A Series Of Blessed Assurances
By Bobby Blakey on September 10, 2023
A Series Of Blessed Assurances
By Bobby Blakey on September 10, 2023
Turn with me in the Bible to the book of Romans, everybody. I invite you to open your Bible and turn with me to the book of Romans. And let's give a round of applause for everybody in the overflow room right now. We see you over there. We love you guys; we hope that you will open the Bible with us. And we're going to get back. We're right in the middle of Romans, Romans, chapter 8 verses 29, and 30, are what we are going to look at here together right now. And we are going to pick up where we left off in Romans 8:28. And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good. And then he goes on to say, for those who are called according to God's purpose. And let me just start by asking that question, what is God's purpose? Like, we talked about having a purpose in life. Like, what are you living for? What motivates you, what gets you out of bed in the morning. If we go all the way back to before the beginning, all the way back to before he created the heavens and the earth, what is God's purpose, that's what we're going to learn here together; we're going to see God's purpose that he has been working towards from before the beginning, and the ultimate goal that he wants to accomplish today. We're going to be talking about God and his sovereign plan, and we get included in this. But this is really about God, and what he does. And so, I want to invite everybody to stand up for the public reading of Scripture. And I'm going to read these two verses, and just listen to how it keeps saying he over and over, because these are two verses about God's work for his Son, Jesus, and God's work in saving us. And so please follow along as I read Romans 8:29-30.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
That's the reading of God's word, please go ahead and have your seat. So, as we're trying to learn now about God, and what his purpose is and what he's doing, we need to just start with humility. We would not be able to figure out God for ourselves. God's ways are higher than ours, so we need to humble ourselves. And we need to realize that I need to know about God. The only and the only way I'm going to know about him is he has to tell me; he has to reveal himself to me. And so, I just want to encourage you, if you're coming with your own thoughts about who God is, let's try to make sure that our thoughts line up with what he actually says about himself. And so, he says, there's three things here in verse 29. Let's just look at verse 29 together; it talks about that he foreknew. And then it says he also predestined. And these people, these people that he's that are working, all things are working together for good, the people who've been called according to his purpose. Well, he foreknew these people, he predestined these people, and ultimately, they are going to be conformed to the image of his Son. And that word “conformed,” it could mean “made like the image of his Son.”
So it says three things here, people have been foreknown, they've been predestined, and they will be conformed to the image of his Son. Now, I've been going to church my whole life. I've heard people talk about these things. And I've heard people at church say many things that I think are different than what it actually means here in Romans 8:29. So, if you want to know what does it mean that God foreknew. You can't just type “foreknew” into Google and be like, oh, here's the definition of foreknew that's an English definition. AI is not going to tell you what Romans 8:29 means. We don't have to search the Scripture, we'd have to take these Greek words that are used here. And we'd have to go to other places where they use the same Greek words, and let the Scripture interpret Scripture. What does it mean that God foreknew? Well, let's go to some other verses and let's see what that's telling us that God did for us. So, in your Bible, turn with me back to Acts chapter 2, just one book to the left, Acts chapter 2. And let's go to the first sermon that was ever preached in the history of the church. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit shows up, the apostles are speaking all kinds of different languages, people are understanding them from all over the world, and Peter, he starts preaching right there preaching Jesus on the streets of Jerusalem. And Peter gets out his pointing finger, and he lets them know that Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, you killed him, But God raised him from the dead. And when Peter is preaching this and three thousand people repent, they get baptized. Just like we got to see these three guys; how great it was to see them get baptized here today. Well, here's what Peter says. Pick it up with me in Acts 2:22. He says, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—". So, you guys know about the miracles of Jesus? Let me tell you something you may not know about Jesus, Acts 2:23, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” God raised him up, loosening the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Jesus to be held by death. So, he says, hey, you guys killed him. He says, you crucified. But notice what he puts in there? Yeah, you did that. But he was actually delivered up, not just because it was your idea or because you chose to do it, he was delivered up because God determined it God foreknew this. So, not only does God foreknow or predetermined things about the people that he saves, God foreknew and predetermined what was going to happen with his Son Jesus, that he was going to send his one and only Son, whom he loved, to die on the cross in our place, that Jesus was going to come and pay for our sin. Yeah, God foreknew that. So, the way the Greek word here, the word that we're getting to is this word, prognosko. Okay. And it's really a “pro” is kind of like a prefix and “gnosko” is this word that means “to know.” It's kind of like how we might say pre-COVID. “Pre” is our prefix that means before something; “pro” in the Greek is the same idea. It's like before knowing. But see, this kind of prognosko isn't just that God knew before.
