Unpacking the Golden Chain of Salvation (Romans 8:28-30)

Romans 8:28-30:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Calvinism’s Error:

God chose (foreknew) unbelieving individuals and eternally decreed (predestined) that they would be adopted as God’s children. He not only eternally decreed the salvation of these unbelieving individuals, he also drew them to Christ by irresistible grace through new birth (called), after he gave them faith through regeneration he forgave their sins (justified) and will certainly, without any qualifications, raise them from the dead and give them eternal life (glorified).

Biblical Response:

As we jump into these encouraging verses it is always helpful to take a look at the context. The second part of Romans chapter 8 discusses the believers hope for the eventual resurrection of his body at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is the concluding section in a long summary of the main aspects of the Christian life. In chapters 1-3 (roughly) Paul discusses the corrupt and fallen nature of Man and their need for salvation. In Chapters 4 and 5 he shows that the forgiveness of sin and right-standing with God comes through Jesus Christ and is received by faith. Then in chapters 6 through the first half of 8 he discusses how the believer is freed from the controlling power of sin by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. We will begin our detailed discussion in Romans 8 verse 1.

Romans 8:1-2

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

It cannot be emphasized enough that the book of Romans as a whole, and the 8th chapter in particular is written to believers. It is not written to the world, but to the Church. God is not writing to certain individuals, but to all those who have come to faith in Christ and have already become members of his Body. Whatever warnings or promises are presented in this chapter, they are given to the people of God, not unbelievers. It is crucial that we understand this from the beginning.

Romans 8:11

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

This is a great summary of the hope that Paul will now turn his attention to in the rest of chapter 8. The Christian hope is not merely for our spirits to “go to heaven after we die,” but for our physical bodies to be raised from the dead when Jesus returns from heaven. God didn’t just come to save our souls; he came to redeem every part of our nature. Paul tells us it is the Spirit of God dwelling in us that gives us reason to hope. It was the Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead and he will also be the one to raise us up.

Romans 8:12-17

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

Paul continues to encourage the Christians in Rome that the presence of God’s Spirit in their lives is an assurance that their bodies will be raised up at the Second Coming of Christ. But he has not yet finished with the topic of sanctification (i.e. growing in holiness, experiencing a transformation of character) that he began in chapter 6. He tells us that not only is the Spirit’s presence a reason for hope, it is also a reason for active obedience to God. He tells us that since God gave us the gift of his Spirit through faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus, we are now “debtors” to submit our lives to the Holy Spirit. To whom much is given, much is required! Since God has given us the Spirit “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,” we are obligated to walk out that righteous standard (Rom. 8:3).

The transformation of our character will not happen automatically or irresistibly. We must be sanctified in the same way we were justified. We received the forgiving grace of God through faith. And as believers we must continue to receive the grace of God through faith. The enabling power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin’s power in our lives must be applied by submission to that same Spirit. One who believes in Jesus Christ cannot claim to be a “child of God” unless he is “led by the Spirit of God” (vs. 14). Being transformed into the character of Jesus is an active process. We can only become like Christ through the power of God, but his power must be received through faith. We cannot do what God does, namely changing our hearts and renewing our minds from day to day. But God will not do what he has decided we must do, namely actively submit to the sanctifying grace of the Spirit through a living faith. Sanctification is not automatic. Though it is done by the power of God, it is done in cooperation with the faith and submission of man.

We might feel like rejecting this truth and say that God should just do it without requiring any participation from us, but “Who are we to answer back to God?” “God is in the heavens and does as he pleases,” we must surrender to his wisdom. We might cry “foul” and say, “Salvation is by grace alone!” And so it is, but that saving grace is received through faith alone. Again I hear an objection, “But you are saying that Man’s faith ‘helps’ God’s grace!” On the contrary, faith is the only “work” that man can do in that gives God all the glory (Rom. 4:20). It was for this reason that God chose faith, and not the works of the law, as the means of receiving God’s grace. “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring.”

I believe this is true. For erroneous theological reasons the Calvinist system imagines that faith, because it proceeds out the human heart, is in conflict with God’s grace. Classical Calvinism imposes an unbiblical concept on the passages that refer to the conflict between works and grace. Particularly in the writings of Paul.

During the Reformation Luther, Calvin and others were opposing the Roman Catholics teaching of merit by religious ceremonies. They rightly argued that we are saved by grace and not by the moral merit we earn by our religious acts. But then they imagined that Paul was arguing against the exact same error. Actually Paul was primarily arguing against Jews who believed that people are in right relationship with God by obeying the Law of Moses. This is similar, but not identical. Paul’s argument against that error was that we are saved by God’s grace that is found in Christ Jesus and is received through faith.

The Calvinist perspective imagines that anything a person does is counted as “works,” and so the Calvinist reads the Reformation debate into the Scriptures (another example of eisegesis). Actually the New Testament teaches that faith is on the side of grace and works is on the side of law. For this reason the Calvinist feels compelled to emphasize that a person must be regenerated monergistically (by God’s work alone) before they can repent or trust in Christ. It is true that a person can not repent or trust apart from God’s work, but it is also true that God expects people to respond to His gracious work on their hearts. God calls, they respond, then God forgives and adopts.

And as I pointed out above, progressive sanctification in the life of the believer works in the same influence/respond fashion. It is not automatic, but we work out our salvation as God works in us. Classical Calvinists understand this about sanctification even if they deny it about regeneration.

Besides telling us that sanctification is done only with the participation and cooperation of believers, Paul also lets us know that glorification (i.e. the resurrection and exaltation of believers with Christ) is not unconditional. In 8:13 he promises believers, “If by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” In the same verse he warns believers, “If you live according to the flesh you will die.” In verse 17 he promises the Christians in Rome that they will be “glorified with” Christ. But he makes sure to let them know that their exaltation with Christ is conditional on their willingness to endure suffering with him in this present age. As Christ said, it is those that endure to the end that will be saved. Only by losing our lives can we hope to save them.

In these few verses Paul makes it abundantly clear that our glorification with Christ is dependent on our progress in sanctification. And our sanctification is dependent on actively submitting to the Spirit’s leading. Reformed Theology will try to make all of this hypothetical by saying that those who were unconditionally chosen by God from all eternity could never do anything other than persevere in holiness. This unbiblical theology tries to tell the saints that they can never “die” if they are truly the elect. We cannot stand for this! We cannot accept that the plain warnings of the God of truth are a mere formality. God does not waste his words. As our loving Shepherd he warns us, as he did the first couple in the Garden, “You will die.” Satan tried to tell them that God’s warning was hypothetical, and they believed it. We will not make the same mistake as them.

