“Chosen for Glory, Conformed through Faith”

(Rom. 8:18-39)

*Other key texts: Eph. 1:3-7, 11; 1 Peter 1:2; 1:20; 2 Thess. 2:13-14

  • Our main text as a whole has been a source of comfort for Christians ever since it was first written by Paul. Indeed, many of its verses are so popular that they are commonly memorized. Yet, ironically, two of the verses in this passage make many believers very uncomfortable. Do you know which ones I’m thinking about? That’s right. I’m talking about verses 29 and 30.
  • Unfortunately, because predestination has been so widely misunderstood by Christians, many of us just avoid it all together. Instead of searching Scripture for the true meaning of this doctrine, we push it out of our minds at the same time we reject the way it has badly been interpreted. We might say, “I don’t believe in predestination.” Usually when we do this we have a certain view of predestination in mind, one not supported by Scripture. We also might catch ourselves saying, “Well, I may not know what predestination means, but I know that view is wrong.” Friends, we need to do more than say, “That’s wrong.” We need to say, “This is right.” To put it bluntly, predestination has been hijacked by a certain group of Christians (a.k.a. Calvinists) and we need to take it back for several reasons that we’ll discuss in a bit. But first, let’s get one thing crystal clear…
  • Predestination is taught in Scripture. It can’t be avoided. In fact, it is referred to many times in the New Testament. It is not a tradition of man, but the Word of God. The question is this: What does it mean? This is what we know:
    • (1) Election, at least in some instances, is to salvation.
    • (2) Election took place before creation.
    • (3) Election is based on God’s foreknowledge.
      • Being omniscient, God foreknew mankind was going to sin, but He also foreknew His plan of redemption through Jesus, and He foreknew all who were going to be blessed by this plan.
      • As far as an individual’s salvation is concerned, God does not foreknow because He elects. He elects because He foreknows.
    • (4) Election is conditioned by faith.
      • Faith is not the result of election. Election is the result of faith. No one can ever blame God for not being one of the elect.
    • According to these facts, the following statement best expresses what Scripture teaches: Before creation, God chose for salvation those whom he foreknew would place their faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
      • This is called “conditional election.” It harmonizes the sovereignty of God and the free will of humans. It contrasts with “unconditional election,” which limits the love of God and denies free will.
      • God’s election of individuals doesn’t make unbelievers into believers. It makes believers into receivers!
  • How does the doctrine of predestination apply to our lives?
    • Honor of God
      • A bad understanding of predestination dishonors God because it misrepresents Him. We serve a good and loving God, and our theology should communicate this to the world.
    • Human responsibility
      • All are responsible to God for their own decision about Christ. God does not make their choice for them (e.g. altar calls).
      • In light of the previous fact, all Christians are responsible for sharing the Gospel with the lost. We should never hesitate to say, “Jesus died for you!”
    • Hope for Christians
      • Predestination reminds us what God still has in store for us. He is not done pouring out His blessings on us. Indeed, like parents waiting to dispense a college fund for their child, the Lord has been waiting an eternity to give us the glory to come!
        • Notice how the glorification of Christians is already settled. In Rom. 8:30 the past tense is used. The Geneva Bible comments on this verse: “the Hebrews…sometimes describe something that is to come by the using the past tense, to signify the certainty of it.” The future redemption of your body is as certain as a fact of history!
        • God has been planning His blessings for us since before the beginning of time (Titus 1:1-2). In light of this, ask yourself, “If God is for me, then who can be against me?” It is an unfortunate thing that some have questioned in their hearts, “Can I lose the promise of glory due to my unfaithfulness?” Remember, God predestined you to glory through faith, not works. From eternity past, God knew exactly how many sins you would commit as a Christian. But none of those sins condition the promise of God, because His decision took into account only one factor: your choice to believe in His Son! Predestination reminds believers of their eternal security through faith in Jesus.

Author: James Buddy Smith
Ark of Hope
Jasper, Georgia