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Discuss the tough questions relating to the Christian Faith. Present the Scripture in an interdenominational fashion demonstrating those things we hold in common and provoking thought whenever possible. Hopefully you will find things here that will encourage you to study more deeply that all of Scripture will be at home in your heart.


Romans 8:36 - For Your Sake We are Killed
This testimony adds no small weight to the subject; for he intimates, that the dread of death is so far from being a reason to us for falling away, that it has been almost ever the lot of God’s servants to have death as it were present before their eyes.  It is indeed probable, that in that Psalm the miserable oppression of the people under the tyranny of Antiochus is described; for it is expressly said, that the worshippers of God were cruelly treated, for no other reason but through hatred to true religion. (John Calvin)
 
Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." (Romans 8:36 NASB)
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (Romans 8:36 KJV)
As it is written, "For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." (Romans 8:36 NET.)
(As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.") (Romans 8:36 NLT)
Psa 44:22 But for Your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep. (NLT)
1Co 4:9 Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor's parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike. (NLT)
1Co 15:31 For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you. (NLT)
2Co 4:11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. (NLT)
Joh 16:2 For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. (NLT)
2Th 1:6 In His justice He will pay back those who persecute you. (NLT)
Mat 5:10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (NLT)

Paul's reference here is to Psalm 44:22 expressing that it was for the sake of God that the saints of Old Testament times were often killed or suffered the persecutions of men which led to death.  Now for the sake of the Gospel the same persecutions arise and death remains a constant threat as though the believer was valued good for nothing else.

Zec 11:7 So I cared for the flock intended for slaughter—the flock that was oppressed. Then I took two shepherd's staffs and named one Favor and the other Union. (NLT)
This is what God’s faithful people may expect from their enemies at any period when their hatred of righteousness is roused, and there is nothing to restrain it. (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown)
Gal 4:29 But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.

Romans 8:35 - Separated NOT
Paul goes on with a poet's fervour and a lover's rapture to sing of how nothing can separate us from the love of God in our Risen Lord.  No affliction, no hardship, no peril can separate us. The disasters of the world do not separate a man from Christ; they bring him closer yet. (William Barclay)
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35 NASB)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35 KJV)
Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?  Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (Romans 8:35 NLT)
Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (Romans 8:35 NET.)

When the bullets are thick, and there will be times when this is true, we will find ourselves either being drawn closer to Christ or finding ourselves discouraged.  Then these verses should remind us of the truth herein communicated. Separation from Christ cannot happen for the saint.

Who shall separate us, etc.  The conviction of safety is now more widely extended, even to lower things; for he who is persuaded of God’s kinridness towards him, is able to stand firm in the heaviest afflictions.  These usually harass men in no small degree, and for various reasons, — because they interpret them as tokens of God’s wrath, or think themselves to be forsaken by God, or see no end to them, or neglect to meditate on a better life, or for other similar reasons; but when the mind is purged from such mistakes, it becomes calm, and quietly rests.  But the import of the words is, — That whatever happens, we ought to stand firm in this faith, — that God, who once in his love embraced us, never ceases to care for us. (John Calvin)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? - I do think that this question has been generally misunderstood.  The apostle is referring to the persecutions and tribulations to which genuine Christians were exposed through their attachment to Christ, and the gracious provision God had made for their support and final salvation. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
Psa 103:17 But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear Him.  His salvation extends to the children's children (NLT)
Jer 31:3 Long ago the LORD said to Israel: "I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love.  With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself. (NLT)
Joh 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one can snatch them away from Me, (NLT)

Romans 8:34 - Double Intercession
“From the representations of the dead Christ the early believers shrank as from an impiety.  To them He was the living, not the dead Christ — the triumphant, the glorified, the infinite, — not the agonized Christ in that one brief hour and power of darkness which was but the spasm of an eternal glorification” (Farrar, “Lives of the Fathers,” i., 14). As quoted in (Vincent, M. R. (2002). Word studies in the New Testament)
who is the one who condemns?  Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
(Romans 8:34 NASB)
Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
(Romans 8:34 KJV)
Who then will condemn us?  No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.
(Romans 8:34 NLT)
Who is the one who will condemn?  Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us.
(Romans 8:34 NET.)