Romans 8:18

“For I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

In verse 18 Paul begins the next section of his teaching. This is the section where will find the verses known as the “Golden Chain of Salvation.” We will notice that Paul is contrasting the suffering of Christians in this present age with the glory that they will receive at the return of Christ. The Church in that time, and in our time in most of the world, suffers opposition from every angle. They could easily feel besieged and overwhelmed. These demonic attacks came in order to discourage them and seek to overturn their faith. But Paul wants to encourage them that these are “light and momentary” troubles. But the glory that will be revealed at the coming of Christ will last forever.

In verses 19-22 he speaks about the longing of all of creation to be set free from the corruption that came from the sin of our first parents. It is God’s plan, not only to redeem our bodies, but even to renew this fallen physical universe. Paul tells us that in some sense, the creation itself is longing for this redemption.

Romans 8:23-25

“And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Paul here turns to the longing in the believer’s heart. We thank God we have been forgiven of our sin, and freed from its power over our lives, but we are still ever troubled by its presence. The corruption of the world and the temptations we face on a daily basis make us long for the complete eradication of sin’s presence. We long to experience the complete redemption of our bodies and the absolute freedom it will bring. We are painfully aware that we are still waiting for the fullness of our salvation.

With the clear knowledge that we have not arrived and that we still see through a glass dimly, we are tempted to feel hopeless. After all, how can we overcome all the forces that assail us? The world, the devil and even the un-renewed aspects of our earthly nature are always seeking to destroy us. We seem to be outnumbered and outgunned. But it is here that Paul will reveal to us the reason we have for hope!

Romans 8:26-27

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

It is not just us that longs to be transformed and finally free, but the Spirit of God himself is longing for this very thing. Many see in these verses the charismatic gift of speaking in tongues. But the problem with that is that tongues are spoken out, but the groaning of the Spirit in this passage is “too deep for words.” No, it is not the gift of tongues being spoken of here, but the inward renewing of the Holy Spirit. God is working deep in our hearts bringing change to our mindsets, perspectives and priorities. We cannot search our hearts to their very depths, but God’s Spirit can. And as he digs deep into the thoughts and intents of our hearts he cries out for transformation according to the will of God.

We will soon get to verse 29 which reveals exactly what “the will of God” is for his people, namely that we be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, but here we just want to note that we are not working alone. We are not just “trying” to become better people. We are not just following a set of religious rules that can only clean the outside of the cup; no, we are being transformed from within by God’s powerful Spirit.

Philippians 2:12-13

“Therefore, my beloved, … work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

These two verses are a great summary of what we have seen so far in Romans chapter 8. In verses 12-17 we were told to work out our salvation by actively submitting to the Spirits leading. And now here in verses 26-27 we are realizing more fully why we must “strive for holiness.” Philippians verse 13 does not make verse 12 unnecessary; instead it is given as the reason to “work out” out our salvation. Both here and in Romans 8:12-17 Paul uses the work of God as the thing that obligates believers to strive for holiness. But if we look at it in another way, we can see that not only does it obligate us, but it also encourages us. After all, if God is working transformation “within us,” we have hope that our “working it out” will be effective. The fact that God’s Spirit is “groaning” and “interceding” within us, gives us hope that we are not laboring in vain. We can strive for holiness with all of our energy because we are sure that we are not striving alone!

Now that we have the context clear, let’s start unpacking!

To Be Continued….

Romans 8:28-30

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

Foreknew

We must once again note that this verse was written to, and about, the Church of Jesus Christ. It is written about “the saints,” “those who love God,” and “those whom he foreknew” (vs.27-29).

In the Old Testament God had a chosen people, they were chosen through Abraham, before even one of them was born. God desiring to make a people chose one man and appointed him as the father of a nation. In Abraham, God chose the nation of Israel. In the New Testament we are told that God chose to create a people through Jesus Christ before the world even started. Speaking to the church in Ephesus Paul says, “He chose us [the Church] in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” The Church is “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9). Speaking of the Church Paul writes, “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew” (Rom. 11:2).

The term, “foreknew,” is the first link in the chain. God chose a people. In 1 Peter 1:20 we are told about Christ that, “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times.” From this use of the term “foreknown” we can see that it is more than just knowledge about someone, but the choosing of someone for a particular purpose. God didn’t look into the future and know Christ; instead he knew him before the world began and chose him for a certain purpose.

Calvinism teachers would surely have no problem with my understanding so far of the verses under consideration. But it is as important to note what has not been said as much as what has been said. This passage only declares that God has a chosen people. It doesn’t say how they were chosen. It doesn’t teach that they were chosen “because of their faith,” but neither does it teach that they were chosen “unconditionally,” it simply does not say.

To understand how God chose his people through Christ we would have to look elsewhere in scripture. For those interested in understanding what the Bible teaches about that you can refer to the previous posts about the various aspects of predestination: Who? & How? or the post about Ephesians Chapter 1. A common error of Calvinists is that whenever the Bible speaks of God “choosing a people” they say, “Aha, Unconditional Election.” But the biblical doctrine of Election is a far cry from the Calvinistic doctrine of Unconditional Election. Romans 8:28-30 simply say that God chose a people! We would be unwise to use this verse to teach how he chose them and on what grounds. The Golden Chain of Salvation does not include the doctrine of Unconditional Election.

Predestined

Before we move on we must clarify the meaning of phrase used in Romans 8:28; “All things work together for good.” This phrase is translated differently in different English Bible versions. In the English Standard Version quoted above it give the impression that things “just happen” to work out alright for the saints. This is a regrettable translation. We don’t believe in karma, but in God. So in this case the NIV comes closer to what Paul surely had in mind, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those….” This translation makes it clear that things “work out” for the believer because God is actively working for his benefit.

This translation continues the thought Paul began to present in the previous verses. It is not just we who long for redemption and strive for transformation into the image of Christ, but so does God’s Spirit. In verse 27 we were told that the Spirit intercedes “according to the will of God.” And in verse 28 we are told that the saints have been called “according to his [God} purpose.” It isn’t until we reach 29 that we see just what that “will” and “purpose” is. Whatever the world throws our way, God will use it to fulfill his ultimate purpose.

In the same way, though the world seeks to destroy the Church, Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Not because the Church is so wise and powerful, but because God is on their side fighting for them. And as individuals striving for holiness and longing for the redemption of our bodies, we can know that whatever suffering comes our way, God will turn it about for our good. In order to understand just what “good” means in verse 28 we have to consider what the word “predestine” means in verse 29, as well as what exactly what it is that God has predestined.

