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Predestined to be Conformed to Christ


The second golden link in the chain of salvation is predestination.

Like foreknowledge, predestination is one of those Biblical doctrines that provokes many a discussion, but when accepted becomes a great source of assurance of salvation.

It may not seem like all things are working together when we look at our circumstances, but when we get eternity into the picture it all comes together and we see God at work. He is behind the scenes accomplishing His eternal purpose.

Charles Hodge said, “Believers are called in accordance with a settled plan and purpose of God, for whom He calls He had previously predestinated.” God is at work causing all things to work together for good to those who love God, for the plan of God cannot fail.

The apostle Paul increases our understanding of the “purpose” in Romans 8:28 in the following verses. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

It is a continued confirmation of the truth Paul has been expounding that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God. It accomplishes His eternal purpose in our lives.

John Murray says, “the foreknowledge means ‘whom He set His regard upon’ or ‘whom He knew from eternity with distinguishing affection and delight’ is virtually equivalent to ‘whom He foreloved.’”

F. F. Bruce notes, “whom He did foreknow” has “the connotation of God’s electing grace.” “When God takes knowledge of people in this special way, He sets His choice upon them.”

Those whom God foreknew, He also predestined “carries the believer onward to the final consummation of God’s purpose in respect to Him.” God will conform the believer to the image of His Son. God has decided upon that great event beforehand. 

It is God's eternal purpose that the believer ultimately become conformed morally and spiritually in character to the likeness of Christ Jesus. We have been predestined as Christians to be like God’s Son in character and destiny. Christ is the perfect pattern of character, form, of glorification in body and sanctification of spirit of the believer. God has destined us to be conformed to Christ when we are glorified with Him. This will take place at the consummation when the final and complete conformity of resurrection glory. We will be glorified as our Lord is glorified.

God has chosen some people to be conformed to the character of Jesus Christ. Our salvation has its origin in the mind of God in eternity past.

This is what predestination is all about. It informs us of the grand destination to which the chosen of God are appointed. God has fixed His distinguishing love on us and appointed us “to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” The golden chain of salvation tells how God does it.

God horizoned, “marked off,” certain people by taking them out of one category and putting them in another which is the circle of His saving grace that they might be a people who reflect the character of His Son.

God in infinite wisdom has marked out a particular destiny for the believer. The destiny God has preordained is for the believer to be made like Jesus Christ.

That should not frighten any Christian. Indeed, it should give great assurance of God’s eternal love, assurance of eternal life and the preservation of the saints. How strange that we allow modern man to determine what God can or cannot do. How arrogant to think we must give God permission to accomplish our eternal destiny.

God the Creator and Redeemer is the author of our salvation and that from beginning to end. Paul is saying God initiates the whole process.

God’s foreknowledge of a chosen people and His predestination of them to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ is one of the greatest promises to suffering Christians in every generation.

Our eternal salvation will not fail. We are secure in Christ because God has determined the specific destiny of those He previously decided in eternity should be conformed to Christ Jesus. Election and predestination are intimately related in the accomplishment of our salvation.

Have you been predestinated? If you have been born again spiritually and are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ you have been predestinated according to the Bible.

If my eternal destiny depended upon me I would be in a hopeless situation. But praise God. It does not depend upon me, but upon our great God and Savior Jesus Christ! I am "chosen in Him" for eternal life. He determined in eternity before the foundation of the world to persevere with me until that day.



Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006





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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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