Called According to His Purpose

Romans 8:28-30

Tom Pennington  •  August 5, 2018
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Well the last time that we studied Romans 8 together, we examined specifically that magnificent text, Romans 8:28, and we did so largely on its own, separate from its context. Romans 8:28, you're familiar with it of course; it simply says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God." You see, God has a great eternal plan that He is working out. He is redeeming a people for His Son to His own glory. And we are caught up in that plan, and God will cause all things that He allows to come into your life to work together toward that great purpose. That's the point of verse 28.

Now here's how verse 28 fits into the immediate context of this chapter. All the way back in verse 18 of Romans 8, Paul refers to the sufferings of this present time. He goes on to say that as we endure those sufferings, the sufferings of this present life, verses 18 - 25, we live in hope of future glory; and verses 26 and 27, right now as we anticipate that future glory, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. He prays for us in ways we don't even know what or how to pray. And, verse 28, at the same time as we live in these present sufferings, God causes all things in this life to work together for our good. That's the flow of this great passage.

Now, we examined in this amazing promise that's in verse 28, several remarkable claims last week, and I'm not going to go back through them; let me just remind you of them. We learned that in this single verse that God is completely sovereign; that God has a comprehensive eternal plan, but that God also has an individual plan for every life.

Fourthly, we learned that God works in all things, in life's blessings and joys, in its trials and griefs, through the sins of others, although He is not responsible for them in any way; and even through our own sins, God is at work. We discovered that God has two great ends as He goes about this purpose. One is the glory of His name and the other is the good of His children.

And then we learned last of all, the last time we studied Romans 8 together, that God has set boundaries on this promise. He has limited this promise in two ways, to those who love God and to those who are called according to His purpose, in other words, to genuine believers. Romans 8:28 only applies to those who know God through Jesus Christ His Son.

Now, today, I want us to examine the rest of the paragraph in which this great text lies. Let's read it again together, Romans 8, beginning in verse 28 down through verse 30:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Now the theme of this eighth chapter is the absolute security of the true Christian. And these verses develop that theme by providing yet another reason that we are secure in Christ. It is that God has called us according to His eternal plan. So, here's where I want us to begin today. You need to understand that in this paragraph as important as verse 28 is, its promise is not the main point of the paragraph in which it sits. Paul's main point comes at the end of verse 28, we have been (notice what he says), "called according to [God's] purpose." Now you can see that this is really the point by even the repetition of the word 'called.' It occurs again down in verse 30, twice as he unfolds this.

Now, that means then that the expression in verse 28, "those who love [Him]," that looks at our relationship to God from the human side; whereas the second expression at the end of verse 28, "those who are called," looks at our relationship to God from the divine side. Both are true. We have come to love God. But the reason we love God is because of His initiation, He "called [us] according to His purpose."

Now, what is this word "called", since it's the key to the passage? Let me just remind you. We looked at this last time. On just one occasion, Jesus used the word 'called' of the general invitation that goes out every time the gospel is presented. There is, you remember, the gospel is an announcement of what God has done, the gospel is a command, repent and believe. In addition, the gospel is an invitation, "Come, come," the New Testament says. It's an invitation; and so every time the gospel is preached, there is inherent, in the gospel, an invitation. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 22:14, "For many are called, [That's that general call that goes out with the gospel.] but few are chosen."

In Paul's letters, however, this Greek word "called" always, let me emphasize that, always identifies those God has powerfully, irresistibly summoned into a relationship with Him. Let me just show you one text; turn to 2 Thessalonians; 2 Thessalonians 2, and notice verse 13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren, [So he's talking to His brothers in Christ.] beloved by the Lord, [And here's why.] because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation [God made a choice to save you; He accomplished this] through sanctification by the Spirit [that is, setting you apart by the Spirit unto Himself, and by your] faith in the truth, [a gift of God]." [He gave you the ability to believe.]

