A Critical Look at Romans 8:29-30

Romans 8:29-30 is perhaps the most Calvinistic passage of Scripture in the Bible. Here the Apostle Paul makes the following declaration: “29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (NKJV) The question of the hour is, what do these two verses mean? Is Paul speaking in salvific terms? Is he giving the world a glimpse into the mind of God as He reaches out to touch the hearts of sinners to make them part of His eternal family? The Calvinist says this is exactly what Paul is doing and this is exactly what these two verses are referring to.

In looking at the Greek,

“for those He knew beforehand, He indeed appointed beforehand (predestined) those to be fashioned in the image of His Son that He might be the first born among many brothers. Those He predestined He called by name, invited and those He called those He also justified and those He justified He also glorified.”

These verbs are all aorist active indicative tenses. They indicate that the action of the verb has already taken place with respect to the subject of the verb. Given the tense of the verb, it is clear at least grammatically speaking, this cannot refer to action that is yet to be taken. The Calvinist argument that glorification is so set in the mind of God that it is virtually already settled is not easily substantiated grammatically in this passage of Scripture. This will be highlighted in greater detail later. With this in mind, is there a contextual application that might better suit Paul’s statement?

Paul begins chapter 8 with these words, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Rom 8:1-2 NKJV) It is clear that Paul is speaking if not to Christians, about Christians. In verse 4 he settles that question when he wrote, “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”(NKJV) He goes on to say “8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.” (Rom 8:8-9 NKJV) “16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Rom 8:16-17 NKJV) Paul is establishing the foundation for their inclusion in the family of God.

Notice the phrase, “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” This is an important phrase in the exegesis of this text. Paul has taken great lengths to identify the Roman Christians with the family of God; they are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus. So, how are these Roman Christians to respond to the persecution they are facing? This present suffering will end in glorification. What about the tenses in this verse? If we “suffer” is a present active indicative which indicates that Paul is speaking of persecution they are currently experiencing and “that we may be glorified together” is aorist passive subjunctive; which carries with it an intended action that is yet to be completed. The subjunctive voice even with the aorist tense is an indication that there is no past time indicated by the aorist tense of the verb but anticipates some hypothetical event in the future. So Paul is indicating here that the present suffering the Roman Christians are going through will culminate in glory someday.

Paul says that the world itself is going through this futility and “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom 8:21NKJV) Paul continues this concept as he argues the necessity of their present suffering: “23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (Rom 8:23-25 NKJV) Notice Paul’s next statement, “we are not alone! We have the Holy Spirit helping us and praying on our behalf!” Notice Paul’s next statement: “27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom 8:27 NKJV)

Who would these Roman Christians think of when the apostle Paul spoke of “the saints?” It is at least fair to assume they might think of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They might think of David, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, all Old Testament saints that God had used to bring Jesus into the world. It is clear that Paul did not think of himself in this category and was not including himself in this company. Notice Paul’s next statement: “28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28-29 NKJV) “We know” is a very important statement here. How do these Roman Christians know that God works “all things out for good for those who love the Lord?” Because they had been taught the Old Testament and they knew that God had worked in the lives of those Old Testament saints and He had brought them through untold difficulties to glory!

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Rom 8:29-30 NKJV) Notice the conjunction, “for”’; it ties what is about to be said with what has just been said. We know what God has done for the Old Testament saints, those that He “already knew, He predestined, (aorist indicative, completed action) to be conformed to the image or likeness of His Son. They died long before Jesus was even born but they are still a part of the promises of God! God planned from the beginning to bring their salvation to completion in Christ Jesus. Moreover, those He predestined (aorist indicative, completed action) He justified (aorist indicative, completed action) and those He justified He glorified (aorist indicative, completed action). If Paul had any intended notion that he was speaking to the Roman Christians he would have used the same tense he used previously in verse 16, that being the aorist passive subjective. He did not do so because he was speaking here of the Old Testament saints who had already died but God had provided hope for.