When the word “predestined” is infused with the fatalism of Calvinism’s “divine decrees” it has an ominous tone indeed. But though Reformed Theology speaks of it in that sense, the Bible does not. “Predestined” simply means to determine something ahead of time. It is the teaching of the Bible that God did not create a world of men, endowed with the ability to rebel against him, without first determining how he would provide them a way back into peaceful fellowship with himself. God is not an absentee father that has children with no intention of watching over them, providing for them or guiding them to righteousness. On the contrary, God created the world and took responsibility for it from the very beginning. He laid the foundation of the world knowing that it would cost the life of his one and only Son. This is how a good God could create a world where sin was all but inevitable.

Note i imply God is Father instead of creator. man was not created as God’s children, but as His creatures. God through Christ predetermined to create children in Christ Jesus…

So, did he merely create a way for the prodigal sons to return and work for him as his servants? Such a plan would never be worthy of our God or of the price that Christ paid to accomplish it. No, he planned something much greater. The returning prodigals were “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” God determined beforehand that that the saints would not just be servants, but the children of God.

1 John 3:1-2

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

John here not only confirms that God planned to make us his children, but also that what we are waiting for has not yet come. We will not be “like him” until we see him “as he is” when he returns to receive us unto himself at the Second Coming. Being conformed to the image of Christ does not merely mean that we are transformed into a likeness of his character. Romans 6:4 teaches that our union with Christ is the reason that our character can be changed into one resembling Jesus. But Romans 8:11 and 8:16-17 point out that the image of Christ that we will ultimately bear is the image of the risen and exalted Christ.

In Romans 8:29 Paul is telling the church in Rome that God planned long ago to glorify the saints as his children. He didn’t just plan for them to be his servants, but he determined that those who believe in the Gospel and suffer with Christ, enduring until the end would reign with him on his throne (Rom.8:17, Rev. 3:21). The saints have become heirs of God through Jesus Christ and will reign with their Father forever and ever. This is the inheritance that God predetermined for his people. He “predestined” His people to become co-heirs with Christ. Not only will we be resurrected as Christ was, we will also be exalted to places of authority. So what about the suffering caused by this rebellious world mentioned in Romans 8:18? “It is not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us!”

Once again we must note what has not been said in this passage. This passage in no way teaches that certain individuals have been unconditionally predestined to become members of God’s people, instead it teaches what he would do for his people. Whereas foreknow speaks of the people he chose, predestine speaks of what those chosen people will experience. Foreknow talks of choosing a people, predestine tells what they are chosen for.

After God chose a people in Abraham, he predetermined what their inheritance would be. He told Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. Before the nation even existed, God “predestined” what they would receive from his hand. What goes for God’s Old Testament people goes also for his New Testament people. When God chose to create the Church through Jesus Christ before the world began, he also determined what their Promised Land would be. “He predestined us [the Body of Christ] FOR adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:5). In him [Christ] we [the saints] have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11). We were chosen IN Christ, we were chosen FOR adoption. We were chosen through our connection with Christ through faith, and in him we receive the inheritance of sonship.

The Golden Chain in no way teaches that certain individuals have been predestined to believe in Jesus Christ. Instead it teaches what God had predetermined would be the inheritance of the Church he foreknew (chose) in Christ. It tells us what he predestined for his Church corporately, and the saints individually. God always planned to create a people that would become his glorified children so that Christ would be “the firstborn among many brothers” (8:29). This is what was predestined by God for his people.

Called

“Called” is another word that Calvinism fills a meaning beyond what the Bible gives it. In Matthew 22:1-14 Jesus tells a parable about a wedding feast. This parable is meant as a rebuke on the Jewish nation for not receiving the Messiah. In it Jesus is foreshadowing that soon God will invite the Gentiles into the kingdom while leaving Israel in her blindness.

The feast was ready, but those who were invited had not come, so the master of the feast told his servants to go out and invite anyone they happened to meet. Many indeed answered the call, but one guy who came showed up dressed in inappropriate attire for such a formal occasion. This man was thrown out. Then Jesus turns from the language of the parable to more theological language. He says, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (vs. 14). He uses the term “called” to correspond to the parable’s word “invite.” By doing this Jesus gives us a clear meaning of the word we will now be dealing with in Romans chapter 8.

When someone is invited to something it carries a couple meanings with it. Firstly it conveys the meaning of being welcome. If we are invited to someone’s party, no one can accuse us for showing up. If someone says “Hey, what are you doing here?!” we will simply produce our invitation and all will be satisfied. The invitation proves that we are welcome. We cannot be accused of crashing the party. But as the parable shows, being invited is also an honor that must be valued. Those men who were invited but didn’t show up, or the man who didn’t feel responsible to make any effort to make himself presentable, were all rejected as unworthy of the invitation. Though they had been invited, they were not found worthy of the invitation, so it was revoked. The word “called,” like the word, “invited,” means that one is welcome to join in but also responsible for properly valuing the honor he has received.

“Called” is often used in Paul’s letters in such a way that makes people think that those who answer the invitation of the Gospel are somehow more specifically invited than those who did not respond. Calvinism teaches that there are two calls. One is the “general call.” Reformed Theology says that this is the invitation of the Gospel, and it is for all men. But the other kind of call is the “effectual call.” Calvinists teach that this is a special inward call that only the “elect” are given. God is believed to work in their hearts in such a way that they cannot resist. Through the “effectual call” people are drawn irresistibly to faith in Christ.

Paul often calls the saints “the called.” This gives many the impression that these saints were called in a way that unbelievers were not. For this reason Calvinism has made a distinction between the two kinds of calling mentioned above. Reformed Theology explains that only those who received the “effectual call” are given the title “the called.” The second group hears the Gospel, but since they have not been predestined for salvation God doesn’t call them with irresistible grace. So without this enabling grace they remain in their sins and are not rightfully designated as “the called.”

But the need for this distinction is a simple misunderstanding of why Paul labels the churches he writes to with this honorable title. Israel had always thought they were special in God’s kingdom. They didn’t understand the predestined plan of God to make a holy people from all nations. So when the Gentiles began receiving the Gospel and becoming “co-heirs” with Israel, many Jewish unbelievers and even Jewish believers cried foul (Eph. 2:19). They claimed that Gentiles could never share an inheritance with Israel as God’s people. But as an Apostle with a pastoral heart, Paul wrote many of his letters to his Gentile churches in order to encourage them that they were every bit as much a part of Israel as their Jewish brothers in Christ. For this reason he had the habit of calling them “the called,” or more clear yet, “the invited.” This encouraged them that they were not party crashers.

