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Romans 8


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#1 Anastasis

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 01:52 PM

Evangelion wrote this:

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.

Paul speaks here about a group of people whom God foreknew. Of course, since God is omnipotent He foreknew everybody, but here Paul is referring specifically to this particular group

He then goes on to tell us that these people...

...are people whom God called.
...are people whom God justified.
...are people whom God glorified.

But before all of this, he tells us that God predestinated these people to be conformed to the image of His Son.

This language can be disturbing if we don't take care to examine the context carefully. For it is just as important to recognise what Paul doesn't say, as it is to recognise what he does say.

Paul does not tell us that these people were predestinated to be called. Paul does not tell us that these people were predestinated to be justified. Paul does not tell us that these people were predestinated to be glorified.

All he tells us is that they were predestinated to be conformed to the image of God's Son.

What follows in verse 30 therefore, is a list of the reasons why they were predestinated to be conformed to the image of God's Son. And when we read those reasons, we understand why that is: it's because these are faithful Christians.

In other words, Paul is saying that any Christian who remains faithful to God after being called, will be conformed to the image of His Son. Paul is reassuring his readers that they will receive the promised reward for faithful service, so long as they remain faithful.

We find the same message in other passages:

II Timothy 4:8
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

All of these verses present the same basic message as Romans 8:29-30 - the only major difference is that they don't use the word "predestinated", which has thrown you into a bit of a spin.

So don't be put off by Paul's use of that word, because he's using it in a perfectly legitimate way.

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:

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body...

Finally, from the Commentary of B. W. Johnson:
For whom he foreknew, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.
To foreknow and to predestinate are not the same thing. One is an act of foreknowledge, or knowing something before it occurs; the other is to decree something. We only have knowledge of the past, but God foresees the future even as he sees the past; foresees it, not because he has decreed it, but because there are no limitations on his knowledge.

Augustine says: "There can be no predestination without foreknowledge; but there can be foreknowledge without predestination."

Whom does God foreknow? Those who shall love God. As he looked into the future these were present to his mind; foreknown.

What did he predestinate of them? Not that they should love God. Not that they should believe; nor that some should be saved and others damned; but that those who he saw beforehand would love God, should be conformed to the image of his Son.

The only thing predestinated, or foreordained, is that those who love God as revealed in Christ shall become Christlike in life, and like Christ in eternity. This is the only decree in the passage.


"This language can be disturbing if we don't take care to examine the context carefully" - God's sovereignity disturbing? Well, it's here to stay in any case :coffee:.

Ev's writing does not seem especially Christadelphian to me. All free will believers could write similar stuff. The most noteworthy highlights are:

Paul does not tell us that these people were predestinated to be called. Paul does not tell us that these people were predestinated to be justified. Paul does not tell us that these people were predestinated to be glorified.


To which I respond:

Let's take it one more time. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son" - with me so far?

"Moreover whom he did predestinate" -do we agree these are the same as the ones he foreknew??! "them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." - where did the party change? It's the same from start to end.

The other highligh is the appeal to verses that seems so say something else:

II Timothy 4:8
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.


Here we are asked to leave the safe ground of believing the Bible and rather read in a human objection to this. Like the serpent asked Eve to question God's sovereignity (rather than saying "God's right" as though God is a creature needing to have rights) to decide, all free will believers ask us to believe that since some are asked to endure, then God descision must bow to the outcome of the great IF they read in here. IF you overcome, then God's descision will come to pass! Well good luck believing in the salvation of such a god! It MAY come to pass, IF he succeeds and IF you give him a hand. Are you offended? Well, maybe you see it now.

Here is however a couple of verses for good works objections, showing that the works of men depend on God, not man;

Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

ps.: such verses mean what they say. If you make those verses you like contradict these, then you are not dividing the Word correctly.

We are nothing but clay.


