Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Foreknown, Predestined, & Called

father and son

By Dennis Pollock

Without any doubt, one of the most popular, the most preached on, the most quoted, the most loved verses in the Bible is found in the eighth chapter of Romans, where Paul declares, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Does there exist a Christian anywhere who has not quoted this verse in prayer, and found great comfort in its profound truth? But most of the time we lift this verse out of its home and pay little attention to the wonderful statements that come on the heels of this profound declaration. In this study we will look at those following verses and discover that their truths are equally encouraging and empowering.

The inspired apostle does not stop with merely telling us that God makes all things work together for our good – he goes on to speak of what God has done for us before we even existed. He first announces something that much of the church would rather not think about: the fact that our salvation was no accident and was pre-known and pre-planned long before it ever happened:

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 (Romans 8:29).

“Whom He foreknew…” – an interesting expression! It would seem that when we said “Yes” to Jesus Christ, God was not the least bit surprised! We were foreknown; we were in the mind of our great Creator before our mothers ever thought of us. In my case I discovered Jesus through reading a small King James Bible in my dormitory room while a sophomore in college. When I took that Bible with me from home and decided, purely out of curiosity (from my perspective) to read it, I had no idea that the God who knew me from my mother’s womb would use it to totally transform my life and reveal His Son in me. Not only had God moved me to read His word and discover His Son; He had been shaping, directing, and controlling my circumstances previous to that so that my heart would be fully prepared and compliant when His Spirit moved in my heart and presented the gospel in such a way as to prove irresistible.

Paul describes his conversion with these powerful words: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me…” (Galatians 1:15-16). God told Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you;
before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). You may be saying, “Sure, that was true for great men like Paul and Jeremiah, but it surely doesn’t apply to an insurance salesman like me.” But if you have truly experienced Jesus Christ you are every bit as much called and foreknown as Paul or Jeremiah!

You Belong!

You are no accident! You are in the family of God because God wanted you in His family! Theologians may debate as to whether God knew in advance that you would yield, or He Himself made you willing to yield, but however you interpret the concept of predestination, one thing is for sure: God foreknew that you would give your life to Christ, and therefore He calls you His “elect.” As Paul puts it, you were “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

But Paul is not finished. In fact, he is just getting started. He goes on to say:

Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called (Romans 8:30)

God’s calling you to Christ, that tug, that divine pull on your heart that somehow made the things of God and the Person of Jesus Christ both fascinating and highly attractive to you – that was God’s doing. Jesus said that none could come to Him unless the Father draws him, and you were surely drawn as the invisible, all-powerful Holy Spirit moved on your heart. In my life, this is the only rational explanation as to why an agnostic, smart-alecky, rebellious, drug using, lazy, selfish young man of nineteen found himself on his knees in his dorm room telling Jesus, “Whatever You want to do with my life, please do it. I give myself to you.” I hadn’t entered college with the idea of being spiritually transformed. At the time it wasn’t even a remote consideration. But the Great “I AM That I AM” had plans for me, and sovereignly, mysteriously, and without so much as an “if you please” touched me, moved me, and transformed me through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us that this is the case for every single believer. We are predestined and we are also called.


Paul moves forward in establishing an unbreakable link in the life of every child of God, writing:

…whom He called, these He also justified (Romans 8:30)

Some ministers, in an inexcusable attempt to be relevant and not turn any listeners off with “religious language,” refuse to use the word justify in their preaching. How tragic! The concept of justification is at the very heart of the Christian faith. Jesus did not merely die on the cross to set a good example of how to be a sacrificial martyr. He died for our sins. He took our sins upon Himself in order that we might be made spotless and without blame before God. Through His cross and resurrection we are justified, that is, we are made without spot and blameless in the eyes of God. Christ’s righteousness is given and imputed to us, and we can approach God without fear and without shame. And if anyone sitting in a church service has no clue about this concept, this means he has no clue about Christianity, and it is the pastor’s job, in fact his duty, to explain this clearly to him. It is worth the five minutes or so it takes. In fact the essence of this concept can be seen in a single verse, also from Paul, who writes:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21)


The chain grows longer. The believer in Christ has been foreknown, predestined, called, and justified. Wow! It sounds like God has gone to a lot of trouble for us to become His children through Jesus Christ. But Paul still has yet one more concept to add to the chain:

…and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8:30).

Of all the concepts Paul lists, this one is perhaps the most difficult and mysterious. We who are in Christ have been justified, but also glorified. What does it mean to be glorified? Anyone who reads the Bible will soon see the idea that we should glorify God; we must make Him look glorious to others. But here the whole concept gets turned around and we are told that God has glorified us who are saved.

I cannot help but see this in connection with God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to all who trust in Jesus. For it is the Spirit of God who brings about the manifestation of the glory of God. When in the wilderness Israel witnessed that cloud of God’s presence, which would appear at the door of the tabernacle. Who can doubt this was a manifestation of the awesome Holy Spirit? There is a connection between the Holy Spirit and God’s glory, and therefore the Holy Spirit is known as the Spirit of glory. Paul writes: “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:14).

I suppose very few Christians come close to appreciating the amazing miracle of being indwelt by, empowered by, and filled with the Holy Spirit. God has come to live in us. When we go to the store, when we sleep, when we wake, when we pray, when we encourage others, when we make love to our spouses, when we teach a Sunday School class, when we mow our lawns, when we watch television, and whatever else we may do, we are doing it all in the presence of the Lord. Jesus’ great title Immanuel means “God with us,” and this is more than pretty language; this is literally true. Whom God justifies He also glorifies and gives His presence, His Spirit, His love, His glory, His wisdom, His power, and His strength not to some of His special children but to every last man, woman, and child who puts their confidence in His Son Jesus.

“If God is for Us…”

Now the chain is complete. In Christ we are foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. Paul gets so excited with this theme that he can by no means finish here. He asks the question:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

This is amazing. Since God has foreknown us, predestined us, called us, justified us, and glorified us, can we not trust Him to help us pay our electric bill, deal with our bosses, raise our children, and maneuver through life safely and wisely? Can anyone be against us? Well, of course, Paul is not saying that Christians will never have enemies or critics. He himself had plenty of those. But he is saying that no one can successfully stand against us. No plot of the evil one, no critics who seek to undermine your credibility, no angry neighbor, no harsh boss, no mocker, no hater of God who constantly attempts to make you look like a fool can successfully come against you.

This God who has done so much for you already, this amazing Creator who has sent His Son to die in your place, this faithful Father who has promised to provide all your needs will never let you down. Even if every person in the entire world united together to destroy you, as long as God is for you, and He surely is, you have nothing to worry about. God plus one man or woman is a majority. God plus you equals victory. Just be sure to abide in Jesus and follow His lead.

Paul goes on to say:

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

Since God has given us His very best gift, His Son Jesus, why should we worry about a lack of anything else? We will be taken care of abundantly in this life and in the next. Our Father loves us, our Father watches over us, our Father gives us freely all we need. Our circumstances may seem fragile, our situation may appear precarious and very tenuous, but we are secure and safe today, tomorrow, next month, next year, a dozen years from now, and a billion trillion years hence. This God who has foreknown, called, and justified us is our guarantee that we face a very, very bright future. All is well. It may not look well, it may not feel well, it may not seem well, but it is well – in fact it is very, very well. God is for me. That thought should ring through our minds and hearts day after day, challenge after challenge, and victory after victory. God is for me, God is for me, God is for me! Through Jesus Christ and because of Him, God is for me!



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