(from a transcript of a sermon preached on 9/28/03 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)
Please turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 8. Let's read verses 28 through 30:
Romans 8: (28) But we know that [to] the [ones] loving God all things work together for good, [to] those being called according to purpose; (29) because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated [to be] conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be [the] First-born among many brothers. (30) But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
In the past two sermons, we went over verse 29. The first sermon was on God's foreknowledge, and the second sermon was on God's predestination of all whom He foreknew to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, for Jesus Christ to be the firstborn among many brothers. Today, the Lord willing, we will go into verse 30. This is the glorious chain of grace. In verse 29 we saw the first two links of the chain and the final link of the chain. The first two links are God's foreknowledge and predestination of His people, and the final link is the glorification of God's people, which is their being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Verse 30 fills in the links between predestination and final glory. There are five links in this chain, or, if you will, five steps in God's people reaching final glory: Foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. Those whom God FOREKNEW, He PREDESTINATED. Those whom God PREDESTINATED, He CALLED. Those whom God CALLED, He JUSTIFIED. Those whom God JUSTIFIED, He GLORIFIED.
Let's first define all our terms and then look at the logic of the chain itself. The first term, which doesn't appear in verse 30 but is at the beginning of the chain, is "foreknew." We went over this term two sermons ago. The Greek word is pro-gin-OSE-ko, which comes from the prefix PRO, which means "before," and the verb gin-OSE-ko, which means "to know." So to FOREKNOW means "to know before." We saw that the word "foreknew" does not mean that God looked down through the telescope of time and FORESAW certain people; it means that God had an INTIMATE LOVE of certain people. God FORE-LOVED certain people. He LOVED them from before the foundation of the world.
The second term is "predestinated," which occurs in verses 29 and 30. We went over this term in the last sermon. The Greek word is pro-or-ID-zo, which comes from the prefix PRO, meaning "before," and hor-ID-zo, which means "to determine." So to PREDESTINATE means "to determine before." God PRE-DETERMINED something. And we saw last time that God PRE-DETERMINED that all whom He FORE-LOVED would be conformed to the image of Christ in final glory.
The third term is "called." The Greek word here is kal-EH-oh, which means "to call forth" or "to summon." We saw in verse 28 that God's people are called "those being called according to purpose." The Greek word there was klay-TOSS, which is the adjective form of the noun KLAY-sis, which, in turn, is from a shorter form of the verb kal-EH-oh that we find in verse 30. So the term in verse 28 is talking about the same thing as verse 30. And three sermons ago, we saw that God's people are CALLED from unbelief to belief. They are called from darkness to light, from death to life, from being servants of sin to being servants of righteousness, from bondage to liberty. They are called to newness of life. This is the effectual gospel call.
The fourth term is "justified." The Greek word here is dik-a-YO-oh, which means "to be declared just or righteous or holy or innocent." God's people are declared NOT GUILTY based on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ lived a perfectly righteous life as the representative and substitute of His people. All the sins of those whom He represented were imputed to Him, and He suffered the just punishment that their sins deserved. God's justice was totally satisfied when His Son was punished for the sins of His people. And in time, when God regenerates each one of His people, the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to each one of His people, so they are seen as totally, perfectly righteous in the eyes of God's law and justice. This justification is purely by the grace of God because of the work of Christ and has absolutely nothing to do with our works and efforts. Justification is received through the instrument of God-given faith. Let's look at some verses where this Greek word is used:
Luke 18: (13) And standing at a distance, the tax collector would not even lift up [his] eyes to Heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, the sinner! (14) I say to you, This one went down to his house having been justified, [rather] than that one. For everyone exalting himself will be humbled. And the [one] humbling himself will be exalted.
Acts 13: (39) And everyone believing in this One is justified from all things which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.
Romans 3: (20) Because by works of Law not one of all flesh will be justified before Him, for through Law [is] full knowledge of sin. (21) But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, (22) even the righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ toward all and upon all those believing; for there is no difference, (23) for all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, (25) whom God set forth [as] a propitiation through faith in His blood, as a demonstration of His righteousness through the passing over of the sins that had taken place before, in the forbearance of God, (26) for a demonstration of His righteousness in the present time, for His being just and justifying the [one] that [is] of the faith of Jesus. (27) Then where [is] the boasting? It was excluded. Through what law? Of works? No, but through a Law of faith. (28) Then we conclude a man to be justified by faith without works of Law. (29) Or [is He] the God of Jews only, and not also of the nations? Yes, of the nations also, (30) since [it is] one God who will justify circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Romans 4: (2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has a boast, but not with God. (3) For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." (4) Now [to one] working, the reward is not counted according to grace, but according to debt. (5) But to the [one] not working, but believing on Him justifying the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Romans 5: (1) Then being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, ... (9) Much more then, being justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through Him.
