For whom he did foreknow, etc. - "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, 2 Timothy 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 (see on Romans 8:28; (note)) stands in connection with both these.
That he might be the chief or head of all the redeemed; for His human nature is the first fruits of the resurrection from the dead; and He is the first human being that, after having passed through death, was raised to eternal glory. See Dr. Taylor.
For whom he did foreknow - The word used here προέγνω proegnōhas been the subject of almost endless disputes in regard to its meaning in this place. The literal meaning of the word cannot be a matter of dispute. It denotes properly to “know beforehand;” to be acquainted with future events. But whether it means here simply to know that certain persons would become Christians; or to ordain, and constitute them to be Christians, and to be saved, has been a subject of almost endless discussion. Without entering at large into an investigation of the word, perhaps the following remarks may throw light on it.
(1) it does not here have reference to all the human family; for all are not, and have not, been conformed to the image of his Son. It has reference therefore only to those who would become Christians, and be saved.
(2) it implies “certain knowledge.” It was certainly foreseen, in some way, that they would believe, and be saved. There is nothing, therefore, in regard to them that is contingent, or subject to doubt in the divine Mind, since it was certainly foreknown.
(3) the event which was thus foreknown must have been, for some cause, certain and fixed; since an uncertain event could not be possibly foreknown. To talk of a foreknowing a contingent event, that is, of foreknowing an event as certain which may or may not exist, is an absurdity.
(4) in what way such an event became certain is not determined by the use of this word. But it must have been somehow in connection with a divine appointment or arrangement, since in no other way can it be conceived to be certain. While the word used here, therefore, does not of necessity mean to decree, yet its use supposes that there was a purpose or plan; and the phrase is an explanation of what the apostle had just said, that it was “according to the purpose of God” that they were called. This passage does not affirm why, or how, or, “on what grounds” God foreknew that some of the human family would be saved. It simply affirms the fact; and the mode in which those who will believe were designated, must be determined from other sources. This passage simply teaches that he knew them; that his eye was fixed on them; that he regarded them as to be conformed to his Son; and that, thus knowing them, he designated them to eternal life. The Syriac renders it in accordance with this interpretation: “And from the beginning he knew them, and sealed them with the image of his Son,” etc. As, however, none would believe but by the influences of his Spirit, it follows that they were not foreknown on account of any faith which they would themselves exercise, or any goodworks which they would themselves perform, but according to the purpose or plan of God himself.
He also did predestinate - See the meaning of the original of this word explained in the notes at Romans 1:4; see also the Acts 4:28 note; and 1 Corinthians 2:7 note. In these places the word evidently means to determine, purpose, or decree beforehand; and it must have this meaning here. No other idea could be consistent with the proper meaning of the word, or be intelligible. It is clear also that it does not refer to external privileges, but to real conversion and piety; since that to which they were predestinated was not the external privilege of the gospel, but conformity to his Son, and salvation; see Romans 8:30. No passage could possibly teach in stronger language that it was God‘s purpose to save those who will be saved. Ephesians 1:5, “having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself.” Ephesians 1:11, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”
To be conformed to the image of his Son - To resemble his Son; to be of like form with the image of his Son. We may learn here,
(1) That God does not determine to save people, whatever their character may be. The decree is not to save them in their sins, or whether they be sinful or holy. But it has primary respect to their char acter. It is that they “should be” holy; and, as a consequence of this, that they should be saved.
(2) the only evidence which we can have that we are the subjects of his gracious purpose is, that we are “in fact” conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ. For this was the design of the decree. This is the only satisfactory proof of piety; and by this alone can we determine that we are interested in his gracious plan of saving people.
That he might be the first-born - The first-born among the Hebrews had many special privileges. The idea here is,
(1)That Christ might be pre-eminent as the model and exemplar; that he might be clothed with special honors, and be so regarded in his church; and yet,
(2)That he might still sustain a fraternal relation to them; that he might be one in the same great family of God where all are sons; compare Hebrews 2:12-14.