Now watch verse 14, "It was for this He called you through our gospel, [God called you to Himself through the gospel, and here was His purpose.] that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." So, all of those God calls in this way, come to participate in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now back in Romans 8, I want you to notice that verse 28 says that God's effectual call, His powerful, irresistible call, through the gospel, happens, notice what He says at the end of verse 28, on the basis of, are in agreement with God's purpose. The Greek word for "purpose" means "to set forth". It's something planned in advance. It's what someone has purposed to do. God has called us through the gospel, according to His eternal plan. But what is that plan? What is that purpose? Well, God's eternal, redemptive plan for you and for me is laid out in verses 29 and 30.

In these two brief theologically rich, magnificent verses, we discover God's eternal purpose. We learn the eternal purpose of God behind calling us to Himself. Now, if you're part of our church family, you have undoubtedly heard me describe the theme of the Bible like this; this is the point of the entire Bible. God is redeeming a people, by His Son, for His Son, to His Own glory. That's the point of the entire Scripture. But that's not only the Bible's theme; it's really the message of these two great verses as well. In fact, these verses have been called "A Golden Chain" because they describe an unbreakable chain of redemption, forged in God's mind in eternity past, accomplished in time through the work of Jesus Christ, through His perfect life and substitutionary death, and brought powerfully into our lives in time, by the work of the Spirit through the gospel. And that great chain of redemption will be consummated in our eternal glory. It's a divine chain. It's one of God's making, forged of five great links, five great links. It is a chain that binds us forever to the heart of God Himself. There are five verbs here that lay out this golden chain of redemption. Let's look at it together.

The first link in the chain of redemption is this, God foreknew us; God foreknew us. Look at verse 29, "For those whom He foreknew." Now the Greek word "foreknew" is a word that I think many of us know, is made up of two Greek words: "pro", meaning "before" and "ginosko", meaning "know"; that is "to know something". So "to know before" literally is what it means. That's why some have argued that this word simply means "a foreknowledge of what's going to happen", and they argue that this doesn't speak, this word "foreknow", doesn't speak of divine choice at all. It's just something God knows beforehand. And here's how they argue, they say:

Here's how God makes His choice in election. That is, He looks down through the corridors of time, and He sees those who will respond to the gospel; who will, on their own initiative, come to believe in Jesus Christ, and God chooses them because He knew before that they would make that choice.

That's called "Conditional Election"; that is God's choice is conditioned on something in the person. The other side of that is "Unconditional Election"; that is God's choice is not conditioned on anything in the person at all.

Now this conditional election, this idea that foreknowledge is just God looking ahead and seeing what you will do, is a flawed view of Scripture for several reasons. And by the way, these aren't of them; we'll look at others when we get to chapter 9, but let's just look at some of the reasons this cannot be what this means.

First of all, according to Romans 3:10 - 18, and we looked at in great detail; if you weren't here go back and listen. According to those verses, when God looks down through human history, all He sees in all people is sin and rebellion; that's it! There is none who seeks for God, Paul says. "There is none righteous, no not one." All of us are running away from God, not seeking God. So, it's flawed according to the basic gospel Paul preached.

Secondly, this approach doesn't sync with the scriptural teaching on election, and I'm not going to get ahead of myself; we'll get there when we get to Romans 9; but trust me, you will see it unfold when Paul lays out what election is, it just doesn't sync with this view.

Number three and this one's key; this view doesn't address the key issue of what is the source of faith. Okay, let's assume for a moment that God looks down through the corridors of time. He sees who's going to exercise faith, and He chooses on that basis. I'm not granting that, but let me grant it for a moment. If that were true, you still have to ask this question, where did that faith come from? That's the key question. Where does it come from? Ephesians 2:8 says what? "It is the gift of God." So, understand then, it's not because human beings initiate that faith. If God were to choose on this basis, on basis of faith, then it would be faith that He's given,

Number four, this view doesn't fit the New Testament use of this word, and here's the heart of what I want you to see. This word occurs six times in the New Testament; only two of those times does it clearly mean "to know something beforehand" and just to know it. And that, in both cases, is when the subject of the verb is man, because we can't determine what's going to happen beforehand, right? We just may know it, and that's how it's used in Acts 26:5 and 2 Peter 3:17.

