“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29 ESV).
Put simply, the word foreknew or foreknown means to know beforehand. But what does that mean? Well, throughout the Bible the word known is used in a more intimate way than simply knowledge. Often the word know or known means to love, to set regard upon, to know with peculiar interest, delight, affection, and action. Like in Genesis 4:1 when God’s Word tells us that Adam knew his wife and she conceived. Or God’s Word to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 ESV). Surely God knows all, but He knew Jeremiah in a special way, a way that consecrated him and appointed him… a way that gave him a calling. And that’s true for all of His people; as 2 Timothy 2:19 says, “The Lord knows those who are his” (ESV). He knows them and loves them… Perhaps a better reading of our passage would be, “those whom he fore[loved]…”
For God to foreknow His people doesn’t mean that He looked into the future to know people’s actions ahead of time. It says those whom He foreknew; God looked into the future to know people themselves… To love them, to choose them, call them, and set them apart. And that goes directly with what’s said next: whom God foreknew, or fore-loved, He also predestined. Predestined means to set a destination before hand. It means to make a plan ahead of time. God, because of His love for us, has set a destination for us—to be with Him in glory, conformed to the likeness of Christ. God’s Word says that He predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son. In other words God made a plan for His people before time began, that they would be made like Christ. Those whom God calls (Rom. 8:28) are those whom God fore-loved, and He loved them and chose them before the foundation of the world. And because of this He predestined them to be conformed to the image of Christ. Predestination is God’s definite plan that He made before the foundation of the world for Christ and all those in Christ. What a hope-filled doctrine! What a loving God! Praise the Lord for His sovereign grace!!!
I am nothing; Christ is all!