We see this word predestined in Romans 8, also in the context of God’s decrees. The passage starts with one of the most quoted promises in Scripture:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28, ESVNow, stop right there. We know this verse by heart and love the encouragement it brings. But WHY do all things work for the good of God’s people? How can we be sure they will? Is God frantically running around behind everyone, cleaning up our messes and attempting to make it work out to some kind of halfway decent outcome? Is this the view of God Scripture reveals? Of course not.
The next verses explain the reason all things work together for good for God's people:
For [or because] 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. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30, ESVWe can KNOW that all things will work for the good of God’s people BECAUSE of God’s unchanging, eternal decree! He foreknew us (that is, chose to know us, have a relationship with us, before creation) and gave us a destiny (predestined us) to be his sons – in the image of THE unique Son. Because of this unchanging decree, the rest of the events in the chain will happen: his people will be ‘called’ through the gospel, and when they believe by grace they will be ‘justified.’ The end of their salvation is being ‘glorified’ at Christ’s return (spoken of in the past tense in this verse because it is as good as done!).
God is not attempting anything. Rather, the Bible presents God as the mighty One, who has decreed his will from before all time, and is now working all things according to the counsel of his will (Eph 1:11); that is, he is unfolding his plan in real time. Because he has revealed to us that he has chosen his people and predestined us to be his children, we can rest in the security and encouragement of God's unchanging decree. He will not revoke his choice! He will finish what he has begun in us (Philippians 1:6). And, therefore, no power or enemy or demon or choice of man can overturn God. Even those who oppose him (and us) will find themselves swept up into his plan.
All things must work for our good, because God has decreed eternal good for his people, in Christ.