In Romans 8:29-30, was Paul talking about God’s foreknowledge of Israel from Romans 11:2?
Paul was not speaking about the nation of Israel as a whole in Romans 8:29-30. Rather, he was speaking of the spiritual Israel of the New Covenant which is the church (cf. Rom. 2:28-29).
Keep reading in Romans 11 down through verse 5. The “remnant” mentioned there is the minority of Jews in the first century who were converted to Christ and thus were saved, as opposed to the majority of the nation who had rejected the Nazarene as their Messiah.
I’m reminded of the seven thousand Israelites who had not bowed to Baal during Elijah’s day (1 Kings 19:18). Were there still a large number in Israel who were on Ahab and Jezebel’s side? Sure, but Elijah was not as alone as he thought he was. In like manner, Paul was far from the only Jewish Christian. There were many others (cf. Acts 2:41), even though the majority of the nation was still in a lost state due to their rejection of Christ. Today, those who seek to follow the New Testament alone are a minority compared to the religious world as a whole and the human population overall…but there are more of us than we might sometimes think.
Getting back to Romans 8:29-30, this passage is talking about faithful Christians. It is faithful Christians who love God (cf. John 14:15) and are called according to his purpose (cf. 1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess. 2:14). God’s predestined plan (cf. Eph. 1:4-5) is that Christians be conformed to the image of Jesus, and thus make Jesus “the firstborn among many brothers” (cf. Heb. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 15:20-23).
Are we conformed to the image of Jesus, Christian reader? When people see you and me, can they see Jesus – his love, his mannerisms, his priorities, his compassion, his grace — reflected back at them?