“Salvation is from our side a choice,
from the divine side a conquest of the Most High God.”
– A.W. Tozer
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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.
I’ve never heard a teaching based upon this scripture which did not at least contain within it a subtle pleading on behalf of sin and imperfection. Yet here are pure and holy words, which by the Holy Spirit speak expressly to the perfecting of the saints, whose sins their Saviour takes away, saving them “even to the uttermost.” It is an irony bearing the very fingerprints of Satan, that most who in word affirm the electing Grace of God despise hearing the true reason that He so appeared to all men.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching US* that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
* “US” – The Grace of God (the Person of Christ) appeared to all men to teach the children of God the fear of the Lord. The Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world: which gift is abundant toward those who avail themselves of it by the powerful operation of the gift of HIS faith within them. He appeared to all; but He came unto His own. Now therefore, let His own continue to receive Him even to the fullness of God; for He has other sheep of which we know not, and He will have the full-grown tree of His planting though He finds need to cast away unfruitful branches in the process.
For judgement Christ has come into the world, “that the ones who do not see may see, and they who see may become blind.” (John 9:39) That which we see of God, we are judged according to. Holiness is walked in by earnestly operating in what God has revealed to each one. Only by this shall men see the Lord: who then must either come to the Light, manifesting the practice of truth which has been wrought in God; or they must walk more determinedly in darkness, working evil before the face of God’s enlightenment because they hate His Light on account of its exposure.
And this Light beams clear and bright in Romans chapter eight, which speaks perhaps most loftily of the highest wonders of His grace.
And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called
according to His purpose…
God equates loving Him with obedience to the calling given to each of His children. Men speak much of a love for God, but few make their calling and election sure. Loving God is proven in those who walk in the specific purposes of His will for them by the Holy Spirit, who gives all unction for the task. Would that we availed ourselves of His boundless resource, unto His good working in “all things”! For of such the apostle can be confident, “that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Php 1:6)
…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…
Foreknowledge is the eternal desire of God pursuing men. It is the pleasure of the Good Shepherd to go after a lost sheep; even to find the one in leaving the ninety-nine. And to these, who by the Father are drawn to Him, He seeks to reveal the eternal purpose for which they were apprehended by Him: which is that they might themselves apprehend Him. This is that for which we are predestined; for by laying hold of He who first lay hold of us, we become in this world as He is, so that when He appears we may be like Him, seeing Him as He is. The predestination of God has within it the strengthening power of His grace to this very end for those who remain in Christ. Those who do not avail themselves of His strength to be conformed to His image fail to walk in what He has predestined. The destiny of each child of God becoming a perfect reflection of Christ the Son is decided by God; but it is carried out in those who continually yield to His way that it might be manifested as true. Jesus’ brother, sister, and mother are those who do the will of His Father. The likeness of the Son is revealed within each one to the degree that they allow Him to conform them to that glorious image – no cost in this life being comparable to the glory that shall be revealed…
…Moreover whom He did predestinate,
them He also called…
God’s calling is to be obeyed: disobedience is the calling neglected, and a calling neglected stands in judgement over the one called. “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” – they remain immovable in God, their blessing impending upon the diligent; but the wicked and slothful servant moves only to bury it in the cursed soil of earth. If only he had discovered the heavenly-tilled soil which God is so gracious to produce in men’s hearts, if they would but submit to the process of growing in His good and perfect gifts! “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” (Lk 12:47) In the parable of the marriage feast (Mt 22) Jesus sent “to call them that were bidden” (v3 – KJV). The word for both call and bidden are the same Greek word (καλέω – Str. G2564). Literally, He “called them that were called,” and they refused to come on account of their own pressing earthly cares. They would rather fellowship with the dead than follow Christ and leave the dead to bury themselves. It is well to be called; but to end here is an eternal shame. That which we have received from above, let us also give, give into, and give in to fully. The callings of God are not optional if we should supp with Him in the highest of heavenly gladness. There is a place reserved for those without an inheritance (“outer darkness… where there is weeping & gnashing of teeth” – Mt ch. 8, 22, 24, 25). In the words of Peter, it is partaking of the divine nature TODAY which brings us “abundantly” into His kingdom still partaking…
…give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1 – (read the whole chapter)
…and whom He called,
them He also justified…
Religious men would not arrange the list in Romans 8:29-30 with justified following called if they had written it; for to them these words carry nothing beyond the past tense. But God, knowing the end from the beginning and the hardness of men’s hearts, speaks by faith concerning present and future realities as though they were past; so that men may likewise avail themselves of living by HIS faith in order to lay hold of the Truth for themselves. For by the Word of God the heavens and the earth were created; and the gospel of Christ that very Word remains the power of God unto salvation for them that believe (present-tense). “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith unto faith. As it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Faith is to be the substance growing within a person unto the righteousness of God being revealed in them. For the just are those who are justified, and justification is for those called to righteousness; and those in whom said righteousness is not revealed did not make their calling and election sure from faith to faith. For the creation’s expectant groaning shall only be satisfactorily answered by the revealing of the sons of God; and these are only revealed to the degree that Christ in them is revealed, Who is their hope of glory. The just are those in whose hearts the light of Jesus Christ has shone as out of the midst of darkness; so that now as His salvation draws ever-nearer, they strive for no less than to see the word fulfilled: “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.” Men want justification to be a trite excuse for rationalizing their neglect of this high and upward calling to glorification after His likeness. But here the Holy Spirit will have none of their guilty pleadings on behalf of iniquity and sin; which He came as an inward fire to remove and to purge, that we should be liberated to walk transformed by His ever-renewing power.
