Rom 8:28-30 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 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. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
It is obvious that everything in this world is not good. It is doubtful that everything in our lives has been or will always be good. Paul did not indicate that he thought all that had befallen him in his life was good. However, those of us who have tasted that the Lord is gracious know (see) that all things work together for good to them that love God.
By the structure of the statement, this is a current truth. It is not a reflection that all things in the past have worked together for good or a hope that all things in the future will work together for good. Our present circumstance is that all things in our lives are working together for good. Even our hardships are working together for good for us, for our fellow servants, and for the kingdom of God.
We are assured of this truth, being appointed (called) according to God’s purpose. Certainly, it is God’s purpose for us to be with Him in eternity. It is also God’s purpose to be with us as we journey through this world. We see Him in our joy and draw close to Him in our sorrow; all things working together for good even when some events are not good in themselves.
We should rejoice that we serve a God of purpose. While the word “plan” does not actually occur in the KJV, many of the words translated as “purpose” in both the Old and New Testament carry the idea of planning. In examining those instances, we find that the purposes did not always work out. However, when speaking of the things of God the word translated as “purpose” meant “to set forth, show, or expose before God:” it was (and is) more than just a plan.
God is a God of foreknowledge. This particular passage of scripture is not about the things God foreknows. Certainly, nothing is hidden from the One who declared the outcome from the start (Isaiah 46:10). But the focus here is on those who are called according to His purpose. This is foreknowing a people, and it says nothing about their work or worthiness (or lack thereof).
God did foreknow (foresee) people (whom), and He did predestinate (predetermine) people. He predetermined that these foreseen people would be conformed to (fashioned like) the image of His Son. He set all this in motion so that His Son would stand as the firstborn among a great family. God did not set His only Begotten Son apart from us, but in His foreknowledge and predestination, set Him among us as the firstborn.
In assuring His work of predestination, He called us. This word “called” is different from the word in the phrase “called according to His purpose” and is defined in part as “whose surname was called.” A surname is defined as “a hereditary name common to all members of a family.” God foreknew and predestinated people (us) to whom He would give His family name.
Having given these people His family name, He justified them. The word translated here as “justified” means “to render innocent.” We are rendered innocent because we are conformed to the likeness of His Son who is among us as the firstborn among many brethren. When He rendered us innocent, He glorified us with Himself.
May we rejoice in this blessed doctrine of predestination, knowing that this is the only way we become brethren (family) who are called by the name of God and can claim Jesus as our brother!