We want to look briefly at verses 28-39 of Romans 8. In verses 28-29 we
will see the Revelation of the Holy Spiritóthe fact that God is actually
causing everything to work together for good. That means we are going to
be changed into the image of His Son. Then in verses 30-39 we will see the
Resolve of the Holy Spiritóto carry out the plan of God, all the way until
that event when we are glorified and the sons of God are revealed.
start by looking at the Relationship of the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:28:
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
wants us to realize something we know already. What is it? That "God
causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to
those who are called according to His purpose."
work together" is the present active indicative of sunergeo.
Sunergeo means to be a fellow-worker, that is, to co-operate.
God Himself is the One working in our behalf and causing all things to
work together for good.
word "good" is agathos, meaning good, benevolent,
profitable, useful good. In other words, God will cause everything in our
lives to become beneficial, spiritually profitable, useful and good, even
in a fallen world filled with sin and corruption. Think of ordinary table
salt. It is composed of two poisons, sodium and chlorine. Yet when
properly combined they produce an extremely beneficial substance.
those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." The
word for love here is agapao, which means to love in a social or
moral sense. Jesus defines who "those who love God" are in John 14: 21,
23: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and
he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will
disclose Myself to himÖ. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My
Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with
those who are called according to His purpose." The word used here is
kletosóthe ones who are invited, appointed, selected. We did
not go to Christ, He called, invited us. The invitation is in John 3:16.
By now Iím sure we can all say that together: "For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should
not perish, but have eternal life."
learn that the calling is always "according to"óthe Greek word is
kataóHis purpose. Think back to some of the things we saw in
chapter 6. In verses 1-6 we learned that God has made me a brand new
person in Jesus Christ. We have been united with His resurrection life.
His life now is now in us. In verse 6 we read that we are no longer slaves
to sin. In verse 8, we read that we will live with Him. Not only one day
shall we live with Him, we live with Him every day now. Wherever I go,
there He is. Verse 11, you should "consider yourselves to be dead to sin,
but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Verses 12-14 tell us that we are not to let sin reign in us. Instead we
are to present ourselves to God "as instruments of righteousness." You
cannot overcome sin, but Jesus in you can overcome you. Then, in verses
15-23, Paul presents us with the choice we have to make: do we go back and
live in sin? Do we go back up under the law? Or do we take advantage of
Godís grace? Verse 23 says that we have been invited to receive the "free
gift of God [which] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
move on to Romans 8:29: "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to
become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born
among many brethren." We are never in danger of losing our salvation. Let
me explain why.
foreknew. The word is proginoskoóto know beforehand, to
foresee. God knew who would and who would not be saved, though He
obviously wished that none should perish. God not only foreknew our
salvation, but also foresaw its ultimate completion in glorification. He
predestined us "to become conformed to the image of His Son."
"Predestine" is the Greek word proorizo. Its meaning is "to
limit in advance," that is, "to predetermine," to determine or decree
beforehand. The church has been disrupted due to the misunderstanding
which surrounds this word.
must consider the divinely intended meaning of this word by examining the
critical passages where it is used. Look first at 1 Corinthians 2:7: "but
we speak Godís wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God
predestined before the ages to our glory." it has something as itís object
which is the wisdom of God, which was predestined for our glory, or as a
benefit of our salvation. In Acts 4:28 we read, "to do whatever Thy hand
and Thy purpose predestined to occur."
action of Herod and Pontius Pilate in crucifying Jesus Christ is said to
have been predetermined or foreordained by the hand and will of God. Dr.
Spiros Zodhiates says, "This indicates that Christís mission,
especially His death and resurrection, was not ultimately the result of
human will but originated in the eternal counsel of God which decreed the
event, determining all its primary and secondary causes, instruments,
agents, and contingencies."
Bible dictionary describes predestination this way:
concepts are involved in the biblical meaning of predestination.
First, God, who is all-powerful in the universe, has foreknown and
predestined the course of human history and the lives of
individuals. If He were not in complete control of human events, He
would not be sovereign and, thus, would not be God. Second, Godís
predestination of human events does not eliminate human choice. A
thorough understanding of how God can maintain His sovereignty and
still allow human freedom seems to be reserved for His infinite mind
alone. Great minds have struggled with this problem for centuries.
Predestination is used of Godís actions in eternally decreeing both
the objects and goal of His plan of salvation. Proorizo has
a personal object, the plural relative pronoun hous, whom.
This relative pronoun refers to those previously mentioned as those whom
God foreknew. The translation is, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did
predestinate." The objects of predestination are those whom He foreknew.
Predestination does not involve a predetermined plan only but also
includes the individuals for whom the plan is devised. The goal of
predestination is expressed in the phrase, "To be conformed to the image
of His Son."
objects of salvation, of course, are those who respond to the "whosoever
will" of Godís love. The goal for those who receive this wonderful free
gift of Godís grace is that we be conformed into the image of His Own Son
Jesus Christ, "that He might be the first-born [prototokos]
among many brethren."