Paul continues, “31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31 NKJV) If God took care of the Old Testament saints, will He not do the same for us? Yes! “32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom 8:21-36 NKJV) Paul is not at all speaking of predestination of individuals to conversion: he is speaking to these Roman Christians who are suffering immense persecution and encouraging them to “keep the faith” for the God who brought the Old Testament saints to glory is going to bring them to glory!

Paul concludes chapter 8 with this great charge, “37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:37-39 NKJV)

Paul simply wanted the newly born again Christians in Rome to know that they were covered by the blood that covered the saints of old and the same God that brought them out of the immense persecutions they endured would bring them out of those they were enduring.

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29 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ron Suarez on May 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Ok, I’ll break the ice here. First, I want to thank you for bringing in the part about the OT saints. I had never looked at it that way. With that said, I disagree that “The Calvinist argument that glorification is so set in the mind of God that it is virtually already settled is not easily substantiated grammatically in this passage of Scripture. “ We can rightly ascribe a correlation if there is a good reason to do so. The Bible establishes a good reason for believing that God saved us before we did good or bad we see this in Rom 9:11. One might argue these are nations and not people, but what are nations if not people? Also, Paul stated that God chose us before the foundations of the world to be saved, Eph 1:3-4. Jesus prayed for us, His children, before we were born, John 17:9. Eph 2:10 states that:
    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
    which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    So the Bible gives us good warrant to believe that God intends to save us before we did good or bad.

    The first half of Rom 8, verses 1-17, set out what it means to be a child of God: those who walk according to the Spirit act like this. You have no warrant to believing you are saved if you do not walk in the Spirit. Those who walk in the Spirit can expect what Paul writes in verses 19-39.

    The last half of Romans 8 is an argument from greater to lesser: God has overcome in salvation, the greater, so you can be sure of your endurance in suffering, the lesser. I don’t really understand how one could escape salvation in this passage with all the talk about Christ’s death. Does Rom 8:30 not remotely smell like you could import salvation language into the mix?
    Blessings,
    Ron S.

    Reply

    • Ron,

      Thanks for “breaking the ice!” With reference to your assertion, “We can rightly ascribe a correlation if there is a good reason to do so” is eisegesis. I am saying exegetically it is not as easily done. I also note Paul’s use of the Greek language and the respective tenses that would help differentiate between the two conceptual readings. The thing that I find especially interesting is the actual use of both the aorist indicative and the aorist passive subjective in the same few verses. Had Paul NOT ussed the latter, one might could better argue his intent but the fact that he did use the more futuristic tense in verse 16 and then intentionally used the definite past tense in verses 29 and 30 certainly makes your argument more questionable, at least as I see it.

      As I stated in the article, Paul is speaking of those God has used in the past that formed the framework for those he is speaking to and saying, the same God that brought them through will bring you through as well. This fits the context of what paul is saying much better than a soteriological insert where he is obviously speaking to those who are already saved. The past tense of the verb especially reated to being glorified would almost have to exclude those he was speaking to as well as us today because obviously we are not glorified and he even speaks to that saying that is our hope someday!

      I adamantly disagree with your assertion, “The Bible establishes a good reason for believing that God saved us before we did good or bad we see this in Rom 9:11.” The statement to Rebecca was more prophetic in that the older would serve the younger and the direct correlation to the new covenant with respect to the old. Your application of Ephesians 1 is also exaggerated for I see Paul telling the Ephesian Christians that God had chosen to include them in His forever family and this is in no way a soteriological statement of individual election as you suggest. Same with 2:10, we as his children in Christ Jesus are to be products of His workmanship “which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” What God prepared beforehand was not those who are saved, but the provisions that we must walk in to be saved.

      John 17:9 is a prayer for Jesus’ disciples, the 12 men that He was walking with. Verse 20 is where you and I come in as those who believe in Him through the Word of the disciples.

      Thanks for the comment.