How amazing is this to recognize that while the Holy Spirit prays for us, Jesus Himself is also interceding on our behalf at the throne of Grace.  This is the risen Christ who is triumphant over sin and death. The Victor pleading the sufficiency of His sacrifice over the accusations of the enemy.  He is not pleading our innocence because the accusations are valid because they are based upon our sin.  Because He is our High Priest He can give us the grace we need to be victorious over the various temptations that come our way.

But how are we to conceive of this intercession?  Not certainly as of one pleading “on bended knees and with outstretched arms,” to use the expressive language of Calvin.  But yet, neither is it merely a figurative intimation that the power of Christ’s redemption is continually operative [Tholuck], or merely to show the fervor and vehemence of His love for us [Chrysostom].  It cannot be taken to mean less than this: that the glorified Redeemer, conscious of His claims, expressly signifies His will that the efficacy of His death should be made good to the uttermost, and signifies it in some such royal style as we find Him employing in that wonderful Intercessory Prayer which He spoke as from within the veil (see on Jn 17:11,12): “Father, I WILL that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am” (see on Jn 17:24).  But in what form this will is expressed is as undiscoverable as it is unimportant. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997).  A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments.

Romans 8:33 - Accused NOT
With one tremendous leap of thought Paul has seen Christ, not as the Judge but as the lover of the souls of men. (William Barclay)
Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;
(Romans 8:33 NASB)
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
(Romans 8:33 KJV)
Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself.
(Romans 8:33 NLT)
Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
(Romans 8:33 NET.)

This is an important verse because it refutes any possibility of judgment being brought against those for whom Jesus died!  The enemy of our soul is the chief accuser and will oftentimes try to convince the redeemed that they are somehow condemned.  Be if He Who sits upon the throne has liberated us, who then can condemn us?  Who then shall nullify those made just by God miraculous Grace?  No one!

Isa 50:8 He who gives me justice is near.  Who will dare to bring charges against me now? Where are my accusers?  Let them appear! (NET)
Job 1:9-11 Satan replied to the LORD, "Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God.  You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property.  You have made him prosper in everything he does.  Look how rich he is!  But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!"
Psa 35:11 Malicious witnesses testify against me.  They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. (NET)
Isa 54:17 But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed.  You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you.  These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from Me.  I, the LORD, have spoken! (NET)
Rev 12:10-11 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, "It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night.  And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.  And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (NET)
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?.... The elect of God are a certain select number of persons, whom he has so loved, as of his sovereign good will and pleasure, to choose in Christ before the foundation of the world, unto eternal life and salvation, by certain ways and means of his own appointing, as sanctification and faith, so that they are peculiarly his: but are these persons chargeable with nothing criminal?  yes, with Adam's sin; with a want of original righteousness; with multitudes of sins before conversion, some of them with very great ones; and all, even after conversion, with frequent infirmities and backslidings: and will none rise up and exhibit charges of this nature against them? yes, even now, they very often bring charges against themselves; they are very apt to charge one another; Satan, the accuser of the brethren, lays many things to their charge very frequently, and so do the men of the world; but all these charges avail nothing, since none of the divine persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, lay anything against them: not God the Father, for
it is God that justifieth; he against whom sin is committed, who is the lawgiver, and the righteous judge, justifies them from every charge; not by teaching them the way of justification, nor by infusing righteousness into them, or on account of any works of righteousness done by them, but by pronouncing them righteous through the imputation of the righteousness of his Son unto them: observe, that "God's elect", as such, are the objects of justification; which proves the eternity of it; the speciality of it as belonging to particular persons, and the everlasting security and continuance of it. (Dr. John Gill)

Romans 8:32 - Spared not His Son
He who has not spared his own son, etc.  As it greatly concerns us to be so thoroughly persuaded of the paternal love of God, as to be able to retain our rejoicing on its account, Paul brings forward the price of our redemption in order to prove that God favors us: and doubtless it is a remarkable and clear evidence of inappreciable love, that the Father refused not to bestow his Son for our salvation.  And so Paul draws an argument from the greater to the less, that as he had nothing dearer, or more precious, or more excellent than his Son, he will neglect nothing of what he foresees will be profitable to us. (John Calvin)
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32 NASB)
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32 KJV)
Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won't He also give us everything else? (Romans 8:32 NLT)
Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32 NET.)

