29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
He also predestined
Paul distinguished between the ideas of God’s foreknowing and His predestining by using separate words. One deals with God’s universal knowledge of everything that will happen, and the other designates what will happen.
1 Co 2:7, But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
Eph 1:5, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
God is the cause of predestination. Jesus is the foundation of predestination, for our adoption. The means is our calling and justification. The ultimate end is our glorification.
The Greek word “predestined” means to mark out a boundary beforehand and comes from two words, “before” and “to mark out.” The “before” indicates eternity past. The issue of this passage is not election to salvation but the conforming of the believer in glorification to be like Christ. God has foreordained that Christians will be exactly like Christ. Predestination here means to be marked out beforehand to be like Christ in glory.
God’s eternal decree distinguishes between God as the remote cause and man as the immediate cause; this is the distinction between God’s compelling decrees and His permissive decrees. We can contrast what God permits and what He foreordains. If God is sovereign, we cannot deny that He planned human freedom and manages its limits under His sovereignty.
Since there is permission of human will in God’s decree, mankind is responsible for his negative volition toward God. This is what we mean by “concursus” (God’s concurring with our will, not our sin). Both God and man are actively and simultaneously involved in the process. We are able to act freely within God’s larger control. If we deny foreordination, then we assert that God is not in control of all things. Yet God does not impose His will arbitrarily.
Is 46:10, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’
Eph 1:11, In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
God’s concursus means that He does not leave man to absolute free will but to His sovereign control of situations around that decision.
Concursus is part of God’s providence. Providence is God’s working out of His plan for the world. God sovereignly controls the events of the world so that His creation heads toward His ultimate purpose—His own glory.
God predetermined beforehand the believer’s destiny of being conformed into the image of Christ. Predestination guarantees the certainty of free acts. There is a difference between the remote cause (God) of our acts and the immediate cause (ourselves). The future of all events (foreknowledge) depends on God because nothing is outside His sovereignty and control.