As Christians, we are all on a journey from guilt to glory. We are all travelers on the road that these verses describe. We have the same story, regardless of our age, our season, our successes, our failures, our fears, our joys, or our uncertainties. By unpacking the terms in Romans 8:29-30, Tambra describes the beginning, middle, and glorious ending of our salvation story and helps us see that we can be truly settled in Christ Jesus. "It's as if Paul invites us to bend down with him and touch with our hands the bedrock underneath us- the absolute certainty of God's eternal love toward us- and not only to touch it but to stamp on it with our feet to feel it's absolute solidity, so that we become convinced that nothing will ever separate us from the love of God."
God foreknew you. - Our story starts in the mind and heart of God. He set His love on us long before Jesus died for us, not because of anything we did or did not do, but because He wanted to love us. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ."(Ephesians 2:4-5)
He also predestined you. - Predestination is God's word, and it literally means "to mark out" and "to set apart". He has set out a destiny for us, and that destiny is spelled out in this verse, "to be confirmed to the image of His Son." Our destinty is a predetermined, inevitable course of events, and those events will make us like Jesus. "In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1: 4-6)
He called you. - Your calling is the point at which God's purpose is actually applied to you, the moment you believe. Calling is translated "grabbed". God is grabbing you. When you are called, you will come and you will believe. God not only issues the invitation to believe in Christ, He provides the ability and willingness to respond. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." (John 6:44)
He justified you. - This is the gospel. "To be justified means to be literally placed in Christ. And so justification is a truth of position. When you were justified by faith, you were pronounced righteous in Christ. It was an instantaneous declaration of a positional truth. In that moment, you were absolved from all your guilt and accepted as righteous through Jesus Christ. You are now, as they say, right in court; a legal term. No sin that you have ever been guilty of shall come against you to condemn you. The book is crossed, the bond is cancelled, and you are no longer dealt with as a criminal, because that is what you were prior to justification, but are owned and loved as a friend and a favorite."
He will glorify you. - This is our hope. He is waiting for us. "Glorification is the future and final work of God upon Christians where he transforms our mortal, physical bodies to our immortal, spiritual bodies in which we dwell forever. It is the highest height. It is the end and goal of salvation. We are not just saved to be saved, we are saved to be like Christ in heaven with Him... Glorification means full and entire deliverance from sin and evil, and all their effects and in every respect: body, mind, and spirit. Your whole being will be completely delivered from every tarnishing, polluting effect of sin, and you shall become like Christ, for you shall see Him as He is." Our story does not end with forgiveness, it ends with glorification. "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2)
Romans 8:29-30 Image by Rachel Herman.