These, to me, are the key to the Calvinistic movement. I took these verses to mean that God predestined us to salvation…until today. It is a backward progression from being glorified, to being justified, to being predestined. But there is one more step back: Being foreknown.
This verse ought to end the debate over the foreknowledge of God. The One who is “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” certainly knows the end as well as He knows the beginning. He foreknew us. He knew that we would choose Him. Therefore, He predestined us not for salvation, but according to this scripture, He predestined us to be conformed to the image of His son.
This is not to say that God is not sovereign. He has orchestrated events, and will continue to bring our world to its God-ordained end. (See Isaiah 46:8-10) We trust Him for the future because He is the future. He is in control, and nothing surprises Him. We don’t have to worry about a cosmic statement of, “Oh-oh. Didn’t see that coming. Now what should I do?” He knows the future of the world, and He knows you and me better than we could ever know ourselves. That is a great comfort!
These verses in Romans tell us that He chose to make us who believe in Him to be in the process of becoming like Jesus, so that He can call us to service, justify us in holiness and glorify us both here and in heaven. Notice that just as He foreknew us, He has already predestined us to conform to the image of His Son, He has already called us, He has already justified us and He has already glorified us.
This is the work of God. We should be encouraged that He does all the heavy lifting. Our part is simply to walk with Him. Galatians 5:25 says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”
Keeping in step doesn’t mean running to catch up with the Spirit. It has more of a connotation of slowing down, of not running ahead of the Spirit, but watching Him and stepping as He steps. Picture being a part of a marching band, sometimes moving forward, but other times doing a slow step, a side step or even marching in place. Our place is to stand beside the Spirit, following His leading, not moving until He does, but then stepping out in faith as He steps forward.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you are a Calvinist or Armenian. What matters is that you have put your faith in Jesus, and that you are living your life for Him. What matters is that you are keeping in step with the Spirit. Are you marching to His music, or are you running to your own? Which one do you think has a better outcome? When you come to your destination, will you like where you have gotten to?
If you keep in step with the Spirit, the outcome is up to Him. Only He knows how to lead you to the place that is best for you. He leads one step at a time, never showing you the next step until it is time. You can trust God for every step. After all, He knows the end from the beginning.