Romans 6: (7) For the [one] that died has been justified from sin.
Romans 8: (33) Who will bring any charge against God's elect? God [is] the [One] justifying!
1 Corinthians 6:11:
1 Corinthians 6: (11) And some [of you] were these things, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.
Galatians 2: (16) knowing that a man is not justified by works of Law, but that [it is] through faith [in] Jesus Christ (we also believed into Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith [in] Christ and not by works of Law, because all flesh will not be justified by works of Law).
Galatians 3: (8) And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham: "All the nations will be blessed" "in you." (9) So that those of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham. (10) For as many as are out of works of Law, [these] are under a curse. For it has been written, "Cursed [is] everyone who does not continue in all the things having been written in the book of the Law, to do them." (11) And that no one is justified by Law before God [is] clear because, "The just shall live by faith." ... (24) So that the Law has become a trainer of us [until] Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Titus 3: (7) that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to [the] hope of eternal life.
The fifth and last term is "glorified." The Greek word here is dox-AD-zo, which means "to have glory" or "to make glorious." God's people are MADE GLORIOUS when they go to heaven. They are glorified with Christ, are conformed to His image, are made like Him, as we saw in the last sermon. When we get to heaven, God will entirely remove all indwelling sin from us, and we will live eternally in perfect fellowship with God and will worship Him for all eternity. This is the glorious end of all God's people. It is our hope, what we patiently wait for and groan for in eager expectation, as we saw earlier in Romans 8. It is the completion of our salvation. It is the final, glorious manifestation of our adoption and joint-heirship with Christ. I'd like for us to read some passages that include the Greek word for "to glorify" or the Greek word "glory" as they relate to the believer's final glory in heaven:
2 Corinthians 4:17:
2 Corinthians 4: (17) For the lightness of our present affliction works out for us an eternal weight of glory, surpassing [moment] by surpassing [moment];
Philippians 3: (21) who will transform our body of humiliation, for it to be conformed to His body of glory, according to the working [of] Him to be able even to subject all things under Himself.
Colossians 3: (4) Whenever Christ our life is revealed, then also you will be revealed with Him in glory.
Hebrews 2: (10) For it was fitting for Him, because of whom [are] all things, and through whom [are] all things, having brought many sons to glory, to perfect [Him] as the Author of their salvation through sufferings.
1 Peter 1:7-9:
1 Peter 1: (7) so that the proving of your faith, much more precious than perishing gold, but having been proved through fire, may be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (8) whom having not seen, you love; in whom not yet seeing, but believing, you exult with joy unspeakable and being glorified, (9) obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of [your] souls.
1 Peter 5:1,4,10:
1 Peter 5: (1) I, a fellow elder, exhort the elders among you, I being also witness of the sufferings of Christ, and [being] sharer of the glory about to be revealed: ... (4) And [at] the appearing of the Chief Shepherd, you will receive the never fading crown of glory. ... (10) Now the God of all grace, the [One] calling you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, [you] having suffered a little, Himself will perfect, confirm, strengthen, establish [you].
We've now looked at all five words: foreknew, predestinated, called, justified, and glorified. Now that we've gotten the meaning of all these words, we want to look at them in connection with each other, as part of the unbreakable chain of grace. Those whom God foreknew, He predestinated. Those whom God predestinated, He called. Those whom God called, He justified. And those whom God justified, He glorified. To say it in a different way based on the definitions we went over: Those whom God loved from before the foundation of the world in Christ, He determined from before the foundation of the world to be conformed to the image of Christ. Those whom God determined from before the foundation of the world to be conformed to the image of Christ, He summoned from darkness to light, from death to life, from being servants of sin to being servants of righteousness, from bondage to liberty. Those whom God summoned, He declared righteous based on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. And those whom He declared righteous were made glorious, were conformed to the image of Christ in glory. Do you get the connection between all of these?
