As a young believer, I struggled with Paul's words in these two verses. I was easily confused when the doctrine of predestination crossed my path. I knew that my Heavenly Father would not want His child to be confused as to where she rested in His family. After all, I would not want my child to wonder if he truly was part of my family or not - or in the family one day then out of the family the next because of something he did wrong. It was then that the Lord began to reveal His Word to me - teaching me as He used my earthly family as His teaching tool and related it with the Scriptures. He revealed to me how I rested in His Kingdom. When we view our relationship with our earthly family, it is easier to see how God has carved out our place in Heaven. It was then that the Word of God finally etched my eternal security deep into my heart and I knew that my place in Heaven was securely held by Him.
In these two verses in Romans 8, we see that God has outlined five things that He did for us. The number five is the number used for grace. Oh what glorious grace is found in these two verses! Join me in the blessing:
(1) He did foreknow: Romans 8:28 shows me that God knew me from the beginning - He did foreknow. The Word of God reveals the complicated issues of life with its own words. When we are confused about a passage, we can find our answers in other passages. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psa 139:16) God knew from the beginning that Kate was going to be His child on April 1, 1980.
(2) He did predestinate: Jesus knew from the beginning that His role was to include redeeming the lost. Yet He came willingly and died willingly for our sins. The redemption story is seen throughout the Word of God and is called the Scarlet Thread of Redemption. What an awesome study that is and promises a blessing to anyone who decides to dig deeper. The first mention in the Word that a Redeemer would be needed is found in the oldest penned book of the Bible. For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (Job 19:25) Another passage in Genesis gives the promise of a Saviour. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:15) How precious it is when the Christian meditates on and realizes that Jesus knew from the beginning that His creation was going to need Him to leave His royal place, take on a pauper's existance, die and take the penalty for the sins of all mankind on His sinless body. He knew from the beginning yet He still went through with it! He knew He was going to be stabbed. He knew from the beginning that He was going to have His beard plucked out. He knew from the beginning that His creation was going to reject Him and mock Him. All this He did so He could be the first born - the first to experience the resurrection! All this so that we could receive this new life as well! Oh my! Does this not place you on shouting grounds? I know it surely does for me! Those who believe on His Name, repent and are saved were known from the beginning of time. Even the lost are known. It does not mean that God had predestined us to be saved and others not to be. It means that God knew us from the beginning.
(3) He did call: The next verse continues to bless - it does not stop there! The Word says that not only did He know from the beginning that a Saviour was needed and that I would need this Saviour, but He called me. Christian, are you not excited? The sentence could have ended after "whom he did predestinate" but it did not. God gives us all an opportunity to make up our own minds. He does not force Himself on us but calls us. This very verse proves the false doctrine of predestination all wrong. That false doctrine says I have no say so. But they fail to read further. It is up to us to answer when Jesus calls. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20) (emphasis mine). Notice who opens the door! God does not open the door in this verse - we open the door. I love this verse! Many use it for salvation but I also see it in another light. Notice that Jesus will come and have a meal with us? This is an intimate relationship. You don't just have anyone into your home to sit at a meal with you. Usually, people who enter your home have a close relationship with you. This totally blessed me! My Precious Saviour is my intimate Friend. He told us in His Word to what extent He would take His friendship. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 Jo 3:16) Thank You, Lord!
(4) He did justify: Those that God called, those that allowed Him in, are justified by the very death of our Saviour! Noah Webster has the best definition for the word justify:
2. In theology, to pardon and clear from guilt; to absolve or acquit from guilt and merited punishment, and to accept as righteous on account of the merits of the Savior, or by the application of Christ's atonement to the offender.
1 a: to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable b (1): to show to have had a sufficient legal reason (2): to qualify (oneself) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property. 2(a) archaic : to administer justice to (b)archaic : absolve (c): to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation
(5) Lastly, He also glorified: Noah Webster defined the word glorify in this verse as:
2. To make glorious; to exalt to glory, or to celestial happiness.
I think the best Internet story that went around was the allegory by Dennis Hensley about a father having to sacrifice his own son to save people on a train. I wanted to add it here for those who have never seen it.
To Sacrifice a Son - An Allegory
by Dennis E. Hensley
There was once a bridge which spanned a large river. During most of the day the bridge sat with its length running up and down the river paralleled with the banks, allowing ships to pass through freely on both sides of the bridge. But at certain times each day, a train would come along and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river, allowing a train to cross it.
A switchman sat in a shack on one side of the river where he operated the controls to turn the bridge and lock it into place as the train crossed. One evening as the switchman was waiting for the last train of the day to come, he looked off into the distance through the dimming twilight and caught sight of the train lights. He stepped onto the control and waited until the train was within a prescribed distance when he was about to turn the bridge. He turned the bridge into position, but, to his horror, he found the locking control did not work. If the bridge was not securely in position, it would wobble back and forth at the ends when the train came onto it, causing the train to jump the track and go crashing into the river. This would be a passenger train with many people aboard.
He left the bridge turned across the river, and hurried across the bridge to the other side of the river, where there was a lever switch he could hold to operate the lock manually. He would have to hold the lever back firmly as the train crossed. He could hear the rumble of the train now, and he took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply his weight to it, locking the bridge. He kept applying the pressure to keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man's strength.
Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he heard a sound that made his blood run cold. "Daddy, where are you?" His four-year-old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run! Run!" But the train was too close; the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost left his lever to run and snatch up his son and carry him to safety. But he realized that he could not get back to the lever. Either the people on the train or his little son must die.
He took a moment to make his decision. The train sped safely and swiftly on its way, and no one aboard was even aware of the tiny broken body thrown mercilessly into the river by the onrushing train. Nor were they aware of the pitiful figure of the sobbing man, still clinging tightly to the locking lever long after the train had passed. They did not see him walking home more slowly than he had ever walked; to tell his wife how their son had brutally died.
Now if you comprehend the emotions which went through this man's heart, you can begin to understand the feelings of our Father in Heaven when He sacrificed His Son to bridge the gap between us and eternal life. Can there be any wonder that He caused the earth to tremble and the skies to darken when His son died? How does He feel when we speed along through life without giving a thought to what was done for us through Jesus Christ?
When was the last time you thanked Him for the sacrifice of His Son?
Devotional by Kate Plourde
60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible