“ For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30) Romans 8:28 contains a precious promise to a specific group of people, the characteristics of which are: 1) They love God, and 2) they are called according to His (God’s) purpose. This promise is rooted in God’s sovereignty, i.e., He causes all things to work together for them. Here, in giving us one of the most precious verses in all of scripture, Paul sets the stage by recognizing that God causes all things to happen; things perceived by us as both good and bad, for our own good. Not only does He cause them to happen; He causes them to happen in such a way that they “work together” to accomplish His purpose. Sickness, trials, victories, accomplishments, failures, events resulting in despair, joy, bewilderment, fear, sadness, grief, sorrow, rejoicing, praise, comfort and conviction all are orchestrated and brought about by God for our own good. As are the things which work to bring about our salvation. Verse 29 also addresses a specific group of people; those whom He foreknew. The typical non-calvinist identifies this group as those whom God, looking forward from eternity past, saw accepting His son. He saw their acceptance of Him, so that became the basis of His choosing: He “chose” them. The text does not support this argument. Upon casual reading it may appear so, but careful reading shows otherwise. God “foreknew” those that “were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” He literally knew before. That goes beyond stating that He knew certain facts, such as whether or not we would accept Christ. It means that He knew us deeply. He knew all our sin, rebellion, misery and unworthiness---yet He loved us. He knew that we were at enmity with Him, that we were self-righteous and hard of heart. That’s how He knew us. Verse 29 further states that He predestined us to something; conformity to the image of His Son. This predestining includes the means by which we would ultimately be brought to the desired end, for if we were left to our own means and efforts we would certainly fall miserably short (for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God). It also states a glorious purpose to the predestining, that Jesus would be the firstborn among many brethren. All of which is the gift of the Father to the Son to allow sinful men to behold the infinite glory of the triune Godhead. Verse 30 tells us more about the predestined, that He called them. It doesn’t say that He also called those who weren’t predestined, only that the predestined were called. Could those who were not predestined have also been called? I will admit that if it can be shown from the text that those who were not predestined were also called, then weight would certainly be given to the argument that God’s foreknowledge is merely rooted in His knowing certain facts about us. But who are these who in the end are ultimately glorified? Answer: These whom He justified. And who are these whom He justified? Answer: These whom He called? And who are the called but these whom He predestined? To say that all the called are not justified is to say that all the justified are not glorified! That does a radical injustice to the text. The text is clear—all the justified are glorified, all the called are justified, all the predestined are called. If we have a view that God owes everyone an equal chance at salvation, that He predestined based on knowledge of certain facts or that He issues His “call” to all, yet sovereignly imparts the gift of faith to none apart from human cooperation—The we break the chain of salvation! Salvation (justification and ultimately glorification) cannot be based on foreknowledge that merely consists of God knowing certain facts. He does know them; in fact He knows everything about us, but thus cannot be the grounds of His predestination. His purpose is grounded in His deep, intimate “foreknowledge” of us. He initiated the relationship, not us. He brings us, in the context of our lives, through events, circumstances and the hearing of the gospel to a place of conversion and faith in Him. He foreknew us. He predestined us. He called and justified us. Our glorification rests on this, so we have hope and persevere to the end. No one will stand in God’s presence and claim merit based on anything they did. “I prayed the sinner’s prayer” won’t cut it. “I accepted Jesus” won’t do when the emphasis is on what “I” have done. The only acceptable answer will be “Jesus died to pay the penalty for my sins, and He imputed His righteousness to my account in His sinless life.” To God alone be all glory.