“For whom he did foreknow, he did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them He also justified, and whom He justified them he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30.)
This has been a highly controversial teaching among the churches of Jesus Christ. I am not talking about a specific denomination, I’m talking about every church that accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Some take this to the extreme of fatalism, that God has already chosen everyone who is to be saved, and there’s no use repenting or trying to get anyone saved because it’s already been decided who will be saved and who won’t be.
Those who are predestined to be saved will be saved no matter what, and those who haven’t been are doomed to hell and there’s nothing anyone can do about it, according to this school of thought. Others reject this teaching, saying it removes the element of human choice, and it is entirely up to the individual whether he goes to heaven or hell. The truth is, whether God predestines people to be saved or whether they choose to themselves, depends on whose point of view you are looking at it from.
From God’s point of view, He already knows the end from the beginning. He already knows everyone who will receive Christ as Lord and Savior, and these are the ones He has predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. “For whom he did foreknow, them He did also predestinate…”
From the human point of view, we don’t know who will receive Christ and who won’t. Therefore it is the responsibility of those of us who are saved to present the message of Jesus Christ to those who aren’t, that they may have opportunity to respond to it. Those who respond and trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are the ones God has predestined to be conformed to the image Jesus, and those who refuse or neglect to do so send themselves to hell because they reject the only way God has set up for men to be saved.
“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. … He that believeth is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18) .
So from this we see it is the individual’s responsibility to respond to the message that Christ’s death on the cross has paid for his sins, and to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. All who refuse or fail to do so have only themselves to blame when they end up in hell.
What does it mean to believe on Jesus? It means more than just giving intellectual assent to the fact that there was a man named Jesus who walked on the Earth for so many years and then was hanged on a cross. It means to believe in your heart—with all your being—to stake your life on it as it were—that Jesus is Who He said He is, the living Son of God, and that His death on the cross and His bodily resurrection are historical facts, and to put it on a personal level, that His death has paid for your sins. Do this, and God will predestine you to be conformed to the image of His Son.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness [right standing with God], and with the mouth confession [agreement with God] is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-10, 13).
Why not do it today? There’ll never be a better time than right now.