When Paul uses the term “the called” he is not emphasizing that those individuals were called and others were not. Instead he is emphasizing that they are legitimate members of God’s household. They are not second class citizens and God’s kingdom. They are the invited of Jesus Christ and have every right to be part of “the Israel of God”! (Gal. 6:16)

Romans 8:28-29

We have covered the first 3 links in the Golden Chain of Salvation. Let’s now sum up what we have learned by paraphrasing Romans 8:28-29

“We know that God works in all things to bring about his good purpose in the lives of the people he chose. After all it was because of his wonderful plan that they were invited in the first place; they certainly didn’t create the plan or invite themselves to be a part of it. He always planned for his people to be share in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ. This is how God planned to create a family with many children.”

In verses 26-27 we were first introduced to the idea that we are not alone in longing for resurrection and exaltation. Paul tells us that God’s Spirit is also working inside of us trying to lead us to that glorious end. Verses 28-29 go a step further. They tell us that since the Spirit intercedes “according to the will of God” we can know that God himself wants us to become like Jesus in every way. Not only does God want this for us, it was him that planned it. When God chose (foreknew) his people, he also planned (predestined) this glorious inheritance for them. God created the world so that Christ would be exalted and that in him many sons and daughters would come to glory. God wasn’t just creating a kingdom, but a family. And he wasn’t just creating a family; he was creating a royal family.

Romans 8:30

This leads us to the verse that summarizes Paul’s point in chapter 8. Remember he had already presented the Romans with the conditions God requires for ultimately sharing in Christ’s inheritance, namely active and faithful growth in holiness by the power of God’s Spirit. He then took into consideration the struggle and opposition they were facing from the world, as well as the longing in their heart for true and lasting freedom. Without sugar coating their experience he let them know that they had not yet received what they were looking for and told them they would need to wait patiently for it. He then begins to encourage them by letting them know they are not alone. He assures them that the Spirit of God has the same goal as they do, namely their exaltation with Christ. But then he goes even further and lets them know that the Spirit was seeking this because it was the will of God himself!

But God’s word doesn’t stop there. The fact that God wants the saints to finish the race of faith is wonderful, but there is more. It is not just something that he wants, but something he has always wanted. God predestined, that is planned before, this wonderful inheritance for the saints. Though this passage does not tell us exactly when he made this plan, we know from the first chapter of Ephesians that it was before the creation of the world. God chose a people and planned ahead of time that they would become his exalted and reigning children! What a plan!

But that is not all these wonderful verses tell us. They say that after he chose his people, and planned a glorious inheritance for them, he also invited them to this wonderful wedding feast! He didn’t just get it ready and then wait for people to come; instead he actively “called them according to his purpose.” God didn’t just plan and prepare the feast, he sent people with the good news of forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18-20). He commanded his servants to “compel people to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke14:23). “He came to his own, and his own people [Israel] did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood [not born his people] nor of the will of the flesh or the will of men [by inviting themselves], but of God. After believing they were included in Christ (Eph. 1:13).

But after inviting the saints he did something even more wonderful, he actually “qualified” them “share the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Col. 1:12). How did he qualify them for such an inheritance? He justified them through the blood of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:9). He didn’t just pay for their salvation, but he paid an unthinkable price for it! The blood of the eternal Son of God was shed so that through faith they might “receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness” (Rom. 5:17). Wow! What an awesome salvation!

We are not just hoping irrationally that we can somehow fight the fight of faith and finish the race. The odds seem to be stacked against us, but we must realize that the battle is the Lord’s. He fights for us! He is our Salvation! God Not only planned (predestined) an inheritance for his chosen people; he also works to bring it to pass. “In all things God works for the good of those who love God.” After planning their inheritance, he actively invites (calls) them to come and share in the glory of his beloved Son. After inviting them he gives them the free gift of righteousness (justifies) through the precious blood of the lamb.

But there is one more link in the chain. How can we be sure that we can attain to it?

Romans 8:31-34 (Glorified)

“What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

The last link in the chain is that which we are still hoping and longing for. We are longing to be finally and completely conformed to the image of the risen and exalted Son of God. We long for it actively pursuing holiness and walking in hope, but what is the ground of our hope? It is this; God is fighting on our side! Since God is for us, then no persecution from men or demons can stop us. All the opposition of this world can’t stop God from working on our behalf! He planned it, he is working on it, and he will not change his course. This is the eternal purpose he has for his people. Though the world, like Joseph’s brothers come against God’s people, God will turn even their attacks into ways that will ultimately work out his good purpose for his children. God is committed to this course. The price he paid to fulfill it proves this. God paid the price of Christ’s blood to justify us, what is he not willing to do in order to see us glorified? Not only has God planned glory for his people and poured out his Spirit to sanctify them from within, but he also set his Son at his right hand to intercede for us. Let all the hordes of hell come, they will not prevail against the Church!

God chose a people. God predestined an inheritance for his people. He invited them to become his people. He sacrificed his Son to qualify them for it. What will hinder him from conforming them completely into the image of Jesus Christ?!

Conclusion

This is the Golden Chain of Salvation. God planned and is working on our salvation, and he will not be deterred from his eternal purpose. God will do what he has purposed. But what Calvinism refuses to acknowledge is whether we like it or not, God will not do what he requires men themselves must do. In verses 28-30 we read only of the things God does, but Man’s role is not mentioned. God calls, God justifies, God glorifies. The reason man’s role is not mentioned in 8:28-30 is because from chapter 4 through the first half of chapter 8 Paul already talked so much about it. In chapter 4-5 we are commanded to believe. In chapters 6-8 we are commanded to present the members of our bodies to God as his slaves and by the Spirit put to death the misdeeds of the body.

The Romans would never interpret these few verses the way Reformed Theology does simply because they read the rest of the letter and took it seriously. Paul ended the first half of his letter for just that reason. They had been mediating on what God required of men from chapter 4 all the way through chapter 8. Paul graciously provided them with the encouragement they needed by reminding them that they were not in this alone. God was working in them to will and act according to his will, So they could work out their salvation in hope that they could finish the race.

Summary Definitions:
Foreknew – God chose a holy people
Predestined – God planned an inheritance for his people
Called – God invited individuals to be part of his people through the Gospel
Justified – God qualified his people through the blood of Christ
Glorified – God will exalt his people with Christ

The Golden Chain of Salvation has a latch on it that makes it into a beautiful necklace. This latch, where God’s amazing grace meets with the saints’ living faith, is the part of the chain that Calvinism chooses to ignore for philisophical and theological reasons. Calvinism’s error is found in assuming that God’s work somehow swallows up Man’s role in salvation. For this reason they refuse to acknowledge the entire chapter in which the Golden Chain is found. But the truth stands, Man cannot do what God does, and God will not do what Man must.

