“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
Explanation and Commentary of Romans 8:29
God is sovereign over the universe. He has without a doubt made man in his own image with free will to choose right or wrong, good or evil. That said, the mystery of his sovereignty is that he also has predestined those who would be given the will, by which they will freely choose him. The inability to accept this, and so praise him for it, comes from the inability to accept biblical paradoxes. God would have us live with an acute awareness of the importance of our choices, but he would also have us pray for his help, his grace, and mercy to use that will properly, and then thank him for doing the work through us when we succeed in following him.
And what is our destiny by the will of God? It is to be “conformed to the image of his Son.” Jesus is the firstborn among us to show us the ultimate example of godliness, freedom, love, joy, and power. In the gospels, we have a record of the man who we would imitate and even abide in. We see what we will be at the last trumpet (1 Cor 15:52), but we don’t wait for that day to make progress toward that image. Rather, we seek his kingdom and his righteousness daily so that we can say with John the Baptist, “He must become greater, I must become less” (Jn 3:30).
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Romans 8:29
This word, “For” refers back to the previous verse, “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” (Ro 8:28). If God has predestined us, then we have been called, and he will work for our good.
#2 “…those God foreknew he also predestined…”
That God foreknew us does not mean that he looked into the future and saw that we would choose him without his prevenient grace. It means that when he created us his plan was to save us. We were chosen before we were created to be objects of his mercy (Ro 9:23) and so we were previously destined to be saved.
#3 “…to be conformed to the image of his Son,”
Rather than saying, “To be saved,” it says that we were predestined to become like Jesus. The Christian life is not about whether you go to heaven or hell, but whether you love God and want to be like him. This is why we called to make disciples, which are students of Jesus (Mt 28:19). We are to follow and become like Jesus, who was like the Father.
#4 “so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
This is an eloquent way of saying that God wants many children. Consider that he had an only child and said, “I’d like this one not to be an only child, but the oldest child.” God sent Christ to bring about our adoption.
Bible Study on Romans 8:29
Expert Overview of Romans Ch. 5-16
Biblical Translations of Romans 8:29
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
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.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.