What do we hold most dear in our hearts?  Is it not the love we have for our children?  So why would the love of the Father be any different?  Since He has delivered up His only Son, the sacrifice for all, how will He not now give us all that is required to keep us, His new children?

All things - All things that may be needful for our welfare.  These things he will give freely; without money and without price. His first great gift, that of his Son, was a free gift; and all others that we may need will be given in a similar manner.  It is not by money, nor by our merit, but it is by the mere mercy of God; so that from the beginning to the end of the work it is all of grace.  We see here,
(1) The privilege of being a Christian.  He has the friendship of God; has been favored with the highest proofs of divine love; and has assurance that he shall receive all that he needs.
(2) he has evidence that God will continue to be his friend.  He that has given his Son to die for his people will not withdraw the lesser mercies that may be necessary to secure their salvation.  The argument of the apostle here, therefore, is one that strongly shows that God will not forsake his children, but will keep them to eternal life. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Romans 8:31 - God is For Us
The subject discussed having been sufficiently proved, he now breaks out into exclamations, by which he sets forth the magnanimity with which the faithful ought to be furnished when adversities urge them to despond. (John Calvin)
What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who is against us?
(Romans 8:31 NASB)
What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 KJV)
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?  If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
(Romans 8:31 NLT)
What then shall we say about these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 NET)
We have no reason to fear that the Lord will not give us whatever is profitable for us, seeing that he has not spared his own Son to save us. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

Whatever is profitable is what is provided.  We oftentimes find ourselves discouraged because we cannot discern between the various diversities to see whether they may be testing or chastisement.  It may be good to remember that the wrath of God is being constantly revealed because sin is the wrath revealed!  It has its own reward!  Therefore, chastisement requires no further action from God's perspective because sin will grow heavier until it brings us to our knees.  Testing on the other hand draws us closer in our relationship as we trust that His will, by whatever means, will have its perfect way with us.  We have this perfect assurance because He spared not His only Son who guiltless hung on the cross of Calvary for my sin!  There can be no further sign!  Oh what joy that fills my heart each day as I ponder this miraculous deliverance given to such a sinner as me.

