For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.
Foreknowledge is more limited in its scope than the omniscience of God. Omniscience knows the alternative; foreknowledge only deals with the realities. In omniscience God knows perfectly and eternally all that is knowable, whether it is actual or possible; the reality and the alternatives to that reality. However, in foreknowledge we are dealing with the reality.
Foreknowledge emphasizes to us that each believer was in the mind of God in eternity past. Divine thinking included every believer. No one is left out of God’s thinking. Divine thinking related to foreknowledge indicates that God has a plan for your life. That plan was predetermined (predestined) in the mind of God in eternity past. Therefore, the stages we see in this context are designed to relate the believer to the plan of God, giving him/her confidence and assurance and setting up for him/her a system of potentials and a system of hope.
Stage 1 – You were in the mind of God
Stage 2 – God designed a plan for you
Stage 3 – Entering God’s plan by becoming a believer in Jesus Christ
Stage 4 – Fulfilling God’s plan by thinking the mind of Christ
Stage 5 - Sharing Christ’s inheritance in eternity.
And whom He predestined, these He also called, these He also justified, and whom He justified He also glorified.
Technically, each one of us entered the plan of God at the moment we believed in Jesus Christ. The Greek word for called is “kaleo,” which means to name, to designate, to summon or to invite. Here it is used in the technical sense of the doctrine of Election. All believers in the Church Age are elected. This emphasizes that every believer is in the plan of God. Election means God has chosen you for a specific purpose as a believer. That purpose is executing God’s plan for you, which is becoming conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. The key to understanding the doctrine of Election is the fact that Jesus Christ was elected in eternity past. And we, as Church Age believers, are elected because we have been entered into union with Christ.
The Church Age believer has been chosen by God for a “service.” This service is to be Royal Family of God, the royal family of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every person who believes in Christ during this dispensation (a period of time in history when God deals with mankind in a certain way) becomes Royal Family of God. As Royal Family of God, it is the responsibility of every believer to fulfill his election by executing the Christian Way of Life. (II Thessalonians 2:13-14)
The Christian Way of Life involves a life of discipline in order to learn God’s grace system for success. There is no shortcut when it comes to learning Bible doctrine and applying it to daily experience. Even Jesus had to learn Bible doctrine by studying. His study, of course, was from the Old Testament Scriptures. At the age of twelve, He confounded the Hebrew scholars with His knowledge of God’s Word. (Luke 2:41-52)
If we are to make our “calling certain” as commanded in II Peter 1:10, we must become knowledgeable of the doctrines of God’s Word and how they apply to our lives. This requires a life of consistent and persistent intake of accurate Bible teaching. In order to fully understand spiritual information from the Word of God, the believer must rely upon the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit. Spiritual things are revealed only by the Holy Spirit to the spiritual believer (those who are in fellowship with God and guided by the Holy Spirit). Guidance by the Holy Spirit is strictly a matter of a believer’s volition (free will). Sin removes fellowship and the guidance, while naming or acknowledging your sin to God restores that fellowship and control. This is God’s grace system and the only one that works. (I John 1:5-10)
The phrase, he also justified, refers to the doctrine of justification. The Greek word for justification is “dikaiosis” and means to declare righteous or to be acquitted from guilt. Justification is one half of God’s holiness; righteousness being the other half. Justification is the function or action of God’s holiness and righteousness is the principle or standard of God’s holiness. God’s justice carries out the judicial sentences pronounced by God’s righteousness.
At the moment of salvation, we are justified by God because His righteousness is credited to our account. Justification means vindication. Because of the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ, the believer is vindicated or set free from all charges against him. The penalty for personal sins and Adam’s original sin was paid by Jesus Christ so that the sin debt for mankind is now paid in full. The obligation that God’s righteousness (the standard of God’s integrity) demanded, with regard to sin, was satisfied by the justice of God (the action of God’s integrity) at the Cross. (Romans 3:28, 5:1; Galatians 3:24)
Justification also means the potential for blessing. Justification relates the believer to the plan of God so that the attributes of God are never compromised by blessings imputed from the justice of God. God’s blessings are always on the basis of His grace.
