God, Can You Really Work This Out for Good? | Romans 8:29
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
One of the “hottest” words in Scripture—predestined—is found in our passage today. Some run with this truth to places they should never go. For instance, there are those who eliminate evangelism. “Why share the gospel if God has predestined people,” they reason. Others dispense with discipleship because as one once told me “I just give those who profess a bunch of good books. If they are truly believers they will be motivated to read and grow on their own.” So let’s look at our passage in two ways.
On the one hand, this passage speaks of God’s intimate knowledge and plan for us. One commentator says it well: It is the plan of sovereign saving grace, entitling all who now believe to trace their faith and salvation back to an eternal decision by God to bring them to glory and to look forward to that glory as a guaranteed certainly (R. C. Sproul). Salvation, the Bible says clearly, is of the Lord from eternity past to eternity future. And at the same time, we are held responsible to believe and share the Gospel. Those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). And Paul is quick to add: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10:14)
So we have two truths—God’s foreknowledge and predestination and our responsibility to share the truth. So as you enter the gates of heaven you see the words I have quoted above from Romans 10:13. When you enter in and look at the other side of the gate you see your name already written on it. The great theologian J. I. Packer calls this an antinomy—the parallel truths that seemingly contradict, but never do. He says accept it and move on. That’s exactly what we must do.
Father, help me to understand from this passage Your intimate love for Your children. May I surrender by lack of full comprehension to Your omniscience and my limited knowledge.