As if he had said: What comfort may we derive from these doctrines? God has called us all to holiness, and to love to him, which is the principle of holiness.  We are persecuted and despised, it is true, and we may be more so; but, as God has called us to love him, and all things work together for good to them that love him; and, as his covenant with Abraham, while he was in his Gentile state, shows his gracious purpose towards us Gentiles, whom he has foreknown, who have been objects of his gracious foreknowledge, as well as the Jews, and who have now the fullest proof that we were so, by his sending us the Gospel, and showing us, in it, that if the Israelites were to be a holy priesthood, a royal nation, we are no less favored, as he has predestinated, from the beginning determined, that we should be conformed to the image of his Son, who is to be the first-born among many brethren, the head and chief of all converted Jews and Gentiles, and, in order to our final salvation, has called, invited us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, has justified those who do believe, and has glorified, highly honored, and adorned them with innumerable gifts and graces, and, if they continue to possess that faith which worketh by love, will bring them, both body and soul, to his eternal glory, their bodies being made like unto his glorious body: - seeing, therefore, all these things are so, what comfort in our tribulations shall we derive from them? - Why this: If God be for us, who can be against us?  He who is infinitely wise has undertaken to direct us: He who is infinitely powerful has undertaken to protect us:  He who is infinitely good has undertaken to save us.  What cunning, strength, or malice, can prevail against his wisdom, power, and goodness?  None.  Therefore we are safe who love God; and not only shall sustain no essential damage by the persecutions of ungodly men, but even these things work together for our good. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
What shall we then say to these things? &c. Either to these afflictions, shall we murmur and repine at them? no, since they work together for our good, and are not to be compared with our future glory, which is certain; for if we suffer with, and for Christ, we shall be glorified together:  or to these blessings just now mentioned, as the foreknowledge of God, divine predestination, effectual calling, free justification, and eternal glorification, what can be said to these? nothing can be added to them, they are a complete set of blessings, wanting nothing; nor can the greatness of them be fully expressed, or the freeness of God's grace displayed in them, sufficiently declared:  what remains for us to do, but to be thankful for them, and glory in them? or what can be said "against" them? nothing at all, they cannot be contradicted or gainsaid; they are true and faithful sayings; they can never be made void, and of no effect, by hell or earth; nor ought our unbelieving hearts to have anything to say against interest in them: or what is to be said, or inferred "from" them? why, the free, sovereign, unchangeable, and everlasting love of God, in providing and bestowing such benefits; and the certainty of salvation, which is infallibly secured hereby (Dr. John Gill)
That is good for the saints which does their souls good.  Every providence tends to the spiritual good of those that love God; in breaking them off from sin, bringing them nearer to God, weaning them from the world, and fitting them for heaven.  When the saints act out of character, corrections will be employed to bring them back again.  And here is the order of the causes of our salvation, a golden chain, one which cannot be broken.  1. Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.  All that God designed for glory and happiness as the end, he decreed to grace and holiness as the way.  The whole human race deserved destruction; but for reasons not perfectly known to us, God determined to recover some by regeneration and the power of his grace.  He predestinated, or before decreed, that they should be conformed to the image of his Son. In this life they are in part renewed, and walk in his steps.  2. Whom he did predestinate, them he also called. It is an effectual call, from self and earth to God, and Christ, and heaven, as our end; from sin and vanity to grace and holiness, as our way.  This is the gospel call.  The love of God, ruling in the hearts of those who once were enemies to him, proves that they have been called according to his purpose.  3. Whom he called, them he also justified. None are thus justified but those that are effectually called. Those who stand out against the gospel call, abide under guilt and wrath.  4. Whom he justified, them he also glorified.  The power of corruption being broken in effectual calling, and the guilt of sin removed in justification, nothing can come between that soul and glory.  This encourages our faith and hope; for, as for God, his way, his work, is perfect.  The apostle speaks as one amazed, and swallowed up in admiration, wondering at the height and depth, and length and breadth, of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.  The more we know of other things, the less we wonder; but the further we are led into gospel mysteries, the more we are affected by them.  While God is for us, and we keep in his love, we may with holy boldness defy all the powers of darkness. (Matthew Henry)

Romans 8:30 - Called
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. (2 Th 1:11 NLT)
and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:30 NASB)
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. (Romans 8:30 KJV)
And having chosen them, He called them to come to Him.  And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself.  And having given them right standing, He gave them His glory. (Romans 8:30 NLT)
And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:30 NET)

It boggles the human mind to discover that before you were ever born that you were called!  I suppose the question that arises should be whether or not we are living up to that calling?  This requires that we recognize not only the calling but Him Who called us.  For faith and obedience are toes on the same foot.  Action without providence is arrogance while inaction is passivity.  Neither of which will lead to a worthy life.

