“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 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.” (Romans 8:29-30)
Is Salvation the work of God or the work of man? Is it the Grace of God that ultimately saves or is it our faith which procures that Grace? Was it the theology of John Calvin or Jacob Arminius that came closer to Scriptural truth?
Both schools of thought have their favorite “proof” verses backing up their conclusions. But as we reach the end of the doctrinal section of the Book of Romans, it is very hard to see much of anything so far in this Epistle that would suggest that man has much of a role in his Salvation at all! Focusing now on the 29th and 30th verses of Romans 8, the first thing we notice is that every verb in this passage has but one Subject: God. Everything that is being done, from the foreknowing to the glorifying, is being done by God and only God. There really doesn’t seem to be much room for man to have a part in this process at all.
Even so, a quick glance back at verse 28, the verse which opened the topic before us now, does describe the called mentioned again here in verse 30. Those who are the called according to His purpose are those who love God. Here we touch upon what has been referred to as the distinction between the general call of God and the effectual call of God. The general call of God is given to many, but it is only those who answer which have ultimately received the effectual call.
I contend that the process of Salvation is wholly the work of God from start to finish and our role in the process is simply to answer the call. We answer the call by putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and loving Him, not because we are overflowing with love, but because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). There is no action that man may take that will ingratiate him to God; all we may do is respond to the actions which He has already taken.
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)
There is much to chew on in the two short verses of Romans 8:29 and 30, the implications of which are far-reaching. That God determined before the foundation of the world those who would be predestinated to answer His call is both humbling and mind-boggling. For what manner of pride, what boasting can any of us rejoice in when we realize that we could never have come to God lest He first called us?
As sobering as this realization might be, far greater is the comfort in knowing that God not only called us, but will indeed finish that work in us which He has begun! He foreknew us, predestinated us, called us, justified us, and will eventually glorify us. If anyone should doubt the certainty and security of the believer’s final destination in Heaven, may they look no further than this wonderful passage. All these things has God done on our behalf, and it is God Who shall complete that which remains undone.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,