February 2, 2003
LINKS IN GOD'S CHAIN OF PURPOSE
God works "all things together for good to them that love God, to... the called according to His purpose, for whom He did foreknow, He did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:28-29). God is intent upon honoring His Son and works in believers by His mighty power conforming them more each day to the image of His Son in order that Christ might have the preeminent place (firstborn)!
"Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called." This brings us into the realm of time "whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thes. 2:14). And again, "Who saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the ages" (2 Tim. 1:9). God's "call" of the gospel went out to everyone but those who responded in faith are "the called [ones] of Jesus Christ" (Rom. 1:6).
Continuing in time," whom He called, them He also justified." We read that God is both "just and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). One must have righteousness to stand in God's presence, and having none of our own, the believer's "faith is counted [by God] for righteousness" (Rom 4:5). We are "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24).
"And whom he justified, them He also glorified." Clearly the glory is yet future for "we are saved in hope...that is not [yet] seen." We have already read of "the redemption of our body" (8:23). We who have borne the image of the earthy will then bear the image of the heavenly. Our conformity to the image of Christ will be complete.
Our translators have all these words; predestinated, called, justified, and glorified, in the past tense. But we must remember that God is speaking here to us as He did to Abraham, "Unto thy seed have I given the land..." (Gen 15:18) when as yet Abraham did not have any seed. Again, "Thou has become the father of a multitude of nations..." (Gen 17:4) before Isaac was even born. God "calls those things which be not as though they were" (4:17). Praise Him forever!
Ivan L. Burgener