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17
Salvation Story
September 17, 2017

There has been a common thread in listening to the survivors of the recent hurricanes and tropical storms. Although many are still without power, having their workplaces and homes destroyed with all their earthly possessions, many are still thankful for what remained.  Through shelter and evacuation, many survived the hurricanes. Although losing so much was painful, they are thankful that they and their family members survived. They were delivered from the storm.

 

The most joyous reality that humanity can experience is the certainty of salvation. Genuine believers can never be in danger of losing the spiritual life given to us by God through Jesus Christ.  If we fail to understand the Salvation Story, we can be weak, fearful, and despondent. But imagine what difference it can make in your life if you could be certain of your salvation. This certainty could help you overcome any difficulty, be instrumental in giving eternal life to another, guide you in your plans, and elevate your worship through all of life.

 

Romans 8:29–30 is perhaps the clearest and most explicit presentation of the certainty of salvation in all of God’s Word. In these two verses Paul reveals the unbroken pattern of God’s sovereign redemption, the Salvation Story, from His eternal foreknowledge of a believer’s salvation to its ultimate completion in glorification. In understanding the Salvation Story we can see: The People of Salvation (Romans 8:28), 2) The Purpose of Salvation (Romans 8:29c-d), and 3) The Process of Salvation (Romans 8:29a-b, 30)

 

In understanding the Salvation Story we can see:

1)      The People of Salvation(Romans 8:28)

Romans 8:28 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)

 

Tragically, many Christians throughout the history of the church, including many in our own day, refuse to believe that God guarantees the believer’s eternal security. Such denial is tied to the false understanding that salvation is a cooperative effort between people and God, and although God will not fail on His side, people might-thus the sense of insecurity Belief in salvation by a sovereign God alone, however, leads to the confidence that salvation is secure, because God, who alone is responsible, cannot fail. God’s child need never fear being cast out of his heavenly Father’s house or fear losing his citizenship in His eternal kingdom of righteousness. Beyond that theological consideration Paul is saying that the truth of eternal security is clearly revealed by God to us, so that all believers are able with certainty to know the comfort and hope of that reality if they simply take God at His word. As the object shows, “we knowmeans to know by means of the knowledge of faith and not by mere intellectual investigation.( Lenski, R. C. H. (1936). The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (p. 550). Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern.)

  • He does not say that we “feel” all things to be good. Often we do not feel that God is doing good at all. We feel exactly the opposite. We feel that we are being ground down or destroyed. And it is not even that we “see” the good. Most of the time we do not perceive the good things God is doing or how he might be bringing good out of the evil. The text simply says, “we know” it. (Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, p. 906). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.)

 

The extent of the believer’s security is as limitless as its certainty is absolute. As with every other element of the believer’s security, God is the Guarantor. It is He who causes everything in the believers life to eventuate in blessing. Paul emphasizes that God Himself brings about the good that comes to His people. God’s decree of security is actually carried out by the direct, personal, and gracious work of His divine Son and His Holy Spirit. “Hence, also, [Christ] is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). And as Paul has just proclaimed, “The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom. 8:26–27).

 

The only qualification in the marvelous promise of this verse has to do with the recipients. It is solely for His children. Those who love God and those who are called are two of the many titles or descriptions the New Testament uses of Christians. From the human perspective we are those who love God, whereas from God’s perspective we are those who are called.

 

Please turn to Exodus 20 (p.61)

 

First, Paul describes the recipients of eternal security as those who love God. Nothing more characterizes the true believer than genuine love for God. Redeemed people love the gracious God who has saved them. Because of their depraved and sinful natures, the unredeemed hate God, regardless of any arguments they may have to the contrary. When God made His covenant with Israel through Moses, He made the distinction clear between those who love Him and those who hate Him. In the Ten Commandments the Lord told His people:

Exodus 20:4-6“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (ESV) (cf. Deut. 7:9–10; Neh. 1:4–5; Pss. 69:36; 97:10).

  • Genuine love for God has many facets and manifestations. First, godly love longs for personal communion with the Lord (Ps. 42:1-2; 73:25). Genuine love for God trusts in His power to protect His own (Ps. 31:23). Genuine love for God is characterized by peace that only He can impart (P. 119:165: Jn. 14:27; 16:33; Phil. 4:7). Genuine love for God is sensitive to His will and His honor (Ph. 69:9). Genuine love for God loves the things that God loves (Ps. 119). Genuine love for God loves the people God loves (1 Jn. 3:14; 4:7-8, 20-21; 5:1-2). Genuine love for God hates what God hates (Mt. 26:75). Genuine love for God longs for Christ’s return (2 Tim. 4:8) Finally, the overreaching mark of genuine love for God is obedience (Jn. 14:21; 1 Jn. 5:1-2).