It's not like this isn't trying to tell us that God looked down the timeline of history, and he saw his Son Jesus dying on the cross. Now this is like an intimate relationship, knowledge can know scope when you talk about knowing something with prognosko. It's like you're having a personal relationship. And so, God he foreknew his Son; Jesus was with the Father all the way from before creation. And in this initiation of the relationship, the Father and the Son, the Father initiates, and he determines that he's going to send his Son to die in our place. So, foreknowledge includes the initiation of a relationship. This is not just God's Son this initiates, where he knows what's going to happen. This is God initiating a relationship with his Son, Jesus. In this case, that God was sending his Son to be delivered up for our sins.
Go over to 1 Peter, chapter 1, let me show you this again. And another place where Peter says it not only did he preach it on the streets in Jerusalem in the book of Acts, but when Peter wrote his letter in 1 Peter chapter 1, look at verse 19, with me, 1 Peter1:19, because he wrote about this same idea of foreknowledge when he wrote his letter to all the believers who were scattered all over the place. And he brings up this idea again, so Peter clearly thought that understanding God's foreknowing of Jesus was really an important part of his teaching. So here, look at verse 19, of 1 Peter chapter 1, where he's talking about the precious blood of Christ. He's talking about the fact that God sacrificed his one and only Son to die for our sins. And what precious blood that is for us, that ransomed our souls, that's what saved us is the righteous blood of Jesus like that of a lamb, like that of his sacrifice, without blemish or spot and then look what it goes right into saying. This is 1 Peter 1:20 “He” Jesus “was foreknown before the foundation of the world. Wow. So, God didn't decide to give Jesus up like a few years before he was born. God didn't decide. It's not like Jesus is plan B, oops, Adam and Eve fell into sin. Now I guess I better send my son Jesus. No, this is what God foreknew before there was any creation. Before Genesis 1, before there was a beginning of time or the space of heaven and earth, God foreknew his Son Jesus to be our sacrifice. God initiated this in his relationship. And because his son and him in the Spirit, they shared glory for eternity past. And the Father, he had the foreknowledge that Jesus would shed his precious blood for us, before the foundation of the world. But this was made known to us, this is now made manifest in the last times for the sake of you, who, through him are believers in God.
So, let's just pause right there and talk about how this works. We've heard testimonies of these guys were, at some point, their eyes are being open to the Gospel. And at some point, they're seeing that they can't do it. And they're being convicted of their sin for what it is. And they're seeing that Jesus, he is the Christ, the Son of God, and he died for them. And they're hearing about how he rose from the dead on the third day, and everybody who puts their faith in Jesus, you will have a new life, you'll be a new creation, you won't be the old you anymore; there'll be a new life to come. And they're hearing this and they're believing this, and they're getting saved. So, the good news of Jesus is manifest to us in these last time so that we can see it and believe it. But see now what we're talking about today is what you may not have understood when you first believed. Now we're getting into the big macro picture of God.