The other three times, however, besides our text here, we have God as the subject. And when God is the subject as He is here and these other three times, it has to mean more than just knowing something. Let me show them to you. Go over to chapter 11; Romans 11:2, "God has not rejected," He's talking about the ethnic descendants of Abraham here. "God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew." Now, did God just know beforehand about Israel? Did He know that they were going to choose Him? No! The obvious point of this verb is those whom He foreknew in the sense of setting His love and affection on, choosing for Himself. God predetermined; here's the point of this verb here in verse 2; God predetermined to have a relationship with Israel, and it wasn't based on anything in them. Deuteronomy 7:7 and 8 says, "[I have] … loved you [Why?] … because … [I] loved you."

Let's go over to Acts; turn back to Acts 2, and you see this verb again in Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:23. He says, "this Man, [speaking of Jesus] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death." Is he simply saying here that God knew this beforehand; that God just knew that Jesus would be crucified? No! Clearly even the attachment of the synonym that He puts with it here, "the predetermined plan and foreknowledge." It's implying there was an eternal choice, a plan that God was working out; He had determined it beforehand.

Turn over to 1 Peter 1; 1 Peter 1:2, let's go back to verse 1. He ends it by saying, he's writing to believers scattered around the world, "who are chosen." Now how are they chosen? "According to the foreknowledge of God the Father." Now if you looked at that solely in its immediate context here, you might say, "Well maybe Peter means God chose them on the basis of what He foreknew they would do." Well, go down to verse 20 because here Peter uses the same word, but clearly here he uses it in the context of choosing beforehand versus just knowing beforehand. It says of Christ, "He was foreknown before the foundation of the world." That doesn't just mean God knew about Him or knew that He was going to accomplish this before the foundation of the world. Clearly the implication is that God chose Him for this role; He predetermined Him for this mission, and so that's clearly the implication back in verse 2 of believers.

Now, let's go back then, having looked at those passages and understanding that this idea of simple knowing before doesn't fit the New Testament use of this word. Let me give one fifth reason this can't be what he means here. In Romans 8:29, I want you to notice it does not say that God foreknew something about us: like that we would believe. Instead it says, note this because this is key, He foreknew us. Now what does that mean and what's the context of that? Well, the background for this word is found in the Old Testament, back in the Hebrew word "foreknow". That word is often used in the sense of choosing someone to enter into a relationship with them. In other words, "knowing them in the sense of a predetermined relationship." Let me give you three examples. I won't turn there, but you can jot them down.

First of all, Genesis 18:19, God says about Abraham, listen to this, "I have [known] him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD … so that [I] may bring about [on him] what [I've] spoken about him." I have known him; it's so clearly choice, that word "know", that our New American Standard translators replaced the word "know" with the word "chosen". If you look at that text in your New American Standard, it says, "I have chosen him," so that he may fulfill my purpose.

What about Jeremiah 1:5? God says to Jeremiah the prophet, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." Now again, God is not saying, "I knew about you." He knows about everyone who's in the womb, everyone who is born. Instead he says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, [I had fastened my love upon you; I had predetermined to have a relationship with you.] And before you were born I consecrated you."

Amos 3:2, this one is very clear; He says to Israel, "You only have I [known] among all the families of the earth." Now that cannot be simple knowledge, right? Because, God knows all the nations of the earth. It's more than that, and in fact again, our translators have translated the word "know" as chosen. "You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth," because that's clearly what it means. So that's the background of this word in the New Testament, "foreknow".

The word "foreknow", in Romans 8, is for all intents and purposes almost identical with election. It means God sets His love on them because He's predetermined to have a relationship with them. It's like, for some of you, you've experienced this; it's like if a couple decides they're going to adopt a child from an orphanage overseas. They go to that orphanage and they look and they meet the children, and they choose the child on whom they will set their love. And then they leave for a time to go and process all the paperwork and prepare, and then they return and actually adopt that child. That's kind of what Paul is describing here. In eternity past, God chose on whom He would set His love; and then in time, He carries that purpose out.

