Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 4 Study # 7
Thesis: God is working because He has justified and glorified those whom He has called and is calling.
Introduction: Giving lip service to "truth" is not the same thing as believing "truth". The Scriptures argue that "faith" is revealed by actions taken, at least on the negative side of the issue. What I am calling the negative side is that reality wherein a claim to "faith" is denied by the refusal to take the actions that "faith in truth" compel. This is John's argument in 1 John 4:20 where he denies the lip service because the actions are contradictory to it.
The positive side is that reality wherein actions commensurate with "faith" actually do take place. However, since many "beliefs" can produce the same overt actions, it is often impossible to tell if it is a legitimate "faith" that is producing what is seen. So, we can deny the lip service given by refusing to take the actions that faith always motivates, but we cannot establish the lip service as faith by actions taken except in rather extreme cases. James argues that Abraham's faith was validated by his sacrifice of Isaac. This is a case of validation on the positive side, but it is used because it is about as extreme a situation as can be imagined.
In our studies of Romans 8:26-30 we have seen that Paul puts forth the claim that God is actively working in history to force "all things" into the service of His goal of producing "good" for His people. Because his category is "all" things, this becomes a major "faith" issue in regard to whether, or not, in any particular circumstance, a child of God actually "believes" Romans 8:28. And, because Paul knows that it is relatively easy to give lip service to this claim, particularly in the "good" times, he decides to form a foundation for faith that establishes the truth of his claim so that his readers can grow into that faith. He does this by appealing to certain things that God did in the past so that the present can be lived in the reality of a confidence that God is actively working on our behalf for our good.
We have already considered the issues of his "knowing" beforehand, his "predetermination" beforehand, and his "calling" beforehand. This evening we are going to look at the last two aspects of God's prior action: He "justified" those He "called" and He "glorified" those He "justified".
June 18, 2017
- I. The Issues.
- A. "Justification".
- 1. This is a mental activity wherein God makes a determination to treat a person as sinless in respect to the requirements of Justice.
- 2. This determination has two main aspects.
- 1. On the one hand, God "reckons" the person to be sinless as a participant in the sinlessness of Christ.
- 2. On the other hand, God "refuses" to take any actions toward this "sinless" person that are rooted in Justice.
- B. "Glorification".
- 1. This is an action taken by God to make a person an actual participant in the character of Christ.
- 2. This action also has two main aspects.
- 1. On the one hand, God transforms the physical frame of a person so that it takes on the same characteristics as the physical frame of the resurrected Christ.
- 2. On the other hand, God alters the inner compulsions and reasonings of a person so that they reflect the inner compulsions and reasonings of Christ.
- II. Paul's Declarations.
- A. God has already "justified" those identified as "those called according to purpose".
- B. God has already "glorified" those identified as "those whom He justified".
- C. The "already" aspects of these claims exist as an element of the pre-creative transcendence of God.
- 1. In this transcendence, there is no "fore" or "pre" because the aorist tense is used.
- a. "He knew" already means "He knew beforehand".
- b. "He ordained" already means "He ordained beforehand".
- 2. But, the point Paul is trying to make is one: because "it's already done" it needs to lie at the root of our "believing": what's the point of denying what is already accomplished?
- III. What Paul's Readers Need.
- A. First, they need to be confident that they are "the called according to purpose".
- 1. This need is met by their own personal history with God.
- 2. This need is also reinforced by God's Spirit's continuing work to bolster this confidence.
- B. Second, they need to jettison any and all notions that their circumstances have any ability at all to undercut the reality of God's current work to force all things to become servants of their good.
- C. Third, they need to buy into both the aorist tense declarations and the present tense fact.
- 1. The aorist means God has already done everything necessary to fulfill His promise to them.
- 2. The present means that God is forcing time to conform to His previous decisions.