I am not sure if you still believe the same thing, almost ten years on, but I think your argument is flawed.
Romans 8:29-30 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
Firstly, this verse does not separate one group of people from another. The only way in which it does is by implication, and we all know all too well that implication is in the eye of the beholder.
You stated that God was omnipotent, and that he foreknew everybody. Taking this (if it is truth), and combining it with the clause “... whom he did foreknow...”, unless you're adding words, he can only be referring to everybody. This is stepping over to Universalism, which is a different (but very much related) subject.
But lets ignore, for now, who he is talking about, and focus on the predestination part. Whomever it was that he foreknew, them also did he predestine. I will define the terms before I go on.
Foreknow: To know in advance. Not as a prediction, but as an absolute truth. To know what will happen (without possibility of it happening differently).
Predestine: To determine (an outcome or course of events) in advance. (And in the case of God, what he determines, he will also do (Isa 46:10).)
(Let me know if you disagree with these definitions.)
Now, there are a couple of ways to look at this: does he a) predestinate because he first foreknew, or b) foreknow because he first predestinated. The only logical answer to that, in my mind, is the latter, because, in order to foreknow something, it has to be going to happen already before you can know it, and if you then predestine based on that foreknowledge, you are either changing what will happen, or making happen what was already going to happen anyway, all the while changing what is to be foreknown... It's a paradox.
So if the statement is true – that who we foreknew, he also predestinated – it only makes sense that he first predestined them, and, because of that predestination, he also knows that it will happen.
From this we can, hopefully, be sure that those who will be conformed to the image of God's son, will be so because God predestined it to be so. Which is no more, nor less, than the verse is literally saying, and you agreed with that. Though, in the second verse, your logic faltered. You stated that verse 30 was a “list of the reasons why they were predestinated to be conformed to the image of God's Son”. That boggled my mind, frankly.
“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
Every single part of this verse is talking about something that God does. He predestined, he called, he justified, and glorified. Not one of those things are done by man. We do not predestine ourselves, we do not call ourselves, we do not justify ourselves, nor glorify ourselves. I'm not quite sure how this becomes a list of reasons why we are predestined, in your mind. You might say that we must respond to the call, though, the verse does not speak to this.
In the three verses you quoted - 2 Timothy 4:8, 1 Peter 5:4, and James 1:12 – I gather these two basic points,
1) We receive this “crown of glory” from God, and
2) It was promised to them that love him, and love his appearing.
The first is obvious; the second is where the controversy comes in. The most common assertion in any (and perhaps close to all) religion, is that God “gives us the crown of glory” because of the fact that we have loved him. That is, that it is up to us to play our part in order to get it. The problem with this theory is that it flips the 'foreknow' 'round in front of the 'predestine'. That is, God looks to see if we will love him in the future, and then makes a decision based on that. Which, of course, can only mean that there is something already in motion before God predestines anything. This does not sit right with me. So what is the alternative?
If God has predestined someone to be conformed to the image of his son, and if that can only happen if he/she loves him, then surely our loving is part of God's predestination. It makes sense to me, considering that God, alone, is good, and love, and we can not please him of ourselves.
And, of course, this message is found very often in the scriptures. For example:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Eph_1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Rom 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
Rom 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Rom 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
He's simply saying that if you continue to live as a faithful Christian, you are predestinated to receive the image of Christ - not just figuratively (as we do by following Christ's example) but literally, as he tells us in Phippians 3:21:
It is true that those who are predestined to be conformed to his image, will, in fact reflect Christ, but it is not their doing, and the predestination comes before, not after. You cannot say “if such and such, then you are predestinated”; that completely destroys the definition of predestination. “if predestinated, then such and such.” is more correct.
Please justify this claim. I see no reason why free will would limit God's power and will.
Look at it this way: We have the power to choose (or want), but we are bound to choose what we desire. Even if I am an alcoholic, and one day I choose to not drink at all, I am still doing it because I want to; that is, my force of will is more inclined toward not drinking at that particular time. I am still choosing what I desire. (Choice is desire, by definition). We are bound to our desire, it just so happens that our desires tend toward things that are against the law. If you call this freedom, then, yes, we have free will. If not, then we simply have a will.
But freedom, to me, means unbound. An attribute I can only give to God's will. Yes, we can be freed from sin, but we become slaves to God in the process. God is slave to no one and nothing.
Now, if our will can have an effect on God's purpose – an effect that he did not cause – then God has no right to promise anything, nor can he know what will be, nor have power over it. Because at any point, I am able to change his plans by acting out my will, which would be unbound to his sovereignty.
No one can deny that we have a will; we all desire. But as Jesus said “Not my will, but yours, be done.” He wasn't saying “Ok God, you can do what you want now, I wont get in your way.” He was saying that God's will is the will that is done. Our will may happen to align with his from time to time, but it is not our will that is being done, but God's.
We have the power to want, but not the power to make that want happen.
Pro_16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.