30 thoughts on “Unpacking the Golden Chain of Salvation (Romans 8:28-30)

  1. Author states FTA: God always planned to create a people that would become his glorified children so that Christ would be “the firstborn among many brothers” (8:29).
    I these people are created by God–and foreknown by Him, then are they not (to use the proper Greek) “fore-ordained”? If fore-ordained, are they not chosen by God?
    The Arminian says in effect that God opens the door to faith and we “accept” it. The Bible says no one seeks God– so if God opens the door so to speak, doesn’t He initiate saving faith?
    And if He does initiate it– then at what point does He stop and wait for our response?
    For if God waited for man to “accept Him” rather than be apprehended by Christ (as Paul was), then there is a great chance no one would ever come to salvation.

    1. Whichever way it works, we must command people to repent & trust in Christ & they must do so by God’s grace. So, the important thing is to command people to receive the Son of God & let God be the One who knows how it all works;) My point is, in practice we are the same, just different on the theoretical part. God bless!

  2. AccousticSaint,

    You wrote,

    If unbelief can cause one who has had his sins paid for to lose salvation… Is unbelief a sin, if not how could we be condemned for it? If it is a sin is it not paid for on the cross?

    Not sure if Chris covered this with you, but this argument is a major problem for Calvinism. If you are suggesting that unbelief was unconditionally paid for at the cross, and not in a provisional manner, then you must believe that you were born saved. If unbelief is already “paid for”, then there is no need to believe to be saved as the Scriptures everywhere testify. This also undercuts sola fide, since the Calvinist elect, according to you, are born already forgiven of unbelief. Here is a post you should check out on the major problems this argument creates for Calvinism:

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/karate-expert-dan-phillips-gets-body-slammed-on-1-john-22/

    We all continue is sin daily not one of us will ever truly love God with our whole heart or love our neighbors perfectly – that is why we need Christs righteousness imputed to us.

    Righteousness is imputed to us on the condition of faith. That is very clear in Romans and Galatians especially.

    Can we reject Christ’s righteousness? How would that work with the end of Rms 8 where we are told that nothing can separate us from the love of God?

    We can reject Christ, and the righteousness that is in Him alone. We do not have His righteousness outside of union with Him. Union with Christ is one of the biggest themes in Paul’s letters, and it is a theme that Calvinists largely ignore. We are only made righteous and forgiven in Christ. If we reject Christ we are cut from Him and no longer share in His righteousness, life, or election (Eph. 1:4). All spiritual blessing are found in Christ (1:3), and we come to be in Christ through faith (1:13). For an exegetical look at Rom 8:35-39, see the following post: http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/does-paul-teach-unconditional-eternal-security-in-romans-835-39/

    So how is this any different from the covenant of works, Apart from the work being limited to belief or faith?

    Because faith is not a work, it is simple trust in the work and merit of another (Christ). Calling faith a work is something Calvinists need to do to support their philosophy, but there is no Biblical basis for it. Nowhere does the Bible say that unless faith is caused irresistibly it is therefore a “work”. Rather, faith is not a work because it receives a free and undeserved gift, rather than striving to earn something, and for that reason excludes boasting (Romans 4).

    Is faith something we draw from within ourselves or something that comes from an external source?

    Both. We believe as God enables us. You could say that God works faith in us, but we can resist that working. You could also say that faith is a gift we receive from God, just not irresistibly. To receive the gift of faith from God is simply to believe as God empowers us.

    I believe we contribute only sin in regards to our salvation, nothing else. If the is a requirement for us to do simmering for or salvation that work make it salvation by works (ours not Christ’s). We are held in Christ by the HS (eph 1), nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (the elect that is) not even our unbelief.

    Faith is not a “contribution” to salvation or anything that Christ did. Rather, it is the God ordained condition for receiving Christ and His provision of atonement. Calling the fulfillment of a condition for receiving something a “contribution” is contrary to normal word usage. If you receive a gift from someone, did you “contribute” to the gift received? Of course not. Would it matter if you had the power to reject the gift rather than receive it? Not at all. In both cases, receiving the gift can in no way be properly seen as a contribution. That Calvinists have to rearrange basic language and concepts to make their theology work should tell you something.

    IF so how does that work with Eph 1? that he chose us in him before the foundations of the earth to be made holy and blameless.?
    Paul then reiterates this by saying that these chosen are predestined to be adopted as sons.

    Notice that Eph. 1:4 says that we are elect “in Him” and not “to be put in Him”. Christ is the sphere of election and we are elect in Him. Through faith union with Christ we share in His identity. He is the elect One (God’s chosen covenant Head), and we share in His election when we are joined to Him in faith. The same is true of predestination. We become sons in Him and will share in His promised inheritance. Our destiny becomes wrapped up in His.

    But suppose Calvinism is correct in saying that the elect are elect from eternity. Since Eph. 1:4 says we are elect “in Him” hat would mean that the elect are saved from eternity, since there is no condemnation for those who are “in Christ Jesus.” It would mean that all of the spiritual blessings that become ours from being in Christ were ours from all eternity. We would therefore be born with all of those spiritual blessings already applied since we were “in Him” from eternity. See the problem?

    So the Calvinist understanding of Eph. 1:4 is very problematic. The proper way to understand it is in the context of identity with Christ. Christ was God’s chosen one from eternity. When we are joined to Him through faith, we share in His identity. Since His election was from eternity, it can said that ours is as well, since we are now sharing in His election. Just like Paul says he was crucified with Christ. Paul wasn’t really on the cross with Christ, but can say that based on his present identification with Christ through faith. Christ’s death becomes Paul’s death.

    Think of it in terms of a foreigner becoming an American. Americans will often say things like “we won the revolutionary war”. None of us were there to win the war, but because of our identity as Americans we lay claim to its history as our own. Likewise, a foreigner who becomes an American could also say “we won the revolution” since he has now become a citizen of America, and as a result shares in America’s identity and history (and, for as long as he remains an American, will share in its destiny as well).

    I wish I had more time. Keep reading Chris’s excellent articles and check out some at my site as well. Much of what you say is based on a misunderstanding of what Arminians believe.

    God Bless,
    Ben

    1. Ben,
      rarely do i read something so detailed that i completely agree with, but i completely agree wth every aspect of ur comment. I appreciate ur patient explaination of accoustic saint’s questions.
      In fact i wud like to copy ur comment in full & make it into its own post on my blog if u will allow me to? I will make sure to include a link to ur site.
      Gbu
      Chris

  3. Hi,
    The Calvinist must understand that *every* believer who is “in Christ” is also “in glory” with Christ (in the Spirit: “raised with Him”) – and every believer’s life goes “from glory to glory”; that these verses were in no way intended to teach:
    “the person who ‘truly believes’ will, without exception, be glorified at the return of Jesus” (“the body is sown in corruption, but is raised incorruptible” – i.e.: at the return of Christ, when we are all “[gathered] to Him”).