Now let's talk about what God's doing behind the scenes of space and time. Do you know, yeah, you believed in Jesus, you believed in the last couple of years, we heard some testimonies about where people are believing in Jesus, how exciting is that, that people are getting saved in these days? Okay, but do you know that God knew that Jesus was going to die for you that he was going to send his Son for you, before the foundation of the world? See, you might already believe but now you've got to see the big picture of how God did this. From his perspective. That's what Peter's given us here. Yeah, we know the blood is precious because that's what saved us. Yeah. But God foreknew that Jesus would do this before the foundation of the world. And then it was made manifest to us. And so now we get to 1 Peter 1:21. “Through Jesus, we are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” So, you're going to come to believe in Jesus and be saved.
And then you're going to start to see, and maybe today, as we're going through Romans 8:29-30, maybe today is the day that some people in this room are really going to start to see how God has this epic purpose and this sovereign plan of how he's saving people. And it goes all the way back to before the foundation of the world. So, turn back to Romans 8:29 with me. Now we've seen a little bit more about foreknowledge, we've seen the way that God has foreknown his own son. So, foreknowledge is not just knowing what's going to happen ahead of time, no. Clearly between the Father and the Son there's a relationship that's happening here. And we've heard Jesus say that the Father sent him or we know John 3:16, that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” So, the father is knowing his Son, he's determining to send his Son. That's the idea that we want to now take into Romans 8:29, that God must have known us initiated a relationship with us. And God must be making a determination for us. But then keep going through with me to the end of the verse. The goal of this for knowing, and the goal of this predestined thing, whatever that means. We'll get to that in a minute. But the goal of this is that we would be conformed to the image of his Son in order that he Jesus might be the firstborn among many brothers. So, God's doing a foreknowing and a predestined thing with the end purpose, the goal being that we will be conformed and And I've already said before, that the Greek word there “conformed” could be translated, “made like the image” of Jesus.
A cross reference to this would be Philippians 3:21, where you take our lowly body and it's transformed into a glorious body, a glorious body, a resurrected body, a body that is like Jesus glorified, perfected without sin. That's what it's actually saying here in Romans 8:29. And, and I've heard that people use this verse to be like, see, we want to be conformed to the image of his Son. So, everybody who's a believer, we want to become less like ourselves, and more like Jesus. And they're using this phrase in Romans 8:29 to describe our progressive sanctification and that is a true thing, that everybody who's in Christ, we should all mature in Christ. The goal should be that we would present everybody here complete in Christ, that I do want to put off my old life and I do want to fully experience and live out the new life that I have in Jesus. But that's not what it's talking about right here. This is saying that someday, you, just like Jesus is right now in all of his resurrection glory, someday you will be made like the image of Jesus.
And Jesus will be the firstborn among many other people who will be glorified along with him. That's where it's going to go in the next verse, Romans 8:30, it's going to go to you being glorified. That's a picture of this here in verse 29. When the day comes in the future, whether it's after you die, or after Jesus returns, there's going to come a day when we see him. According to 1 John 3, when we see him what we will be made like him, and we will be as he is, that's what it's talking about here. So going way back before the foundation of the world, God is doing this foreknowing, God is doing this determining. And then what is he determining, what is he thinking about something that's happening after space and time as we know it in the age to come, where the glory of Jesus will be unveiled? You and I will get to see who Jesus is, not just by faith, but by sight. And when we behold the glory of Jesus, we will be made like Jesus, and we will be glorified is this good news that I'm sharing with anybody here today? So, this is all this macro epic picture now of God's purpose that this is giving us. And it says Jesus was always meant to be the firstborn. And I've got to explain to you what this means here that Jesus is the firstborn.