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. (Ephesians 4:1 NLT)
Called by his Spirit to become Christians.  He called, not merely by an external invitation, but in such a way as that they in fact were justified.  This cannot refer simply to an external call of the gospel, since those who are here said to be called are said also to be justified and glorified.  The meaning is, that there is a certain connection between the predestination and the call, which will be manifested in due time.  The connection is so certain that the one infallibly secures the other. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
That he might now by a clearer proof show how true it is that a conformity with the humiliating state of Christ is for our good, he adopts a graduating process, by which he teaches us, that a participation of the cross is so connected with our vocation, justification, and, in short, with our future glory, that they can by no means be separated. (John Calvin)
The Gentiles, whom He determined to call into his Church with the Jewish people, He called - He invited by the preaching of the Gospel, to believe on his Son Jesus Christ.  It is worthy of note, that all that is spoken here refers to what had already taken place; for the calling, justifying, and glorifying are here represented as having already taken place, as well as the foreknowing and the predestinating.  It is therefore reasonable to suppose that the apostle refers to what God had already done among the Jews and Gentiles: though he may also speak of the things that were not as though they were. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
them he also called; not to afflictions: many may be called to afflictions, and endure them, who are neither justified nor glorified; besides, the people of God, though they meet with many afflictions, between their call to eternal glory, and their enjoyment of it, yet they are not so much called to afflictions, as to patience under them: their call is of grace, by special grace, to peculiar blessings of grace, and to a kingdom and glory; and this their calling is secured by predestination, and connected with glorification: and whom he called (Dr. John Gill)
Whom he did predestinate those he also called, not only with the external call (so many are called that were not chosen, Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14), but with the internal and effectual call.  The former comes to the ear only, but this to the heart.  All that God did from eternity predestinate to grace and glory he does, in the fullness of time, effectually call. The call is then effectual when we come at the call; and we then come at the call when the Spirit draws us, convinces the conscience of guilt and wrath, enlightens the understanding, bows the will, persuades and enables us to embrace Christ in the promises, makes us willing in the day of his power.  It is an effectual call from self and earth to God, and Christ, and heaven, as our end - from sin and vanity to grace, and holiness, and seriousness as our way.  This is the gospel call.  Them he called, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand: we are called to that to which we were chosen. So that the only way to make our election sure is to make sure our calling, 2Peter 1:10. (Matthew Henry)
Mat 20:16 "So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last." (NLT)
Mat 22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen." (NLT)
2Pe 1:10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. (NLT)
The word “called” (as Hodge and others truly observe) is never in the Epistles of the New Testament applied to those who have only the outward invitation of the Gospel (as in Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14).  It always means “internally, effectually, savingly called.” It denotes the first great step in personal salvation and answers to “conversion.”  Only the word conversion expresses the change of character which then takes place, whereas this “calling” expresses the divine authorship of the change, and the sovereign power by which we are summoned, Matthew-like, Zacchaeus-like, out of our old, wretched, perishing condition, into a new, safe, blessed life. (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown)
The called. These have been called by the gospel and have accepted the call.  Many others are called, Jews and Gentiles, but only those who hear and obey are chosen (Matthew 20:16; Matthew 20:14).  Paul uses the term of the latter class; those who hear and obey.  The evidence that we are "the called" is that we love God. (The People's New Testament (1891) by B. W. Johnson)
Rom 8:30 Them he - In due time. Called - By his gospel and his Spirit.  And whom he called - When obedient to the heavenly calling, Acts 26:19.  He also justified - Forgave and accepted.  And whom he justified - Provided they "continued in his goodness," Romans 11:22, he in the end glorified - St. Paul does not affirm, either here or in any other part of his writings. that precisely the same number of men are called, justified, and glorified.  He does not deny that a believer may fall away and be cut off between his special calling and his glorification, Romans 11:22.  Neither does he deny that many are called who never are justified. He only affirms that this is the method whereby God leads us step by step toward heaven.  He glorified - He speaks as one looking back from the goal, upon the race of faith. Indeed grace, as it is glory begun, is both an earnest and a foretaste of eternal glory. (John Wesley)
Act 26:19 "And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. (NLT)
Rom 11:22 Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in His kindness.  But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off. (NLT)

Romans 8:29 - Destined for Salvation
He then shows, by the very order of election, that the afflictions of the faithful are nothing else than the manner by which they are conformed to the image of Christ; and that this was necessary, he had before declared.  There is therefore no reason for us to be grieved, or to think it hard and grievous, that we are afflicted, unless we disapprove of the Lord’s election, by which we have been foreordained to life, and unless we are unwilling to bear the image of the Son of God, by which we are to be prepared for celestial glory. (John Calvin)
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (Romans 8:29 NASB)
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 KJV)
For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29 NLT)
because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29 NET)

We often wrestle with this particular verse because the concept of foreknowing is foreign us.  Therefore, our understanding from the Father's perspective is impossible to grasp.  We can also make logical assumptions that are NOT substantiated by Scripture.  One such assumption would be to assert that some might be foreknown and predestined to destruction but this is NOT anywhere substantiated.  Another would be that the foreknowing was the Father looking forward into time and seeing who would respond to the Gospel of His Son.  However, this would make the Gospel dependent upon the created rather than the Creator when in actuality salvation flows from omnipotent decree.  An omniscient Creator can see the result of His omnipotent decrees.  There are no contingencies but rather certainties.

