Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Called, Justified and Glorified (Romans № 25 Part 3)

In our last of three posts concerning Romans 8.28-30 we will end with Paul's view of our comprehensive salvation. Let's read the last verse:
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.(Rom 8.30 ESV)
Having dealt with foreknowledge and predestination in the former post, we have three more terms to define. There is a logical progression of thought in this chain of salvation, each link connecting to the other. They reach into the future but we can see our destination from here.

3. Called καλεω

There is a difference in how the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul used "called". Christ spoke of the kingdom of God in a parable, describing it as a wedding feast and concluded, "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Mat 22:14 ESV) In this instance, called means "invited to salvation" and chosen means "saved". In other words, people who hear the gospel are called to recieve the good news. This does not guarentee that they will become the chosen, those who respond favorably to salvation's call.

Conversely, when Paul speaks of "called", he means "chosen". It is an effectual call, one that is tied closely with God's omniscience of who will choose salvation. Thus, in Paul's terminology, all who are called are the chosen, the elect of God.

4. Justified δικαιοω

The logical progression from an effectual calling is justification. To justify, in Paul's vocabulary, is God's declaration of "Not Guilty" in his heavenly Court. As Wesley, preaching from the text, "And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness" (Rom 4:5 ESV), declared in his Sermons, # 5, "Justification By Faith":
The plain scriptural notion of justification is pardon, the forgiveness of sins. It is that act of God the Father, hereby, for the sake of the propitiation made by the blood of his Son, he 'showeth forth his righteousness (or mercy) by the remission of the sins that are past.' This is the easy, natural account of it given by St. Paul, throughout this whole epistle. So he explains it himself, more particularly in this and in the following chapter. Thus, in the next verses but one to the text, 'Blessed are they,' saith he, 'whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered: Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.' To him that is justified or forgiven, God 'will not impute sin' to his condemnation. He will not condemn him on that account, either in this world or in that which is to come. His sins, all his past sins, in thought, word, and deed, are covered, are blotted out, shall not be remembered or mentioned against him, any more than if they had not been. God will not inflict on that sinner what he deserved to suffer, because the Son of his love hath suffered for him. And from the time we are 'accepted through the Beloved,' 'reconciled to God through his blood,' he loves, and blesses, and watches over us for good, even as if we had never sinned.
Instead, the sinner who comes to God through Christ is imputed with the perfect active and passive obedience of Christ. (See my post, Righteousness in Christ, for a discussion of this wonderful doctrine.)

5. Glorified δοξαζω

The last term to define on this chain of salvation is an interesting one; it speaks to all of the Christian's hopes and dreams when he his mortal body is transformed into his resurrection body. The ultimate goal of salvation is to be with the Lord forever. In his Explanatory Notes for verse 30 Wesley comments on glorified, saying, "[Paul] speaks as one looking back from the goal, upon the race of faith. Indeed grace, as it is glory begun, is both an earnest and a foretaste of eternal glory."

While we Christians haven't experienced the Glories of the Presence of God as our departed saints have, the process has already begun. In the already/not yet aspects of salvation, we already have been made partakers of the divine nature (2 Pe 1.4) and this will come to ultimate culmination when faith becomes sight.

Praise the Lord!