ROMANS 8:29 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.
This is a most wonderful section of scripture in that we see that God foreknew (predetermined to save us) us so that He might conform (make us like Him) us to His image. The purposes of God are so much greater than our puny mind can comprehend. Isaiah 55:8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. We use the Bible and come up with beliefs about what it teaches that put everything in a nice neat little box and call them theology. Many of these are really good, but when we begin to read between the lines and say things that God never said then it becomes a problem. This has been done to this wonderful passage and many others in the Bible. Remember the Bible always teaches that God is sovereign, but man is responsible. How this works is the mystery that is spoken of in the Isaiah 55:8-9 passage above and many others. Many times we think we have God all figured out and yet we don’t. Paul said it well in Philippians 3:12-14. He said he had not attained, he had not arrived, but he pressed on towards the reason he was saved to be like Jesus Christ. If Paul, the greatest Christian who has ever lived hadn’t figured it all out after 30 years of being a Christian then I really think we have a long way to go. Also if Peter writes in his epistle of things being hard to understand and that people twist the scriptures to their own destruction then we need to really come down off of our opinion that we have it all figured out. 2 Peter 3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. The bottom line in this passage getting past all the controversy that can be brought up in this section, is that God decided (predetermined) in the past to save people that they would be made like his Son so that He (Jesus) would have the highest position among all those that He would save. That is the thrust of the passage in a nutshell.
How God determined and who He determined would be saved is is a debate that only causes division in the body of Christ. I think the fact that it is absolutely the most wonderful gift that God could ever give us that He would save us and make us like Him. That is the point.