Romans Chapter 8

Covenant of Redemption

Chapter 8, Verses 28-30 Part 9

The word, foreknow, as used in Rom. 8:29, means to know or appoint beforehand.  As we have previously studied, according to Eph. 1:4 God appointed or chose a people in Christ before the foundation of the world.  God's foreknowing a people is the first of five things (foreknow, predestinate, call, justify, glorify) God is said to do in the covenant of redemption (Rom. 8:28‑30).  This principle of God's foreknowing a people is taught in the "seed of Abraham." 

When God appeared unto Abram in Gen. chapter 12 he began to make promises to the patriarch.  One of the promises God made to Abram was in Gen. 12:3: "and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."  This is further expounded to us in Acts 3:25, "And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blest."  Thus the blessing that would come to all families of the earth was thru the "seed of Abraham." 

God further promised Abram in Gen. 13:16 a multiplication of his seed as follows: "And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered."  Of course, the number of the dust of the earth is innumerable.  This principle is further taught in Gen. 15:5 as God told Abram, "Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be."  We now know that the stars cannot be numbered for multitude.  Once again this promise of a multiplied seed is further elaborated in Gen. 22:17 as God promised Abraham, "and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand upon the sea shore..."  One thing that the dust, the stars, and the sand have in common is that they cannot be numbered for multitude!  

As God had previously promised Abraham that in his seed all families of the earth would be blessed so he promised again in Gen. 22:18, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed..."  Therefore, the promise of the blessing of the seed extends to all nations and to all families.  If one family or one nation should not be blessed by the seed, then God cannot be believed, but of course, God cannot lie, and the promise is sure to all families, and to all nations. 

An additional promise to Abraham concerning his seed was made in Gen. 22:18, "and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies."  To possess the gate of ones enemies is equivalent to victoriously triumphing over those enemies.  In comparison, Christ has victoriously triumphed over our enemies: death, hell, sin, devil, and the grave. 

Now, we ask ourselves, who is the seed of Abraham to whom these great and glorious promises were made?  The answer is found in Gal. 3:16, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He saith not, And to thy seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed which is Christ."  Thus it is settled forever that the seed of Abraham to whom God made the glorious promises is Jesus Christ!

Next, we want to consider just how Christ (the seed of Abraham) is multiplied to be a great innumerable multitude such as the sand, dust, and stars so as to be innumerable.  (Obviously this multiplication of the seed is not thru natural generation, but thru regeneration (new birth)).  This we are told in Gal. 4:28, "Now, we brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise."  All I have to do is figure out how Isaac was a child of promise and I learn how all the innumerable host are children of promise!  Isaac was a child of promise in the following ways: 

     A.  He was promised to be born before his parents ever conceived at God's set time (Gen. 17:6, 21). 

     B.  Isaac's birth was contrary to nature as neither of his parents according to nature were able to produce a child: Rom. 4:19‑21, "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform."  Please note it was God who promised, and it was God who performed according to the promise. 

Isaac's birth was not according to the choice of Abraham, or Sarah, or Isaac, but was according to the promise of God.  Isaac's birth was at God's appointed time and was completely contrary to nature.  We, as the multiplied seed of Christ are promised beforehand in the covenant of redemption (Rom. 8:29) and that before the world began (Eph. 1:4).  Our spiritual birth is at God's appointed time (John 3:8) and is contrary to nature (Eph. 2:1‑3). 

In Rom. 9:7‑9 the seed of Abraham is tied to the doctrine of election as follows: Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall they seed be called.  That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.  For this is the word of promise, At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son."  Thus, we conclude that the children of promise (God's elect) are the children of God. 

The multiplied seed is shown to us in Rev. 7:9, 10 as follows: "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."  This great multitude which no man could number is the multiplied seed of Abraham.  The end result is that all praise, honor, and glory is given to God and the Lamb for their salvation from sin.  

In our next essay, we will consider God's predestination of a people to be conformed to the image of Christ.

Rom. 8:28-30 Part 10 

In our study of the "covenant of redemption" which is set forth in Rom. 8:28‑30, the second action of God listed in verse 29 is "predestinate."  The five actions of God listed in v. 29 and 30 are foreknow, predestinate, called, justified, and glorified.  According to Vines the Greek word "proorizo," which is translated four times into "predestinate," once "ordained before," and once "determined before," means to "mark out or determine beforehand."  Thus the English word predestinate means to determine the final destiny beforehand.  The four times predestinate is used in the scriptures it is used to denote the final destiny of those that God "foreknew" (Rom. 8:29) or "chose before the world began" (Eph. 1:4).  It is never used in connection with anyone other than those whom God foreknew or chose! 

We will begin our discussion of God's predestination of the "elect" by considering to what God predestinated them.  That is what do the scriptures say is the final destiny of the elect?  Rom. 8:29 reads, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."  Now when the verse says we will be "conformed to the image of His Son" it is not saying we will be "clones" of Christ.  When Adam brought forth a son he was born in Adams image as Gen. 5:3 reads, "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth."  Now Seth was in the image of Adam but was not a clone of Adam.  He possessed the same characteristics, qualities, and nature of Adam (a fallen nature) and thus was in the image of Adam. 

By nature we are all in the fallen image of Adam.  Part of the final destiny of the elect is to be in the image of Christ.  To understand what that image is we need to look at the characteristics, qualities, and nature of Christ that is different from our characteristics, qualities, and nature.  In Heb. 7:26 we read, "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners..."  In contrast by nature we are unholy, harmful, defiled, and sinners.  Also the scriptures describe God to be "love" (I John 4:8), "a spirit" (John 4:24), and "light" (John 1:4) and this light is defined as eternal life.  By nature we are completely selfish, having not the spirit of God, and absent of eternal life.  In addition, the Lord is incorruptible, immortal, powerful, and glorious (I Cor. 15).  Again, by contrast our natural being is corruptible, mortal, weak and dishonorable.   

In contrast to what we are now, our final destiny will see us conformed to the image of Christ.  At that time in body, soul, and spirit we will be holy, harmless, undefiled, righteous, love, spiritual, possessed of eternal life, incorruptible, immortal, powerful and glorious.  It is in keeping with God's predestination that our final destiny will be conformity with the image of His Son. 

Next, we read in Eph. 1:4, 5 "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will..."  Now we are according to birth right in the family of Adam as we are all the off spring of Adam.  However, God has declared that those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world will have as a final destiny membership in the family of God.  To accomplish this God has predestinated to adopt us into his family by Jesus Christ to himself.  Adoption involves taking a person out of one family and placing that person in another family.  We will discuss the mechanics of adoption in a later issue.  At this point we note that God has predestinated us unto the adoption of children, thus it is our final destiny to be children of God not only in spirit, but also in body. 

This brings us to the third thing God has predestinated the elect unto.  In Eph. 1:11 we read, "In whom also we (the elect‑VJ) have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."  Thus being the legal heirs of God by spiritual birth, adoption, marriage, and will we have an inheritance from God.  In nature, the only lasting inheritance we have is a grave.  Yet according to God's predestination we have an eternal inheritance.  According to Rom. 8:16, 17 we read, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint‑heirs with Christ..."  Thus our final destiny is to be a joint‑heir with Jesus Christ.  Therefore, we will have by inheritance all that our elder brother has.  This is absolutely amazing to consider that we won't be possessors of just a little corner of the glory world, but will be possessors of all that Jesus Christ is a possessor of!       

In our next issue we will consider those things about God that imminently qualify him as the only one who can predestinate.