      ><>”

      Reply

    • In your assessment of Ephesians 1:3-4, you missed something in your interpretation. It does not say, as you note, that anyone is predestined to be saved. It states that the saved are predestined “TO BE”…”that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

      Just sayin…

      Ed Chapman

      Reply

  2. good stuff! never looked at it as being about the o.t. saints before. you have sent me back to my Bible, brother. will have to study this.

    Reply

  3. Bob, I know it might not mean anything to you, but Jamieson-Fausett-Brown in their commentary say,

    “and whom he justified, them he also glorified—brought to final glory (Ro 8:17, 18). Noble climax, and so rhythmically expressed! And all this is viewed as past; because, starting from the past decree of “predestination to be conformed to the image of God’s Son” of which the other steps are but the successive unfoldings—all is beheld as one entire, eternally completed salvation.”

    FYI

    Reply

    • Les,

      J-F-B is written with a definite Reformed bias. I am familiar with it and refer to it quite often as it is one of the commentaries on my computer Bible program I use almost exclusively in most of my study. That being said, my argument is that the grammar precludes that interpretation as I so responded additionally to Ron, while you were writing this. It would certainly have made your argument stronger had Paul not used the more futuristic tense in verse 16, and to me the fact that he did is a direct indication that his aorist indicative use in verses 29 and 30 means he wrote what he meant to write. The action was past tense with respect to the subject of the action, which would have leant itself to people God had used in the past as opposed to that which Paul intended to refer to take place in the future.

      The reference to the saints who had come before the Roman Christians certainly fits what paul is saying as he is admonishing them to stand strong in the midst of the persecution they are facing, which J-F-B also acknowledges.

      Thanks for the comment. I do appreciate it.

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Bob, let me ask you a question. Are you a saint?

      • Les,

        I do not even have to answer that question: a saint I ain’t. I am saved by God’s grace so that makes me God’s child and one day I will be glorified, to God be the glory. This is part of the point that I am making in this passage of scripture. If God were referring to the Christians in Rome that he was referring to or to you and me, he would not have used the aorist active indicative but probably the aorist passive subjective he used in verse 16. If as I suggest, he was speaking of the saints who had gone before them in the OT, that God knew as well as He did them, THEN his use of the aorist active indicative was fully appropriate in this text because those were the ones he was referring to. That is what I believe is the case in this text.

        It is simply beyond the scope of the text to read into what Paul is saying a calvinist soteriological proof text when he is speaking to those who are already saved about holding on in light of the persecution they are facing. To use the OT saints as examples does seem to be an appropriate fit to the contextual interpretation of this passage.

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      • Bob, of course you’re not a saint. Neither am I.

        But we are!

        Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

        To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful1 in Christ Jesus:

        For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints

        to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ

        You get the idea. You’re not a saint, but the bible says you are? How is that? Well the reckons you and all Christians as saints, as if you already are one, even though you and I know we are not saints in everyday life.

        This is another example of what many of us refer to as the “already, not yet” idea in biblical theology. There are many more examples in the scriptures of this dual status. Here is but another example:

        “…even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
        and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”
        (Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:6 ESV)

        Are we “seated” in the heavenly places? Yes and no. That is what is going on in Romans 8. That is ow we can be said to be glorified and yet we know that glorification awaits us.

        BTW, the verb “seated” in Ephesians is also aorist indicative active same as glorified in Rom.8.30. FYI.

      • Bob, any response to my last comment? On “saints” and the verb in Ephesians same as in Romans 8? And it cannot be referring to OT saints and must apply to us?

  4. Posted by Ron suarez on May 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I hear you, Bob. In seminary there was always the language dept and theology dept fighting over a text based strictly on their point of study. We must consider a text by the words and its placement in the chapter, irs placement of the book, the thrust of the chapter, the book, and the rest of the Bible.
    It is not eisogesis to read Jesus in Zech 3. We really couldn’t make sense of the OT if you didn’t read Jesus back into the OT. We interpret OT by NT. the same is true of NT passages, unclear passages are made clear interpreting them by clear passages. No passage is interpeted by itself, but in light of the whole. The passage informs us what passages are valid corillaries. That is Systematic theology, not eisogesis.

