30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ro 8:30). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Well, there you go. I’m so boring. All I want is to seek Jesus. Only God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I’ve waited and waited and waited until God’s kairos moments come along my life. Occasions that have been appointed before the foundations of the world. Predestined by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
When I was a little girl going to school, I was taken out of my classroom and it was catechism I was taught, I was told to say. I remember sitting in an empty classroom at the front of the class, just the nun assigned to me to nurture me in God’s ways. The door was wide open and the windows were in the other side. It was there that we talked and talked and talked about the things of God.
It is said that when you raise a child in the things of God, she will never drift from it.
It was these formative years, as a very young child that I was groomed to focus my entire life solely on the things of God and who He is and only Him. Just God. All God.
I do not remember what we talked about. Year in and year out. For six long years.
I just remember being led off from class and sitting in an empty classroom. Just the two of us. Door wide open. Windows on the other side. And we chatted. About God.
So, all my life people have found it difficult to communicate about things as all my attention and focus would be God.
The Lord has informed me that it takes a person who is in close and constant intimacy with God that would understand who I was raised to be. Otherwise, they would find me boring and unproductive.
You see, in God’s great and wonderful goodness, He laid a path for me that is all about Him and only Him. The only desire in my heart. Not the things of this world. But the things of God and only Him alone.
If in fact you find me boring, it’s OK. It’s not God’s will that we should walk together in this great and wonderful journey called life in constant communion with Christ our Lord.
Some things just happen this way. Cos, it’s all about God for me. Nothing and nobody else. Some people are just raised this way.
8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Exegetes speak of a “golden chain” or “unbreakable chain” of divine acts in vv. 29–30: God foreknows, predestines, calls, justifies, and glorifies. Each of these is a distinct act, and in the redemptive process they do follow one another in this sequence. However, we must resist the temptation to bind them together into too neat a package.
For one thing, these five acts do not give a complete picture of salvation. There are no overt references to man’s part in the process, which is of course consistent with Paul’s purpose here; but not even all of God’s redemptive acts are named. Notably missing are regeneration and sanctification.
For another thing, the progression of thought in vv. 29 and 30 is not that of one linear chain. Verse 29 is the main point in itself; grammatically and doctrinally it is a complete thought. It refers to two divine acts, foreknowledge and predestination. The latter is primary and is linked directly to one of the chief elements of glorification, specifically, the resurrection. It could be shortened thus: whom he foreknew, he predestined to be glorified.
Verse 30, instead of simply lengthening a chain begun in v. 29, is intended to expand v. 29b by adding a couple of details: the redemptive process does not go directly from predestination to glory; there happen to be a few other steps in between! This verse does not name them all, but mentions two that are representative of the entire process.
Thus the first and the last redemptive acts of v. 30 are carried over from v. 29. “Predestined” has already been explained. “Glorified” refers to the final stage of salvation, eternal life in heaven. This has been a prominent theme in this whole context, and is the point of v. 29b. “Conformed to the likeness of his son” refers to our resurrection in a glorified body.
Why “glorified” is in past tense is a matter of debate, since it has not happened yet. Some say it actually has been accomplished, in the person of Jesus as our representative (see Cranfield, I:433; Godet, 327). But most agree that the past tense refers to the fact that God has already predestined it; therefore it is as certain as if it had already occurred (e.g., Bruce, 178; Moo, I:573).
This verse adds two steps between predestination and glorification, probably to show us that God’s predestining believers to glory does not make a mockery of the intervening process. Some have wondered why, in the Calvinist view, the intervening steps are necessary. But when the biblical concept of free will is retained, we see that what comes between the beginning and the end is what makes it possible for God to predestine some to glory in the first place.
The two divine acts given as links between predestination and glorification are calling and justifying. We have already examined the meaning of these concepts; the question now is, why specifically are they inserted here? One reason, as indicated, is to show that intermediate steps such as calling and justifying are necessary. Another reason, possibly, is to indicate that human decisions are not totally absent from this process but are implicitly present as the objects of the divine foreknowledge in v. 29. As we have already seen, the connection with v. 28 shows that the most likely object of God’s foreknowledge is believers’ love for God. Now, in v. 30, calling and justification are mentioned. Both of these divine acts are necessarily linked to human decisions: God’s call must be answered, and justification is given only to faith. These human decisions may thus implicitly be included here as other objects of the divine foreknowledge by which God predestines us to glory.
The primary reference, of course, is to calling and justification as acts of God himself. Calling (see 1:6; 8:28) is the act by which God initiates personal contact with those whom he foreknew and predestined before even the earth existed. As we have seen, this is not some special, irresistible call that goes out only to the chosen few, but the general call of the gospel (contra Dunn, I:485; MacArthur, I:498). Those whom God foreknew and predestined are those who not only hear the call but also accept it (Lard, 283; Godet, 327). “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14, NASB). Lenski comments (562–563),
If it be asked why God did not foreknow, foreordain, call, justify the rest, the biblical answer is found in Matt. 23:37 and similar passages: God did not exclude them, but despite all that God could do they excluded themselves. “These he called” includes the acceptance of the call; and it in no way excludes the extension of the same call with the same power of grace to the rest.
This raises the question of whether “these five links in the chain of God’s saving work are unbreakable,” as MacArthur favors they are (I:494). According to this understanding, all five of these divine works are applied to the elect and only to the elect as an inseparable package. Only the predestined are called; all those called will be glorified; no one is ever justified except those who are foreknown and predestined to glory. “All five elements are co-extensive,” says Murray; “there cannot be one element without the others” (I:320). For example, says Moo, there is an “exact correspondence between those who are the objects of predestining and those who experience this calling” (I:572).
The language of vv. 29–30 does not require such a view, however. Indeed, this chain is unbreakable and its elements co-extensive only if the Calvinist system of unconditional election, irresistible grace, and “once saved, always saved” is true. Once we break away from this system, we can see that some are called but do not respond; thus only one of the five elements applies to them. Since it is possible for someone to become a true believer and become justified, and then to fall away, only two of the elements apply to this group. In the latter case one may be called and temporarily justified, but never foreknown and predestined to be glorified. Such situations are not contrary to 8:29–30. Paul does not say that only those who are predestined are called, but that those who are predestined will without fail be called. Nor does he say that only those who are predestined to glory are justified; those who are so predestined will without fail be justified, though.
In a similar way, Paul does not imply that everyone who is called will be justified—since some refuse the call; nor does he explicitly state that all who have ever been justified (by faith) will without fail be glorified—since some will lose their faith. Here the key to certainty about glorification is predestination, not the intervening links. The point is that all those who are predestined will without fail be glorified, and that they will without fail be called and justified prior to glorification.
Paul has in view here only an audience of sincere believers (“us all,” v. 32) who need assurance that God will never fail them or forsake them, and that he can and will see them through to the end. Unlike in the Epistle to the Hebrews, he is not warning wavering believers who are seriously considering apostasy. His purpose here is to assure those who have no intention of abandoning Christ that Christ will not abandon them.
Cottrell, J. (1996). Romans (Vol. 1, Ro 8:30). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.