Rom 8:28-30 Predestined to Be Glorified 9/7/2014

 

 

 

#1. All Things Work Together (Rom 8:28, Gen 50:20, Jer 24:5, II Cor 4:17)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. Whom He Did Foreknow <4267> (Rom 8:29-30,11:2, I Pet 1:18-20,Acts 2:23,4:27,Matt 7:23)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us? (Rom 8:31-32)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 8, verse 26 (2X). The Sermon for today is titled, "Predestined to Be Glorified", or what does it mean to be "Predestined by God"? For starters we read here in Rom 8:26-27 two verses about prayer. Does God answer our prayers, and how does that harmonize with having been "Predestined by God"? Here in Rom 8:26-27 we read:

Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

According to God, we do not know what to pray for. We are commanded to pray to God, both in the OT and in the NT. God says that we must pray to Him, but these prayers are not necessarily in the will of God. What is it we are praying for? We pray for safe travel, we pray for a speedy recovery from a particular disease, we pray for God's blessings on our meals, we pray that our church may grow, etc. Are these not good prayers? Yes, these are fine prayers, but we do not know the decree of God for all these things we are asking. It may not be in God's plan that we have a safe trip; it may not be in God's plan to give us a speedy recovery; it may not be in God's plan to give us health through what we are eating; it may not be in God's plan to make our church grow in numbers, and so on. Why then should we pray? We pray because God has commanded us to pray. We are not trying to manipulate God, but through our prayers we are asking God to change us, so that we will have the strength to go through these trials without blaming God. We must see these two verses in the context in which they are found. Verse 26 begins with the word "Likewise". The context is that the whole creation groans and travails, eagerly waiting for the glorious appearance of Christ and the saints on the Last Day. Until that time God takes this world through events that may also bring much suffering to the saints. God does not like to put us through suffering, but when it occurs, remember that it was necessary in God's plan. Paraphrased God says, Likewise, when we go in this life through trials and temptations that are necessary according to the plan of God, then Likewise God the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. God the Holy Spirit is our Advocate here on earth, while Christ is our Advocate in heaven. He pleads our case on behalf of us with groanings that cannot be uttered. The Spirit brings us more grace and comforts us and shows us in the Scriptures how we can look forward to a glorious ending. And God, who knows our hearts, also knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit transforms our prayers into perfect prayers that are in the will of God. In this way, that:

#1. All Things Work Together (Rom 8:28, Gen 50:20, Jer 24:5, II Cor 4:17)

God makes it clear who the saints of v. 27 are. It is in this way that we are to understand verse 28,

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We know from the Word of God, and we know from first hand experience, that all things work together for good to them that love God. God is still speaking about the trials and sufferings that we must endure in this life. For example, when Joseph's brothers had sold Him as a slave to slave-traders going to Egypt, it turned out that Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt. Because of his position Joseph was able to save his family from a severe famine in the land. Joseph then said to his brothers, "As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive". You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. God was able to turn your sin around so that it perfectly fit in God's plan to save much people alive. Joseph had to bear the suffering for it, but in the end it worked out for good for the entire family of Israel.

Another example we have seen in our Sunday morning Bible studies of Jer 24. God showed Jeremiah two baskets of figs, good figs and evil figs. Then God said, "Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good". God was going to give them a new heart and bring them back into their own land. It was for their good that they have been separated from the wicked king and from the wicked people in Jerusalem. When they returned to their own land they could see that in the end everything worked out for good for God's people who were chosen by grace, the Israel of God.

