GOD PREPARES FOR THE SAINTS
ACCORDING TO HIS FOREKNOWLEDGE
By Marcus Lind
With this confidence We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose'' (Romans 8:28). The eternal good of the believer is the viewpoint of Romans 8:28. This verse, quoted possibly more often than any other to comfort the afflicted and bereaved, is usually torn ruthlessly out of its setting with the thought that a present good is to be shortly forthcoming. But such interpretation misses the main point. The present is confirmed by a hope that embodies the true joy of expectation. It relates to the eternal good of the believer. Hope is realized finally with fulfillment of adoption claims at the terminal point of the ages when in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God!" (v. 28 Phillips).
In verse 29 God gives us a glimpse of the fathomless magnitude of His knowledge. We soon become lost in the attempt to analyze His thinking. Omniscience is simply beyond our mortal comprehension.
Also we have here the doctrine of predestination associated with the adoption of Sons. To understand it we must consider the timelessness of God. He has no past, present and future as we have, but is one great eternal present, which makes the future as easy and as knowable as the past. That makes all the difference, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate . . . . Predestination is always according to foreknowledge. Otherwise the teaching is heresy. Without the guidance of foreknowledge, predestination would be fatalistic because it would deprive man of his powers of free choice. God does not violate the free moral agency of man. He ever sets before man life and death, but lets man do the choosing between them. Therefore His act of predestination foretells conduct, but does not determine it. On the contrary, mans conduct does determine how God predestinates.
"Whosoever will may come" (Rev. 22:17). Whosoever Sister Elvera invited eight guests to a Sunday dinner. will But on Saturday evening she was informed that only may four of them would be there. Do you suppose Elvera come set eight extra plates when she knew before-hand that only four guests would be present? Indeed not. Neither does God prepare for other than His sons, but only for those whom He knows will arrive. There is never any waste in God's total plan. On that basis, with infinite foreknowledge, He foretells (not foredetermines) the eternal destiny of the believing body of redeemed souls. But, inasmuch as that body is composed of individuals, this would also involve the destiny of each individual composing it.
God has a perfect model for His children to follow. They are conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." The Lord's ultimate goal for man is that he should become a son of God, much the same in essence as His only begotten Son. The Lord Jesus is the firstborn among many others, the redeemed, who receive sonship status through Him, the only begotten of the Father.They shall be called the sons of God (1 John 3:2).
Does this mean that mortal men shall become complete equals with Christ? Hardly. It says in our text that 'they shall be conformed to his image. Though an image of the very Christ of God, yet wily an image. The Person is always greater than His image.
Listed in verse 29 and 30 are five steps to this glorified sonship with Christ: foreknow, predestinate, called, justified, glorified. We discussed foreknow and predestinate. Those pre- calling destined He also "called" But a call is effective only as of there is response. It is a two-way proposition. A call does saints not compel, else it is not a call, It is an appeal for response, but not the response itself I call my sleepy boy every morning from his bed. I hear his reply and await his response, but the matter rests with him either to react or to respond to my call. The call is my part, but the response is his part. The free will of the individual is implied by a call, else it is not really a call.
Those who are called of God He justifies - that act of God whereby the guilty are declared to be righteous and the direct ground for the glorification of saints into the very image of the Lord Jesus himself Notice that these five acts, from foreknowledge to glorification, are all acts of God as He leads the believer step by step nearer to Himself Yet they depend also on the receptivity and response of the believer. Also there is no such thing as missing one of the steps because each must logically precede the step that follows it. They play upon that intimacy of Diety with dust which conforms man into the likeness of Christ himself.
Now in the light of God's foreknowledge, predestination calling, justification, and glorification (v. 31), all this and a lot more, ''what shall we say to these things?" With all this persuading that we should be "conformed to the image of His Son," is there any doubt or question whether God is for us? And if He has proven by all this array of evidence to be favoring us, then who can possibly be against us?
The above is from Marcus Lind's book, The Gospel of God Expounded (Romans), pages 125-8. Copyright 1981 by Marcus Lind, Salem, Oregon. Brother Lind has gone to be with Lord, and if one desires a copy of this book, please contact Biblical Viewpoint Publication.
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