    Reply

    • Ron,

      I agree. I was challenging your assertion itself, “We can rightly ascribe a correlation if there is a good reason to do so” in light of your objection of the grammatical evidence of the text itself. I fully understand the difference BUT we have to, as I know you are suggesting, use balance in the approach. I deal with the grammar in this chapter and point to specific verb tenses that Paul uses to differentiate the nuances of the differing interpretations and point out the liklihood of Paul’s intent lining up with your particular interpretation.

      I took a LOT of NT Greek backed up with 3 years of Latin in HS… which was very similiar to Greek but to tell you the truth, I have never used much of it because I am not sure it is as pertinent as many make it. This is one of those areas where it actually does come in to play and I had to use reference materials because i do not remember this stuff in my head!

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      Reply

      • Posted by Ron Suarez on May 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm

        Just a question here: do you reject the idea of predestination entirely? Since we are on the idea of what Greek words mean, what does the word ‘predestinate’ in verse 29 mean. The choices seems pretty limited. You could give the standard Arminian line that Jesus died for the oportunity of salvation, not for specific people, but God knew who would be saved, but I think the word ‘predestinate’ is a little stronger than that.

    • Hey Ron,

      Predestined to me means God had a plan. Look at that statement one more time… “He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

      Seems to me predestined for what is an important qualifier here. It does not really make sense to include those he was speaking to in this statement because they are already conformed to Jesus’ death burial and resurrection but guess who are not? Those saints that had already gone to be with the Lord that Christ came out of, the Jewish nation. So, those God glorfied were those OT saints and if God preserved them, He would preserve the Roman Christians.

      For the record, I am NOT arminian any more than I am calvinist. I believe in Tranformed Theology and Conversionism. 🙂

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      Reply

      • Posted by Ron Suarez on May 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm

        Bob,
        So, if that word refers to the OT saints, what does it mean in Eph 1:11, where it states:
        Eph 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will?
        I am sorry I miscatagorized you. I am not trying to be snide here or trying to slam you, but, I am having a hard time distinguishing your point of view from the classic Arminian view. Just say’n
        Blessings,
        Ron Suarez

      • Ron,

        First of all I am saying the text in Romans 8:29-30 refers to the OT saints. I am NOT saying ALL references to predestination refer to the same. As for the Ephesians 1 verse you reference, I believe vv 3-14 deal with God’s provisions to bring salvation to the Gentiles, or nations; not individual predestination as is suggested by some. Notice even in the verse you quote, in Him “WE” have an inheritance… now what does “predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things refer to?”

        I believe predestined refers directly to the inheritance… not to the believers themselves. God had a plan to bring this inheritance to the gentiles by adoption. (v5) The mystery of His will in verse 9 is that salvation has come to the gentiles, which He purposed in His own will. Paul says that they were sealed unto eternity by the Holy Spirit after they heard the gospel and believed.

        Once again, I do not see the salvific significance in the term predestined that the calvinist perspective demands.

        ><>”

        PS… my comment about not being arminian was VERY serious but was not taken as miscategorizing on your part. It is amazing that the typical calvinist view is anyone who is not calvinist MUST be arminian. Not so. Since I do not beleive in TD, I avoid BOTH the calvinist and arminian camps.

        BH

      • Bob,

        “First of all I am saying the text in Romans 8:29-30 refers to the OT saints.”

        I must say that I’m astounded to see you say that. In 28 years of ministry and studies and reading many commentaries on Romans I have never heard someone say that. Now I know you say often that it doesn’t really matter to you what other say. You come to your own conclusions. But brother, if you have an interpretation that no one else has, that’s a red flag. Now maybe there is someone out there that agrees with you. But those people can’t number very many.

