God’s Glorious Plan

12 June 2022 AM – Romans 8:29-30 – Rom2022 – Scott Childs
Introduction: One of the most difficult and divisive topics in the Bible is the topic of election. I do not claim to understand it fully. Some Bible verses sound like God elected or chose certain people to be saved and left the others to go to hell. At the same time, the Bible clearly says, (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  (1 Timothy 2:4) “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:6) “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (2 Peter 3:9) “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (Romans 10:13) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” If God chose only certain ones for salvation and left the rest to go to hell, what are we to do with the scores of verses that say the opposite? As Jesus prayed over Jerusalem, He prayed, (Luke 13:34) “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” Scripture clearly teaches that humans have a will to choose or reject God’s salvation. God is sovereign, that is true, but He cannot contradict His Word, the Bible. Therefore, since God wants all men to be saved, none to perish, and offers salvation to whosoever, we know that He did not elect some to be saved and the rest to be lost.
Transition: Harry Ironside said, “We have a glorious chain of five links in Romans 8:29-30 reaching from Eternity in the past to Eternity in the future – foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, glorified!” This morning, I want us to examine those five links that we might gain a greater appreciation for God’s Glorious Plan for our lives.
  1. Foreknow (the first link)
a.         What does this word mean?
1)      It simply means to have knowledge beforehand, to know before, to foresee, or to know previously. Various Lexicons
2)         God, being eternal, knows all that will ever happen.
3)      Dave Hunt states, “We simply can’t find a verse anywhere that uses “foreknowledge” in any other way than to express the fact of knowing in advance.” What Love is This?, p. 227
4)         In all five references, this word refers to information that was known beforehand. For example, (1 Peter 1:2) “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ...” God elects any and all who will trust Christ to save their souls from hell.
b.         Note how Paul used this word in our text.
1)         God, in eternity past, foreknew us. What did He foreknow about us? It cannot mean that he predestined us, for He says that next. Neither can it be that God foreknew those He would pick for salvation, for that would be obvious, needing no word to emphasise it.
2)         Hunt explains, “Surely the most obvious possibility would be that God foreknew who would repent and believe the gospel.” Hunt, p.225
3)         This seems to me to be the most Scripture-consistent rendering of the word “foreknowledge”.
2.        Predestinate (the second link)
a.         God predestinated those He knew would believe.
1)         To predestinate means to predetermine, decide beforehand, to foreordain, appoint beforehand.
2)         God predetermined many things. A believer’s conformity to Christ (our text, Ro 8:29-30), Christ’s crucifixion (Ac 4:28), God’s Gospel mystery (1Co 2:7), the adoption of believers (Eph 1:5), and a Christian’s future (Eph 1:11).
3)         Scripture never applies this word to salvation. Hunt adds, “It is vital to realize that neither in these passages [Ro 8:29; 1Pe 1:2] nor anywhere else does election or predestination refer to salvation but always and only to particular benefits.” Hunt, p.119
b.         Note how the word is used in our text.
1)         Paul tells us here that God planned that all believers be conformed (fashioned) to the image of His Son. They will be like Christ in character and destiny. (Philippians 3:21) “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
2)         This conforming includes adoption into God’s family. (Ephesians 1:5) “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
3)         God will complete this conforming to Christ’s image when we see Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53) “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 John 3:2) “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3.        Called (the third link)
a.         Those God foreknew and predestinated He called.
1)         A call can be an invitation.
2)         A call can be a title (i.e., called Saul).
b.         What kind of call is being used here?
1)         God calls all men to salvation, and all who obey the Gospel are the called.
2)         If you have trusted Christ, you have answered God’s call, and you are one of the called.
4.        Justified (the fourth link)
God then justifies those who answer His call.
a.         What does justify mean?
1)         It means to declare to be right in God’s sight, to make one right or fit, or to regard a person as innocent.
2)         Justification makes a person totally right with God, so much so that it is as if he had never sinned.
b.         How is it used in our text?
1)         Justification is the fourth link in the chain of God’s Glorious Plan. In eternity past, God looked into the future and saw those who would repent and believe on Him. Way back then, He determined that every one of those believers would receive an immortal body like that of Jesus Christ. He called them to salvation, and they answered His call by repenting and trusting Christ.
2)         He then justified them by making them totally clean in God’s sight and ready for heaven.
5.        Glorified (the fifth link)
a.         Finally, God will glorify believers.
1)         The word “glorified” means to honour, to praise, to make glorious, or to clothe with splendour. It probably refers to entering heaven. Barnes
2)         Wuest believes that, “Glorification refers to the act of God transforming the believer’s body at the Rapture into a body like the resurrection body of the Lord Jesus.” Bob Utley adds, “This will be the believers’ complete salvation. It will occur on Resurrection Day when they are given their new spiritual bodies (cf. 1 Cor. 15:50-58) …”
b.         This is a sure result of our salvation.
1)         Glorification is the believer’s final state.
2)         This glorification is so sure that, though it is yet future, it is stated as if it has already been completed.
Conclusion: The great thing about this difficult subject is that God will complete the work He has begun in us. If you have trusted Christ, He foreknew that you would. He predestinated that you will one day be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. You will leave your sin nature behind and receive an immortal body. You answered His call and are now one of the called. He justified you in His sight. When you see Christ (at death or the Rapture), you will be glorified eternally. Rejoice in that reality!
            If you have not yet received Christ, it is not too late. Humbly yourself before Him. Admit your sinful guilt. Repent of your sin. Place your trust in Christ’s atoning payment on the cross.
Song: Jesus Loves Even Me – 492