God says the same thing in the NT. Let me read to you from II Cor 4:17, where God says,

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

Our affliction in this life, compared to the life hereafter, is only for a moment. And these afflictions, which are necessary for the outworking of God's plan, are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It is the character of the saints that we endure these afflictions with grace. It is the privilege of the saints that all things work together for good to them. Just think of it: Almighty God promised here in Rom 8:28 that God will guide the course of the history of all mankind in such a way that all things work together for the good of those whom He calls His saints. What is a saint? Every man, or woman, or child who has received the faith to believe God, to believe the things God wrote in the Bible, has been drawn to the Lord Jesus by the grace of God, and has become a child of God, also called a saint. All things work together for good to them whom God loves, and because "the love of God was shed abroad in our hearts", therefore these individuals are also:

How does that work? Does not everybody love God? NO! Every descendant from Adam and Eve is born as a hater of God. That is what the Bible declares. Righteous Abel was born that way. But at some point in his life God changed his heart, and he became a lover of God. On the other hand, Cain never had such a transformation of his heart, and that is why he murdered his brother, out of envy. God says in Rom 8:7-8 that the natural mind is enmity against God. It is the mind we received at birth

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Everyone is born with a mind that CANNOT please God. We all were born spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. Who then are "Them that love God"? It must be that God gave "them" a new heart at some point in their life, and in that new nature God also gave "them" a new mind. "Them that love God" does not refer to everyone in the world, because not everyone in the world loves God.

"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God". What are the "all things"? This refers to all things that God has made from the beginning, and all things that have been created since then. This includes all things in heaven and on earth. All principalities and powers and the angels in heaven are included. The fallen angels are also included. All those things that appear evil to us are also included, such as sickness or health, sorrow or joy, prosperity or poverty. They are all included. The context of Rom 8:28 especially speaks of the sufferings of this present time.

All things work together to one purpose: They all work to the glory of God. And God also works for one purpose: His purpose is to glorify Christ and glorify all those who are in Christ, His people. All God's people are in Christ, and Christ is in them. And God makes all things to work together to glorify Christ and His people. For example: When Lucifer went to the Garden of Eden to tempt Adam and Eve into sin, he did not go there to glorify Christ and His church. But this is what he did. Another example: When Satan and the Sanhedrin, and Pontius Pilate and king Herod conspired against Jesus to crucify Him, it was not their purpose to glorify Christ and to bring about the salvation of His people. But this is what they did. And so you see that all things, even those things that we call evil, and those things that we call terrible, or we call them catastrophes, they all work to give God the glory, and God works them out for the good of His people, His Elect. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose". But who are:

Why are they the called according to His purpose? This is talking about the purpose of God from before the foundation of the world. This is talking about the counsel of God. The counsel of God is as old as God Himself. The counsel of God consists of all the things God had in mind to create and to direct, both good and evil, and to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Nothing is excluded. For example, we have come here today to worship God and to glorify His Name with the Bible in our hands. God orchestrated all this for each one of us. In His counsel before the foundation of the world God forgot nothing. God says in Isa 46:10, "I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure". So then, who are "the called according to His purpose"? We are the called according to God's purpose. God's purpose is and was that He should have a people for Himself, a people who are like unto His Son. Therefore, God purposed first to glorify Himself in His Son and then to reflect His Son's glory in His people. To do this, God gave Christ many brethren. And then God arranged all things in His counsel so that all things will serve that one purpose. Nothing happens just by accident. Everything must serve this one purpose of God. According to God's purpose we are the called, and that is why everything has been arranged to work together for good to them who are the called, so that all things work together for the salvation of all of God's people.

Let us bring this teaching down to the practical level: "How can I know that all things work together for good to me"? I know that God is calling me, because I can hear Pastor preaching the Gospel to me. Is this the effective call of God? Is this the call of God that is the work of God in my soul, giving me a new soul, making me Born Again? How can I know that I have been Born Again today, or have been for many years? Well, what does our text say in Rom 8:28? It says: "To them that love God". If we are called with the effective call of God, then we will love God. They who are "the called" are the same as they who love God. Do we love God? Do we love God from the heart? Whether we truly love God depends on where our heart is. Do we love His commandments, do we love the Word of God, do we believe the Bible from cover to cover, do we love God's people, and do we love congregating with God's people on Sundays? Moreover, is there within us an urgent need to repent from our sins? Are we truly sorry for our sins, do we flee from our sins, and do we hate our sins? We cannot love our sin and love God at the same time. In other words, does the Spirit of God live within us to make us do these things? Do we walk in the love of God? If so, then we can be assured of the words in Rom 8:11

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

If we walk in the love of God, then we can say to our comfort: "All things work for our good".