      • Posted by Ron Suarez on May 9, 2012 at 8:35 am

        Bob,
        I hear you, we just come from totally different camps when it comes to the meaning of the text. If I understand you correctly, you see predestination as God securing the benefit, but not bringing about cause, salvation.
        “God’s provisions to bring salvation to the Gentiles, or nations; not individual predestination as is suggested by some.”
        I believe Paul is saying, in the last half of Rom. 8, that you can be sure of the effect of your salvation because God has brought its cause, your salvation. Lets be fair, I would deny your premise because I believe the act of God predestination and the effect are indivisible, and you would deny that any scripture teaches that salvation is predestinated because in your hermeneutic says that cannot be.
        In that sense, you, I, the evolutionist, are all the same: we are held hostage to our presuppositions. We cannot believe because we cannot believe. Sounds kind of Calvinist, hah? But its true. We are held captive by a deterministic bent in us that cannot change from the inside. I cannot agree with your position because it would violate my freedom to make myself accept your position. I am sorry if that seems a bit off topic from this tread, but this is at the core of all our disagreements. We can have all the conversation we want, but until God changes my heart or your heart, we cannot really get at what the scriptures mean. We agree on what they say.
        Believe me, pastor Bob, I have been praying for you and for me that God would remove any idol that would keep me from accepting your position if it is true. I don’t want to be like I see you any more than you want to be like you see me: headstrong in my way, unable to accept the truth because I love my position more than I love the truth. That is not meant to be slam. I mean it honestly, from the heart. Only one of us can be right. I don’t want to be on the wrong side.
        Les, I totally agree with you. My seminary Theology prof hammered into me that the burden of proof is on you if you introduce a novel idea. I have never heard anyone ever say that predestination in Rom 8:38 refers to the OT saints exclusively and in no way refers to our salvation. Of course the majority could be wrong, just look at the world vrs Christianity.
        Ras

      • Ron,

        We have to be very careful as to how we interpret people’s statements. You said, “If I understand you correctly, you see predestination as God securing the benefit, but not bringing about cause, salvation.”

        Here is the problem, you and I will see that statement in and of itself differently. I am saying that God is responsible for those who are saved; He provides both the means and the provision for salvation to those who believe. Predestination speaks as I see it (for the most part) to His plans to bring about the salvation of those that are lost. When I read your statement, I see a hint of the underlying calvinist retort that says, “here is poor God, He wants people to be saved but His will is limited to man’s choice etc, etc.” That many not be what you are suggesting but I have seen it time and time again. That is a poorly misinterpreted view, for those who employ it.

        I will also take objection to the next statement you make, “Lets be fair, I would deny your premise because I believe the act of God predestination and the effect are indivisible, and you would deny that any scripture teaches that salvation is predestinated because in your hermeneutic says that cannot be.” I agree we both have our perspectives. However, I like I am sure you try to do, do not want to bring my theology to the text but want the text to speak to my theology. In defense, I maintain the ONLY way to come to a calvinistic view of Scripture period is to read the posits of calvinism or be exposed to them beforehand. I had not even paid ANY attention to the tenets of calvinism until 2000 and really in amazement did I even believe anyone today would even believe that stuff. I still cannot but that is another discussion for another day.

        Issue like those with respect to predestination are not what I call normal conversation pieces in the Scripture. So, when I read a passage that I do not understand, I personally seek to read the context to try to determine the meaning of the text itself. That is what I did in speaking to what I read in Romans 8. I sometimes look at the language in the Greek. (not often but on occasion I do.) the language in vv 29-30 are interesting, you MUST admit that with respect to your interpretation. I have no qualms with accepting the DOG IF I believed they were Scripturally based. I simply cannot in ANY manner see the Bible teaching that God and God alone determines who is and who is not saved. If it were solely His choice as the calvinist contends, I believe everyone would be saved.

        I believe the Bible clearly teaches that man must decide what he is going to do with the claims of the Scripture that he is a sinner condemned to death and that Jesus came in the form of a man, lived a sinless life and willingly went to the cross to die in his place so that through repentance and by faith, any sinner might be saved. This work is only accomplished through God’s revelation of Himself through the revelation from His Word and the reconciliatory work of the Holy Spirit as god seeks to reconcile all who will believe unto Him. God has done everything to make salvation available for all who will believe.