    I see danger in believing otherwise.

    1. I.E.: that the believer is currently in glory in no way makes it impossible for the “true believer” to fall away – wherefore, they are warned of this very thing:

      Romans 11:17-22
      17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
      19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”
      20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.
      21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
      22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

      “you, also, will be cut off.”

      1. “you” – was being directed at those wild olive branches which were grafted in to the cultivated olive tree.
      2. Those “wild olive branches” are the believing Gentiles, who had been grafted in (therefore, they were “true” believers) to the tree of “the house of Israel”.
      3. Therefore, we must conclude that believers – yes, “true” believers – CAN be “cut off”.
      4. If not, we must ask why Paul doesn’t mention MANY other impossibilities:
      a. “horses will turn into carriages”
      b. “carriages straddle pages of paper, and organize races”
      c. ad infinitum
      5. It is clear that Paul meant what he said, and meant it to mean “believers can be cut off for disbelief”; this is seen with the Galatians (who disobeyed the Truth [Gal 5:7])…

      Galatians 5:4
      “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.”

      “severed from Christ” [Gal 5:4] …
      “cut off” [Ro 11:22] …
      “cuts off” [John 15:2]

      I wonder if these verses don’t have some sort of meaning, when seen as corresponding…

      1. If unbelief can cause one who has had his sins paid for to lose salvation… Is unbelief a sin, if not how could we be condemned for it? If it is a sin is it not paid for on the cross?

        We all continue is sin daily not one of us will ever truly love God with our whole heart or love our neighbors perfectly – that is why we need Christs righteousness imputed to us.

        Can we reject Christ’s righteousness? How would that work with the end of Rms 8 where we are told that nothing can separate us from the love of God?

      2. Nic,
        Sins are “paid for” in Christ. as long as we are in hi our sins are covered. Salvation is in the Son, he who has the Son has life. Salvation is not “in us” until the resurection. Consider the conditional justification of Col1:22-23- “we r holy in his sight if we continue in faith”. “today is the day of salvation”, not yesterday-2cor6:1-2. and “we share in in chrisy if we continue in faith”-heb3:14.
        Ur concept of justification/salvation is a bit skewef thats why it seems unreasonable that we can lose it. u think we have domething in ourselves, but actually our life is hidden in christ (col3:1-4). we share his life if we “abide in him”(john15,rom11). it is not something that has been given to us like a gift certificate we can spend how we want. God gives it covenentally “in christ”.
        i suggest u read some of the posts in the practical theology section, (“understanding eternal life”,understanding repentance & faith”, understanding the flesh,&understanding transformation”) these will help u understand the difference between seeingsalvation as a transaction wth a no return policy & seeing it as a covenental relationship, with the covenental condition of trusting in christ.
        thx for ur thoughts.
        gbu
        chris

      3. So how is this any different from the covenant of works, Apart from the work being limited to belief or faith?

        Is faith something we draw from within ourselves or something that comes from an external source?

        I believe we contribute only sin in regards to our salvation, nothing else. If the is a requirement for us to do simmering for or salvation that work make it salvation by works (ours not Christ’s). We are held in Christ by the HS (eph 1), nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (the elect that is) not even our unbelief.

        Sorry reply is a bit disjointed, using phone.

      4. nic,
        i think if u read the posts i mentioned u shud see the differerence.
        but it is important to keep in mind that the NT does not say faith is contrary to grace, but the works of the law are. consider rom ch 4.
        in Ot people remained in national covenant by submission to the law, in the NT people remain in Christ’s covenant thru faith. In OT individuals cut off from Israel for certain transgressions. In NT individuals cut off from God’s people in Christ thru unbelief. rom9-11. rom 11 about olive tree is very clear in this regards.
        gbu
        chris

      5. daniel,
        good thoughts, especially about seeing “glorified” as our present position in christ. there is much evidence from the context that that is paul’s meaning. after wrestling with it i had to conclude (for now) that he was emphasizing god’s fsithfulness by assuring believers that god always has & always will do his part, but i cud argue for understanding it as positional glorification as well. im still on the fence,but leaning towards what i hav written.
        thx for ur input.
        gbu
        chris

      6. 1. “If unbelief can cause one who has had his sins paid for to lose salvation…”

        a. Yes, because you are saved by faith; the heart that is hardened through the deceitfulness of sin cannot believe Truth, for it is a deceived heart [Heb 3:13], preferring to believe the lie.
        b. It isn’t “IF”; it is “SINCE”… seeing as the Galatians WERE cut off for unbelief, in fulfillment of Scripture.
        c. Read Romans 11:17-22, and you will see that you CAN be cut off if you stop believing the Gospel.

        2.”Is unbelief a sin”

        “If you do not believe I am [Christ], you will die in your sins.”:
        it is the capstone of a sinful lifestyle; it is what perpetuates/enables sin. It is what gays say when you say “homosexuality is a sin” – “I don’t believe it is” : why? Altogether, because they do not wish to turn from sin. In the same way, those who do not believe in Christ do not believe, either because they love darkness [3:19], or because they have been bewitched [Gal 3:1] by those who love darkness.

        3. “If it is a sin is it not paid for on the cross?”

        The work of Christ is only actuated in those who lay hold of it with both faith AND “endurance” – as the “fathers before us laid hold of the promises”.

        4. “We all continue is sin daily not one of us will ever truly love God with our whole heart or love our neighbors perfectly – that is why we need Christs righteousness imputed to us.”

        The current discussion is not on losing salvation through “sin” – in the sense of “I watched pornography” (God forbid) – per se, but through the sin of unbelief.
        “How may we work the works of God?”
        “The work of God is to believe on Him God sent.”
        Those who cease to obey the Gospel are not doing God’s works, but their own [Rv 14]

        5. “Can we reject Christ’s righteousness?”

        Obviously, we can: the Galatians did.

        6. “How would that work with the end of Rms 8, where we are told that nothing can separate us from the love of God?”

        a. He never mentions “sin” in that list in Romans 8 – nor “unbelief” – however, Isaiah 59:2+ DOES say “your sin has separated you from Me”.
        b. If we sin, we are separated (or are in danger of it); then, we must listen to God when He tells us we’re forgiven (or just believe 1 John), and stay with Him, instead of being separated. If we do not believe, that is an evil heart of unbelief [Hb 3:13], and we will not get away with disobeying the Gospel. Those who do not obey the Gospel are characterized by one thing: they don’t know God [2 Th 1:8] – the Gospel came that we may know God; obeying the Gospel, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ; however, if we stop obeying the Gospel, we are no longer containing the Word of Christ in us [John 15:], and we are no longer in the Spirit which is in Him [John 1:4], and therefore we are no longer in Him, either [Rom 8:9; Gal 5:4], and He is no longer in us [2 Cor 13:5; Gal 4:19].