As John Murray says, "Foreknowledge is God's sovereign, distinguishing love." By the way, this doesn't in any way minimize the importance of faith. If you doubt that, go back and read the first four chapters, right? You have to believe the gospel, but here he's saying when you believe the gospel it was because God, in His eternal purpose, set His love upon you; He foreknew you.

When did He foreknow His own? When did He set His love on us and choose us? Well 2 Timothy 1:9 says it was from all eternity, from all eternity. This, folks, is divine, sovereign, electing love and grace! Now I understand (that because I did for many years); I know there are some of you who struggle with this whole idea of God's sovereignty and salvation. If you will, go listen to the messages I preached on Ephesians 1 on God's selection or choice of those who are His own. But let me just tell you that, practically, no Christian struggles with the sovereignty of God in salvation.

J. I. Packer in his excellent little book called Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, he makes the point that every single Christian believes God is sovereign in salvation, and we prove it in two ways. One, all of us without exception, if we are in Christ, thank God for our salvation. Why? Because intuitively we understand this is something God did. Also, all of us, without exception, pray for the salvation of others. Why? Because we understand that God can accomplish this. Don't be afraid of this great truth, God foreknew you in eternity past. He chose to set His love upon you for absolutely nothing in you. He loved you because He loved you. God is the One who took the initiative to save you.

There's a second link in the chain of redemption back in Romans 8. It's that: God predestined us; God predestined us. Verse 29 says, "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined." Now I think that word "predestined" or the noun form, predestination, scares more people than the word "foreknowledge", or "foreknow". But the word "'predestined" literally means "to set the boundary beforehand". In the Greek word is our word "horizon", the thing that marks the boundary between earth and sky. It means "to set the boundary beforehand", or here's another way to express it, "to decide beforehand, to predetermine".

In Acts 4:28, it's used of the crucifixion. It's predetermined. It was decided beforehand, and here it's used of believers. Now in this verse, verse 29, listen carefully, the word "predestined" is not synonymous with election. Election is really contained in that word "foreknow". You see "foreknew" describes the fact or the reality of God's choice of someone, and "predestined" describes the reason that God chose. He foreknew us; that is, He set His sovereign love upon us to a specific predetermined end. Here is the destiny He determined beforehand. Here is the purpose of His sovereign electing grace.

Let's look at God's destiny for us, verse 29, "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined [He predetermined their destiny.] to become conformed to the image of His Son." You see God loved us with the goal that we would share the image of Jesus Christ; that we would be just like Him. In 1 John 3:1 and 2, John writes that Christ is going to return, and when we see Him, "we will be like Him, [for] we will see Him … as He is."

In what ways will we be like Him, just as He is? Well, first of all, we will receive a glorified body like that of Jesus Christ. In Philippians 3:21, it says He "will transform the body of our humble state." I hate to tell you, folks, that's the body you have right now, 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." That body that you're in, that I'm in, it's a gift of God; we were made to be body and soul, but it is a weak body, wracked by sin and the curse, still part of our fallenness, but someday we will get a glorified body just like Jesus Christ. I don't mean that all of us will physically resemble Jesus Christ. What it means is we will be ourselves, that body that you have is like a seed that goes in the ground, and someday it will come out in a perfected form. It will be you, but it will have the same characteristics and qualities of the resurrected, glorified body of Jesus Christ. It will happen when Christ returns at the rapture. We get a glorified body.

But that's not all that it means to be like Him. We will also perfectly reflect the moral character of Christ, and this is the main point that Paul is making here in verse 29. This will come to full completion for us when we die or when Christ returns, whichever of those comes first. We will, in our moral characters, be just like Jesus Christ. Read the Gospels and see how Christ responded to everything that came at Him, how He responded to God and to people; that's what you will be like; that's what I'll be like. But while that will come to full completion in the future, if you are a Christian at all, if you're a genuine Christian, this is happening in you right now. There is an ongoing process by which your moral character is being shaped after His. How does that happen?
Turn over to 2 Corinthians 3; 2 Corinthians 3:18. Here is a seminal text on how this transformation happens in us. Second Corinthians 3:18. "But we all [All believers, this is universally true.] with unveiled face, [That is now the veil, that used to lie over our hearts and its ability to see the Scriptures, has been removed, and we are now] beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord." What's he talking about? He's talking about here in context, he's talking about here in the Scripture, we're looking at Christ and His glory in the Scripture; and as we behold Him in His glory in the Scripture, watch what is happening, verse 18 says as we behold Him in His glory "in [the] … a mirror" of the Scripture, we "are being transformed." That's the Greek word from which we get our word "metamorphosis". We are being radically changed into the same image, that is, into the image of Jesus Christ.