        I do not believe the Bible anywhere teaches that man is totally depraved to the degree that the calvinist posits in total inability. This concept is nowhere illustrated in the OT and I do not believe in the NT. Man is a sinner; man is depraved but to say that he has no ability to respond to God’s revelation of who He is and what it is that He has purposed to do in conversion is foreign to the Scriptural presentation. No where is regeneration established as the catalyst to repentance and saving faith. It is not there. So the calvinist system is terribly flawed as I see it. I assure you this does not limit my ability to read the Scriptures and see the light. I am in no way trying to make the scriptures say what I want them to say.

        I also do not see the statement in calvinists or non-calvinists: “I love my position more than I love the truth.” I believe that we both are searching the Scriptures to know the truth. I don’t suppose this is any different than the Catholics or Methodists or Mormons or Muslims for that matter. We ALL want to know the truth and the God who created us and wants us to fulfil the purpose for which we were created. So I believe you are as sincere as I am in seeking to know the truth. I do not beleive that our goal either way is to convince the other that we are right.

        I have this blog for two reasons. First, by corresponding with folks here I am challenged to make sure my position is my position and that I have reasons for what I say I believe. The second reason I write here is to give people the opportunity to read our respective positions and hopefully they will think through some things they may or may not have thought through and it helps them see arguments and positions they would have not otherwise considered.

        I just got off the phone with a lady who has been reading my writing and she thanked me for my position and it had helped her firm up her faith with respect to the calvinist influence she had found herself in. She lives out of state, up north somewhere. My other blog gets attention and somebody every day reads about my position with respect to calvinism and its influence in the SBC. I am grateful for the opportunity. People get on my site and read article after article and I am honored for that. I am sure some agree and some do not but they are at least reading what I have to say. That is all anyone can ask.

        You said, “I have never heard anyone ever say that predestination in Rom 8:29-30 (I corrected that) refers to the OT saints exclusively and in no way refers to our salvation.” Now you and Les can no longer say that.

        You and other calvinists frequently quote John 17 and that context clearly refers to Jesus’ disciples but you guys continue to use verse 9 I think it is as a calvinist proof text… so lets not get too giddy about interpretations that may or may not fit your thinking. I made my case. I believe it is a fair and not an exagerated position. But that is why we all are responsible for searching the scriptures for ourselves.

        The burden of proof is not on me to do anything since I am sharing my position. My position is just that, mine. I am not trying to persuade you or anyone else for that matter to accept or adopt it. I am not being arrogant but that is really the truth. I have never been one who was swayed by the majority. I pick my own path and am comfortable on it. Scripture is on my side there too, since broad is the way that leads to destruction! Just a little humor there.

        Thanks for the interaction!

        ><>”

  5. I’m always amazed by the discussions on predestination: that no one takes notice to each of the four verses of scripture where the word occurs (in some form) that it never refers to “Justification.”
    Here in Romans 8:29, Paul refers to conforming a believer to the image of the Son of God, which is Sanctification… if it were a reference to “Justification” then Christ was not nor could be justified…so that would not be in his image anyway…whereas sanctification transforms the lives of believers to be more Christ-like. Clearly that is the reference in that passage. Likewise, in verse 30 each and every believer (who will/is sanctified) has also been called, justified and glorified… (yes, glorified here must apply to our future experience of it, and God’s foreknowledge of it just as it must with calvinism since no living believer has yet experienced it until Christ comes and we receive glorified bodies.)

    LIkewise, in Ephesians 1:5, predestination is used in reference to adoption of the justified believer into the family of God as his child. Again this is not salvation/justification but is a benefit of it!

    Likewise in Ephesians 1:11, the same is true: that the inheritance we have in Christ is not salvation/justification but is again a benefit of being justified.

    In none of these four verses (and there are no others) does predestination refer to God justifying sinners! How can this be so easily dismissed by Calvinists?