“In this and the following verse the apostle shows how our calling is an argument that all things work together to advance our eternal happiness, by showing the several steps which the wisdom and goodness of God have settled, in order to complete our salvation.  In order to this he first gives us, in this verse, the foundation and finishing, or the beginning and end, of the scheme of our redemption:  For whom God did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. To foreknow, here signifies to design before, or at the first forming of the scheme; to bestow the favor and privilege of being God’s people upon any set of men, Romans 11:2.  This is the foundation or first step of our salvation; namely, the purpose and grace of God, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began, 2Timothy 1:9.  Then, he knew or favored us; for in this sense the word to know is taken in a great variety of places, both in the Old and New Testaments.  And as he knew the Gentiles then, when the scheme was laid, and before any part of it was executed, consequently, in reference to the execution of this scheme, he foreknew us.  This is the first step of our salvation, and the end or finishing of it is our conformity to the Son of God in eternal glory, Romans 8:17, which includes and supposes our moral conformity to him.  When God knew us, at the forming of the Gospel scheme; or, when he intended to bestow on us the privilege of being his people; he then destinated or designed us to be conformed to the image of his Son; and, as he destinated or determined us then to this very high honor and happiness, he pre-destinated, fore-ordained, or pre-determined us to it.  Thus we are to understand the foundation and finishing of the scheme of our salvation.  The foundation is the foreknowledge, or gracious purpose of God; the finishing is our being joint heirs with Christ.  Now, our calling or invitation stands in connection with both these.
1. It stands in connection with God’s foreknowledge; and so it is a true and valid calling: for we are called, invited, or chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, who may bestow his blessings upon any people, as may seem good in his sight, 1Peter 1:2; consequently, we have a good title to the blessings of the Gospel to which we are called or invited.  And this was to be proved, that the Jew, to whom the apostle particularly wrote, might see that the Gentiles being now called into the Church of God was not an accidental thing, but a matter which God had determined when he conceived the Gospel scheme. Thus our calling is connected with God’s foreknowledge.
2. It stands also in connection with our being conformed to the image of his Son; for we are invited by the Gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2Thessalonians 2:14.  And therefore, supposing, what the apostle supposes, that we love God, it is certain, from our being called, that we shall be glorified with the sons of God; and so our calling proves the point, that all things should work together for our good in our present state, because it proves that we are intended for eternal glory; as he shows in the next verse.  For we must understand his foreknowing, predestinating, calling, and justifying, in relation to his glorifying; and that none are finally glorified, but those who, according to his purpose, are conformed to the image of his Son.” Taylor. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
2Ti 1:9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.  He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time—to show us His grace through Christ Jesus. (NLT)
Rom 8:17 And since we are His children, we are His heirs.  In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering. (NLT)
1Pe 1:2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and His Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.  May God give you more and more grace and peace. (NLT)
2Th 2:14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NLT)
The foreknowledge of God here, does not intend his prescience of all things future; by which he foreknows and foretells things to come, and which distinguishes him from all other gods; and is so called, not with respect to himself, with whom all things are present, but with respect to us, and which is eternal, universal, certain, and infallible; for in this sense he foreknows all men, and if this was the meaning here, then all men would be predestinated, conformed to the image of Christ, called by grace, justified and glorified; whereas they are a special people, whom God has foreknown: nor is this foreknowledge to be understood of any provision or foresight of the good works, holiness, faith, and perseverance of men therein, upon which God predestinates them to happiness; since this would make something out of God, and not his good pleasure, the cause of predestination; which was done before, and without any consideration of good or evil, and is entirely owing to the free grace of God, and is the ground and foundation of good works, faith, holiness, and perseverance in them: but this regards the everlasting love of God to his own people, his delight in them, and approbation of them; in this sense he knew them, he foreknew them from everlasting, affectionately loved them, and took infinite delight and pleasure in them; and this is the foundation of their predestination and election, of their conformity to Christ, of their calling, justification, and glorification. (Dr. John Gill)

Understanding Salvation, The God Factor
Calvin writes that God illumines even the minds of the reprobate “enough for them to recognize his grace … with a momentary awareness of his grace, which afterwards vanishes” so that they do not share the witness of the Spirit of adoption (Institutes, III, ii, 11). Henry, C. F. H. (1999). Vol. 4: God, revelation, and authority (290). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Without the Holy Spirit we cannot "know!"  "Knowing" is the illumination of the human heart trapped in utter darkness!  This illumination is more certain than the warmth of the sun upon your face or the gravity that holds your feet to the Earth.  Yet if we do not respond to this warmth, we may miss forever the opportunity to bask in the glow.