And that happens gradually, from glory to glory, from one level of glory to the next level of glory till ultimately its final glory when we're just like Him in every way. Listen, if you're in Christ, that's happening to you. When you read the Scripture yourself, when you study it, when you listen to sermons, when you come to the Lord's Day, and we study the Word together here in classes, this is happening. You're beholding the glory of the Lord; and as you are, gradually you are being metamorphosized into the same image from one level of glory to another. It's happening now.

Do you see? God has predetermined your destiny, Christian, and that destiny is to become conformed to the image of His Son that in both body and soul, you would be a replica of Jesus Christ your Lord and forever bring Him glory. That one day we would be perfectly like Jesus Christ in our characters and that we would even have bodies that share the qualities of His glorified, resurrected body.

By the way, some people wonder why sanctification isn't in this golden chain here in verses 28, 29, and 30, and my response is, it is. It's contained within this great expression "predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son." So understand this, the ultimate goal of your salvation is not to keep you out of hell. The ultimate goal of your salvation is to make you like Jesus Christ.

But God's greater destiny, than the one He has for us, is God's destiny for Christ. Look again at verse 29, "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many [brothers]." Notice that the second goal transcends the first. God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son, "so that, [to this end,] He would be the firstborn among many brethren." The Greek word for firstborn is "prototokos". In the Old Testament, it's often used to refer to the firstborn in literal birth order in a family. It's used that way of Christ even.

In Luke 2:7 He was Mary's firstborn. In Hebrew thought, the actual firstborn in birth order was singled out for special honor. He was the representative of the rest of the family; he was the one who received the largest portion of the inheritance, and so it was a place of special honor. So, in other passages, this same Greek word is used of someone who is not first in birth order, but who still enjoys the special status that's normally associated with being the firstborn, the same importance and preeminence in the family as someone who's firstborn. For example, in Psalm 89:27, it refers to David as the firstborn because of his importance even though he was not the first king of Israel, and he was not the oldest in his family.

It's used of Christ, for example, in Hebrews 1:6; it says, "when [God] … brings the firstborn into the world," speaking of Christ. He is the firstborn. It doesn't mean He literally was born physically of God, like Mormonism would teach, that's not what he is talking about. He is the firstborn in importance, in preeminence.

Now, how does this work out in Romans 8:29? Notice, God will relentlessly shape us into the image of His Son because He wants Christ to be the firstborn; He wants Christ to be the preeminent one in a very large family. And by the way, this is the other side of our predetermined destiny; our destiny was to be adopted by God as His sons and daughters. Notice how verse 29 puts it, "so that He would be the firstborn [the highest, the preeminent one, the greatest one] among many [brothers]."

Think about that, Christian. God has predestined you to belong to His family. In fact, turn over to Ephesians 1; that's how this word "predestined" is used here; Ephesians 1:4, "[God] chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world." There's election, unconditioned. It happened before we existed.

That we would be holy and blameless before Him [That was His purpose. Now watch this.] In love He predestined [Same word, He predetermined our destiny, and what was that destiny?] … adoption as sons through Jesus Christ Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.

God predetermined that He was going to adopt you into His family and that you would be one of the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ; that He would be our older brother, but that He would have the higher place, the position of the firstborn, the greatest.

One commentator writes, "God's purpose was that His only begotten Son might not be alone, enjoying the privileges of Son-ship, but might be the head of a multitude of brothers of the company of those who, in and through Him, have been made sons of God." God predestined us.