Christ, the Son of God, became the firstborn of a new race. The
predetermined goal of salvation for those whom God foreknew is stated to
be conformity to the image of Godís Son. The stated purpose of this task
is that the Son might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Prototokos presents Christ as the preeminent or ranking member of
Interpreters have viewed the emphasis as falling upon either the phrase
"among many brothers" or the word "firstborn." If you accept the former,
then the upshot of Paulís words is that God predestined the elect to glory
so that they might share in the inheritance allotted to Christ as Godís
Son. That is, God desired to include with Christ a host of other but
lesser heirs, brothers among whom Christ would stand as preeminent.
However, this misses the point of the passage, which stresses not the
number of the elect but the astonishing goal of their salvationóconformity
to the very image of the Son Himself.
latter emphasis seems most fitting. The conformity of sinners into the
glorious image of Godís Son places Christ among them. The ultimate goal of
salvation, the glory of God, is thus achieved. Yet, some find it difficult
to understand how the conformity of Godís elect would serve to bring about
Christís position as firstborn. How is it that the salvation of sinners
makes Christ the firstborn? Is He not so upon His own merit and in
consideration of His own character? It can be replied that the effect in
view is not one that has reference to Christ Himself or the Fatherís
estimation of Him. Rather, the effect has reference to Christ before man.
design in original creation was to reflect His glory in man and the world.
The fall of Adam defaced the image and consequently Godís preeminence
among humanity was lost. Salvation is the restoration of man to his
original purpose. Therefore, since the salvation of sinners restores the
divine image in man, Christ cannot but be exalted and made preeminent
who receive Him by faith are baptized into Him and take on His
characteristics because of His Spirit living in them. A process is begun,
and conformity to Him in character and conduct is the purpose for it all.
move on now, to see the Resolve of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:30:
"and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these
He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."
this verse, Paul shares one of the strongest statements on eternal
security in the Bible. As far as God is concerned, even our glorification
is so certain it can be written in the past tense. But, as far as we are
concerned it has not yet happened.
are "predestined", "called", "justified", and "glorified". Here is the
word proorizo again. We must relegate this to the whole
human race. We are not allowed into the counsel of the Godhead to discover
who it is that will respond. We must remember the "whosoever will".
are "called"ówe have been invited. Our name has been called aloud! It is
done! Oh, what staying power this gives us while we still reside in this
are "justified"óJesus has paid the price. Our sins are covered. Our
accounts are square with God.
are "glorified"óit might not seem like it now! But to Godís mind, it is a
"done deal". What He has said WILL happen!
we come to a marvelous promise. Romans 8:31 says, "What then shall we say
to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" Oh, how Paul has
nailed down the fact that there is no condemnation to those in Jesus
Christ. The bottom line is "If God is for us, who is against us?" The "if"
here is the absolute sense of God is for us. It could be read, "Because
God is for us."
much is God for us? Look at Romans 8:32: "He who did not spare His own
Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely
give us all things?" My friends, there is no greater gift anyone can give
Christ dying on the cross for us, and raising from the dead, is not only
the foundation for our salvation but for our security in Him. If God has
given us the greatest gift, is there any lesser gift that He will not
give? In fact, Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:3: "Blessed be the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual
blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Clearly, we have been given
"all things" in Christ. We see some of those things in the next verses.
Romans 8:33: "Who will bring a charge against Godís elect? God is the
one who justifies." The world, and the devil, continue to bring charges
against us. The word here is egkaleo, a charge. It means to accuse,
to arraign. But God justifiesódikaiooó declares to be, and
shows to be, righteous. God Himself paid the penalty so that we could be
declared righteous and proven to be righteous.
Romans 8:34: "who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who
died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who
also intercedes for us." We have God Himself interceding for us. Christ,
the one who came to die, and was raised and sits at the right hand of God.
He died for our sins; they can never condemn us again. He was raised from
the dead declaring to the world who He was, and His resurrection power
resides in us today. And He who sits at the right hand of the Father will
pray us home.
is a marvelous promise. 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?" Who or what shall separate us
from the love of Christ? The word tis can mean "who" or it
can mean "what". Chorizo means to separate, to divide
asunder. But none of these things, or anything else, can separate us "from
the love of Christ."
quotes from Psalm 44:22 in verse 36: "Just as it is written, ĎFor thy sake
we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be
before Paul wrote this epistle, Godís faithful people had suffered, for
centuries, at only at the hands of Gentiles, but also at the hands of
fellow Jews. If anything could separate us from the love of Christ then it
would have taken place long ago. Paul quotes from the Psalmist reciting
the worst conditions for Godís people.
instead of separating them from Godís love, verse 37 tells us, "But in all
these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." The
difficulties only drew them closer into it. It is through Him that we
conquer and are conquered.
Finally, verses 38-39: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to
come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord."
you think of anything that isnít covered by that? We are eternally loved
and free and secure in Christ.