#2. Whom He Did Foreknow <4267> (Rom 8:29-30,11:2, I Pet 1:18-20,Acts 2:23,4:27,Matt 7:23)

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow <4267>, he also did predestinate to be conformed <4832> to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified <1392>.

Here we have a verse that is loved by Arminians and they twist it out of context. This is the fourth flake of gold dust in the series of "Nine Flakes of Gold Dust". Perhaps you remember that the first was I John 2:2, the second was I Tim 2:4, and the third flake of gold dust was II Pet 3:9. Here in Rom 8:29, what is the meaning of the words: "For whom he did foreknow"? The word "foreknow" is particularly the word in question. Whenever we have a disputed verse like this we should immediately go to the Greek text. Unquestionably the word means that God knew them before. Our God is omniscient, and therefore he knows the end from the beginning. God knows every individual who ever lived, saved or unsaved, and God knows every step and every move and every thought of that

person from before the foundation of the world. God is never surprised, because God is omniscient.

But does the word "foreknow" refer to God knowing that this individual chooses to draw to Christ, or does this word "foreknow" refer to God knowing this individual intimately? The Arminians say that God looked down the corridors of time, and God saw that this person and that person would make a decision to accept the Lord Jesus as his or her Savior, and those are the ones whom God predestined to go to heaven. Is this a real possibility? No! This is absolutely ridiculous and it does not harmonize with the rest of Scripture. The word "predestinate" means that "God decreed from eternity", or "God predetermined", or "God decided beforehand". It is not man who makes the decision that makes or breaks his destiny, but God makes that decision. Secondly, it would not harmonize with Scripture, because the Bible says that we are "saved by grace" and not by works. Is turning to the Lord Jesus a work? Is accepting the Lord Jesus a work? Is making a decision for Jesus a work? Absolutely it is a work. It is something that you DO, and that is a work. And look at the word grace. The word grace occurs 159 times in the Bible, and the word grace means "unmerited favor". How can you merit unmerited favor? It is impossible. God's grace is not given based on anything we would do first, because "then grace is no more grace". Thirdly, let us see how this word foreknow <4267> is used in the Bible. Please turn with me to I Peter, chapter 1, verse 18 (2X). In this section of the Bible God admonishes us: "Be ye holy", or be ye separate from the world of the reprobate. God says in verse 16, "Because it is written: Be ye holy, for I am holy". Then God says in verse 18,

1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained <4267> before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Here is that same word <4267> again, but now it has the meaning of being foreordained in the counsel of God from before the foundation of the world. And is this not exactly what God says about the crucifixion of Christ? Using the noun form of the same word <4267> God says in Acts 2:23,

Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge <4268> of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross was predetermined by the eternal counsel and foreknowledge of God. And God confirmed this again in Acts 4:27-28, where He says,

Acts 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

Acts 4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

It is unquestionable that the crucifixion and death of Christ was not an afterthought of God, after He discovered that there were people who were going to repent of their sins and turn to Christ. NO!

Again, God says in Rom 11:2, "God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew <4267>". What then does that word "foreknow <4267> mean? It means to know before, but to know intimately. The word <4267> is the Greek word proginoskw "proginosko", which is derived from ginwskw "ginosko", which means to know intimately. For example on the Last Day there will be many who will claim to know the Lord Jesus by calling Him, Lord, Lord. Then they will hear these frightening words:

Matt 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

When Jesus says, "I never knew you", He uses the word "ginosko". Jesus does not mean that He was never aware of them. Jesus is God, and in His omniscience He knows every move and every thought that they have made. But what Jesus meant is, "I never knew you intimately as one of mine".