        2 Cor 13:5
        “Test yourselves and see whether you are in the faith; or don’t you recognize this about yourselves – that you are the temple of God, and Christ is in you – unless, indeed, you fail the test” (para.)

        Gal 4:19
        19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you–”

        The combination of these verses lets us know that not only were the Galatians cut off from Christ (not in Christ any longer), but also Christ was no longer in them, either! Christ said,

        John 15:4
        “Abide in Me, and I in you…”

        …therefore, both His being in them and their being in Him were obfuscated by their having been bewitched, caused to disobey the Truth.

        ———————————————-

        I don’t understand these matters 100%; however, I do understand some things, and some of what the more blunt and obvious things are NOT.

      7. Chris,
        To make the argument stronger, I should’ve listed the verse of Scripture; however, I will tell you the verse now – it is not a theory that we are currently glorified…

        a. 2 Cor 3:18
        18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.

        b. Ro 6:4
        4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.

        c. Eph 2:6
        6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:

        d. 1Jn 4:17
        17 …because as He IS, so are we in this world.

        a. glory to glory (currently in a state of glory)
        b. we died, and are raised by God’s Spirit of Glory
        c. we are seated in glory with Christ
        d. as He IS – currently (i.e.: glorified), SO ARE WE ON IN THIS WORLD.

        ———————————————————————-

      8. daniel,
        i didnt mean to imply that our current position wth christ in glory is a “theory”, it is established in pauls letters, even rom ch 6 (plus eph, col, etc). i just meant im still in limbo as to whether or not paul is referencing it in rom8:30, or he isleading us up to the future hope of experiencing bodily what we experience positionally/spiritually now.
        trying to convince me rom8:30 is talking of our glorified position is unnecessary because i myself switch back and forth;)
        #preaching2thechoir:-)
        I chose to “assume” it is speaking of the future event so that disciples confused by calvinism’s errors wud hav the easiest defense against the assumption that this passage teaches perseverance of the saints. confused disciples hounded by calvinism can easily defend the position i present here because it doesnt require a whole new paradigm. anyway, maybe in future ill post defending the positional glorification perspective of rom8:30.
        gbu
        chris

      9. Chris,
        I was afraid what I had said was inadequate, and was taking responsibility; wanting to clarify, therefore – but, apparently, you already understood. Great! Praise God.

  4. I totally understand and agree with your comments on election.
    I am a former Calvinist. I am glad you are doing your part to help people better understand election in the bible.

    1. juan, great to hear from u. id be interested in hearing more about ur journey away from calvinism. cud u share ur story briefly on the home page of this site or email me if u feel more comfortable with that? the calvinism section of my blog is meant to help those who are on the verge of committing to calvinism or those who are leaving it and still have questions, so im excited to hear u think it is helpful.
      anyway, if u cud share ur story id love to hear and learn from it. my email is kpdcjakarta@gmail.com, or u can post ur story on the home page of “a disciples theology” site.
      gbu
      chris

  5. Great Post Christopher! You said “Reformed Theology will try to make all of this hypothetical by saying that those who were unconditionally chosen by God from all eternity could never do anything other than persevere in holiness. This unbiblical theology tries to tell the saints that they can never “die” if they are truly the elect. We cannot stand for this! We cannot accept that the plain warnings of the God of truth are a mere formality. ”

    Or worse yet the warnings become false warnings or lies.

    Russ

  6. Hi Christopher

    I liked your article and your approach to the text although I dont agree 100%.

    Lets say your interpretation of the text is correct how would that make the doctrines of grace wrong?
    If the text is referring to those already in Christ (it may) that does not deal with all the other scriptures which infer that believers only believe after they are regenerated by the HS. That their salvation is not of their own will but God’s.

    Later on you say this “God didn’t just invite people, but he also provided the way for them to be justified upon obeying the Gospel.” This had me confused, what do you mean by ‘obeying the gospel’? The gospel is the good news of what Christ accomplished by obeying the law, dying in our place then rising again. How do we obey that?
    The only way we can be justified is by obeying the law 100%, never sinning OR having the record of one who was completely just reckoned to our account and our sin payed for by another. This is how Paul can declare in Rm 8.1 that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ – Jesus has obeyed in our place, he has persevered in our place, he has loved God and our neighbour when we didn’t, he believed when we could not.

    You finish with “We have been invited. We must make ourselves ready by putting to death sin through the Holy Spirit’s power!” How do we make ourselves ready by putting sin to death – how is this different than works righteousness?

    1. Thx for the comment bro!

      Actually, i dont agree 100% wth what i wrote in my first draft either:) i was under real time restraints and so just threw down alot of thoughts i had been considering for a while but wasnt yet convinced of. After having taken a couple days to reflect i will rework those parts. But i dont think they relate to ur questions.

      1. The reason i emphasize that this passage was written to the saints, which i believe reformed theology agrees wth, is that those who are predestined are believers not unbelievers. God predestined that his elect people whome he foreknew(rom11:2) wud be adopted as his children, not that certain unbelieving individuals were predestined to believe on Christ. The issues is who was predestined to what. Believers or unbelievers? To faith or to sonship?
      As for “all the other scriptures” that teach the calvinistic perspective of salvation, ill just have to say i dont believe there are any. But either way, this post is just meant to discuss rom8:28-30

      2. By “obey the Gospel” i simply mean “obey the command to repent of or sin and place our trust in Christ.” hope that makes my phrase more clear. 2thess1:8,1pet4:17 i believe use the same phrase.

      3. I was referring to the teaching of romans 8:13 and the surrounding verses, as well as the teaching of romans chapters 2 & 6. The grace of God must be applied by an active and working faith.

      Thx again for ur input. As for any other misgivings about my post, give me a couple days and they will probably be gone;-)

      Gbu
      Chris

      1. Im not sure I get it. Are you saying that none are predestined unless they first accept Christ? God looks ahead and sees who accepts his invite and then says because you now believe or those that believe will be predestined to be adopted as sons…?

        IF so how does that work with Eph 1? that he chose us in him before the foundations of the earth to be made holy and blameless.?
        Paul then reiterates this by saying that these chosen are predestined to be adopted as sons.

