Romans 8:30 (CSB) And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.
We have now established that God loved us not just for the sake of love by itself. It is a warm and sentiment notion to be sure but when it comes to God, it is not just simply His love as though he can be reduced to one feeling. Likewise, while his love remains supreme, it isn’t all that he is. When we speak of God and receive God and take him as our own, we get everything about him. And God is love but God is also holy, righteous, just, merciful, kind, gracious, patient, all-knowing (omniscient), present everywhere (omnipresent), and almighty (omnipotent) just to name a few. Not only that, God is unlike any other being ever in that he is one hundred percent of everything that he is. Furthermore, he doesn’t have to give up one part of himself in order to be the fullest in another. He is maxed-out love, righteousness, holiness, and merciful.
That is the glory of God.
And we know that God saved us because He is glorious. In other words, He didn’t have to give up something about what makes Him fully Him. It’s like getting into a relationship but giving up a part of your personality, a part of who you are, in order to be with someone you have affections for. “I like this dude but he only like quiet, mousy girls so I am going to suppress my boldness when I’m around him.” “Oh I really like this girl but she doesn’t like guys who are really into God so I am going to give that up.” It’s like a terrible romantic comedy. You laugh but it happens in real life more than I want.
God saved us because He simply saw us and He chose us to be with Him forever.
Ephesians 1:3–10 (CSB)
3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.
4 For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.
5 He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
8 that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding.
9 He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ
10 as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.
Take a look at this passage: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world…”Paul is exhorting us that God is blessed and God has definitely blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. However, for our sake and our thinking is contained within the element of time (while God is not), those blessings did not start with us, within the family we were born, the place in the world where we grew up, nor the people we know although we do know God purposely chooses all of that for us so that we “should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” It started before the foundations of the earth were laid and even before time and space were spoken into existence. It started before Genesis 1:1.
There is no doubt we grow up in a world that certainly celebrates self-accomplishments especially when you have come from nothing. We love the pull-up-from-our-bootstraps stories. Just be born, work hard, and surely good things will come your way. We sometimes think that God loves and adores us not because of everything He has done for us but rather what we have done for him lately. And that is how most of us understand our salvation in Christ. It hasto be because of what I did first. Why else would he love me?
Or flip it the other way: I have done so well all of my life. I did the right things. I voted the right way. I am fighting for social justice. I am on the right side of history. See me! See that I am good. God loves me, saves me, and will bless me because I do good! Despite the fact that Romans 4 adamantly declares that we do not put God into our debt.
The argument of “From eternity past, God saw me and saw that I choose him.” We know that Romans 5:8 says otherwise.
Jesus said it distinctly, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
We are saved for His glory. And this started with Him choosing us from a long, long time ago. Not because He predestined us to lest we believe that we are saved by election alone.
From eternity past, God saw me in my wickedness, my shame, my sin, and trespasses and just simply declared that I want him in my family. And I am willing to send my Son and my Spirit in order to get him.
Forgive the conjuncture but I always imagined it this way:
Father: I love you
Son: I love you
Spirit: I love you so much
Father: You know who else I love so much.
Spirit: I was just about to say that.
Father: Oh I see him now. Yikes, Joseph sins a lot. I mean. Look at him: he’s working in pornography while being married with a kid.
Son: I know. But I still want him with us.
Father: You know what it will take?
Son: Of course.
Father: You ready?
Son: Always. Spirit, you ready?
Spirit: exhales slowly I am ready!
Father: Let’s do this.
Son: Father, I love you.
Father: Son, I love you. Spirit, I love you.
Spirit: I know. I love you.
Father: Let’s do it.
Genesis 1:1 (CSB) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
And now you know the rest of the story.
You might ask me, “How do we know that we are chosen? How do we know we are elected or predestined.” Old, white dead guys will tell you to knock it off! Stop trying to get a hold of salvation at the wrong end. Election, much like all of salvation, belongs to God alone for He alone is mighty to save.
I recall a conversation where this lady boldly declared, “I have two sons. And no matter what they do in this life, if one is predestined and the other is not, then only the one who is predestined will go to heaven.” Again, salvation is not because of predestination.
Recall the cry of the tax collector who cried out to God, “Have mercy on me, a sinner!”, whom Christ declared justified.
Lady, if both of your kids know and love God, if both of your kids walk with Him in their days and keep his commandments not because they are super trying hard but by the power and grace of His Almighty Spirit through the broken and blood drained body of the Son of God, then my friends, I can almost assure you that both of your kids are saved to God.
God’s maxed out love is so tremendous and wonderful that sin, death, hell, Satan, nor his demons would be able to stop Him from rescuing his people. That is the very best love.
by John Calvin.
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by Octavius Winslow.
Banner of Trust. 1991.
Romans: An Expositional Commentary
by R.C. Sproul.
Reformation Trust Publishing. 2019.
The Letter to the Romans (New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT))
by Douglas Moo.
New Testament Commentary: Romans: Chapters 1-16
by William Hendriksen.
by William S. Plumer.
Romans: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (The New American Commentary)
by Robert Mounce.
Holmon Reference. 1995.
Romans (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, NT Volume 6)
Edited by Gerald L. Bray.
IVP Academic. 2005.
Commentary on Romans
by Martin Luther.