New Defender's Study Bible Notes
8:29 foreknow. God’s “foreknowledge” is much more than just having prescience of what will happen in the future, but its full meaning is beyond our finite comprehension. That foreknowledge precedes election is evident from I Peter 1:2, and that it precedes predestination is evident from this verse. The same word (Greek proginosko) is translated “foreordained” in I Peter 1:20, where it clearly speaks of more than merely knowing ahead of time what will happen.
Note also Acts 2:23, speaking of Christ as being delivered to be crucified “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” and Acts 15:18, which reveals that “known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” His works surely were not planned merely by His foreknowledge of what they would be! Similarly, God “foreknew” that Israel would be His people (Romans 11:2), yet He later chose them by His own will. It clearly suggests planning ahead of time, not just knowing ahead of time. Nothing takes God by surprise; His decisions are not determined by our decisions. Yet in every case where God’s planning and predestinating are involved (e.g., Acts 2:23), it is also true those who acted according to His foreknowledge carried out those acts of their own volition. He promises that “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Yet He also says that “He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Our finite minds cannot fully apprehend both truths concurrently, yet we can rejoice in both with our hearts! God understands, because His understanding is infinite, and we rest in that.
8:29 image of his Son. Those whom God has foreknown, and who have therefore come to Christ when God called, will one day be so transformed as to be like Christ Himself (Philippians 3:21; I John 3:2), with the family resemblance as His brethren. This is our pre-destiny!
8:30 glorified. Once this marvelous sequence begins with God’s foreknowledge of those He would call, it is carried through so inevitably that Paul can even speak of us as “glorified” in the past tense. It is already an accomplished fact in the mind and purpose of God.
8:34 is risen again. We must never forget that the one making these amazing promises is the one who has defeated death and the grave. At least twenty-one times in Scripture He is said to be at God’s right hand, and at least four times He is said to be interceding there for us.
8:35 Who shall separate us. This is perhaps the most marvelous passage in the Scripture that assures us of the permanence of our salvation. Seventeen things are listed which can never separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:35, 38-39) climaxing with the comprehensive “any other creation.” On the corresponding significance of the number seventeen, see the notes on John 21:11.