Many brethren - Not a few. The purpose of God is that many of the human family shall be saved.
The encounter with the demoniacs of Gergesa had a lesson for the disciples. It showed the depths of degradation to which Satan is seeking to drag the whole human race, and the mission of Christ to set men free from his power. Those wretched beings, dwelling in the place of graves, possessed by demons, in bondage to uncontrolled passions and loathsome lusts, represent what humanity would become if given up to satanic jurisdiction. Satan's influence is constantly exerted upon men to distract the senses, control the mind for evil, and incite to violence and crime. He weakens the body, darkens the intellect, and debases the soul. Whenever men reject the Saviour's invitation, they are yielding themselves to Satan. Multitudes in every department in life, in the home, in business, and even in the church, are doing this today. It is because of this that violence and crime have overspread the earth, and moral darkness, like the pall of death, enshrouds the habitations of men. Through his specious temptations Satan leads men to worse and worse evils, till utter depravity and ruin are the result. The only safeguard against his power is found in the presence of Jesus. Before men and angels Satan has been revealed as man's enemy and destroyer; Christ, as man's friend and deliverer. His Spirit will develop in man all that will ennoble the character and dignify the nature. It will build man up for the glory of God in body and soul and spirit. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. He has called us “to the obtaining of the glory”—character—“of our Lord Jesus Christ;” has called us to be “conformed to the image of His Son.” 2 Thessalonians 2:14; Romans 8:29. DA 341.1
And souls that have been degraded into instruments of Satan are still through the power of Christ transformed into messengers of righteousness, and sent forth by the Son of God to tell what “great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” DA 341.2Read in context »
The first disciples went forth preaching the word. They revealed Christ in their lives. And the Lord worked with them, “confirming the word with signs following.” Mark 16:20. These disciples prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord. They believed Christ's promise that the blessing would be given, and they prayed in faith. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely; they were weighted with the burden for the salvation of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day. DA 827.1
So it may be now. Instead of man's speculations, let the word of God be preached. Let Christians put away their dissensions, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them in faith ask for the blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in apostolic days was the “former rain,” and glorious was the result. But the “latter rain” will be more abundant. Joel 2:23. DA 827.2
All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through co-operation with Christ they are complete in Him, and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of Omnipotence. DA 827.3Read in context »
The standard by which to measure character is the royal law. The law is the sin detector. By the law is the knowledge of sin. But the sinner is constantly being drawn to Jesus by the wonderful manifestation of His love in that He humiliated Himself to die a shameful death upon the cross. What a study is this! Angels have striven, earnestly longed, to look into this wonderful mystery. It is a study that can tax the highest human intelligence, that man, fallen, deceived by Satan, taking Satan's side of the question, can be conformed to the image of the Son of the infinite God—that man shall be like Him, that, because of the righteousness of Christ given to man, God will love man, fallen but redeemed, even as He loved His Son. Read it right out of the living oracles. LHU 150.2Read in context »
We are not to rest in the idea that because we are church-members we are saved, while we give no evidence that we are conformed to the image of Christ, while we cling to our old habits, and weave our fabric with the threads of worldly ideas and customs.... Mar 54.2Read in context »
Religion Molds Entire Being—Real religion has its seat in the heart; and as it is an abiding principle there, it works outwardly, molding the external conduct, until the entire being is conformed to the image of Christ; even the thoughts are brought into subjection to the mind of Christ. If the abiding principle is not in the heart, the mind will be molded after the deceiving similitude of Satan's mind, working his will to the ruin of the soul. The atmosphere which surrounds such souls is deleterious to all around them, whether believers or unbelievers.—Letter 8, 1891. 2MCP 802.1Read in context »
These teachers do not feel the repression they would feel in the presence of older teachers. Their hearts glow with the love of God. The students catch the spirit, the windows of the heart are opened heavenward, and songs of gratitude ascend from hearts that burn with the love of God. As the teachers and students seek to learn their duty, with an unfeigned desire to be conformed to the image of God, they gain power to conquer the stubbornness of a selfish will. RY 48.4Read in context »