The phrase, whom He justified He also glorified refers to the doctrine of Ultimate Sanctification. The resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantees the believer not only eternal life, but also a glorified resurrection body. The glorified body of the believer will be like that of Christ. For those Church Age believers who die before the Rapture occurs, their soul and spirit go into the presence of the Lord. At the Rapture, the soul and spirit are returned to the glorified body. (I Corinthians 15:51-57; II Corinthians 5:1-8; Philippians 3:21; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I John 3:2)
We can get a glimpse of what our glorified body will be like by looking at Christ’s glorified body. First, we will be recognizable like Christ was after His Resurrection. (Luke 24; John 20:26-29) Christ’s body could be touched (as Thomas did) because His body had flesh and bones. (Luke 24:39-40) Christ’s body retained the scars of crucifixion. (John 20:25-27) He breathed and carried on conversations with a recognizable voice in His resurrection body. (Luke 24; John 20:26) Jesus ate food while in His resurrection body. (Luke 24:30,43) However, His body was unique in that He could walk through closed doors, He was able to disappear and appear, and He could move vertically and horizontally. (Psalms 22:16; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 28:9-10; Luke 24:17-40; John 20:16-29; Acts 1:9-10)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ coincided with the Jewish Feast of the First Fruits, where a portion of the harvest was gathered first and given to the priest for the blessing of the entire harvest. This feast pointed to the resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and was celebrated three days after the Passover. Paul writes about “the first fruits” in I Corinthians 15:20-25. Jesus explained this parable when He described Himself as “the grain of wheat that fell to the ground, and died that it might spring to life and bring forth much fruit.” (John 12:23-24) Jesus Christ is the representative of the harvest and is a living testimony to God’s sovereignty, which says, “Because I live, you shall live also”.
Christ’s humanity was resurrected, because it was His humanity that died. (Luke 24:39) It was evidenced by an empty tomb, which was witnessed by His friends, family and followers. (Matthew 28) Religious leaders attempted to suppress information regarding the resurrection, which gives evidence that they believed He had risen. (Matthew 27:62-66) Jesus Christ is the only person in history to be resurrected (some were resuscitated - arose and later died). Because of Christ’s resurrection, believers will also be resurrected. (II Corinthians 4:14; Philippians 3:21; I John 3:1-2)
At death, Christ’s body went into the grave (John 19:40-42), His soul went into Paradise (Luke 23:43; Acts 2:27) and His Spirit went into the presence of the Father (Luke 23:46). It was Christ’s body that resurrected. His soul came out of Paradise returning to the body, His Spirit came from the presence of the Father returning to the body and He rose bodily from the grave. He is now at the right hand of the Father. (Hebrews 1:3; I Peter 3:18-22; Romans 1:4, I Thessalonians 1:10)
There are doctrinal significances that we should note regarding the Resurrection. Christ’s resurrection indicates the completion of justification. (Romans 4:25) Jesus Christ becomes our mediator (equal with God and equal with man). (Hebrews 7:25, 9:15; I Timothy 2:5) It is the “risen Christ” Who becomes our High Priest and establishes the priesthood of the believer. (Hebrews 10:5,10-14, 7:28; I Peter 2:5-9) The resurrection of Christ fulfills part of the Davidic Covenant. (Psalms 89:36-37; II Samuel 7:8-16) Without the resurrection, Christ could not have been glorified and the Holy Spirit could not have been given. (John 7:39) The Resurrection is the guarantee of Ultimate Sanctification. (I Corinthians 15:20-23; I John 3:1-2; Philippians 3:21)
Ultimate sanctification will be a reality for all believers, regardless of the stage of spiritual growth. Mature and immature believers will receive a glorified body and will spend all of eternity in perfect happiness. There will, however, be a loss of magnificent rewards and blessings for those who fail to execute the Christian Way of Life.