Indeed God foreknew us before the foundation of the world. But how did He know us? He knew us as rebels against God. He knew us as being dead in trespasses and sins. "Dead" means that there was no spiritual life in us whatsoever. That is how He knew us. Let us now go back to Rom 8:29,

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow <4267>, he also did predestinate to be conformed <4832> to the image of his Son,

This is altogether glorious. Please turn to the Epistle to the Philippians, chapter 3. God predestined us to be conformed <4832> to the image of His Son, which means to be fashioned like unto <4832> the Lord Jesus Christ. And when will this come to pass? We read in Phil 3:20,

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Philippians 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto <4832> his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

If you have a high opinion of your present body, read what God says here. In God's sight it is a vile body. What does that mean? It is a foul body, it is physically repulsive and it tends to degrade. Think of God's condescension in taking up residence in our present body. Yes, He even calls it the temple of the Holy Spirit. But this body is going to be discarded. For our glory, God will create for us a new body, which will be incredibly glorious. When will this come to pass? When our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, will come out of heaven. Then He will change our bodies "that it may be fashioned like unto <4832> His glorious body". That is the same word <4832> here. Our souls have already been transformed at the time we have been Born Again. And, on the Last Day, when we have received our glorified body, then God will have fulfilled that part of His plan, which He stated in Rom 8:29-30,

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow <4267>, he also did predestinate to be conformed <4832> to the image of his Son, that He (Christ) might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified <1392>.

What does it mean that Christ is glorified and that we are glorified? In God's vocabulary glorification means something different from what we mean by glorification. Please turn to the Gospel according to John, chapter 17 (2X). This is the Lord's Prayer. This whole chapter is a prayer of Jesus. The Lord Jesus prayed this prayer shortly before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane where He was to be bound and eventually be led to the cross. Let's look at what the word glorify <1392> means

John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify <1392> thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify <1392> thee:

"Father, the hour is come". The Lord Jesus does not refer to a specific hour, but to an event in the counsel of God. That event of His Atonement for our sins has now arrived. At the end of chapter 17 Jesus and His disciples crossed the brook Cedron (Kidron) and they entered into the Garden of Gethsemane where He began His suffering. Jesus prayed: "glorify <1392> thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify <1392> thee". Twice He used the same word that was used in Rom 8:30, "them he also glorified <1392>". What did the Lord Jesus mean when He said, "glorify <1392> thy Son"? He knew that He was going to be beaten and spit upon. What glory was there in that? He knew that His back was going to be so lacerated that He could not carry His own cross and He knew that He was going to be crucified. What glory was there in that? The first inkling of glory came from a corner we would not expect. From Pontius Pilate came the plaque that was fastened over Jesus' head with the words: "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews". Wow! Whatever motives Pilate had for writing it, it was inspired by God. Then the phenomena glorifying the Lord Jesus followed each other in rapid succession. I am going to name just a few. God identified His Son by bringing darkness over all the land for a period of three hours. This was not a sun-eclipse. This was a miraculous darkness. Another glimpse of glory: Joseph of Arimathaea gave Him a rich man's burial. The two others nailed next to Jesus were probably cast into the burning trash heap in the Valley of Kidron. But most important of all: God raised Jesus from the dead. After His resurrection the Lord Jesus said to His disciples: "All authority is given unto Me in heaven and on earth". This was glory to the max. The Lord Jesus Christ had become King of kings and Lord of lords. So, what do you think the glory was when He asked the Father: "Glorify Thy Son"? It was not only His victory over sin, but it was also the glory of allowing Christ to purchase a Kingdom that includes everything in heaven and on earth. Returning now to Rom 8:30, what do you think the glory is when God says: "them he also glorified <1392>"? This is not written in the past tense, but in the Aorist tense, which refers to an action that had some beginning in the past, is continuing through the present and continues in the future. How have we been glorified, how are we glorified and how will we be glorified? Answer: God has chosen us as His sons, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead counted us worthy to suffer and die for us, and God will make us inherit the future universe together with Christ. That is how He glorified us, and will glorify us.