        Maybe I am totally misunderstanding you.. if so I apologise

      2. Im saying that the passage is speaking to the church and telling them the promised land that god always planned to give to the church. this passage and the one on epesians is not talking to certain preselected unbelieving individuals and telling them that they were predestined to believe in jesus. that is a great misunderstanding of the text. instead it is telling those in the church,what god always planned for the church.
        Consider Israel as the type of the church as i assume u already do. God chose a people in abraham. that does not mean god predestined every individual that wud be born a jew. and when he chose israel in abraham he also predestined to give them a particular inheritance, namely the promised land. those who remained in right standing with israel after being born jews, or those who converted and became jews thru circumcision were elegible for the inheritance.
        in same way god chose to create a people in christ (thus “chosen in christ” not “chosen as individuals in our own person”). difference is in how we become members of christs people. not thru birth or circumcision but thru faith in him. then we are members of gods elect people. as long as we remain in that covenant of faith we will share in its inheritance, nameley exaltation as gods children. (col1:22-23,heb3:12-14)
        the bible simply does not tell certain unbelieving individuals they were predestined to believe. instead it tells “those who love god” who are among his people who were “chosen in christ before the foindayion of the world” that gods plan for them which he decided upon before tge foundation of the world is “sonship”.
        if that is still unclear u might want to read my posts on ephesians chapter 1 & the 5 questions about predestination.
        thanks again for ur comments. though we might not agree i hope this clarifies my position.
        gbu
        chris

    2. What I think we must understand about salvation is that it falls under the category of “prophecy” (“the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy” [Rv 19:10]) – and is, therefore, subject to the principle that prophecy falls under: “…the time is coming – yea, and now is…” [John 4:23, etc.,].
      -Then, we really are (currently) Redeemed; but there is a Day of Redemption that “is (future) coming”.
      -We really have (currently) received the Spirit of adoption – but there is a “Day of Adoption” that is (future) coming.
      -We really are (currently) resurrected with Christ [C 2:12; John 5:25; 11:25]; but there is a Resurrection [John 5:28,29; Rv 20:5,6] to which Paul strove to attain [Pp 3:11].
      -Apparently, the Philadelphians had a crown (the ransomed of the LORD are “crowned with everlasting joy” [Is 35:10]); yet, there is a day that “is (future) coming” when we “will be crowned”.
      Okay, do we have the crown NOW, or are we going to be AWARDED it at the end of the race? Both.

      Until the future Day arrives, we are in a “race of faith” – of standing in faith in the finished works of Christ.
      -Not all who run in this “race of faith” are crowned [1 Ct 9:24,25].
      -Some runners break the rules, and are disqualified [2 T 2:5].
      -The saints in Philadelphia were warned to “hold fast what you have… that no man take your crown”
      -Isaiah says the crown is God…
      “In that day the LORD of Hosts will be a Crown of Glory, and a Diadem of Beauty, to the ****remnant**** of his people…” [Is 28:5]
      -So, we are all in a race of faith – some are disqualified, because they do not adhere to the rules (such as the Galatians, about whom I have already written somewhat).
      -“Not all who run the race are crowned…for I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.Now these things took place as examples for ****us**** (yes, Calvinists, even the “true” believers – who you think will “persevere”, even though Romans 11:17-23 leaves a humongous gaping hole in that theory – where Paul tells believers to FEAR, because they CAN BE CUT OFF if they choose to stop believing – but we will digress), that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”

      And before anyone says “anyone who thinks he stands” means “anyone thinks they’re saved (so, you see, it proves they aren’t really saved, they just think they’re saved)”, let me say that I don’t believe that.
      I believe (because of the context of the entirety of Scripture) that “anyone who thinks they stand” means “anyone who thinks he is ****spiritually mature****”, because (immature) babies cannot stand. Why do I think he is referring to MATURITY? Again, because there was a lot of boasting in the church (the sin is mentioned by name MANY times in the opening chapters of the Epistle); also, later [1 Ct 14:37], Paul says,
      “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.”
      Being that they were not very spiritual, they were proud – some people thought they were super-apostles and some thought they were great prophets (somethings [Gl 6:3]).
      Now, 1 Ct did stir up “godly sorrow unto repentance” [2 Ct 7:10] and “zeal” [2 Ct 7:11]; but how can you “repent and be zealous” [Rv 3:17] without something to repent of? They were unspiritual men – a fact Paul goes over many times. They weren’t “holding fast to Christ, the Head” [C 2:19 / Rv 3:11], and in danger of having that crown stripped (in danger both “currently” and “in that day”).
      Again, though they *were* saved, they were not “holding fast”. I would submit that “not holding fast” would render a man “unproductive in the knowledge of the Lord” (i.e.: the one who is not bringing others into “the knowledge of the glory of God” [Hk 2:14 / 2 Cor 4:6] – Who is the Glory of God? Christ [Hb 1:3]) [2 P 1:8]; that, the “wicked lazy slave” [Mt 25:26], who is “unproductive in the knowledge of the Lord” eventually has his talent (the talent is something that is NOT HIS PROPERTY) stripped away by someone under the Command of Christ [Mt 25:28].
      In this sense, Christ is coming as a Thief, as He said.
      In any case, the portion of Christ (for each ‘talent’ is ‘a measure of faith’ – for each were given ‘as each was able’ [Mt 25:15/ Ro 12:3]) – and many who “have faith” have very little faith; and, in that day (perhaps even now) “what little they think they have will be taken” [Mt 25:29]. Since we are “saved by grace through faith”, that is the moment many Christians will lose their salvation by faith – when the measure of faith is taken away, when Christ returns as a thief, with His army that “…leap[s] upon the city, [runs] upon the walls, [climbs] up into the houses; [enters] through the windows like [thieves].” [Joel 2:9].

      1. *Last paragraphCORRECTION:
        In any case, the portion of Christ (for each ‘talent’ is ‘a measure of faith’ – for each were given ‘as each was able’ [Mt 25:15/ Ro 12:3] – and “the Spirit of Grace” is “the Spirit of Christ”) – and many who “have faith” have very “little” faith; and will, therefore, in that day (perhaps even now), have that “little they think they have…taken” [Mt 25:29].
        Now, since we are “saved by grace through faith”, that is the moment many Christians will lose their “salvation by faith” – when the measure of faith that He “did not reproduce” (did not bring the knowledge of Christ to others) is “stolen”/”stripped” (as the Crown that is God/Christ, and the talent is a measure of faith/grace which is interchangeable with “Christ” – because “the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit” – can be stripped away [Mt 25:28 / Rv 3:11]), when Christ returns as a “thief” [Mt 24:43] (and the Thief comes to steal, kill and destroy [John 10:10]), with His army that “…leap[s] upon the city, [runs] upon the walls, [climbs] up into the houses; [enters] through the windows like [thieves].” [Joel 2:9].

      2. Daniel,
        thx for ur comments.
        u mention the prophetic aspect of biblical language. it is an interesting thought that i will keep that in mind in my future reading.
        i usually think in terms of position vs experience, but ur thought, at least as i understand it is interesting.
        gbu
        chris

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