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Redemption’s Highest Heights

January 12, 2015 Leave a comment

The_Unbreakable_ChainAnd we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

How do we know that Romans 8:28 is true? The answer is grounded in the timeless truths of the gospel of God, described in Romans 8:29-30. 

Like the pinnacle of the highest mountain, this passage brings us to the highest of heights of God’s revelation. God has done awesome things … things so gracious and merciful they are hard to even fathom. The implications are for both time and eternity. 

He foreknew us. He knew what would happen before it even occurred. This speaks of His omniscience (of the fact that He knows everything). In fact, there is nothing that can be known that God does not know. He is infinite in His understanding (Acts 15:18; Psalm 147:5). 

He predestined us to be conformed into the image of Jesus. Those whom God saved have a certain destiny; He has one goal for each and every one of us. That goal is to become more and more like His eternal Son. This is His goal because He wants more sons and daughters, and thus more brothers and sisters for Jesus. In other words, God desires to always increase the size of His family. Eternally, He has the best possible Son, the perfect Son. He wants more that are like Him. This is that He might love them in His kingdom just as He loves Jesus. 

He called (invited) human beings to come to Christ, who is the firstborn—the preeminent One—of those who have come out of death and into life. The invitation was to believe the gospel … and for as many as do that, they become children of God (John 1:12-13). 

Those whom He called and who responded to the gospel, He also justified. He made a declaration that they are now righteous in His eyes, fully exonerated and wholly acceptable to Him. Just as Jesus is righteous, so the believer in Christ has been declared righteous (1 John 4:17). We have the same righteous standing as the Son of God. 

Those whom He justified, He also glorified. He made them full of glory. They look nothing like they did in their bodies of sin on earth. Rather, they are glorious as Jesus is glorious (1 John 3:2; compare Revelation 1:10-18). 

Note that each of these amazing declarations of redemption is revealed in the past tense. That means that in the mind of God, it is as though they have already happened. Seeing things from His eternal vantage point rather than from the limitations of time, God sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10), and therefore views all believers in Christ—past, present, or future—as already being in their gloried state … with Him in eternity. 

This is how we know Romans 8:28 is true … God does work all things together for good, for those who are the called according to His purpose. If God can bring the believer out of sin and into glory, then surely He is able to use everything that comes into our lives for His ultimate plan. God cannot be stifled or waylaid in His eternal purposes.

For Further Review

1.  What is the foundation of the truth of Romans 8:28? In your own words, describe what God has done for the believer.

2.  How has Romans 8:28 been misquoted? What is wrong with the various misquotations? How have they changed the intended meaning of the verse?

3.  What is God’s ultimate plan and purpose for every Christian? How does that purpose affect the way we live our lives in the here and now?

 

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Ephesians Devotional—Week One, Day Two (12/1/09)

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Ephesians 1:4-8

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love {5} he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— {6} to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. {7} In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace {8} that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

When did God make His choice of us? What was the basis of His choice? What was the end or goal of that choice?

By Divine revelation (found in this morning’s text), we have the answers to these questions. First, God made His choice of us before the creation of the world. Second, He chose those who would be in Him (that is, in Christ). [That is, God made a decision in eternity past that His elect would be chosen in His Son. If someone desires to be one of the chosen ones, then he/she could become just that by fully trusting Jesus Christ and committing their life to Him.] And third, the goal of that choice was that He would have people that are holy (set apart) and blameless before Him (in His sight). He wanted to invite human beings into the “inner circle” of the Trinity—that we would know all that He is, and share it with Him!

The same basis for God’s blessings applies to the other ones listed here … predestined unto adoption as sons (through Jesus Christ) … grace which he has freely given us (in the One he loves) … redemption and forgiveness (in him).

In other words, the key to obtaining all of these blessings has to do with whether or not one is in Christ. In Christ we are chosen, adopted as his sons, recipients of his glorious grace, redeemed by his blood, and forgiven of all our sins. There are only two classes of humanity: those who are in Christ and those who remain in Adam.

What a blessing to be in Christ! Our position is solid, and our lives are forever changed! We need only believe in what we already have to experience the joy of what it means to belong to God. When God chooses, adopts, redeems, and forgives He does it completely, intentionally, and with a purpose. Because of Him, our lives are eternally meaningful. God does not make junk.

This is the truth about the believer … ultimately the only actual thing that is true of any of us is what God says!

  1. How does the idea that God chose you before the foundation of the world affect your view of yourself? What will change in your self-perception if you embrace God’s view by faith?
  2. Using a Bible dictionary or online dictionary, look up these words and write out the definitions that you think express the Biblical intent: adoption, redemption, forgiveness. Do you believe these relational concepts are true of you? Are they yours?
  3. What is life like in God’s “inner circle”? What is it like to experience His joy, peace, love, creativity, patience, or goodness? Talk with the Lord about these things, enter into the Holiest by Jesus’ blood (Hebrews 10:19-22).