After His resurrection, Christ did not show Himself to any save His followers; but testimony in regard to His resurrection was not wanting. Those who were raised with Christ “appeared unto many” (Matthew 27:53), declaring, Christ has risen from the dead, and we are risen with Him. They bore testimony in the city to the fulfillment of the scripture, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isaiah 26:19). These saints contradicted the lie which the Roman guard had been hired to circulate—that the disciples had come by night and stolen Him away. This testimony could not be silenced. 1SM 305.1
Christ was the first fruits of them that slept. It was to the glory of God that the Prince of life should be the first fruits, the antitype of the wave sheaf. “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). This very scene, the resurrection of Christ from the dead, had been celebrated in type by the Jews. When the first heads of grain ripened in the field, they were carefully gathered; and when the people went up to Jerusalem, these were presented to the Lord as a thank offering. The people waved the ripened sheaf before God, acknowledging Him as the Lord of the harvest. After this ceremony the sickle could be put to the wheat, and the harvest gathered. 1SM 305.2
So those who had been raised were to be presented to the universe as a pledge of the resurrection of all who believe in Christ as their personal Saviour. The same power that raised Christ from the dead will raise His church, and glorify it with Christ, as His bride, above all principalities, above all powers, above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the heavenly courts, the world above. The victory of the sleeping saints will be glorious on the morning of the resurrection. Satan's triumph will end, while Christ will triumph in glory and honor. The Life-giver will crown with immortality all who come forth from the grave. 1SM 305.3Read in context »
The Mystery of Godliness—The standard by which to measure character is the royal law. The law is the sin detector. By the law is the knowledge of sin. But the sinner is constantly being drawn to Jesus by the wonderful manifestation of His love in that He humiliated Himself to die a shameful death upon the cross. What a study is this! Angels have striven, earnestly longed, to look into the wonderful mystery. It is a study that can tax the highest human intelligence, that man, fallen, deceived by Satan, taking Satan's side of the question, can be conformed to the image of the Son of the infinite God. That man shall be like Him, that, because of the righteousness of Christ given to man, God will love man—fallen but redeemed—even as He loved His Son. Read it right out of the living oracles. 3SM 169.1Read in context »
Many turn away from the light, provoked because a word of caution is given, and ask, “May we not do as we please with ourselves?” Did you create yourselves? Did you pay the redemption price for your souls and bodies? If so, you belong to yourselves. But the Word of God declares, “Ye are bought with a price,” “the precious blood of Christ.” The Word of God tells us plainly that our natural habits are to be strictly guarded and controlled. “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Shall we do this? The Word of God is perfect, converting the soul. If we diligently heed its precepts, we shall be conformed, physically and spiritually, into the image of God.—Letter 103, 1896. 3SM 291.3Read in context »
The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary; but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor who is at God's right hand presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ's propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned. 6BC 1078.1
O, that all may see that everything in obedience, in penitence, in praise and thanksgiving must be placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ. The fragrance of this righteousness ascends like a cloud around the mercy seat (Manuscript 50, 1900). 6BC 1078.2
29 (2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3:10). Moral Image of God Restored Through Christ—Though the moral image of God was almost obliterated by the sin of Adam, through the merits and power of Jesus it may be renewed. Man may stand with the moral image of God in his character; for Jesus will give it to him. Unless the moral image of God is seen in man, he can never enter the city of God as a conqueror (The Review and Herald, June 10, 1890). 6BC 1078.3
34 (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1; see EGW on Matthew 28:18). Kept by Christ's Intercessions—Everyone who will break from the slavery and service of Satan, and will stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel will be kept by Christ's intercessions. Christ, as our Mediator, at the right hand of the Father, ever keeps us in view, for it is as necessary that He should keep us by His intercessions as that He should redeem us with His blood. If He lets go His hold of us for one moment, Satan stands ready to destroy. Those purchased by His blood, He now keeps by His intercession (Manuscript 73, 1893). 6BC 1078.5
(Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 7:25-27; 9:23-26; 13:15; Revelation 8:3, 4.) Constant Need of Christ's Intercession—Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. In the service of the Jewish priesthood we are continually reminded of the sacrifice and intercession of Christ. All who come to Christ today are to remember that His merit is the incense that mingles with the prayers of those who repent of their sins and receive pardon and mercy and grace. Our need of Christ's intercession is constant. Day by day, morning and evening, the humble heart needs to offer up prayers to which will be returned answers of grace and peace and joy. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifice God is well pleased” (Manuscript 14, 1901). 6BC 1078.6
(John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:11-14.) Clothed With His Priestly Vestments—Christ is the connecting link between God and man. He has promised His personal intercession by employing His name. He places the whole virtue of His righteousness on the side of the suppliant. Christ pleads for man, and man, in need of divine help, pleads for himself in the presence of God, using the power of the influence of the One who gave His life for the world. As we acknowledge before God our appreciation of Christ's merits, fragrance is given to our intercessions. Oh, who can value this great mercy and love! As we approach God through the virtue of Christ's merits, we are clothed with His priestly vestments. He places us close by His side, encircling us with His human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. He puts His merits, as sweet incense, in a censer in our hands, in order to encourage our petitions. He promises to hear and answer our supplications. 6BC 1078.7
Yes, Christ has become the medium of prayer between man and God. He also has become the medium of blessing between God and man. He has combined divinity and humanity. Men are to be co-laborers with God in the salvation of their own souls, and then make earnest, persevering, untiring efforts to save those who are ready to perish (Letter 22, 1898). 6BC 1078.8Read in context »
The Saviour prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” But if the receiver of Bible knowledge makes no change in his habits or practices to correspond to the light of truth, what then? The spirit is warring against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit; and one of these must conquer. If the truth sanctifies the soul, sin is hated and shunned, because Christ is accepted as an honored guest. But Christ cannot share a divided heart; sin and Jesus are never in copartnership. He who accepts the truth in sincerity, who eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of God, has eternal life. “The words that I speak unto you,” said Jesus, “they are spirit, and they are life.” When the receiver of truth cooperates with the Holy Spirit, he will go weighted with the burden of the message to souls; he will never be merely a sermonizer. He will enter heart and soul into the great work of seeking and saving that which is lost. Practicing the religion of Christ, he will accomplish a good work in winning souls. TM 160.1
Every believer is under bonds to God to be spiritually minded, keeping himself in the channel of light, that he may let his light shine to the world. When all those who are engaged in the sacred work of the ministry shall grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, they will hate sin and all selfishness. A moral renovation is constantly going on; as they continue looking to Jesus, they become conformed to His image, and are found complete in Him, not having their own righteousness, but the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. TM 160.2Read in context »
We may attain unto glory and virtue, though weak, sinful mortals, by learning daily lessons in the school of Christ, by becoming conformed to the divine image, by manifesting His excellence of character, by adding grace to grace, by climbing round by round the ladder heavenward, by becoming complete in the Beloved. As we shall work upon the plan of addition, by faith adding grace to grace, God will work upon the plan of multiplication, and multiply grace and peace unto us.... TMK 160.2Read in context »
What a wonderful thought it is that we, poor, fallen sinners, can become one with Christ, partakers of His divine nature, through His grace refined, purified, glorified. We may overcome, and sit down with ...Christ. We are to be conformed to His image. He loves, and He will help us. We are to be passive in His hands. TDG 202.3Read in context »
