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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

Predestination means that people do not have absolute but rather relative free will. They have limited free will within what God concurs (concursus). God is in sovereign control of the process of bringing saints to glory. God controls the whole course of action, not just a part of it. He initiates it and manages it step-by-step.

God does not leave it to caprice and to the sole arbitrary choice of man. It is a divine plan that is comprehensive from beginning to end. God “draws” all men to Himself (Jn 6:44). The Holy Spirit “convicts” people of their disbelief (Jn 16:8). The whole process is by grace (God doing the doing) and by faith alone (man accepting God’s grace by faith).

Foreknowledge and predestination are the parts of God’s eternal plan whereby He manages the processes of that plan. From the human standpoint we view this as a sequence, but technically God does not think or act in sequence. He does not have foreknowledge or after-knowledge. He knows all things at all points at once or simultaneously.

“Foreknowledge” is a term accommodated to human understanding. God understands the past, present, and future all at once. The finite mind cannot and never will completely understand the mind of God. Therefore, God’s decree was simultaneous from His perspective. God foresees faith and He manages events, people, and situations so that the individual has maximum opportunity to believe.

The object of predestination is not fate, as if God predetermined who would believe. The object of predestination in this passage is the believer’s glorification where He will be made like Christ by God Himself. Predestination embraces likeness of the Son in our glorification.


God predestined the end (glorification) not the means of salvation.


Salvation is conditional on the exercise of faith. There is no merit in faith, as some like to say. “To believe” is a transitive verb. A transitive verb requires an object. It is the object, not our faith, that saves us. Faith is simply the non-meritorious means of our trust in the object of the finished work of Christ on the cross for salvation.

God predestines all believers to heaven, but He does not predestine them to become believers. Salvation is conditional on the exercise of faith.

“Predestination” does not mean that God forces us into an action. The idea of predestination is that when God saves a soul, He sees its salvation through to the end (glorification). He determines that we will get to glory and be glorified.

God decreed to do something Himself; these are “immediate” actions, such as the creation itself. The other aspect to His decree is “mediate” whereby He allows other agencies, such as the free will of man, to perform. God will accomplish His ends through these “mediate” means; we call this a secondary cause under the principle of necessity. All events in the decree are certain even through there are secondary causes.

We must distinguish between the decree of God and the desire of God. This distinction must be made between the decree of God and the laws of God (set up for human will). There is a distinction between decree and human freedom. God concurs with some things and other things we attribute to the immediate agency of God.