By David J. Stewart | January 2011 | Updated June 2017
Romans 8:29, “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.”
The Bible DOES teach predestination for the believer; but not predestination to be saved. God NEVER chooses who will or won't be saved. God has given to mankind a free will. This is why repeatedly we read in the Bible that “WHOSOEVER” may be saved. For example: Romans 10:13 says, “For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” and Revelation 22:17 says, “...And WHOSOEVER will, let him take the water of life freely.” “Whosoever” means you my friend. God's free offer of salvation is available to “whosoever” will believe on Jesus Christ.
Here is an excellent quote from Dr. Max D. Younce's helpful book, I'M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!...
What Is the Meaning of the Word “Predestination” in Romans 8:29?
Question: How do you explain “predestinate” in Romans 8:29?
“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.” (Romans 8:29).
Answer: The statement is heard many times that, “You cannot reconcile the sovereignty of God and the free will of man.” This is not true—one can understand both. The confusion exists when one does not property understand the meaning of foreknowledge and predestination. Foreknowledge is an attribute of God's omniscience. Primarily, foreknowledge has to do with persons and places, and predestination is centered in God's purposes.
Foreknowledge contains one element, that is, knowing what is going to happen before it takes place. In relation to people and places, it does not contain the element of bringing it to pass or making it happen.
Predestination, on the other hand, is different from foreknowledge in that it contains two elements: One is the prediction (His omniscience), and the other is the act of God (His omnipotence) to bring it to pass. The confusion begins when one inserts meanings into a word which it does not contain.
Remember, keep these two words separated as to their meaning.
Foreknowledge has one element, that of foreknowing what is going to happen. Do not add any other meanings to this word, it contains one element only!
Predestination has two elements; one is predicting, the other is fulfilling. Again, predestination is related to God's purposes, foreknowledge is related to persons and places.
In Verse 29 we are told:
“For whom he (Christ) did foreknow...”
This simply states that Christ knew, ahead of time, every person who would trust Him as their Savior. The word carries no other element which would impede the free will of a person to make his, or her, own choice. Every Christian who will be saved is foreknown by God. We also see that every Christian is going to be the recipient of what God is going to predestinate.
“For whom he did foreknow (every Christian) He also did predestinate. ...”
He foreknew every person who would be saved. His purpose is seen in predestination, as we are predestinated to what?
“...To be conformed to the image of his son,...”
When will we be conformed to the image of God's Son? At the Rapture, of course!
In Philippians 3:20,21 we are told:
“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. (20) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” (21)
This is being “conformed to the image of His Son.” This is also what is meant by Ephesians 1:12, “to the praise of his glory.”
In John 3:2 we read:
“Beloved, now are we the sons (Greek, TEKNON, “children”) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear (at the Rapture) WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see him as he is.”
Predestination becomes very clear if we do three things: One, take exactly what the Scripture says and believe it. Two, know the difference between foreknowledge and predestination; and, Three add no other elements of meaning to them. Foreknowledge has one element while predestination has two.
In summary: Romans 8:29 teaches the following according to predestination:
WHO: Only the saved are predestinated, never the lost to be saved.
WHAT: Christians are predestinated at some future time to “be conformed to the image of his Son.”
WHEN: At the Rapture. Philippians 3:20,21, 1 John 3:2
Those who claim that God predestinated some to be saved while letting the others go to Hell, are accusing God of being a liar. As we look at the Word of God, may we let the Lord defend Himself against these false teachers. In John 3:16 God says He “loved THE WORLD.” In 2nd Peter 3:9, the Lord says He is, “not willing that any should perish; but that all should come to repentance.” (i.e., Greek, metanoia; “a change of mind.”)
Therefore, God's word makes the predestinationalists out to be liars; but, not the Lord! Hebrews 6:18 says it is “impossible for God to lie,...” Remember, the middle verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:8,
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
SOURCE: Dr. Max D. Younce, I'M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!, Volume 2, pg. 61-63; ISBN-13-978-0-9815225-8-6; Morris Publishing.
The Bible plainly teaches that Christians are predestinated to be conformed to the “image” of Christ. This is NOT being chosen for salvation. God NEVER chooses who will be saved, or who won't. The Bible plainly says that God in His foreknowledge knew who would be saved, and then God predestinates them to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. What a precious truth to know that God wants what's best for each of His children!