Final highlight is this:

To foreknow and to predestinate are not the same thing. One is an act of foreknowledge, or knowing something before it occurs; the other is to decree something. We only have knowledge of the past, but God foresees the future even as he sees the past; foresees it, not because he has decreed it, but because there are no limitations on his knowledge.


"foresees it, not because he has decreed it, but because there are no limitations on his knowledge." What gobbledygook! All of us being exposed to free will have been taught to swallow this fairytale. How does this work? Does God call on the mighty nebula forces of chaos and the galatic overlord and ask for their great crystal ball to look in? These are the sources of such a doctrine.

Alternatively the Bible offers the solution:

Hebrews 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Isaiah 46:10 - Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:


Could it be that the work has been finished from the foundation of the world?

Pray tell, could this verse REALLY MEAN WHAT IT SAYS:

1 Cor 8v6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.


I think so.

Edited by Anastasis, 06 December 2004 - 01:56 PM.


#2 Socinian_*

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 05:26 PM

Here's a quick, but not complete, answer to the apparent difficulty.

Can God predestinate a group to a certain future condition, while leaving the individual free to choose to be a member of that group?

The elevator/lift will go up no matter what you do. You choose to be in the elevator/lift or not.

Free will is a choice of options from within constraints. If a doctor gives me a general anesthetic, so I can do nothing myself, does that mean I never had free will? Does he have power over free will and predistination? Have I had the ability to do good stolen from me? How about when I sleep? How about when I dream?

#3 scitsofreaky_*

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 12:16 AM

Here's a quick, but not complete, answer to the apparent difficulty.

Can God predestinate a group to a certain future condition, while leaving the individual free to choose to be a member of that group?

The elevator/lift will go up no matter what you do. You choose to be in the elevator/lift or not.

Free will is a choice of options from within constraints. If a doctor gives me a general anesthetic, so I can do nothing myself, does that mean I never had free will? Does he have power over free will and predistination? Have I had the ability to do good stolen from me? How about when I sleep? How about when I dream?

Well, if the combined result of their actions is predetermined, then isn't it really predetermination?

#4 Adanac

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 12:50 AM

To figure out how predestination works it is helpful to look at 2 passages. Firstly Acts 4:

24  And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25  Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.


The phrase "determined before" is the same Greek word for predestination. It appears here that Herod et al were predestined to put Christ to death. One might come to the conclusion that they had no choice in the matter.

However, look at what the apostles are doing here. They quote from Psalm 2 which is a prophecy fulfilled by Herod, Pilate and the Jews. Bearing that in mind here is the 2nd passage in 1 Corinthians 2:

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.


The "mystery" that the New Testament speaks of on various occasions is really no mystery at all. In each case it is simply a secret that is revealed and that secret was already there in the Old Testament Scriptures for all to read. For instance, in Ephesians 3 the mystery is that the gospel should go out to the Gentiles. That was only a mystery to the Jews who read the Old Testament with a veil on. But numerous quotations by the Apostles throughout the New Testament from the Old Testament that show the gospel would go out to the Gentiles prove the nature of this mystery.

So here in Corinthians. The mystery, or hidden wisdom, is found in such places as Psalm 2. What Paul says here is that if Herod, Pilate and the Jews had cared to read Psalm 2 and other passages of the Old Testament they would not have crucified Jesus. Somebody else would have done it, because Psalm 2 was a prophecy and God's word always comes to pass. So it is not that God said "Herod and Pilate will deliver Jesus up" but that Herod and Pilate were the ones who aligned themselves with Psalm 2 in order for it to be fulfilled.

In fact the Scriptures, far from creating a Calvinistic view of God's purpose, liberate those who have ears to hear and give them free will. Having come to an understanding of God's word the believer is no longer shackled by sin. Sin does not rule over him, taking him captive and telling him what to do. Instead the believer develops a conscience and a spiritual mind in which he has the choice to align himself with God's purpose, and hence join in the throng of believers who are, in that sense, predestined to salvation, or align himself with the way of the world.




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