Romans 8:28-39 – A look at predestination

My sermon notes for Sunday night, March 18th.  Over the next several weeks we are going to be working through Romans 9-11. Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon.  To see the sermon each week or subscribe to the weekly sermon podcast please visit

Before we begin in Romans 9, I wanted to take some time to look at this section in Romans 8 paying close attention to the meaning of predestination.  We looked at this in detail over several weeks during our Wed. Bible study time.


Romans 8:29–39 – [29] 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. [30] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

[31] What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? [32] He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? [33] Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. [34] Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? [36] As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

[37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. [38] For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, [39] nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)


We need to step back and get a big picture view of things.  (Consider things from God’s point of view.)

  • Where did we come from?
  • Why are we here?
  • Where are we going?


Salvation is a big deal! – SOTERIOLOGY – DOCTRINE OF SALVATION

Election – God’s plan in regards to people & salvation

The Gospel Call – The Gospel being proclaimed

Regeneration – Being born again.  The Spirit opening our eyes and heart.

Conversion – Faith and repentance.  When one believes and trusts in the Gospel.

Union with Christ – Our oneness with Christ.

Justification – Right legal standing.  When we are declared right and forgiven.

Adoption – Membership in God’s family.  When we become His.

Sanctification – Right standing that leads to a progressive changing life of rightness. Life of Christlikeness.

Perseverance – Remaining a Christian.  Keeping on.

Death – Going to be with the Lord.  When He calls us home.

Glorification – Receiving a resurrection body.


Why do we know so little about soteriology?  Why is there so much confusion?

  1. Lack of knowledge and information.
    1. Blame it on our church (pastor/teacher) – lack of conviction, laziness, fear
      • Churches seem to place emphasis on coming for an experience rather than an encounter.  We should plan to gather to encounter  God through His Word.
      • Hard to study and prepare. It takes time to teach the deep things of God. TO WRESTLE WITH THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD.
      • We are afraid to tackle the tough issues.  I might rock the boat. (Fear…Dr. Mohler making stand for truth. Was told students would not come… now the world’s largest seminary!)
    2. Blame it on our self – laziness, indifference, contentment
      • We are not taking the time on our own to study.  We have all the tools necessary to be student of the Word.
      • We just assume everything we hear on TV, radio, and even the pulpit are true.
      • Why does it really matter?  I believe in Jesus… surely that is enough.


  1. Different church backgrounds (much confusion on what is right… what we believe)
    1. We do not all hold the same biblical convictions.
      • Baptist, Methodist, Wesleyan, Pentecostal, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian.


What does predestination mean?


Pro – before hand

Horizo – Mark out (horizon)

God’s eternal plan to make His people more like Jesus. (God had an eternal plan for His children)



How does predestination work?

  • Applies to those that will be saved. God does not predestine someone to go to hell.  He predestines those that will be saved.
  • Based on love (Eph. 1:1-4 In love He predestined us)
  • The trinity works together. Each has a part.  3 in 1.
    • 2 Thessalonians 2:13–14 – [13] But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. [14] To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
    • Fathers electing
    • Spirits convicting work
    • Sons atoning work
  • Thinking through Foreknowledge
    • Some say that God sees the future and predestines it to happen.\
    • This seems very difficult to work through… God can see the future, but He cannot control it. This then turns into a very unbiblical view of who God is.  As I often say… “It may seem ok at first, but if we continue down that road it turns into a mess theologically.


Acts 4:23–31

[23] When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. [24] And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, [25] who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,

and the peoples plot in vain?

[26] The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers were gathered together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed’

[27] for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, [28] to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. [29] And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, [30] while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” [31] And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (ESV)


What does predestination mean today?

(remember… the book of Romans was written to normal people)


Salvation is bigger than you think.

  • Stop making God in our image
  • “I just do not think God…”


Let God be God.  Remember who He is.

  • Loving
  • Trusting
  • Powerful


Remember His love.

  • Through the joys of life
  • Through the trials of life


Live by faith

  • We can trust His Word. What shall we say to these things!!!
    • Notice the 5 questions
  • We are more than conquerors


The Gospel can and will change the hearts of people.

  • Who so ever means who so ever.

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