The Dangers of Calvinism
“Calvinism” is a set of tenets which sinfully conform to the heresies of a man, John Calvin (1509-1564). Mr. Calvin was a heretic who lived centuries ago; yet foolish and ignorant men still follow his heresies today. Calvin taught a bunch of unscriptural lies, including the satanic lie that God chooses who will be saved, and who wont.
The great Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) was a one-point Calvinist, admittedly. Spurgeon believed in “Limited Atonement,” i.e., the heresy that Jesus only died for those whom He foreknew would be saved. The Bible does not teach that. The Bible plainly states that Christ died for all men (2nd Corinthians 5:15, “...he (Christ) died for all...”). There are many Scriptures which teach that Christ died for THE WORLD (John 3:16, “For God so loved THE WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son...”). The Bible tells us that Jesus died for false prophets (2nd Peter 2:1, “...even denying the Lord that bought them...”). Spurgeon got caught up into the wrong theological crowd (Calvinism) and was somewhat tarnished in his beliefs. Yet, Spurgeon is a brilliant speaker and has left to us treasures of excellent sermons to read.
Though Spurgeon was a professed Calvinist, he openly condemned Hyper-Calvinism (and he called it that). Hyper-Calvinists are people who reject some of the basic teachings of Calvinism. In researching, I couldn't find a group of professed believers who call themselves “Hyper-Calvinists.” This is because there are NO groups who call themselves “Hyper-Calvinists.” It is a term given to them by their critics. So what do they call themselves? “Calvinists,” what else? So you can see that Calvinist views can vary widely since Hyper-Calvinists also claim to be “Calvinists.” The Truth is that BOTH Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism are of the Devil.
NONE of Calvin's teachings can be legitimized when the Light of God's Word is shone upon his works of darkness. Calvin taught 5 main heresies, which Pastor Curtis Hutson refutes.
Tragically, millions of misguided religious people today are following a modernist John Calvin—whose name is John MacArthur of GRACE TO YOU ministry. In the Afterward written by John MacArthur Jr. for the unscriptural book, THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM: DEFINED, DEFENDED AND DOCUMENTED, MacArthur openly states that he wholeheartedly agrees with the doctrines of John Calvin. John MacArthur is the most prevalent teacher of the heresies of Calvinism today.
Dr. John MacArthur Errantly Says it is Hard to Be Saved
Should it be surprising that Dr. MacArthur teaches Lordship Salvation? What is Lordship Salvation? It is a heresy that says believing the Gospel is insufficient to be saved, but in addition, a person must submit to Jesus as their Lord (Master) to be saved. Lordship Salvation says that unless a person is willing to turn away from sinful bad habits, such as fornication and drunkenness, they are not ready to be saved, because they aren't willing to repent. This is a gross perversion of the truth of God's Word, and of what it really means to “repent.”
Biblical repentance means a change of mind. It is changing one's mind from thinking wrong thoughts to believing THE GOSPEL. Evangelist Alexander Marshall (1846-1928) had it absolutely correct!!!
Lordship Salvation is the Devil's lie that a sinner must forsake intentional sinful behavior and surrender one's life to Christ as “Lord” (Master) in order to be saved. Dr. John F. MacArthur states in his book, HARD TO BELIEVE, page 93:
Don’t believe anyone who says it’s easy to become a Christian. Salvation for sinners cost God His own Son; it cost God’s Son His life, and it’ll cost you the same thing. Salvation isn’t gained by reciting mere words. Saving faith transforms the heart, and that in turn transforms behavior. Faith’s fruit is seen in actions, not intentions. There’s no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile. Remember that what John saw in his vision of judgment was a Book of Life, not a book of Words or Book of Intellectual Musings. The life we live, not the words we speak, reveals whether our faith is authentic. [emphasis added]
SOURCE: Dr. John MacArthur, Grace To You, an updated quote from his book 'Hard To Believe', page 93.
At a glance, the preceding quote sounds impressive. It certainly seems proper to authenticate one's profession of faith with a life of good works. It appeals to our sinful human nature to attempt to please God by our own self-righteousness. Yet, the true nature of MacArthur's deadly teaching becomes more apparent when you only consider the first two lines of his quote...
