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.
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(30) Predestinate.—This is the term which seems most to interfere with human free-will. Foreknowledge does not interfere with free-will, because the foreknowledge, though prior in point of time, is posterior in the order of causation to the act of choice. A man does not choose a certain action because it is foreknown, but it is foreknown because he will choose it. Predestination (the word is not inadequately translated) appears to involve a more rigorous necessity. All we can say is that it must not be interpreted in any sense that excludes free-will. Free-will is a postulate on which all the superstructure of morals and religion must rest. The religious mind, looking back over the course by which it has been brought, sees in it predominating the hand of God; but however large the divine element in salvation may be, it must in the end be apprehended by faith, which is an act of free-will. And the subsequent actions of which faith is the moving cause, though done under a co-operating divine influence, yet belong to the sphere of human freedom. (See Note on Romans 2:6.) It should be remembered that St. Paul is not now writing in the calm temper of philosophical analysis, but in an intense access of religious emotion, and therefore he does not stay to put in all the qualifying clauses that philosophy might require. It is well for mankind that he has done so. In all great and creative religious minds the consciousness of free-will has retired into the background.

Called.—By presenting to them the gospel, directly or indirectly, through the preaching of Christ and His Apostles.

Justified.—In the Pauline sense, as in Romans 3:24, et al.

Glorified.—Strictly, the glorifying of the Christian awaits him in the future, but the Apostle regards all these different acts as focused together as it were on a single point in the past. Glorification is involved in justification.

Romans 8:30. Moreover, whom he did predestinate — Or describe beforehand by his holy prophets, as persons who should resemble the Messiah; them, in due time, he also called — By his word and Spirit; and whom he called — When obedient to the heavenly calling, Acts 26:19; he also justified — Accounted righteous, pardoned, and accepted; and whom he justified, provided they continued in his goodness, Romans 11:2; he, in the end, glorified — The apostle does not affirm, either here or in any other part of his writings, that precisely the same number of persons are called, justified, and glorified. He does not deny that a believer may fall away and be cut off, between his special calling and his glorification, Romans 11:22. Neither does he deny that many are called who are never justified. He only affirms that this is the method whereby God leads us, step by step, toward heaven. He glorifies none whom he does not first justify, and indeed also sanctify: and he justifies none who are not first called, and obedient to the call. He glorified — The apostle speaks as one looking back from the goal, upon the race of faith, love, and obedience. Indeed grace, as it is glory begun, is both an earnest and a foretaste of eternal glory.

8:28-31 That is good for the saints which does their souls good. Every providence tends to the spiritual good of those that love God; in breaking them off from sin, bringing them nearer to God, weaning them from the world, and fitting them for heaven. When the saints act out of character, corrections will be employed to bring them back again. And here is the order of the causes of our salvation, a golden chain, one which cannot be broken. 1. Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. All that God designed for glory and happiness as the end, he decreed to grace and holiness as the way. The whole human race deserved destruction; but for reasons not perfectly known to us, God determined to recover some by regeneration and the power of his grace. He predestinated, or before decreed, that they should be conformed to the image of his Son. In this life they are in part renewed, and walk in his steps. 2. Whom he did predestinate, them he also called. It is an effectual call, from self and earth to God, and Christ, and heaven, as our end; from sin and vanity to grace and holiness, as our way. This is the gospel call. The love of God, ruling in the hearts of those who once were enemies to him, proves that they have been called according to his purpose. 3. Whom he called, them he also justified. None are thus justified but those that are effectually called. Those who stand out against the gospel call, abide under guilt and wrath. 4. Whom he justified, them he also glorified. The power of corruption being broken in effectual calling, and the guilt of sin removed in justification, nothing can come between that soul and glory. This encourages our faith and hope; for, as for God, his way, his work, is perfect. The apostle speaks as one amazed, and swallowed up in admiration, wondering at the height and depth, and length and breadth, of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. The more we know of other things, the less we wonder; but the further we are led into gospel mysteries, the more we are affected by them. While God is for us, and we keep in his love, we may with holy boldness defy all the powers of darkness.Moreover ... - In this verse, in order to show to Christians the true consolation to be derived from the fact that they are predestinated, the apostle states the connection between that predestination and their certain salvation. The one implied the other.

Whom he did predestinate - All whom he did predestinate.