 

 

For those who love God “all things work together for good”. “All things” is utterly comprehensive, having no qualifications or limits. Neither this verse nor its context allows for restrictions or conditions. All things is inclusive in the fullest possible sense. Grammatically, “All things” may be either subject or object of the verb. Therefore, it is God who works things out according to His will (Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2242). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.).

 

Paul is not saying that God prevents His children from experiencing things that can harm them. He is rather attesting that the Lord takes all that He allows to happen to His beloved children, even the worst things, and turns those things ultimately into blessings. Paul assured the Corinthians:For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 4:15). No matter what our situation, our suffering, our persecution, our sinful failure, our pain, our lack of faith-in those things, as well as in all other things, our heavenly Father will work to produce our ultimate victory and blessing. The corollary of that truth is that nothing can ultimately work against us. Any temporary harm we suffer will be used by God for our benefit (cf. 2 Cor. 12:7–10).

 

To work together translates sunergeō, from which is derived the English term synergism, the working together of various elements to produce an effect greater than, and often completely different from, the sum of each element acting separately. In the physical world the right combination of otherwise harmful chemicals can produce substances that are extremely beneficial. For example, ordinary table salt is composed of two poisons, sodium and chlorine. Contrary to what the King James rendering seems to suggest, it is not that things in themselves work together to produce good. It does not mean that all things are good. They are not, and to call evil good is a grievous error under any circumstances. It means that for those who love God no evil may befall them which God cannot use for their growth and his glory. As Paul has made clear earlier in the verse, it is God’s providential power and will, not a natural synergism of circumstances and events in our lives, that causes them to work together for good (Ps. 25:10).  God works in all things—even horrible things—to accomplish his eternal will. This verse testifies to God’s sovereignty, not to the beneficent outworking of circumstances. God does not (morally) will all things, but he is at work in all things. Similarly, Paul enjoins believers to give thanks in all circumstances,” not for them (1 Thess. 5:18).( Edwards, J. R. (2011). Romans (p. 218). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.)

  • Suffering is a tragic, physical evil. I am not supposed to say to another believer who is suffering, Rejoice, this is a wonderful benefit that you are experiencing here, because it is working together for your good.’ We are not to praise God for the presence of suffering, particularly in the case of others, because that would lead us to the same smug attitude that is so destructively manifest in Job’s friends. Rather if I see another suffering, I must do everything in my power to alleviate that suffering (Sproul, R. C. (1994). The Gospel of God: An Exposition of Romans (p. 147). Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.).

 

Paul likely has in mind our good during this present life as well as ultimately in the life to come. No matter what happens in our lives as His children, the providence of God uses it for our temporal as well as our eternal benefit, sometimes by saving us from tragedies and sometimes by sending us through them in order to draw us closer to Him. First of all, God causes righteous things to work for our good.  (Dt. 33:27; Acts 1:8). God’s wisdom provides for our good. (Eph. 1:17; Col. 1:9; 3:16) Almost by definition, God’s goodness works to the good of His children (Rom. 2:4). God’s faithfulness works for our good (Hos. 14:4; Mic. 7:18; Ps. 91:15; Phil. 4:19). God’s Word is for our good (Acts 20:32; 1 Tim. 4:5). In addition to His attributes, God’s holy angels work for the good of those who belong to Him (Heb. 1:14). God’s children themselves are ministers of His good to each other (Rom. 1:12; 2 Cor. 1:24; Heb. 10:24). Although the truth is often difficult to recognize and accept, the Lord causes even evil things to work for our good (Dan. 6:21–23). But in all of this, we must be careful to define “good” in God’s terms, not ours. The idea that this verse promises the believer material wealth or physical well-being, for instance, betrays a typically Western perversion of “good” into an exclusively material interpretation. God may well use trials in these areas to produce what he considers a much higher “good”: a stronger faith, a more certain hope (cf. 5:3–4). But the promise to us is that there is nothing in this world that is not intended by God to assist us on our earthly pilgrimage and to bring us safely and certainly to the glorious destination of that pilgrimage.(Moo, D. J. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 529). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).

 

All this works together for good only forthose who are the called”. Paul describes the recipients of eternal security as those who are called. Just as our love originates with God, so does our calling into His heavenly family. In every way, the initiative and provision for salvation are God’s. In their fallen, sinful state, people are able only to hate God, because, regardless of what they may think, they are His enemies (Rom. 5:10) and children of His wrath (Eph. 2:3). When Jesus said that “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14), He was referring to the gospel’s external call for all to believe in Him. In the history of the church nothing is more obvious than the fact that many, perhaps most, people who receive this call do not accept it.