Let's look closer at the logic of this chain. Now the first thing I'm going to point out you might think is so obvious that it need not be mentioned, but I'll show you in a little while, the Lord willing, that fools, and one fool in particular who is the father of many fools, oppose this simple logic in order to hold on to their damnable heresy. The simple logic I'm talking about is the obvious implication that these statements are universal, meaning that the implied quantifier is "ALL." And when I say "all" here, I mean "everyone without exception." ALL whom God foreknew, He predestinated. ALL whom God predestinated, He called. ALL whom God called, He justified. And ALL whom God justified, He glorified. Seems quite obvious, doesn't it? Let me give you an example of the implied quantifier "ALL": Suppose I say that dogs are mammals and mammals are animals. I don't need to say the word "ALL" - it's implied. In fact, the quantifier can't be anything OTHER than "all." When I say that dogs are mammals and mammals are animals, I'm obviously saying that ALL dogs are mammals and that ALL mammals are animals. The ABSENCE of a quantifier means that "ALL" is intended, unless "SOME" is clearly indicated. I don't need to say that ALL dogs are mammals; all I need to say is that dogs are mammals, and the hearer knows that the "ALL" is implied. Now here's an example of the implied quantifier "ALL" in a logical sequence that is closer to the one we see in our passage. Okay, here's the example: "Those who sold more than a thousand units during the year were nominated for an award. Those who were nominated for the award were invited to a luncheon." Obviously, this means that ALL who sold more than a thousand units during the year were nominated for an award, and ALL who were nominated for the award were invited to a luncheon. There was no need to explicitly say "ALL," as it was necessarily implied.
So here in our passage, the universal "ALL" is necessarily implied. The way the passage is constructed, there can be no other interpretation. Notice the word "THESE": "whom He foreknew, He also predestinated ... whom He predestinated, THESE He also called; and whom He called, THESE He also justified,; and whom He justified, THESE He also glorified." "THESE" means ALL the people in the previous phrase. Whom God predestinated, ALL THESE He also called. Whom God called, ALL THESE He also justified. Whom God justified, ALL THESE He also glorified. Am I belaboring the obvious here? Who but a fool would not see this? Well, let me tell you about a fool who did not see this. This fool's name is John Wesley. Here is what Wesley said about this verse: "St. Paul does not affirm, either here or in any other part of his writings, that precisely the same number of men are called, justified, and glorified." Now why would Wesley say such a thing in spite of such clear logic to the contrary? Why would he interpret this passage to say that only SOME of whom God called are justified, and only SOME of whom God justified are glorified? It's because He HAS to do this to maintain his false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Here's what he goes on to say: "He [that is, Paul] does not deny that a believer may fall away and be cut off between his special calling and his glorification ... Neither does he deny that many are called who never are justified. He only affirms that this is the method whereby God leads us step by step toward heaven." John Wesley believed that since salvation is conditioned on a persons's works, a believer can lose his salvation. Thus, in this wicked scheme, it cannot be that ALL whom God called and justified end up glorified. Look at how this portrays God. Some of those whom God foresaw would believe, He predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ. Yet only SOME of those whom God predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ end up being conformed to the image of Christ. Only SOME whom God declared righteous, not guilty, will go to heaven. This makes God a weakling and a liar who is dependent upon the will of the sinner. This is so obviously the doctrine of demons that no believer would be fooled by this. But there are certainly many fools in the world who follow the words of this fool. It's amazing how much the fools will twist Scripture in order to make it conform to their heresy of salvation conditioned on the sinner. They MUST make salvation conditioned on the sinner AT ALL COSTS. They MUST make Scripture DENY that salvation is conditioned on the work of Christ alone, even if it makes them look foolish. First and foremost is boasting in self. If boasting in self is excluded, then their whole system of religion falls to the ground. Their main concern is that self get the glory, no matter if the clear teaching of the Bible is right in front of their face. They are blissfully ignorant of the righteousness of God and are going about establishing a righteousness of their own.
But let's move forward with the obvious logic of this verse. We'll be going into some formal logic here, some formal syllogisms. In each of the propositions in these syllogisms, the quantity is universal, and the quality is affirmative. Here's the first syllogism:
All whom God foreknew, He predestinated.
All whom God predestinated, He called.
Thus, all whom God foreknew, He called.
In mathematical terms, if A = B and B = C, then A = C.
Here's the second syllogism:
All whom God foreknew, He called.
All whom God called, He justified.
Thus, all whom God foreknew, He justified.
In mathematical terms, if A = C and C = D, then A = D.
Here's the third syllogism:
All whom God foreknew, He justified.
All whom God justified, He glorified.
