28 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.
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 brethren;
30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
The sovereign grace of God in salvation. God formed the church in eternity past by His own sovereign will. The church sees God clearest, itself rightly, and the world correctly when standing upon the sovereignty of God in choosing and formation of the church.
The text is as close as we have to the order of salvation. It goes from everlasting past (foreknowledge) to everlasting future (glorification). And it is all the act of God – He…He…He…
1. Foreknowledge – beginning in eternity past with God and his foreknowledge. This is the conception and the birth of the church. It is the first move in our direction by God.
a. What foreknowledge does not mean – foresight. God did not look down the tunnel of time to see who would chose Christ. Five reasons this cannot be true:
i. God never looks into the future to learn anything. It is an inferior view of God.
ii. God would see that no one would believe if he looked into the futue.
iii. The text speaks only of God and what He does. There is no reference to you or me.
iv. “Whom” – personal pronoun. Not what God foresaw, it is whom he foreknew. Nothing to do with events. It is about God and his relationship to a person.
v. The word “foreknowledge” is a personal relationship knowledge performed beforehand. It is often used as a synonym to the word “chosen”.
2. Predestined – those who God foreknew, are without a single loss or single addition, predestined. The destination is determined before the journey is begun – “pro-orizo”. And what is the predestination – to be conformed to the image of His son, that is, the sanctification of the believer.
11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
a. We begin with the counsel. God counseled with himself.
b. Second, we see God’s will. The word is singular. A divine decision was made. Sovereign choice was made.
c. Third, there is God’s purpose. God’s divine determination to carry out his will. This is God’s resolution. And what God purposes, will, must, shall, come to pass exactly according to his will.
d. Finally, there is predestination. A designed destination. What God has purposed is irrevocable, unalterable, infallible.
3. Called – not a general call, not an open invitation. This call is an effectual call. Many hear the general call, only the elect hear this second call. It is a sovereign call to those God predestined. Four things about this call:
a. The author of the effectual call is God the Father. He is the caller Himself.
b. The nature of the call is efficacious. It is effect. It never fails to secure the effect for which it is intended. It is a divine summons. MacArthur says it is a subpoena. God draws us. God drags us.
c. The origin of the effectual call is from eternity past.
d. The outcome of the call is communion with Christ. See 1 Corinthians 1:9.
i. God appointed the day, the time, the bringer of the message.
4. Justification – all who are called are justified. Three metaphors:
a. Legal – legally declared to be without sin by God the judge.
b. Bookkeeping – the righteousness of God credited to our account.
c. Clothing – clothed in the white raiment of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
5. Glorification – the verb tense is as if it has already happened (third person singular aorist active indicative).
Video available at G3 Conference