It’s one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture, which happens to be in my favorite book of the Bible. Every word holds incredible meaning; if you lose one word, the verse falls apart.
The verse I’m speaking of is Romans 8:30. It marvelously speaks of God’s sovereign action; it repeatedly reassures the weary saint of the glorious future to come; it holds nothing back. In this verse, we see the divine chain of salvation.
There are four key words, and in this post I’d like to go over each word and then go back and talk about what the verse means in light of those definitions. The four words are: predestined, called, justified, and glorified.
To Decide Beforehand
Though many Christians recoil at the word predestination, it’s not something we should be fearful of. Predestination, whether we like it or not, is in the Bible. We can’t say we don’t believe in predestination–because God does.
Let’s not back away from the biblical text just because we don’t like a word.
Predestination comes from the Greek word proorizō, a compound word that means “to determine beforehand.” Simply put, it refers to the setting of a destiny before something actually happens.
Again, we cannot argue that predestination isn’t in Scripture. It is, and we need not ignore it. To ignore something God has done is a grave error. With that said, how God predestined is up for discussion, as it has been forever.
Does God predestine all of history? It seems so (Proverbs 16:33). It’s explicit in Scripture that God doesn’t simply see what’s going to unfold in the future, but that He planned it. Steve Lawson once said: “God has never looked into the future and learned anything.” God doesn’t learn, but ordains.
Does God predestine individuals to salvation? It sure looks like it (Romans 9:6-24). This is surely the more controversial part of the debate, but any debate needs to be had with grace, gentleness, and brotherly affection. To many, it is quite clear that He predestined individuals to salvation when Paul uses the term those at the beginning of Romans 8:30.
God does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). May we not criticize something simply because it doesn’t fit perfectly into our pre-conceived notions about how God works.
A Holy-Spirit Produced Call
There are two types of calls: a general call and an effectual call. Think with me.
When you are hearing the gospel preached somewhere, the mere hearing of the gospel is the general call to salvation. You’re hearing the facts of the gospel and the command to repent of your sins and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15). Millions upon millions have heard the general call yet continue in their unbelief.
On the other hand, the effectual call–the Holy Spirit-produced call–is when the Lord takes the general call and applies it to your heart. In other words, it’s in that moment that He turns your dead heart into a living, fleshly heart (Ezekiel 36:26) and causes you to want to repent and believe. In this exact moment, you have the new desire to follow Christ! It’s in that supernatural moment that the Holy Spirit has regenerated you!
The general call doesn’t always lead to regeneration; however, the effectual call always does.
Made Right with God
Moving on to justification, which denotes our being made right before God. In justification, God has legally declared us righteous and has justified us in His eyes because of the work of Christ.
There might be no other doctrine of the church that is more important than this, that we are justified–made righteous in His sight–solely by the merits of Jesus (Romans 4:5).
There’s nothing more sweeter than to read that God justifies the ungodly!
One Day Made Perfect
The final word in this verse is glorified, which explains our condition in Heaven. In glory, we will have glorified bodies; that is, we will be perfect. No sin, no blemish, no stain of anything evil.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were able to not sin and were able to sin.
In Heaven, we will not have the ability to sin–it’ll be an impossibility!
O, how wonderful that day will be!
The doctrine of glorification doesn’t get spoken of too much so do yourself a favor and read more on it. It will help you live in light of eternity, whether you’re going through good times or bad.
What is this Verse Saying?
With these four basic definitions in mind, let’s look at what Romans 8:30 is saying in light of them.
The text begins with the word those, which implies that Paul is speaking about people. That is extremely important as it organizes the whole point of the verse at the beginning. Those people He predestined, He also called; those people He called, He also justified; and those people He justified, He also glorified. The people He glorified are the same people He predestined!
In other words, if God predestined you, He will one day glorify you–it’s a divine guarantee! The text does not show us that this chain of events can be deterred or broken. It’s unbreakable because God is the one behind it all. And notice that all four key words are in the past tense, so in God’s eyes, the work of glorification has already been done, it just hasn’t happened in real time. What encouragement to keep persevering in faith!
This verse also implies that once God starts the work of saving you via predestination, He will finish it (cf. Philippians 1:6). Said differently, you cannot lose your salvation. If God has legitimately changed your heart, He will see to it that you progress in faith and holiness and one day glorify you.
Friends, take heart in the sovereignty of God on display in Romans 8:30. God loves you, and this verse proves that His love will hold you until the end.