Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 4 Study # 6
Thesis: The third reason for confidence that Romans 8:28 is true is the calling of God.
Introduction: We have already seen from our studies in this paragraph that Romans 8:28 is a declaration of good for "the called according to purpose". We have also already seen that Romans 8:29-30 is Paul's attempt to get his readers to genuinely "believe" in God's present and active work to bring good to His called ones through every aspect of their experiences; those considered pleasant and those considered unpleasant. Additionally, we have seen that the list of five prior actions of God has "calling" in the third spot (the middle) in the list. Unmentioned so far in this study is this fact: all five of the things God has done to make it possible for us to believe in the eventual good to come out of every circumstance is cast into the past by the use of the aorist tense of the verbs. These things are seen as "already done". It is not just foreknowledge and predestination that are seen as prior to the present, but the act of calling, the declaration of justification, and the outcome called glorification are likewise presented as accomplished facts.
This evening we are going to look into the issues surrounding the fact that God has called those whom He predestined to be conformed to the glorious image of His Christ.
June 11, 2017
- I. The "Call" As A Past Act.
- A. It is at the level of "calling" that there is an obvious "bleed-over" from transcendence into immanence.
- 1. "Knowledge" prior to the existence of the "known" is a static reality for God and exists most fundamentally in the transcendence of God over and above all creation.
- 2. "Predetermination" prior to the existence of the "determined" is a decision of God in the realm of His existence above all creation.
- 3. But "calling" is an activity; foreknown and predetermined, but an action taken nonetheless.
- a. This is the first declaration of "an action taken by God" in the five supports for a good outcome for all that happens.
- b. It is presented as a past, actual, event; but, it insists upon an equal reality within Time.
- c. Thus, what I have called "an obvious bleed-over" from transcendence into immanence.
- B. Every believer has a past that included a summons from God into the truth of the Gospel.
- 1. That it occurred before Time does not erase the fact that it also occurred in Time.
- 2. As "action", it almost necessitates the existence of Time as we know it (it is impossible for us to even think of events occurring without our Time-as-a-progression orientation).
- 3. As "action in Time" this is the most effective support for the reality of God being currently at work to bring everything into a "production of good" root (8:28).
- II. The "Call" As The Central Issue of "Ultimate Good".
- A. In 8:28, the commitment is to "those called according to purpose".
- B. As the first "Time-forced" reality in the description of God's supports for our confidence, the "call" of God stands over the prior facts of omniscience-based foreknowledge and wisdom-based determination and the following resultant facts of justification and glorification.
- III. The Place of "Calling" as Paul Presents It.
- A. According to Romans 9:11, "calling" is the foundation of "the purpose of God".
- 1. The text says the "purpose" has to "stand" (abide; be impossible to erase or nullify).
- 2. The prior text of 8:28 says that those extended the promise of eventual good are "the called according to purpose".
- 3. The text also says that the revelation of "the elder serving the younger" was given before the time of the existence of the two.
- 4. An earlier text (Romans 4:16) says that this "before action can be taken by those involved" was the only way the promise could be "sure" (made to stand) and it places "grace" at the very root of the entire process.
- a. It was "grace" that placed Jacob over Esau, not any superiority in Jacob.
- b. This is the only way the promise is secured, and 8:28 is the promise under our consideration.
- 5. Thus, God's entrance into Time with His active "calling" is the outworking of what was foreknown and predetermined and the foundation of what was justified and glorified.
- B. The problem: Matthew 20:16 and 22:14.
- 1. Twice Jesus said "calling" is not, of itself, effective.
- 2. Beneath "calling", "choosing" stands.
- 3. But, according to Revelation 17:14, there are three issues: calling, choosing, and believing.
- a. Since it is not "choosing", "calling", and "believing", we have to assume that "calling" is the central issue with "choosing" preceding and "believing" following.
- b. There is no admission of any additions or omissions.
- 4. Thus, we conclude that God often "calls" but does not follow through with "justification" or "glorification" because of His intent to reveal that men are what they are as rebels against God who dare to resist the calling.
- IV. The Point: Those for whom all things will be turned by God into good are "The Called" who have been summoned by God into His purpose.