28 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. 29 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 brothers; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified (Rom8:28-30)
Finally, in this theology-packed chapter Paul affirms the indisputable biblical reality of the predestination of God’s elect. He has already emphasized the fact that those who are called in such a way were no better by nature than anyone else, which is not to say that that the kind of people they would become was not foreknown by God – “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son”. What else do we know about God’s elect? Basically, in the world’s terms they are a bunch of losers: “For consider your calling, brothers, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong (1Cor1:25-27). Losers indeed, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Mt16:25). Such are required to lose their very lives and what they might have wished for them in worldly terms – so that they might faithfully serve Christ. See again God’s equitable justice – most folk (whom God equally loves and as we saw in the last post intends to deliver from their current bondage of corruption – v21) are not required to make such a sacrifice. But as we also saw in the last post, those who do shall be rewarded beyond human imagining.
If only the mighty glory-seekers of this world were aware of what they were going to be missing in the ages to come (cf. Mt19:29-30). That is why certain inessential mysteries of the Kingdom have been veiled through much of the gospel age even from the Church: so that the rich, the mighty, the proud and the glory-hunters might be detracted by the shame of the cross of Christ and humble cruciform service as His disciples; whilst the humble, the gentle, the poor in spirit and in material possessions who are rich in faith will be the true inheritors of the Kingdom and the Earth. Such is the wisdom of God.
So much for their rewards, but why were such people called in the first place? It is to become conformed to the image of Jesus so that He might become the Firstborn among many brethren. He gave His whole life in the service of God and humanity and they ended up crucifying Him for it. Surely, the ultimate Loser in human terms, yet from God’s perspective and in terms of eternal realities, it is so, so different. God has appointed Jesus heir of all things (Heb1:2) and as we saw earlier in the chapter, His disciples shall be His co-heirs (v17). But in the meantime:
“’For Your sake we are killed all day long; we were regarded as sheep to be slaughtered’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (vv36-37)