Truth, precious truth, is sanctifying in its influence. The sanctification of the soul by the operation of the Holy Spirit is the implanting of Christ's nature in humanity. It is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed in character, and the graces of Christ brought into active exercise in good works. Thus the character is transformed more and more perfectly after the image of Christ, in righteousness and true holiness. There are broad requirements in divine truth stretching out interfacing into one line after another of good works. The truths of the gospel are not unconnected; uniting they form one string of heavenly jewels, as in the personal work of Christ, and like threads of gold they run through the whole of Christian work and experience.... TDG 224.2Read in context »
Our characters are to be conformed to the image of Christ. In deed and in truth we are to be amenable to the law of God. Then He can demonstrate through us the blessings that come through obedience to the principles of His word. The King of heaven stands ready to acknowledge the humblest soul that serves Him.—Letter 299, October 22, 1905, to the helpers at the Paradise Valley Sanitarium. TDG 304.8Read in context »
In order for us to reach this high ideal, that which causes the soul to stumble must be sacrificed. It is through the will that sin retains its hold upon us. The surrender of the will is represented as plucking out the eye or cutting off the hand. Often it seems to us that to surrender the will to God is to consent to go through life maimed or crippled. But it is better, says Christ, for self to be maimed, wounded, crippled, if thus you may enter into life. That which you look upon as disaster is the door to highest benefit. MB 61.1
God is the fountain of life, and we can have life only as we are in communion with Him. Separated from God, existence may be ours for a little time, but we do not possess life. “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” 1 Timothy 5:6. Only through the surrender of our will to God is it possible for Him to impart life to us. Only by receiving His life through self-surrender is it possible, said Jesus, for these hidden sins, which I have pointed out, to be overcome. It is possible that you may bury them in your hearts and conceal them from human eyes, but how will you stand in God's presence? MB 61.2
If you cling to self, refusing to yield your will to God, you are choosing death. To sin, wherever found, God is a consuming fire. If you choose sin, and refuse to separate from it, the presence of God, which consumes sin, must consume you. MB 62.1Read in context »
We have heard desire expressed that husbands and families should come into the truth. This is right; it should be a prominent wish. But do we do all our duty? Do we make all the advancement that we should? Do we not come far short of our duty in meeting the work of progression? Don't be a spiritual dwarf. We love to see infants and watch their baby ways, but the same ways would be disgusting if retained until the child was two years old. So the Christian must grow. Be conformed to Christ, not deformed. Just feel as though you were anchored in Christ. Let there be a solidity to the sisters who are alone. Avoid frivolity and keep constantly watching. UL 147.3Read in context »
Many are confused as to what constitutes the first steps in the work of salvation. Repentance is thought to be a work the sinner must do for himself in order that he may come to Christ. They think that the sinner must procure for himself a fitness in order to obtain the blessing of God's grace. But while it is true that repentance must precede forgiveness, for it is only the broken and contrite heart that is acceptable to God, yet the sinner cannot bring himself to repentance, or prepare himself to come to Christ. Except the sinner repent, he cannot be forgiven; but the question to be decided is as to whether repentance is the work of the sinner or the gift of Christ. Must the sinner wait until he is filled with remorse for his sin before he can come to Christ? The very first step to Christ is taken through the drawing of the Spirit of God; as man responds to this drawing, he advances toward Christ in order that he may repent. 1SM 390.1
The sinner is represented as a lost sheep, and a lost sheep never returns to the fold unless he is sought after and brought back to the fold by the shepherd. No man of himself can repent, and make himself worthy of the blessing of justification. The Lord Jesus is constantly seeking to impress the sinner's mind and attract him to behold Himself, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. We cannot take a step toward spiritual life save as Jesus draws and strengthens the soul, and leads us to experience that repentance which needeth not to be repented of. 1SM 390.2
When before the high priests and Sadducees, Peter clearly presented the fact that repentance is the gift of God. Speaking of Christ, he said, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31). Repentance is no less the gift of God than are pardon and justification, and it cannot be experienced except as it is given to the soul by Christ. If we are drawn to Christ, it is through His power and virtue. The grace of contrition comes through Him, and from Him comes justification. 1SM 391.1Read in context »