Thus, all whom God foreknew, He glorified.
In mathematical terms, if A = D and D = E, then A = E.
Now if this is too confusing to listen to, you can go back and read the transcript slowly and carefully to see that this is all true. If you put it all together, then you have this: If A = B and B = C and C = D and D = E, then A = E. Or, in the words of our text, if all whom God foreknew He predestinated and all whom He predestinated He called and all whom He called He justified and all whom He justified He glorified, then all whom He foreknew He glorified.
Now why is this so important? Or is this just a meaningless exercise in logic? Well, hopefully, you're understanding why it's so important, but I want to make it as clear as I can. This is saying that EVERYONE whom God loved from before the foundation of the world IS GUARANTEED to be glorified! And we see this because EVERYONE whom God loved from before the foundation of the world He predestinated, and EVERYONE whom He predestinated He called, and EVERYONE whom He called He justified, and EVERYONE whom He justified He glorified! The glorification of all whom God fore-loved is guaranteed! There is NO STOPPING IT! In fact, EACH LINK along this chain is guaranteed! So, for example, EVERYONE who is predestinated is GUARANTEED to be justified! EVERYONE who is fore-loved is GUARANTEED to be effectually called! It is all SURE AND CERTAIN based on the covenant of grace that was established from before the foundation of the world and that was sealed in time by the work of Jesus Christ!
Now if we change the statements into the negative, we can see yet another angle on this truth. There are NONE whom God foreloved whom He did not predestinate. There are NONE whom God predestinated whom He did not call. There are NONE whom God called whom He did not justify. There are NONE whom God justified whom He did not glorify. These are precious truths, aren't they?
We see many doctrines established in this chain of grace. One of them is unconditional election. God predestinated a certain number of people, those whom He foreloved in Christ, to salvation, including justification and glorification. It also establishes the doctrine of irresistible grace. ALL who are called are justified and glorified. There's no one who is called who resists the call and ends up in hell. It also establishes the doctrine of the preservation of the saints. All without exception who are effectually called and justified will be glorified in heaven, guaranteed. There's not a single person whom God saves who will end up in hell.
This chain of grace also refutes many of the heresies we see. Obviously, it refutes any notion of salvation conditioned on the sinner, including John Wesley's notion that a sinner can lose his salvation. But it also refutes the heresy of universal love. God says in this passage that EVERYONE WITHOUT EXCEPTION that God loves WILL BE SAVED. It also refutes the heresy that an unjustified person can go to heaven. EVERYONE WITHOUT EXCEPTION who is predestinated and called is JUSTIFIED and then GLORIFIED. In addition, it refutes the heresy that shows up in Primitive Baptist circles that there are people whom God predestinates who are never effectually called and who die not believing the gospel but who end up in heaven. ALL whom God predestinated will be CALLED from darkness to light, from death to life, from being servants of sin to being servants of righteousness, from bondage to liberty. And it is ONLY such persons who end up in glory. There's NO SUCH THING as a person who goes through his whole life in unbelief, in darkness, in spiritual death, being a servant of sin and in bondage to sin and then dies and goes to heaven. Related to this is the heresy that there are some infants who die in infancy whom God predestinated to salvation but who are never effectually called from darkness to light, from death to life, but who end up going to heaven. Again, ALL whom God predestinated will be CALLED. It doesn't matter if the person is an unborn baby or a full-grown adult. ALL whom God predestinated will be CALLED out of darkness and into light. ALL whom God predestinated WILL believe the gospel, WILL turn from believing a false gospel to believing the true gospel. There are no exceptions. In one of the sermons on Romans 8:28, we went into what it means to be "called according to purpose." Every single one of those whom God predestinated to salvation will be called in time. There are NO broken chains in this link. There are no skips in any steps. There is no mixed order. ALL of these things are GUARANTEED to happen to EVERYONE whom God loved from before the foundation of the world.
Let's turn over to John chapter 6 and look at how Jesus Christ talks about this chain. Let's first read verse 37:
John 6: (37) All that the Father gives to Me shall come to Me, and the [one] coming to Me I will in no way cast out.