 

But in the epistles, the terms called and calling are used in a different sense, referring to the sovereign, regenerating work of God in a believer’s heart that brings them to new life in Christ. Paul explains the meaning of those who are called in verses 29–30, where he speaks of what theologians often refer to as God’s effectual call. In this sense, all those who are called are chosen and redeemed by God and are ultimately glorified. They are securely predestined by God to be His children and to be conformed to the image of His Son. Although human faith is imperative for salvation, God’s gracious initiation of salvation is even more imperative. Jesus declared categorically, “No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father” (John 6:65). God’s choice not only precedes people’s choice but makes people’s choice possible and effective. The Bible never says that we are saved because of our faith. That would make faith something good in us that we somehow contribute to the process. But it does say that we are saved by or through faith, meaning that God must create it in us before we can be justified (Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, p. 916). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.).

 

At the end of verse 28, Paul states the source of the believer’s security in Christ. God causes all things to work together for the good of His children because that is according to His divine purpose. Paul expands on and clarifies the meaning of God’s purpose in verses 29–30. Briefly explained, God’s broader purpose is to offer salvation (Jn. 3:16-17; 2 Pt. 3:9). In Romans 8:28, however, Paul is speaking of the narrower, restricted meaning of God’s purpose, namely, His divine plan to save those whom He has called and “predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (v. 29). The focus is on God’s sovereign plan of redemption, which He ordained before the foundation of the earth (Dt. 7:7-8; Isa. 46:9b-11; Jn. 1:12-13).

 

Quote: John Calvin on Providence

What difference should it make when we consider that God works all things together for the good of His people. This is the doctrine of providence. John Calvin explained the benefit of understanding this: “When the light of divine providence has once shone upon a godly man, he is then relieved and set free not only from the extreme anxiety and fear that were pressing him before, but from every care.… Ignorance of providence is the ultimate misery; the highest blessedness lies in knowing it.… [It gives] incredible freedom from worry about the future. (John Calvin as recorded in Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed., p. 650). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

 

In understanding the Salvation Story we can see:

2)                  The Purpose of Salvation(Romans 8:29c-d)

Romans 8:29c-d29 (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.  (ESV)

 

Paul introduced the truths of the believer’s security and of God’s purpose of salvation in verse 28. God’s calling precedes and makes possible a person’s hearing and responding in faith to that divine call. The resulting salvation is made secure by the Lord’s causing everything in a believer’s life to work for their ultimate good. Conversely, it is impossible for any evil to cause a believer any ultimate harm. In the middle of verse 29, Paul states the twofold purpose of God’s bringing sinners to eternal salvation. The secondary purpose is stated first: to make believers conformed/into the likeness of His SonFrom before time began, God chose to save believers from their sins in order that they might become conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Consequently, every true believer moves inexorably toward perfection in righteousness, as God makes for Himself a people recreated into the likeness of His own divine Son who will dwell and reign with Him in heaven throughout all eternity(see 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). Although the full truth of it is far too vast and magnificent even for a redeemed human mind to grasp, the New Testament gives us glimpses of what being conformed to the image of Christ will be like. First of all, we will be like Christ bodily. One day the Lord will “transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:21). As the term itself denotes, glorification (our ultimate conformity to Christ) will be God’s gracious adornment of His children with the very glory of His divine Son. (1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Jn. 3:2).  Christlikeness, not prosperity, fame or health, is God’s unalterable plan for every believer (Utley, R. J. (1998). The Gospel according to Paul: Romans (Vol. Volume 5, Ro 8:28). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.).

 

Please turn to Hebrews 2 (p.1001)

 

Second, and more importantly, although not becoming deity, we will be like Christ spiritually. Our incorruptible bodies will be infused with the very holiness of Christ, and we will be both outwardly and inwardly perfect, just as our Lord. The writer of Hebrews gives insight into God’s gracious plan of redeeming those who believe in His Son and of conforming them to His image when he writes:

Hebrews 2:9-11  But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, (ESV)

  • As verse 9 makes clear: Jesus tasted death as a work of God’s grace done on behalf of everyone (i.e., all who follow him; Heb. 9:15, 28; 10:39). In coming to this earth as he lived his life, his maturity and experience deepened, yet always with full obedience to the Father. As a human being, he needed to live his life and obey God (which he did perfectly) to become the perfect sacrifice for sins. Therefore, Jesus’ true followers, are made holy by his sacrifice (10:10, 14; 13:12). (Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2364). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.)