“Don’t believe anyone who says it’s easy to become a Christian. Salvation for sinners cost God His own Son; it cost God’s Son His life, and it’ll cost you the same thing...”
SOURCE: Dr. John MacArthur, Grace To You, an updated quote from his book 'Hard To Believe', page 93.
Is that Biblical? No, it is not. MacArthur foolishly teaches that it is hard to become a Christian, because he says it will cost you your life of worldliness, sinful bad habits and selfish ambitions to make your faith valid. Clearly he does not believe that faith alone in Christ is enough to be saved. MacArthur deceitful says that mere words won't save, which is true if they are insincere words; however, the thief on the cross was saved immediately when he spoke the words, “Remember me” to Jesus (Luke 23:42). Why? It is because of his FAITH! We are saved BY FAITH. We are saved solely by faith in Christ, which may or may not be expressed by words. Words are not required to be saved. Praying a prayer is not required to be saved. We are saved the moment we believe (trust) in our heart that Jesus is the Christ Who died FOR OUR SINS on the cross, was buried, and bodily raised up from the dead three days later. This is “THE GOSPEL” (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).
The Devil is so subtle. False prophets know that adding works to salvation is blatant heresy, a lie. So what they do is instead say that you're saved by grace through faith, but your faith is not valid unless there are works to make that faith credible (or to authenticate it). This is a backdoor approach to a works-based salvation. How can a gift be difficult to obtain? How can eternal life be free, while at the same time costing us our life as MacArthur claims? The Holy Bible NEVER says that it is hard to be saved. In fact, we read in 2nd Corinthians 11:3-4 about “THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST.” This is a warning from God against false prophets, like John MacArthur, who make salvation hard. Getting saved is as easy as walking through a door (John 10:9). Getting saved is as easy as drinking some water (John 4:13-14). getting saved is as easy as simply BELIEVING. John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
Heresy abounds in the churches today. Any plan of salvation that requires anything more of an admitted sinner (in the eyes of God), than simple childlike faith (trust) in the death of Christ upon the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection three days later, is of the Devil. Salvation is not an ongoing process; but rather, it is a miraculous new birth, that happens instantaneously in a moment of time. Just as the physical birth (of water, John 3:1-7) happens in a brief moment, so also does the second birth (i.e., the spiritual birth, wrought by God's Holy Spirit) happen in a moment of time. The very moment that you place your heart's trust (faith) in the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that He DIED on the cross to pay for your sins, and was BURIED, and then RAISED UP from the dead on the third day, YOU ARE SAVED immediately, permanently, safely, irrevocably and eternally!!! If saved, always saved!
Arminianism, Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism Are ALL Messed Up!
John MacArthur is very wrong in his teachings. MacArthur boasts of being a 5-point Calvinist. All 5 points of Calvinism are a lie of the Devil. Woe unto those who are deceived by the heresies of John Calvin and John MacArthur! I like the following summation...
lie = They believe because they were chosen.
The truth = We were chosen because we believe!
God NEVER chooses anyone for salvation. Scriptures such as Acts 17:30 make this abundantly clear (“...but now commandeth all men every where to repent”). Why would God command ALL men to repent if only certain men have been chosen for salvation? There really is NO debate concerning Arminianism, Calvinism, and Hyper-Calvinism if you simply take the Word of God at face value... THEY'RE ALL MESSED UP!!!
The King James Bible is so clear on all these matters. There are problems with all three views. Arminianism is wrong to teach that a person can lose salvation. Romans 5:15 declares that eternal life is a “FREE GIFT.” A gift CANNOT be taken back if it is freely given. Salvation is God's gift to man, paid for by the blood of Jesus (Romans 6:23; Colossians 1:14). Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism teach “limited atonement” and “selective salvation,” which are both Satanic lies. 1st John 2:2 couldn't be any clearer, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Calvinism is unbiblical heresy!
“Can a man who's predestined to salvation really be lost before he is saved? If a man is predestined to salvation, why does he need to hear the Gospel? What would be the point?” -Pastor Yankee Arnold, pastor of Calvary Community Church in Tampa, Florida; "Why Lordship Salvation Is Wrong?"
Calvinism lie = They
believe, because they were chosen.