The third part of God's eternal plan and the third link in this great chain of redemption, back in verse 30, is that: God called us; God called us. Verse 30 says, "and these whom He predestined, [All of those He foreknew, He predestined, all of those He predestined,] He also called."

Now with this third link, we leave eternity past. So far we have been in eternity past in the mind of God Himself, and now we leave that, and we enter human history. Here is the outworking of God's eternal purpose in your story, in your life. But don't miss the main point Paul is making here; all of those whom God predestined to be like His Son, He also called. As we've seen, this call is not the general invitation to believe the gospel. I mean, if you've been connected to the Christian church at all, you have heard the gospel, and you have been invited to believe that gospel many times. But if you have never repented of your sins, if you have never believed in Jesus Christ as Lord, then you have never been called in the way Paul means here. He's referring here to the same thing that Jesus described in John 6:44 when Jesus said, "No one [No one] can [that is has the capacity or power to] come to Me [for salvation] unless the Father who sent Me draws him."

If you're a Christian, then let me tell you what happened to you. God has powerfully, effectively, irresistibly summoned or called or drawn you through the gospel to Himself. You haven't just heard the general invitation to come to God that's in the gospel; instead, there was a day when you really heard the gospel, when you heard that message and God summoned you powerfully to Himself and you responded. That's God's call.

Let me just give you a little illustration of this. Think of the general call that's in the gospel like this. Let's say, that you're out about town one day, and you run into a judge, a human judge. And that judge invites you to come, and whenever you're able, just to come visit his courtroom, "Please come, I'd love to have you come." He extends a general invitation to you, "come." That's the general call. But the effectual call is like this, imagine that that same judge issues you a summons, an official legal summons to his court, and that summons comes by way of a couple of policemen and a police car. That's what it means to be effectually called. The difference between that and God's call is, in that case, you go unwillingly. In the case of God's call, God makes you willing. Let's say the judge tells you, "I'm summoning you to my court, and two police officers are here to take you. You are compelled to come, but I'm going to tell you that you are the recipient of a massive estate." God called us.

The fourth link in the chain, here in Romans 8, is that God justified us; God justified us. Verse 30 says, "and these whom He called, He also justified." You see, when God summoned you to Himself through the gospel message, at that same time, He gave you two gifts. He gave you the gift of repentance. Acts 11:18 describes that reality when it says that "God … granted … repentance … to the Gentiles." So, God gave you repentance. And at that exact moment, He also gave you faith, Ephesians 2:8, it is "by grace you [were] saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God," meaning either faith or all of salvation including faith, it's the gift of God. So, God gave you repentance and faith as divine gifts. As a result of God giving you repentance and faith, you actually responded. You repented. You believed. And in response to your believing the gospel, God justified you.

Now I'm not going to take a lot of time here because we've looked at that in great detail in the early chapters of Romans. Let me just remind you, it means that God declared you legally right with Him and before His Law through the work of Jesus Christ alone.

How can a just judge like God declare guilty sinners to be righteous? Well, we looked at it, but let me just remind you, it's because God credits all the sins of everyone who will ever believe in Christ to Christ; and on the cross, Christ paid in full the divine justice your sins and mine deserved. He died in our place under the wrath of God. God, think of it this way, if you're a Christian, on the cross, God treated Jesus as if He had committed every sin you have ever committed, and He paid for those sins in full, ever have committed or ever will commit. At the same time, God credits, in justification, the thirty-three years of perfect life that Jesus lived to your account; and from that point forward, He treats you as if you had lived Jesus's life; that's justification. Second Corinthians 5:21, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." God justified us.

The fifth link in the chain is found at the end of verse 30, God will glorify us. Verse 30 says, "and these whom he justified, He also glorified." I have some really good news for you; God always finishes what He starts. God always finishes what He starts, and He will complete His eternal plan for every person whom He foreknew in eternity past. If in eternity past, He set His love upon you, let me tell you something; it will happen! That's Paul's point. We will be glorified. Every true believer will one day experience glorification. We will be just like Jesus Christ in moral character and even in the kind of body.