 

God’s supreme purpose for bringing sinners to salvation is to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ, by making Christ preeminent in the divine plan of redemption. In the words of this text, it is God’s intent for Christ to be the first-born among many brothers/brethren. In Jewish culture the term first-born always referred to a son, unless a daughter was specifically stated. Because the first-born male child in a Jewish family had a privileged status, the term was often used figuratively to represent preeminence. In the present context that is clearly the meaning. As it is in almost every instance in the New Testament, the term brothers/brethren is a synonym for believers. God’s primary purpose in His plan of redemption was to make His beloved Son the first-born among many brothers/brethren in the sense of Christ’s being uniquely preeminent among the children of God. Those who trust in Him become God’s adopted children, and Jesus, the true Son of God, graciously deigns to call them His brothers and sisters in God’s divine family (Matt. 12:50; cf. John 15:15). God’s purpose is to make us like Christ in order to create a great redeemed and glorified humanity over which He will reign and be forever preeminent (Phil. 2:9-10; Col. 1:18).

 

As the redeemed of God, conformed to the image of His Son, we will forever glorify Him with the glory He has given us. Like the twenty-four elders who fell down before Christ on His throne, we will cast our crowns of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8), of life (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10), and of glory (1 Pet. 5:4) at our Savior’s feet, exclaiming, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created” (Rev. 4:10–11). We thank the Lord for giving us salvation and the eternal life, peace, and joy that salvation brings. But our greatest thanks should be for the unspeakable privilege we have been given of glorifying Christ throughout all eternity.

 

Illustration:Years ago Harry A. Ironside, that great Bible teacher, told a story about an older Christian who was asked to give his testimony. He told how God had sought him out and found him, how God had loved him, called him, saved him, delivered him, cleansed him, and healed hima great witness to the grace, power, and glory of God. But after the meeting a rather legalistic brother took him aside and criticized his testimony, as certain of us like to do. He said,I appreciated all you said about what God did for you. But you didn’t mention anything about your part in it. Salvation is really part us and part God. You should have mentioned something about your part.” “Oh, yes,” the older Christian said.I apologize for that. I’m sorry. I really should have said something about my part. My part was running away, and his part was running after me until he caught me.” We have all run away. But God has set his love on us, predestined us to become like Jesus Christ, called us to faith and repentance, justified us, yes, and has even glorified us, so certain of completion is his plan. May he alone be praised! (Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, p. 918). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.)

 

Finally, Paul now explains these elements:  In understanding the Salvation Story we can see:

3)                  The Process of Salvation(Romans 8:29a-b, 30)

Romans 8:29a-b, 30  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. (ESV)

 

Finally, in delineating the progress of God’s plan of salvation, Paul here briefly states what may be called its five major elements: foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. It is essential to realize that these five links in the chain of God’s saving work are unbreakable. With the repetition of the connecting phrase He also, Paul accentuates that unity by linking each element to the previous one. No one whom God foreknows will fail to be predestined, called, justified, and glorified by Him. Paul is speaking here of the Lord’s redemptive work from eternity past to eternity future. Security in Christ is so absolute and unalterable that even the salvation of believers not yet born can be expressed in the past tense, as if it had already occurred. Because God is not bound by time as we are, there is a sense in which the elements not only are sequential but simultaneous. Thus, from His view they are distinct and in another sense are indistinguishable. God has made each of them an indispensable part of the unity of our salvation. That “behind the scenes” activity is called by scholars the ordo salutis, the order of salvation(Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, p. 260). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

 

Redemption began with God’s foreknowledge. A believer is first of all someone whom He [God] foreknew. “The term prognosis [foreknowledge] reveals the fact that in his purpose according to election the persons are not the objects of God’s ‘bare foreknowledge’ but of his ‘active delight. Salvation is not initiated by a persons decision to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Scripture is clear that repentant faith is essential to salvation and is the first step that we take in response to God, but repentant faith does not initiate salvation. Because Paul is here depicting the plan of salvation from God’s perspective, faith is not even mentioned in these two verses. God set his love on certain individuals, many still to be born, gladly acknowledging them as his own, electing them to everlasting life and glory (Gen. 18:19; Jer. 1:5; Ps. 1:6; Amos 3:2; Hos. 13:5; Matt. 7:23; John 10:14; 10:28; Rom. 11:2; 1 Cor. 8:3; Gal. 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:19). 1 John 3:1)  (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, p. 282). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)

 

Please turn to Ephesians 2 (p.976)

 

There is absolutely nothing in people’s carnal nature to prompt them to trust in the God against whom he is rebelling. The unsaved person is blind and dead to the things of God. They have absolutely no source of saving faith within themselves.  That is why Paul explained:

Ephesians 2:1-10 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedienceamong whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been savedand raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

  • Human beings as sons and daughters of Adam enter the world spiritually dead. They have no inclination or responsiveness toward God and no ability to please God. To escape this hopeless imprisonment requires nothing short of a new birth or a new creation. As verse 5 explains: when we were dead, God, though His grace, “made us alive”. That is, God gave us regeneration (new spiritual life within). He says in verse 8, that this is not our doing. Faith is not part of us working with God, or God looking down through time to see who would believe. Being “dead in trespasses and sins” means that no one could ever through their own power believe. Relating to our text in Romans 8:29, Ephesians 2:6 because of Christ’s resurrection, those who believe in him are given new life spiritually in this age (regeneration). They will also be given renewed physical bodies when Christ returns (future resurrection).(Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2264). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.).

 

Because people are naturally dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1) and unable to repent, it makes no sense for God to look down through time to see who would repent, because those who are dead, would, by their own ability, continue to remain dead. Therefore, in the process of salvation, the doctrine of foreordination, is the process of how God foreknows His elect. It also connotes forelove. God has a predetermined divine love for those He plans to save. Foreknew is from proginōskō, a compound word with meaning beyond that of simply knowing beforehand. In Scripture, “to know” often carries the idea of special intimacy and is frequently used of a love relationship(Gen. 4:17; Amos 3:2; Mt. 1:25; 7:23; 2 Tim. 2:19).  

 

From foreknowledge, which looks at the beginning of God’s purpose in His act of choosing, God’s plan of redemption moves to His predestination, which looks at the end of God’s purpose in His act of choosing. Proorizō (predestined) means literally to mark out, appoint, or determine beforehand. The Greek word that is translated “predestinedhas within it the word for “horizon” (Greek, proōrizō). The horizon is a dividing line, marking off and separating what we can see from what we cannot see. Everything beyond the horizon is in one category; everything within the horizon is in anotherWhat the word signifies is that God, having foreknown certain people, takes them out of the far-off category and puts them within the circle of his saving purposes. “In other words,” he says, “he has marked out a particular destiny for them.” That destiny is to be made like Jesus Christ(Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, p. 914). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.).

 

Next, in God’s divine plan of redemption, as verse 30 notes, predestination leads to calling. Although God’s calling is also completely by His initiative, it is here that His eternal plan directly intersects our lives in time. Those who are called are those in whose hearts the Holy Spirit works to lead them to saving faith in Christ. The call cannot refer to the outward call of the gospel that many reject (Matt. 22:14). It is an inward call of God, by the Holy Spirit, that accomplishes what He intends. The outward call is essential, because How shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?” (Rom. 10:14), but that outward call cannot be responded to in faith apart from God’s already having inwardly called the person through His Spirit (2 Tim. 1:9; 2 Thes. 2:13-14). All who are predestined are called in this way. Predestination includes God’s determination that a person will receive such an inward call (called the “effectual call”).( Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 1994). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.)

 

The next element of God’s saving work is justification of those who believe. After they are called by God, they are also justified by Him. And just as foreknowledge, predestination, and calling are the exclusive work of God, so is justification. Justified refers to a believer’s being made right with God by God. Because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” people can only be “justified as a gift by [God’s] grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).

 

Finally, as with foreknowledge, predestination, calling, and justification, glorification is inseparable from the other elements and is exclusively a work of God. In saying that those whom He justified, these He also glorified, Paul again emphasizes the believer’s eternal security.Glorifiedis in the past tense because this final step is so certain that in God’s eyes it is as good as done. To be glorified is another way of saying that God’s children will be “conformed” to His Son; and that is God’s ultimate “purpose.” No longer will they “fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).( Witmer, J. A. (1985). Romans. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 474). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)

 

No one whom God foreknows will fail to be predestined, called, justified, and ultimately glorified. As believers, we know with absolute certainty that awaiting us is “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17; cf. Rom. 5:2; 8:18-21; 2 Thes. 2:14). This promise of final glory was no uncertain hope as far as Paul was concerned. By putting the phrase these He also glorified in the past tense, the apostle demonstrated his own conviction that everyone whom He justified is eternally secure. Those who “obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus [receive] with it eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10). Believers are assured that everything works together for good because the God who set his covenantal love upon them, predestined them to be like his Son, called them effectually to himself, and justified them will certainly glorify them. All the sufferings and afflictions of the present era are not an obstacle to (our) ultimate salvation but the means by which salvation will be accomplished.(Schreiner, T. R. (1998). Romans (Vol. 6, p. 455). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.)

 

(Format Note: Some base commentary from MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (pp. 471–500). Chicago: Moody Press.)

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