Let us now go on in Rom 8:31-32,

#3. If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us? (Rom 8:31-32)

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Seeing then that all these things are so: God foreknew us, He knew who and what we were, and yet He predestinated us to eternal life with Him, He called us with an effective call, He justified us through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, He has glorified us and He will glorify us even more, how then should we live when we hear and believe all these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? If the Creator of this universe is for us, if the Almighty who created every world power and every atomic power is for us, if the Author of the Covenant of grace is for us, who then can be against us? Nobody can be against us. Even the Devil and his angels cannot be against us, because they can only do those things that God allows them to do within the counsel of God.

And then we read in verse 32, "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all". Who are the "Us All"? Certainly these are NOT all the people in the world. Remember the context. The previous three verses spoke exclusively about God's Elect. Therefore the "Us All" must mean "all of us who have been elected by God unto salvation, not one excepted". What is in view here? Is this not the Love of God for His poor, helpless people, whom He chose from before the foundation of the world? He delivered Christ up to be crucified for all those whom He in His sovereign will decided to save. This was the highest proof of love that the Father could give, to indicate that He loved us. Rather than have His children go to Hell, He sent His Son there. God has given us the greatest gift, now He will follow it up with the lesser gifts. "How shall he not with him also freely give us all things"? God made the world for the purpose of our salvation. Therefore, why should He withhold from us anything that we need while we are here on this earth. And in the life hereafter He will truly give us all that He has. He will give us Himself. We could not ask a greater gift. Then we read in Rom 8:33-34,

Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, also having been raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

These are two separate questions and answers. The first question in verse 33 deals with the accusers. "Who (plural) shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect"? Let me make it personal. The Devil would like to condemn me, the world would like to condemn me, and even my own conscience condemns me. But who shall succeed in laying any charge against me? None of those charges hold any water, because "It is God that justifieth". God has declared me righteous. Not that I am righteous of my own, but Christ purchased the right to bestow His righteousness as a cloak upon me.

The second question in verse 34 deals with the judge. Look at it. The question is asked in the singular. "Who is he (singular) that condemneth"? Who is the judge who dares to condemn me? There is none, because Christ is the only judge in the universe. Why can no one condemn me? Christ has suffered and died for me, and also having been raised He has completed the Atonement for my sins. Also He is presently at the right hand of God and also He presently makes intercession for me, not once in a while, but constantly. He is the only judge in the universe, and He is also my advocate before God. In this way The Lord Jesus Christ pleads for every one of His sheep. We hear Him plead in the words of John 17:24, "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me". Then we read the third question:

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

"The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me". Who is now able to separate me from the love of Christ? It is not my love for Christ that is in view, but the love of Christ for me. If it would depend on my love for Christ then I can lose my salvation any day now. But it is the love of Christ for me; that is the deciding factor. Is it possible that I can lose my salvation?

I am not saying that there is nothing that can cause God to stop loving us, and so we can go on living like the Devil. This entire passage, from verse 26 to the end of this chapter deals only with the Elect, and not with the Reprobate who imagine themselves to be saved.

But if Christ has gone through Hell in our place, and God the Holy Spirit has created in us a new soul, and God's Spirit has made His dwelling there in our new soul, then is there any power in the universe that can undo what God has done? The answer is: Absolutely NOT. Shall the enemy, through any persecution, be able to separate the church from the love of God? Absolutely NOT. That is why we read in verses 36-39,

Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All things are arranged by the love of God for the salvation of His people. Even creation itself exists for the salvation of God's people. Therefore "we know that all things must work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose".

Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.

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