“The word predestined (prohorizō) occurs in vv.29-30. This has been misinterpreted to mean that God arbitrarily determined in advance certain individuals to be saved. This, however, is not the meaning of the word. This word occurs six times in the NT: Ac 4:28; Ro 8:29, 30; 1Co 2:7; and Eph 1:5, 11. In all other occurrences, the context indicates clearly that it has to do with the plan, the design, the condition of some event, or salvation. It is also so used here (Murray, 1:318). Those who participate in salvation are those who love God. They are called according to God’s purpose (prothesis, v.28). In the entire NT when purpose (prothesis) is used of God, it has to do with the plan, the design, or the condition of some event, never with certain persons. God’s purpose regarding salvation is that all be saved and none be lost (1Ti 2:4; Tit 2:11; 2Pe 3:9). The call is the invitation addressed by God to all human beings. It is inclusive, not exclusive.” Asbury Bible Commentary Copyright © 1992 by The Zondervan Corporation.
Thank God for the cross and for the sacrifice that Jesus made so that we might be saved.
This sacrifice (plan of salvation) was planned by God before the foundation of the world.
At His appointed time, after the eras of “Pre-Old Covenant” and “Old Covenant”, God would initiate His “New Covenant” with humankind.
Before the creation of the world, God had mapped it all out.
He had chosen the design of His “New Covenant” plan, whereby anyone who chooses, can be reconciled with Him, through the blood of His Son, Jesus.
No more “Old Covenant” law. No more animal sacrifices. No more priestly intercession for atonement of our sins.
Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[a] predestined us for adoption to sonship[b] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Again, don’t get concerned about God choosing us before the creation of the world. He did not choose individuals who would be saved, but rather He chose the design and plan (the cross of calvary, where His only begotten son would die), that whosoever would believe in Him, would be chosen and saved. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved”…it is OUR decision, as we have free will to choose or not to choose.
Conformed To The Image of Christ
Let us now get to the primary focus of this lesson.
We believers, called Christians, are to conform to the image and conduct of our Lord and Savior.
We are not to be conformed to this world. We are to be different, or set apart, so that the “world” can see that we are not of this world.
Romans 12:2 NIV
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This in no way implies that we become “perfect”, for Jesus alone was without sin.
It does mean that we are to live a holy life and apply the teachings of Jesus to our daily conduct.
Here in the book of Romans, Paul is proclaiming what God has intended from the beginning, regarding His children and followers of Jesus.
We Christians are to be a reflection of the very being of Jesus.
He is the light of the world and we are His subsequent lights on earth.
We are to reflect the very image and character of Jesus in all of our words, actions and deeds.
Through our mountain top experiences as well as our valley/trial experiences, we are to conform to the image of Christ.
We Christians are a continual work in progress.
We are not conformed to the image of Christ when we first accept Him as Savior, but we grow spiritually into this over time.
Some faster than others.
So, in closing, let’s take another look in our “spiritual mirror” and ask ourselves the questions, “Do people in my small circle of the world, see Jesus in me?” and “Not just sometimes, but ALL of the time?”
Hopefully, the answers to both questions are “yes.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.