As I look at this passage, I see another reason for hope through the struggles that we go through: that from eternity past, God had a plan for us.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (29-30)
A lot of people struggle with the problem of predestination versus free will. I’ve talked about in past blogs and will hit it again head-on in chapter 9. But for now, I want you to consider the implications of Paul’s words as a Christian.
God knew you before you were even born. In Ephesians 1, Paul says before the creation of the world, he knew you. He knew all your good points; he knew all your bad points. He knew all your strengths; he knew all your weaknesses. He knew what good things you would do; he knew what evil you would do.
And yet, he chose you. He specifically tailored a plan for you and your good. A plan to transform you so that one day you would be like his Son. Though he knew you would be sinful, weak, and rebellious toward him, nevertheless, God chose to show grace to you, and made plans to transform your weak, sinful, rebellious self into something glorious.
To put that plan in effect he called you. Though you were not even seeking him, he called out to you. And when you turned to him, and responded to him in faith, he justified you. He declared you “not guilty” because of the price Jesus paid for you on the cross. And the day will come when he will glorify you. He will give you a body like the one he gave his Son. Incorruptible, sinless, and imperishable. Glorious.
That’s what God has in store for you. And it is certain. How could it not be? Can anything really change God’s plans? With him knowing everything from the very beginning, can we really believe he looks down on us now and is saying, “Whoops. That was a mistake choosing him. He’s a total mess. He’s hopeless. He’s beyond even me to save.”
No! He knew you from the first, and despite knowing everything about you, he chose you. And as Paul would later say,
God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29)
Are you looking at yourself depressed at who you are? Are you discouraged by how little progress you’ve made as a Christian? God isn’t. He knew you from the first. He chose you knowing exactly how much time it would take to transform your life into the likeness of his Son. So he will never, ever give up on you.
And no matter what trial you’re going through, those trials cannot derail his plans for you either. Nothing catches God by surprise. God already has in mind how he will bring you through. So hold on to hope though you go through the fire. And remember what Paul said earlier.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (8:28)