Predestinated to Glory
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
As we climb higher in this excellent chapter beginning with no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, and ending with no separation from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, we come to find out that the groanings which we experience and the infirmities that beset us in this present evil world have a design to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
I can say everyone loves to quote verse 28, at least its first ten words. The depth of the groanings of this life, however, often make many to doubt it, especially when we really reach the depth of the “all things” working.
Remember that when we stop at the first ten words, we miss much. The all things that are working together for good are the things that were previously spoken, the things which were causing us to groan. Not only that, but the things causing us to groan do not work together for good to everyone without exception, but for good to them that love God. That is not the end of the sentence, but it is modified further when we say that those that love God are those that are called according to His purpose.
In this verse, Paul is saying this to the Roman saints:
Romans 1:6–7 — “Among whom are ye also the CALLED of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, CALLED to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In saying this with the qualification that all things work together for them who are the called, the apostle is making an exclusionary statement. This does not apply to everybody. He is not, however, seeking to exclude any of the called saints, for they are the very ones that he is speaking about. Not only that, but if you are a called saint, you also are among these called according to God’s purpose. If you are a called saint, you are also called to be a saint.
The Apostle Paul also spoke to the Corinthian saints in the same way. They were “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” (1 Corinthians 1:2), and “called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).
Notice that the apostle says the Corinthians are sanctified in Christ Jesus. In this case, he is speaking to and about a group of people who, as we find out by continuing a little further in even the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, were not walking worthy of the vocation in which they were called but were walking according to the flesh. They were still called saints, regardless. That is because sanctification, or “sainthood”, is not based on your personal holiness, but on the fact that as one called in Christ Jesus, you are sanctified. You are holy by virtue of that calling.
Many of us like to speak of justification as a done deal, but sanctification as a lifelong process. This is an incorrect statement. Christ is our justification, and Christ is our sanctification:
1 Corinthians 1:30 — “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption…”
The very context of this verse is that all of these things have nothing to do with who we are, but with Christ and with who we are by virtue of being in Christ. The Corinthians (and all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord) are called to be righteous and holy because in Christ they are righteous and holy. We are the called according to His purpose, and should be living lives corrected to this purpose, thinking and acting not like the heathen that we were, but like the saints that we are. If I had to make a one sentence description of what the first epistle to the Corinthians was about, that would be it.
But getting back to Romans 8, we must remember some very important things about the chapter as a whole before we go down some incorrect paths that have led to erroneous conclusions. In the entire chapter, the Apostle is speaking (with written words) to give comfort and hope to believers. That is important to remember because some come to verses 29 and 30 and wonder whether they can be counted among those predestinated. These verses are not to cast doubt but to strengthen hope. They are to give assurance because salvation is of God entirely.
Ephesians 2:8–10 — “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
If you are saved (and I sincerely hope that you are, and I know that you can be if you take God at His word and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ), it is not because of you. It is because God provided salvation freely by His grace. It is provided freely to all that believe, but it is provided freely only to all that believe. It has nothing to do with our works, but we are God’s workmanship. God has a plan and God is executing His plan. God’s foreknowledge is His plan. He is not making His choices based on knowing what our future choices will be, but He is executing His plan. His plan is to save those who come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ. Those that He foreknew are those that come to Him in this way; and look now at the bright hope that He has laid out for them:
Romans 8:29 — “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
That is where you are headed if you are saved. You are on the road that leads to conformity to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. This verse is not to bring theological controversy, it is to give the believer assurance of his future. God wants you saved and if you are He has you on the path to glory. You will not continue in salvation by holding on with all of your might to Him, but you will continue in salvation because He is holding on to you with all of His might.
God paid the greatest price imaginable for your salvation:
Ephesians 1:7 — “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace..”
Nothing was ever purchased with a greater price than that of the holy, righteous blood of the Son of God. This was not “cheap grace”, but it is offered freely to all who will believe. God does not cheapen grace by offering it freely, He offers it freely because no price offered to Him would be worthy of it. Man cheapens God’s grace when he tries to pay for it, or to make any part of it of himself.
“Once saved, always saved”, as those who teach against this Bible doctrine of the eternal security of the believer in Jesus Christ call this doctrine, is not a license to continue in sin. The scriptures teach the security of the believer as a call to holiness in practice, and to righteousness in practice.
Romans 12:1–2 — “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Ephesians 4:1 — “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…”
Colossians 3:1, 12 — “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. … Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…”
Now, as you are predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, look at what is true of you because of this:
Romans 8:30 — “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
This is the assurance that the Christian needs walking through the groanings of this life. Again, it is not about theological controversy. It is about hope for the future based upon what God has accomplished on your behalf through Christ. The Christian is the elect of God, because he is in Christ. As the called of God, he is justified and he is glorified. What is God’s plan in all of this? That we would be conformed to the image of Christ.
The apostle continues in verse 31:
Romans 8:31 — “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
The answer, of course, is no one; at least not successfully. God has made us righteous by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe (Romans 3:22). We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1) and are given eternal life as a gift through Him (Romans 6:23). We are promised and comforted with no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), and we are assured that nothing can separate us from His love which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39).
You may ask, “Is this bright future available for me?”
Yes, it is.
Romans 10:13 — “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
God is just, and He is the justifier of the ungodly one who has faith in His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the justifier of the one who believes the Gospel of Christ, that the One who is the Son of God has taken your sins upon Himself, died for them, and triumphantly rose from the dead to put them away forever as He calls you to Himself to be saved from them. The gift of salvation is given freely to all that believe, but it is given freely only to them that believe.
God can and will save you and keep you as His own by His grace when you receive His Son. Don’t wait, the days are evil and uncertain, but Jesus Christ is certain. When you are His, your future is certain because you are in Him. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved today — and for all of eternity!
Charles Miller View All
Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.
Another good article. We are certainly blessed to know the Savior and to be able to rest in Him. And to remember His sacrifice for us and all we have in Him should make us want to live for Him even in this evil world. Again, thanks for your thoughts and writings.
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