Now, notice how Paul puts it though. He says, "He also glorified." Paul puts our glorification in the same verb tense as all of those other four that have already happened in the past. He says it like it's already past, why? It's to underscore its absolute certainty. It's so sure that we can talk about it in the past tense. I love Philippians 1:6, "He who began a good work in you [And, oh, by the way, you didn't begin it, He did.] He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ." You will be glorified! Nothing will prevent that; nothing will stand in the way, not the troubles of this life, not the sin of others against you, not your own sin; we will be glorified.

Now here's a crucial question and really the key question of the morning, how can you know if God has included you in this sweeping eternal plan of redemption? Well it's very simple; ask yourself two questions. Have you responded to the gospel announcement, command, and invitation? Have you responded to that message?

Or, if you haven't, are you willing to even this morning? Do you want to turn from your sin to Christ? Do you want the forgiveness, the salvation, the justification, I've just described. Do you want to know your Creator through His Son Jesus Christ? Are you willing to turn from your sin and put your faith in Him? If so, then God is calling you to Himself through the gospel even this morning.

What if you already claim to be a Christian? You know, North Texas is filled with people who claim to be Christians, and yet Jesus said not all of them are. He said, "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, you know I knew You and I'll say, I never knew you." So how can you be sure if you claim to be a Christian that you have been called, truly effectually called? Well, here in this text are two answers. Answer number one is the question, "Do you love God; do you really love God?" Ask yourself that honestly; because if you don't love God, you're not a Christian. That's the definition of a Christian. "And are you gradually becoming more like His Son?" Is there, in your life, evidence that you have new life and that you're gradually becoming more like Jesus Christ, the Lord you claim?

So, in conclusion, what are the main lessons that we can learn from this paragraph? There are two of them. Number one: Salvation is all of God from beginning to end. Did you notice that the subject of every verb in this passage is God? He, He, He, He, He! You see, salvation is what God does. Every link in this divine golden chain of redemption is a divine action. Yes, we respond in faith and repentance, but only because God enables us to. God is the One who saves. God initiates the process in eternity past by, for no reason in us, setting His love upon us and knowing us, foreknowing us to that end. God predestines that we will become conformed to the image of His Son and be adopted as His children. God calls us through the gospel to Himself, powerfully, irresistibly. God justifies us, and God is the One who will glorify us. Salvation is all of God. The moment you come to learn that, your soul will be at rest because you will realize it depends entirely on Him.

Number two: This passage teaches us that every true believer is secure in Jesus Christ. Do you see that chain? That's the point of the chain; it's unbreakable. If God began in eternity past to set His love on you, He will deliver you glorified in His presence, because of all of those He foreknew, He predestined; all of those He predestined, He called; all of those He called, He justified, and all of those He justified, He will glorify.

You see, without exception, all of those on whom God set His love will be like Jesus Christ; they will be glorified. In fact, let me put it bluntly; you're near the end of this plan. Four of the five links have already happened in your life. He will glorify you; and without exception, all those on whom God set His love can be confident that between justification, link four, and glorification, link five, God will cause all things to work together for good. Now you see how it all interrelates. How can God, Who has already done all of that, He's done everything but glorify you, He's in the process of sanctifying you, how can that good God who has loved you, allow anything in your life that He won't ultimately use for your good?

Let's pray together.

Our Father, we are overwhelmed by Your great love and goodness. We love You in response to Your love. Father, help us to know these things; help us. You intended us to know Your plan so that we could trust Your heart, so that we can live through the difficulties and the troubles and the sufferings of this life and know that none of that affects us. Father, help us to trust You. Thank you for Your love toward us. It's completely unwarranted, undeserved. You loved us because You loved us, and we thank you that we will be like Your Son, and we will be members and are members of Your family, and Christ is our older brother. Father, exalt Him! We want Him to be the firstborn, to be the preeminent One, the important One, and yet we're so grateful to be in Your family.

Father, I pray for those here this morning who are not in Christ. Help them to see the gospel, and may You call them to Yourself even this morning. May they have a desire to repent and to believe. May You give them the ability to do that, and may they come even as You've invited them this morning?

We pray in Jesus's name, Amen.