"All the Father gives to Me" is talking about that predestination of all whom God fore-loved. "Shall come to Me" is talking about the effectual calling. "The one coming to Me I will in no way cast out" is talking about preservation all the way to final glory. In logical form, Jesus was saying that all A is B and no B is C. Put in the language of Scripture, all whom God gives to Christ WILL COME to Christ, and no one who comes to Christ will be cast out. Their salvation is SURE and CERTAIN. It is not based on ANYTHING the person does. Yet the person DOES do something, doesn't he? He COMES to Christ. Here again we see heresy refuted. It refutes the heresy of conditional election, it refutes the heresy of resistible grace, and it refutes the heresy of conditional preservation. And it also refutes the heresy I mentioned before from those who would say that a predestinated person might never come to Christ in this life but ends up in final glory. ALL whom God predestinated WILL COME to Christ, NO EXCEPTIONS. Every single person whom God gave to Christ will, at some point in his life, be regenerated and believe the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone.
Now let's look at verse 39:
John 6: (39) And this is the will of the Father sending Me, that of all that He has given Me, I shall not lose [any] of it, but shall raise it up in the last day.
"All that He has given Me" is again talking about the predestination of all whom God foreloved. "I shall not lose any of it but, shall raise it up in the last day" is again talking about preservation all the way to final glory. I found it fascinating how verse 37 logically relates to verse 39. Remember in verse 37, it was "all A is B, and no B is C." These were the first two propositions. Now, in verse 39, is the conclusion, which is "no A is C." Put verses 37 and 39 together, and you have, "If all A is B and no B is C, then no A is C." Put in the language of Scripture, ALL whom God gives to Christ WILL COME to Christ, and NO ONE who comes to Christ will be cast out. Thus, NO ONE whom God gives to Christ will be cast out. This is the precious truth of salvation by grace!
Now let's look at verse 40:
John 6: (40) And this is the will of the [One] sending Me, that everyone seeing the Son and believing into Him should have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
"Everyone seeing the Son and believing into Him" is talking about effectual calling. "Should have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day" is talking about salvation all the way to final glory." So all B is D. All who believe will have everlasting life and go to heaven. No exceptions. There is no one who believes who will not go to heaven, and there is no one who will go to heaven who does not believe.
And finally, verse 44:
John 6: (44) No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.
"No one is able to come to Me" is talking about total depravity, which we have gone into in previous sermons. No person has the ability or willingness to seek after God, to believe the gospel, to come to Christ. "Unless the Father who sent Me draws him" is talking about effectual calling. "And I will raise him up in the last day" is talking about final glory in heaven. For our purposes today, we'll focus on the last half of the verse, where the logic is again "All B is D." All who are dragged by God to Christ will be raised to final glory in heaven.
Let's finish by going back to Romans 8:29-30:
Romans 8: (29) because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated [to be] conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be [the] First-born among many brothers. (30) But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
It's ALL of God. GOD foreknew, GOD predestinated, GOD called, GOD justified, GOD glorified. And there are no exceptions. ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION whom God foreknew, He predestinated. ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION whom God predestinated, He called. ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION whom God called, He justified. ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION whom God justified, He glorified. From God's fore-loving and predestinating the person before the foundation of the world, to God's calling and justification in time while the person is still alive, to God's glorification of the person after he dies, it is ALL GUARANTEED, ALL CERTAIN, ALL ABSOLUTELY SURE because of God's promise to save His people conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ. God has pre-determined the salvation of His people, He has ordained all the steps along the way, all the way to final glory in heaven. And since it is all of God, who can frustrate or hinder this salvation? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who will bring anything against God's elect? Who will condemn the elect? Who will separate us from the love of God? Our salvation and final glory is absolutely certain! It is God who is justifying! It is Christ who has died and was raised from the dead and lives to intercede for us! How can anything come in the way of this when we have been saved by the work of Christ alone? How can anyone break this chain of grace? How can anyone block these steps? Whoever God foreloved and predestinated, no one's going to stop them from being called and justified. And whoever God called and justified, no one's going to stop them from being glorified. Nothing will separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing will hinder us from reaching final glory. It's like an infinitely powerful steamroller. It keeps rolling along to its final destination, and nothing will deter it. NOTHING. Not the world, not the devil, not even our own sin. They all get steamrolled. We are as sure and certain for heaven as if we were already there, because our salvation is not based on our own works; it's based on the accomplished work of Jesus Christ. No one can undo what Christ has done. Glory to God in the highest for loving us from before the foundation of the world, choosing us to salvation in Christ, calling us from death to life, declaring us righteous because of the work of Christ for us, and glorifying us with Christ in heaven, where we will sing His praises forever and ever. All glory and praise and honor to God who first loved us and gave His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Amen.