    In addition is the matter of Election! Nowhere does the bible state that God chose some to be saved contrary to their choice while leaving others with no choice and consigned to Hell.

    Is Election a biblical doctrine? ABSOLUTELY IT IS…however the matter rests not in God choosing individuals to be saved against there will, but it rests in God choosing whom he accepts…

    Notice in Ephesians 1:4 ” According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

    Here we find that God has chosen us IN HIM before the foundation of the world…What does this mean? It means that God chose to accept only those who are in Christ. Without controversy this is exactly what the bible teaches: that God only accepts those in Christ and those not in Christ are without exception not acceptable unto him!

    I’m sure you would agree with that statement, calvinist or not.

    However, the matter is God choosing whom he accepts, telling man whom he accepts and giving man the choice to receive Christ as Lord and Savior…literally to become one of those whom God accepts.

    Notice also verse 6: “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

    We believers are accepted IN THE BELOVED!! Who is, of course, Jesus Christ.

    God chose who is acceptable to him and told man all about it, and he commands that man repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. This view in no way presents any problem in the scriptures…not like Calvinism does…there’s a lot of pretzel twisting going on in Calvinism… I used to believe it… but there’s too much redefining of simple terms like: all, world, etc… in order to make it fit with Calvinism.

    Consider that even the word “Sovereign” is redefined by Calvinists so that God must choose for man, directly contradicting himself when he commands man to make that choice over and over again in scripture…Sovereign defined is to be the highest authority and the ability to do as you will, etc…Calvinism expands that to the point that God is made out to be the author of sin!! Then the Calvinist must contort himself and go back trying to make it not appear so.

    Simply letting the scriptures say what they say would be easier, don’t you think? Nowhere does Predestination apply to Justification/salvation in the scriptures. Nowhere in the scriptures does God elect individuals, though he did choose who is acceptable to him…IN CHRIST.

    I leave you with an order of Salvation given in this same chapter again, verse 13: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,!!!”

    NOtice that paul is clear on the “order of the events” and that order is completely opposite of the order given in Calvinism where we are first saved and sealed by God’s spirit…and then begin to show what we already have by outward professions of faith. Too many problems…especially the matter of God as author of sin…that is if Calvinism’s warped view of God’s sovereignty (having to foreordain every event) holds true. If so, then there is no escaping the end of that logic: blaming God for sin…and my friend that is unacceptable theology!

    Reply

  6. James,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment! Come on back soon!

    ><>”

    Reply

  7. I apologize, as I have not read all the posts on this article, just the article itself, but there seems to be a fundamental flaw with this interpretation, namely that Paul refers to the OT saints. That is really the interpretive grid by which you get around the Calvinist interpretation. As such, the context of Romans interprets who the saints are. Rom. 1:7 – “those who are loved by God, called to be saints.” Paul uses this word, “Saints”, repeatedly in his Epistles. In fact, just a cursory word study on the word reveals that the word “saint” is synonamous with the “called out ones”, aka the church.. Therefore, the promise that Paul affirms in 8:28 is a promise to those suffering under the curse of sin (see Rom 7). The assurance of this promise rests in the fact that God has already completed our salvation (known, predestined, called, justified, glorified). Also, I’m sure it’s been pointed out already, but those saints in verse 28 receive the blessings in v. 29 and 30, as well as verses 31 – 39. In fact, the context is fully revealed in these latter verses. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Note: “Saints” “those” and “us” speak of the same people: The Roman Christians and we who in every age of trusted in Christ and the work of the Spirit over against the works of the flesh. So, I don’t think your interpretation bears the weight of the text, and I think you stand on very dangerous ground, in general, to try and offer a “new way”, aka “Transformation Theology”.

    Reply

    • Nathan,

      Thanks for stopping in here!

      I think your criticism is unfairly leveled on a couple of points. First of all, you are taking MY comment with respect to Paul’s referencing the OT saints and then using his own use of the term in his writing to correct the application. I do not believe that is a valid argument.