The truth = We were chosen, because we believe!
Heresy Means “an opinion”
I said that to say this: we ought to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES as Jesus told us in John 5:39, and not allow deceived and wicked men to lead us astray in their heresies.
We've all heard the saying: “Everyone has an opinion...” Interestingly, the word “heresy” in the Bible comes from the Greek word hairesis. Here is what VINE'S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS (Page 303) states concerning the word “hairesis ...
..."a choosing, choice"; (from haireomai, "to choose") then, "that which is chosen," and hence, "an opinion," especially a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of truth, and leads to division and the formation of sects...
SOURCE: VINE'S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS; ISBN 0-7852-1160-8
The word “heresy” in the Bible simply means, “an opinion.” Any opinion that is not GOD'S OPINION is heresy!
Many of the doctrines circulating in today's churches are merely opinions, not based upon the Word of God. Many of these heretical opinions have been circulating in churches for centuries. It is tragic that millions of people today are still following the false opinions of Martin Luther (1483-1546). Mr. Luther taught Baptismal Regeneration, Mary Worship, and Sacramental Salvation long after he allegedly came to Christ by faith. Martin Luther never came to Jesus Christ; instead Luther started his own false religion. Luther came out of the damnable Catholic Church; but the Catholic Church didn't come out of Luther. Luther's new religion (Lutheranism) is nothing more than a surrogate religion for frustrated Catholics.
In John 5:39 Jesus commanded His disciples to... SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES!!! It is dangerous to form one's opinions apart from the Bible. There is no controversy if you believe the Bible! People who express teachings not taught in the Scriptures are guilty of spreading heresy. There are sincere people in every church, who attempt to help others by offering unsought advice. Unfortunately, much of this advice is heresy, even damnable heresy. Any opinion that contradicts the Scriptures is HERESY! Recommending divorce is HERESY! Supporting the homosexual agenda is HERESY! Supporting abortion is HERESY! Teaching that Jesus made intoxicating Booze is HERESY!
The CHOICE for Heaven or Hell is Yours Alone to Make!
May I say friend, the choice is yours alone to make concerning eternity. Contrary to Calvinism's teaching of “Irresistible Grace” (the false claim that God forces a person to get saved); the Bible teaches that salvation is a CHOICE...
“And the Spirit and the bride say, COME.”
“And let him that heareth say, COME.”
“And let him that is athirst COME.”
“And WHOSOEVER WILL,”
...“let him take the water of life freely.”
Eternal life is an open invitation from God. No one is forced to be saved. God offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life to WHOSOEVER WILL COME, even the vilest sinner, by faith in Jesus Christ. John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
If you have never been born-again by the Spirit of God, then you will not receive a glorified body when the Lord returns. In fact, you will be left behind to suffer the wrath of God poured out upon the earth in the Tribulation. Billions of people will die in the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, Biblically referred to a time of “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21).
Whether you die before, during, or at the end of the Tribulation, if you are not saved God will punish you in Hell for ever. You will also receive some form of body, but it won't be a body fashioned like unto the glorious body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said to “fear him which is able to destroy both soul AND BODY IN HELL.” The wicked will be given bodies that can withstand the extremely hot fires of molten sulfur in Hell, suffering in excruciating physical pain, yet your body will not be consumed in the flames. What a horrible place to spend eternity!
One of the worst things about Hell the Bible says, will be knowing all that you could have had in the glory of the Lord's presence in Heaven for all eternity; but you chose to spend eternity in the torments of the Lake of Fire. Luke 13:28, “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and YOU YOURSELVES THRUST OUT.” 2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, and FROM THE GLORY OF HIS POWER.” You'll endure an eternal nightmare in Hell, suffering in torments, having no rest day nor night, and you'll be completely forgotten about. Proverb 10:7, “...the name of the wicked shall rot.”
How will you feel knowing that you're burning in Hell, while others are enjoying themselves in the splendors of Heaven's riches, and you could have had it all for FREE? Is that what you want? Death is right around the corner for all of us my friend. This life is like a vapor that's here one second and gone the next. James 4:14, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? IT IS EVEN A VAPOUR, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
Mark 1:15, “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT YE, AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.”
1st Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
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and that obey not THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ.” —2nd Thessalonians 1:8
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