…and whom He justified,
them He also glorified…
The just live by faith; and if they “NOW live by the faith OF the Son of God” (Gal 2:20), then shall they find at work in them that same living righteousness which is only “through the faith OF Christ” (Php 3:9). It is only in walking by HIS faith, and that increasing, that God’s end for His own shall be attained to: the full sanctification of their whole beings. Paul expressed this longing of God for His people,
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God
your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless
unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
There have sadly been those throughout history who have divided these three parts of the human person with the intent of suppressing certain ones for the glorification of others. This is folly. God does not regard the body or the soul any less than the spirit; for He created them to glorify Himself, and He partook of all three that He might perfect them all in His children. Those who are happy to pursue the perfecting of the spirit, yet deny that the soul and body could possibly be sanctified WHOLLY, saying that these must rather be irreparably broken or suppressed in this life, will only fall short of the glory of God which He holds in store for each of these components which make up the whole.
The spirit of man, which men are so often proud to boast in, is not our own. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.” (1Cor 6:17) And the Word of God divides soul and spirit for the purpose of discerning unto the good of both; not unto the pushing down of the soul, but for restoring it to the wholeness and freedom of a man’s entire being in God’s purposes. For even after the fall of Adam, God has still woven each one together in the womb: each with a personality and certain traits which are only brought to fullness and right usage in sanctification – but not thrown away; for God has woven and continues weaving that vessel to be a unique expression of His likeness. God forbid that His call and gifting within us should have doubt cast upon it by the carnality of those who despise the humanity of man in his soul. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man: for in God the two are completely compatible. For in the image of God He created man, and the life of the Christian is again hid with Christ in God. Each is therefore given the means to be a reflection of the various facets of God’s wisdom and glory. An excellent diamond requires light to strike its multiple faces from different angles in order to display the manifold beauty of its singular essence – not because the diamond is unable to display all of its glory at once, but because its viewers are insufficient to behold much of it apart from interactive movement in the light. God’s is One; but the wisdom of His glory as displayed in the many-membered church of His Son is manifold. Few have considered that to despise and neglect the soul may well be tantamount to giving it over to the Devil’s purposes. He will gladly steal, kill, and destroy whatever is carelessly left within his reach. The merchandising of men’s souls is a key characteristic of Mystery Babylon. Therefore the “churches” of men, which truly produce only formulaic proselytes despising their own souls rather than calling many sons to Christ’s glory: these entities are Babylon’s harlot daughters.
And the body of a man: the body is not a vessel to be considered worthless; for the very body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. The “flesh” often spoken of by Paul as being at war with the Spirit usually refers to the sinful nature, not strictly the body. This is easily distinguishable by children from the other times when Paul refers to the physical body using the same term. The crossover in terminology is an acknowledgement of how sin operates amidst the fabric of the person, not a blanket condemnation of all things on the physical plane, or even of the soul. Men are carriers of the sinful nature, and outside of Christ, hopelessly subject to it; but we not the sinful nature incarnate. There is only One who has tasted such an unfathomable baptism of unmatched horror so that we who believe in Him never should: “He became sin who knew no sin, that we should become the righteousness of God in Him.” The cross we are called to bear is one of identification with Him, not one of being condemned as sin, which He already bore once for all, so that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus…”
“…that WE should become the righteousness of God…” – Not only “that our spirits should become,” or perhaps even, “that our spirits and souls should become.” No. But rather the whole of the person, wholly sanctified! Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Majesty of high in His fully human resurrection body, for our sake! He is our mediator because He is “the man, Jesus Christ”! The scriptures do not speak of simply shedding the mortal to be clothed in in immortality; they rather speak of the mortal putting on immortality – there is a great difference (1 Cor 15). The former despises the body, the latter hopes of its translation. “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” And the likeness of our spiritual body to His image will be in proportion to how we bore His image in the earthly body: for “AS we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1Cor 15:49). “AS” – Gk. καθώς, Str. G2531 – inasmuch, in proportion as, in the degree that. It is the hope of the church who endures His refining fire that in the last days they should not all sleep…
Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. BUT thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:51-58
The resurrection of the dead which Paul longed to “attain unto” was the final resurrection (Gk. ἀνάστασις – Str. G386, always used of the resurrection unto glory, or of Christ’s fore-running resurrection). He sought this translation; but he was a man born out of due season, yet still he strove to this end “if by any means…”
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
“…either were already perfect” – The perfecting of the saint is in view here because it is possible through Christ; and its present earthly chapter of being joined in the likeness of His death culminates in partaking of the same resurrection. “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (2Cor 4:10)
For the one that died has been justified from sin.
…and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
Let this high calling not be received as condemnation, but as hope which further purifies God’s children in the seeing of Christ our Life.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.
1 John 3:2-3
The purity and completeness of Christ’s bride is what brings about her translation; and when she is found in perfect unison with the call of His Spirit, He will answer coming forth to escort her, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” (SS 2:10) The Spirit of truth is the One witnessing, let us obtain His good witness to this end…
By faith Enoch was translated so as not to see death,
and was not found, because God translated him.
For before his translation, he had obtained witness
to have been pleasing to God.
Hebrews 11:5 (LITV)
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
“Let us consider the possibilities of faith.”
– A.B. Simpson