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
Salvation was part of God’s eternal plan (decree); He predestined those He foreknew. Predestination is limited to those foreknown. A decree is God’s eternal plan. It expresses His eternal, wise, and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, courses, successions, and relations. This plan determines His decree to come to certain futurition.
Some interpret “foreknew” as God foreseeing in advance those who would believe. They want to argue that God does not arbitrarily save some and not others. However, “foreknowledge” and “predestination” are almost synonyms. The latter term stresses the preordained plan (Acts 4:27-28; 1 Co 2:7; Eph 1:5,11).
The Bible never says that the unbeliever is predestined. The unbeliever always chooses his own destiny. Predestination has to do with what God will do to the believer—conform him into the image of Christ.
In Acts 2:23 the Father is the subject, and the object is Jesus’ death in the Father’s determined plan. God’s set purpose from eternity was that Jesus would die on the cross for our sins. God foreknew that Judas and Herod would betray Him. This is God’s direct decree rather than His permissive decree.
1 Pe 1: 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied….
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
God’s decree guarantees the certainty that believers will be glorified into Christ’s image.
The decree is the complete and consummated right of the sovereignty of God to determine the certain futurition of all things. God has rights because He is absolute. He, therefore, has exercised this right to make all things certain. Because God cannot contradict His own nature, the essence and attributes of God necessitated His willing the highest and best for mankind.
No event is directly effected or caused by the decree. The decree merely establishes what will be caused, but the decree itself is not the cause. The cause may be, for example, the free will of an individual. The cause of some events is the free will of man but this, on the other hand, does not mean that man’s will is beyond God’s control (that man can cause things that are not in the divine decrees). God has decided in eternity past what human beings would be like: we would be rational creatures with free will. Our souls would have self-consciousness.
God’s decree includes every aspect of time; it is all-comprehensive and eternal. That decree is one all-inclusive purpose concerning all that ever was or will be. The decree originated entirely within God Himself and will succeed in its purpose. The decree guarantees certainty; it is certain because omniscience always knew that these things would occur under the circumstances of the particular moment in history. Everything in the decree is simultaneous from God’s viewpoint. God’s plan includes all imperfect persons but He maintains His integrity with them through His grace principle. The decree is unchangeable because it only deals with reality. His decree includes ends as well as means, causes as well as effects, conditions and instrumentalities as well as the events which depend on them.