But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit.  It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. (1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT)

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.
(John 3:3 NLT)

If you had really known Me, you would know who My Father is.  From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him!
(John 14:7 NLT)

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe.  They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News.  They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
(2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NLT)

Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never know Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.
(1 Corinthians 1:21 NLT)

Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.
(1 Corinthians 2:15 NLT)

And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
(1 Corinthians 2:12 NLT)

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard.  He will tell you about the future.  He will bring Me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me.  All that belongs to the Father is Mine; this is why I said, 'The Spirit will tell you whatever He receives from Me.'
(John 16:13-15 NLT)

But you have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true.  For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what He teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as He has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
(1 John 2:27 NLT)

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him."  But it was to us that God revealed these things by His Spirit.  For His Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets.
(1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NLT)

Our understanding is totally dependent upon the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit NOT intellectual prowess. Therefore, we are without excuse and misunderstanding is no longer an option.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
(Hebrews 11:3 NLT)

Likewise, the terms upon which men may now be saved and thus receive the Spirit are as clearly defined in the Scripture.  Salvation is by grace through faith.  It is the result of the transforming work of God for man, and not the result of the work of man for God.  It is that which God does for the one who trusts the Saviourhood of Christ.  By that trust, Christ is personally received as the divine, Redeemer who shed His blood as a sufficient ransom for the guilt and penalty of sin, as the One who reconciles by having taken away the sin of the world, and as the divine Propitiation who, as Substitute, met every indictment brought against the sinner under the holy government of God.  Grace, Lewis Sperry Chafer


Romans 8:28 - Good Working
This promise is not for everyone, only for those who love God and have answered his call.  But for these it is an all-inclusive promise, covering the good and the bad, the bright and the dark, the sweet and the bitter, the easy and the hard, the happy and the sad.  The promise can be depended on in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness, in calm and storm, in life and in death.
Willmington, H. L. (1997). Willmington's Bible handbook (671). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB)
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. (KJV)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. (NLT)
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, (NET)
Translation. And we know with an absolute knowledge that for those who are loving God, all things are working together resulting in good, for those who are called ones according to His purpose.
Wuest, K. S. (1997, c1984). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (Ro 8:28). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

This verse is draw the conclusion that those who live in the spirit of obedience because of their love for God will find that all things work together for good.  The things that are working are God's providence and His Spirit to bring about His good pleasure.  Much can and has been incorrectly assumed from this verse by taking it out of the near context.  It is God working His perfect plan in those whom He has called into His perfect love.  This is communicated in active voice present tense. For us the continuous working of all things.  Though they may no appear good, nevertheless they are harmonized to bring us into perfection.  All we bring to the equation is our weakness.

This verse introduces another source of consolation and support, drawn from the fact that all flyings are under the direction of an infinitely wise Being, who has purposed the salvation of the Christian, and who has so appointed all things that they shall contribute to it. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
He now draws this conclusion from what had been said, that so far are the troubles of this life from hindering our salvation, that, on the contrary, they are helps to it. (John Calvin)
Alford comments, “In this further description, the apostle designates the believers as not merely loving God, but being beloved by God.  The divine side of their security from harm is brought out, as combining with and ensuring the other.  They are sure that all things work for their good, not only because they love Him who worketh all things, but also because He who worketh all things hath loved and chosen them, and carried them through the successive steps of their spiritual life.  The calling here and elsewhere spoken of by the apostle is the working, in men, of ‘the everlasting purpose of God whereby before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation.”
Wuest, K. S. (1997, c1984). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (Ro 8:28). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

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