Them he also called - Called by his Spirit to become Christians. He called, not merely by an external invitation, but in such a way as that they in fact were justified. This cannot refer simply to an external call of the gospel, since those who are here said to be called are said also to be justified and glorified. The meaning is, that there is a certain connection between the predestination and the call, which will be manifested in due time. The connection is so certain that the one infallibly secures the other.

He justified - See the note at Romans 3:24. Not that he justified them from eternity, for this was not true; and if it were, it would also follow that he glorified them from eternity, which would be an absurdity. It means that there is a regular sequence of events - the predestination precedes and secures the calling; and the calling precedes and secures the justification. The one is connected in the purpose of God with the other; and the one, in fact, does not take place without the other. The purpose was in eternity. The calling and justifying in time.

Them he also glorified - This refers probably to heaven. It means that there is a connection between justification and glory. The one does not exist without the other in its own proper time; as the calling does not subsist without the act of justification. This proves, therefore, the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. There is a connection infallible and ever existing between the predestination and the final salvation. They who are subjects of the one are partakers of the other. That this is the sense is clear,

(1) Because it is the natural and obvious meaning of the passage.

(2) because this only would meet the design of the argument of the apostle. For how would it be a source of consolation to say to them that whom God foreknew he predestinated, and whom he predestinated he called, and whom he called he justified, and whom he justified "might fall away and be lost forever?"

30. Moreover—"And," or "Now"; explanatory of Ro 8:29—In "predestinating us to be conformed to the image of His Son" in final glory, He settled all the successive steps of it. Thus

whom he did predestinate, them he also called—The word "called" (as Hodge and others truly observe) is never in the Epistles of the New Testament applied to those who have only the outward invitation of the Gospel (as in Mt 20:16; 22:14). It always means "internally, effectually, savingly called." It denotes the first great step in personal salvation and answers to "conversion." Only the word conversion expresses the change of character which then takes place, whereas this "calling" expresses the divine authorship of the change, and the sovereign power by which we are summoned, Matthew-like, Zaccheus-like, out of our old, wretched, perishing condition, into a new, safe, blessed life.

and whom he called—thus.

them he also justified—brought into the definite state of reconciliation already so fully described.

and whom he justified, them he also glorified—brought to final glory (Ro 8:17, 18). Noble climax, and so rhythmically expressed! And all this is viewed as past; because, starting from the past decree of "predestination to be conformed to the image of God's Son" of which the other steps are but the successive unfoldings—all is beheld as one entire, eternally completed salvation.

He hath already given them the beginning and pledge thereof in grace; and will in due time bring them to the possession of eternal life and glory. Some, under this term of glorification would have sanctification included; because, otherwise, they think there is a great defect in this chain of salvation, here set down by the apostle, of which sanctification is one special link; but this is rather to be couched and included in effectual calling, which is the third link, and already spoken of.

Moreover, whom he did predestinate,.... Not to sufferings, which are not expressed nor designed, but to grace and glory after mentioned. This predestination is of particular persons, who, in consequence of it, are called, justified, and glorified; it is the effect of divine grace, and entirely owing to it; it is the source of all the other blessings of grace, and is therefore placed at the head of them, and secures them all:

them he also called; not to afflictions: many may be called to afflictions, and endure them, who are neither justified nor glorified; besides, the people of God, though they meet with many afflictions, between their call to eternal glory, and their enjoyment of it, yet they are not so much called to afflictions, as to patience under them: their call is of grace, by special grace, to peculiar blessings of grace, and to a kingdom and glory; and this their calling is secured by predestination, and connected with glorification: and whom he called,

them he also justified; the meaning of which is, not that he approved of them as sincere and faithful, on account of their faith and patience in sufferings; for neither of their sufferings, nor of their faith and patience in them, is there the least mention in the passage; nor can any instance be produced of the use of the word "justified" in this epistle, or elsewhere in this sense: but the meaning is, that such persons whom God predestinates and calls, he makes them righteous by the imputation of the righteousness of his Son unto them; which is unto all, and upon all them that believe; by which they are justified before God, and in their own consciences, from all sin, and so secured from all wrath and condemnation; wherefore glorification stands inseparably connected with it:

and whom he justified, them he also glorified; which is not meant of being made glorious under sufferings; nor of being made glorious by the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit; for the word is never used in this sense, nor is God ever said to glorify his people in this way; and the apostle is speaking of the saints in general, and not of particular ones: if this was the sense, none would be predestinated, called, and justified, but such who have the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit; and none would have the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, but such persons; whereas many have had these, and yet no interest in the grace of God, and everlasting happiness: but eternal glory is here meant, which is what the apostle had been speaking of in the context; is what the elect are predestinated and called unto; and which their justification gives them a right and title to; and will consist in a likeness to Christ, in communion with him, in an everlasting vision of him, and in a freedom from all that is evil, and in an enjoyment of all that is good; and so the great end of predestinating grace will be answered in them mentioned in the foregoing verse: now this glorification may be said to be already done, with respect to that part of God's elect, who are in heaven, inheriting the promises; and is in some sense true also of that part of them which is on earth, who are called and justified; being made glorious within by the grace of Christ, and arrayed and adorned with the glorious robe of his righteousness; by the one they have a meetness, and by the other a right to eternal glory; of which this grace they have received is the beginning, pledge, and earnest: besides, they are already glorified in Christ, their head and representative, and in the view of God, and with respect to the certainty of it, it being prepared and made ready for them, is in the hands of Christ for them, and is insured to their faith and hope. It is an observation of a Jewish writer (n),

"that a thing , "which is decreed to be", is spoken of in the past tense:''

this is the Scripture style concerning things decreed, and such is the glorification of all God's elect.

(n) Aben Ezra, in Jon. ii. 2.

Moreover whom he did {n} predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

(n) He uses the past tense for the present time, as the Hebrews use, who sometimes describe something that is to come by using the past tense, to signify the certainty of it: and he also is referring to God's continual working.

30. them he also called] See above, on Romans 8:28, last note but one. In this chain of past tenses, the whole process is viewed as in its eternal completeness. We look back, as it were, from the view-point of glory.

justified] See on Romans 2:13. The links in this golden chain are strictly consecutive. The “call” was to obedient faith; therefore justification, by the Divine order, followed. See cch. 3, 4, 5.

glorified] A past tense used, with wonderful power, of a thing future. (See ch. Romans 5:2, where we have the “hope of the glory of God.”) So indissoluble is the chain that the last link is here viewed as an accomplished fact because the first links are so. See, for a remarkable illustration, Ephesians 2:4-6. There the saints are already “seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”—such is their union with Him that, just as they are viewed as having gone through penal death, because He died, so they are viewed as having entered heaven, (as regards right of entrance), because He ascended.

It seems difficult, without violence to both the letter and spirit of this passage, to deny that it represents the salvation of “the children of God” as a line drawn from eternity to eternity: first, a sovereign Choice of souls; then the Call of the chosen, resulting in their Faith and their Acceptance; then the final entrance on heavenly Bliss of these same called ones; and also their Note and characteristic now,—Love to God. The “scheme” thus indicated, called by whatever name, has always met with earnest criticism and opposition; but it is the only one which naturally fits St Paul’s language here and in ch. 9. It is really alien from Scripture only when it is stated as if it were a plan of which we saw the whole: assuredly in these things “we know in part”. But this does not mean that we are not to accept what is revealed, just so far as it is revealed, with sincere submission, and with that encouragement and joyful assurance which certainly this passage, on any view of it, was meant to excite.—See, on the whole subject, the equally careful and decided language of the 17th English Church Article; especially noting that the doctrine here stated is there viewed (in the spirit of this passage) as “full of unspeakable comfort[39].”—It must also be remembered that in the scheme in question the sanctification of the saved is viewed as quite as much fore ordained, and quite as necessary a part of the process, as any other; and that the only evidence to the conscience that the person is “foreknown” lies, not in any intuition of a Divine decree, but in the presence of faith and love, and their fruits, in heart and life. These will be always attributed, and justly, to Divine grace alone: but the presence of that grace will be traced in them alone.

[39] See further, Appendix F.

Romans 8:30. Τούτους καὶ ἐδικαίωσεν, them He also justified) Paul does not fix the number of those, who are called, justified, glorified, to be absolutely equal; he does not affirm that the believer may not fail between the special call, and final glory, ch. Romans 11:22; nor does he deny that there are also persons called, who may not be justified; but he shows, that God, so far as He Himself is concerned, conducts His people from step to step.—ἐδόξασε, He glorified) Romans 8:17-24. He speaks in the preterite, as if he were looking back from the goal to the race of faith, and from eternal glory, as it were, backward to the eternity itself, in which God decreed the glorifying of His people.—[Comp. Psalm 16:3.]

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