Friday, June 23, 2017
Blessed Assurances of Salvation in Romans 8:28-31 - Granting Christ's Righteousness by Faith and a Guaranteed Future
Romans 8:30-31 "and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?"
Over the last couple of posts, we have considered the blessed assurances of salvation as spelled out in Romans 8:28-31. We've witnessed thus far: foreknowledge (i.e God's pre-eternal love); predestination (i.e God's purposes in Christ) and calling (i.e Gracious call of the Spirit). Today we continue this study of these five "golden-rings" of salvation.
Contemplation of these truths does not yield any clarity on how we can resolve the tension that exists in scripture between God's Sovereignty to save those whom He wills and man's responsibility to believe, repent and be saved. Nevertheless, contemplation of the truths laid out in Romans 8:28-31 will yield deeper confidence in Christ and greater assurance of our salvation. Truly salvation is of the Lord!
We focus our attention on Paul's two final assurances, found in Romans 8:30 - namely "justified" and "glorified".
Granting Christ's Righteousness By Faith
What is meant by the term "justified" in Romans 8:30? The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 defines for us justification:
"Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God."
Justification has to do with God's judicial declaration over the sinner at saving faith: "not guilty". Let the reader be reminded that justification can only occur when the sinner believes. Salvation is taught consistently in scripture as including both God's Sovereignty (election, foreknowledge, predestination, calling) and human responsibility (justified). No man can be saved lest God draws them (John 6:44). Yet, at the same time, no man can be saved until He repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-40). If anymore proof were needed of the dual-teaching of sovereignty and human responsibility in salvation, than surely this text ought to suffice.
With faith being both the necessary and sufficient condition to receive God's forgiveness, the question is: what sort of righteousness is credited to the sinner? Answer: Christ's accomplished life, death and resurrection. He is our assurance! Included in God's legal declaration of justification in saving faith is that relational declaration of adoption (Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:4-6). All the foundations of assurance mentioned here by Paul in these verses are from God, for God and by God. The believer as a recipient of saving grace is helpless and hopeless apart from Christ and God's working on their behalf.
A Guaranteed Future - Romans 8:30-31
Here is what makes all the assurances mention by Paul in Romans 8:28-31 to be so glorious: namely, we literally see God's purpose of grace in Romans 8:28 stretching from eternity past (foreknowledge, predestination) through this present world and life (calling and justification) to eternity future (glorification). 1 John 3:1-2 states - "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." We will receive the perfection of our human souls following death and await for what will be the resurrection of our bodies. The goal of glorification is to behold Him with our own eyes (see Job 19:25; John 5:24-25; Philippians 3:20; Revelation 21-22).
Bounded on either side of these five assurances are two impregnable fortresses: Romans 8:28 and Romans 8:31. Romans 8:28 states: "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." Paul's point in Romans 8;29-30 has been to expound what he means by God's purpose in 8:28.
Now it can be quite mind-reeling when studying the deep truths of God like we have been these last several days. This is why we need Romans 8:31, that other impregnable fortress, to get our bearing: "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?"
We can surely see that if God is for the Christian before they were born and before He created anything else; and if God is for the Christian up to their conversion all the way through their sanctification in this life; then why would He change in terms of eternity future? The blessed assurances of Romans 8:28-31 lay down for us a tremendous treasure trove of truth. In the end, we must retain humility and awe that this glorious God, revealed in Christ and made known to us by His Spirit would so foreknow, predestine, call, justify and desire to glorify the likes of us. This is indeed "blessed assurance"!