      Now, I see you are ignoring the linguistic problem that the text itself presents with respect to the action of the verbs in verse 30. The point in my article is that Paul’s specific use of the tenses is an indication he was NOT speaking to the Roman Christians because they obviously had not been glorified.

      With that in mind, I suggested that Paul could have been refering to those who had gone before them that God had called, justified, and glorified, aka those who had gone before them in the past, the OT saints. Now, if you look at chapter 9, Paul will talk about those who were direct recipients of the faith of old and he remarks that he himself would be accursed if they could come to Christ and be saved! Paul says that they are the ones who are “Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” (Rom 9:4-5)

      I will stand on my exegesis of the text and context as presented. As far as my position on Transformed Theology as opposed to Reformed Theology, my point was that this passage is not nearly as strong a proof text for the Reformed camp to stand on as they would like for it to be, at least as far as I see it. There is no intention of presenting this interpretation as a proof text for Transformed Theology to stand on.

      Appreciate your input!

      ><>”

      Reply

      • So, up to verse 28, he is speaking of “we” and “us” and then all of the sudden the focus changes and now he is talking about OT saints? And your justification for that is found not in the context of the passage or the book, but the linguistics? Sorry, but I just don’t think that floats. Seems as though you are straining the text to keep it from saying what it says, and then you call it exegesis because you looked at the Greek. Whatever is being done in verses 28ff is done to those in verses 1-27, otherwise, there is no declaration of absolution and total pardon given in verses 31ff. The charge against God’s elect is a charge against the roman Christians, and no one can bring a charge because God has justified them, which ties us back to verses 29-30.

      • Bob, long time no see online.

        I responded to your “saints” interpretation and the verb issue above at May 8, 2012 at 2:16 pm and following. You never replied.

        In fact, later on I wrote, “Bob, any response to my last comment? On “saints” and the verb in Ephesians same as in Romans 8? And it cannot be referring to OT saints and must apply to us?”

        Still no interaction on my comments.

        Have a blessed day.

      • Let me make a correction in what you guys may have thought I was saying… I was not refering to the use of “saints” in verse 27… I believe that is a direct reference to those Paul is speaking too…

        My point had nothing to do with that verse in fact I just now tied that reference to this argument. My point of reference in verses 28-30: notice Paul’s language goes from us to “those” which could hardly be argumed to include the Roman Christians… those who loved God and were called according to His purpose… namely the Jewish nation that preceeded Jesus; those He foreknew and predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… why; because they had already died many of them and not only did God predestine them to be conformed to the image of His Son He predestined or planned that Jesus would be the first born among them; in otherwords they would partake in the resurrection just as the New Testament church would… those are the ones He had already called, justified and glorified in Christ Jesus.

        Sorry for the confusion… I can see why you were perhaps saying what you are saying but I did not intend my position to be based at all on verse 27… if that is what you were thinking.

        ><>”

  8. Les,

    I read your retort the day you wrote it and did not care to respond further. I made my case and believe it to be a fair case. I do not see the calvinist twist that is posited to support the notion of effectual calling and regeneration that leads to repentance and saving faith in the Romans 8 passage.

    I am also aware that my position is not going to convince anyone who is already set in their theological position and I am not even foolish enough to think I will; what this site hopefully will do is speak to someone who is not sure what is the truth and they can read my position and responses like yours and let the Lord lead them accordingly.

    So thanks for saying hello!

    ><>”

    Reply

  9. Posted by Steve Howard on September 24, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Hi Bob – I appreciate your level headedness as it relates to this, whether we agree or not, as this is such a divisive issue.

    Given the fact you use the verb tense so heavily in your interpretation, I am curious as to what your thought is given the fact the tense in verse 27 is present (or perhaps ongoing?), i.e., “he makes (present tense) intercession for the saints.” Of course, there was no need to make intercession for the OT saints when Paul wrote this. As such, my understanding would be that this refers to the current saints (which we all are, of course).

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Steve

    Reply

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