Go with me to Colossians 1:15, because firstborn does not necessarily mean born first. And so, that's a little bit confusing. And so, we got to talk about it. Because there are some people who when it says that Jesus is the firstborn, they just take it then that that means God created Jesus first. And that is false. That is not what it is saying. And I can prove it to you from Colossians 1:15, as it's giving us here, this epic description of Jesus. This is Colossians, 1:15, Jesus, he is the image of the invisible God. So, think about that. Jesus is the image of God. And then we're going to be made like the image of Jesus, what an amazing idea that he is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. And so maybe you've heard somebody spread the heresy, see, the firstborn of all creation, that means Jesus was created. No, look at Colossians 1:16. “For by him all things were created.” We can't say that Jesus created all things. If Jesus is one of the things that God created, nothing was made that Jesus did not make. So, Jesus, he's the firstborn, not meaning that he was created, but that firstborn is actually talking about first in position, the one who is supreme, the one who is preeminent. That's what it's saying, Jesus is over all creation, because he was the one who made all things. By him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through Jesus. And if you're taking notes, you want to write that down right there. All things are through Jesus, and all things are for Jesus. This is God's epic purpose here. And then he goes and says, Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he,” Jesus, “is the head of the body, the church, he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” So not only is Jesus the one who's in the first position of creation, because he created all things and all things were created for him. But Jesus is also in the firstborn position over resurrection, over the church, over all the people that God is saving and giving them a new life. Jesus is the preeminent one, he is the head of the church. And then it says in Colossians 1:19, “for in Jesus all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” So, God's epic plan is to have the creation, and through Jesus, all things are made and then God is going to give all of creation to Jesus as an inheritance. That's what it means to be the firstborn. The firstborn is the one who's in the position to receive the inheritance. So, the firstborn is not about the order of things. The firstborn is about the position of things.
So let's get this down. For number one: “God's purpose has always been the preeminence of Jesus.” God's purpose has always been the preeminence of Jesus. This is from the beginning of creation. It's always been about Jesus being first. And when all things are for him when the Father gives Jesus the name that is above every name, and at someday every knee is going to bow, everyone that's ever been created, every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess that Jesus Christ is what he is, the Lord of heaven and earth. He is the one who reigned supreme. He is preeminent over all things, that is God's purpose. That is what God wants.
And so, Jesus will inherit all of creation as a gift of love from the Father to the Son so you can be born first but not be the firstborn. Classic example is Esau and Jacob, twin brothers. Who was actually born first? If you know shout out his name, who was born first. Esau was born first. And but who actually ended up being the firstborn. Shout it out, Jacob, right. So, it's the God of Abraham, Isaac, and we don't say Esau, even though Esau was the first one born, we say, Jacob, because if you've read the story, Esau foolishly gives his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob is the one that the inheritance that the family line then continues through. And so that's firstborn is actually about being in a position of preeminence. And so that's what God wants for Jesus. That's been his plan from creation, all the way until Jesus is revealed. And we get into the age to come. It has always been a story of the glory of Jesus. So, when it says that we're called according to his purpose, his purpose is the preeminence of Jesus.
But go back to Romans 8:29, because after it talks about him being the firstborn, it says, we're going to be made like him, in order that he might be the preeminent one, the one in the first position. But then notice what it says. Here's the phrase at the end of verse 29, “among many brothers.” So, the plan is not just what God is going to do with his Son Jesus, where he's going to send his Son to die, he's going to raise his Son, and then he's going to give his Son all glory and give him the inheritance of all things. No, there's Jesus, it's not just God and Jesus, that's the way it was an eternity passed, Father, Son, Spirit. Well now, he's going to have a creation, he's going to give the creation to his Son, but there's going to be many others that get included in this as well. Jesus is going to be in the place of preeminence, but there's going to be many brothers there with Jesus.
So, get this down for point number two: “God's purpose is for Jesus to be the first among many.” See, and this is where all of us come in to God's purpose, to his sovereign will or plan and know his plan is really about Jesus, not us. But Jesus is going to be the first of many brothers who get brought in and I’ve got to turn you to Hebrews chapter 2, if everybody can flip on over there. Well, what's this idea that first among many brothers, Hebrews 2 really explains this. I don't know if you know this verse here in Hebrews 2:9-11. It really helps us understand, first of all God's plan for Jesus, but then how we get brought into that plan. And Hebrews 2:9, it's describing Jesus here, and it says, “we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels,” namely Jesus, Jesus, who is now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death. So, by the grace of God, he came to taste death for everyone. So, before creation, God has a plan to send his Son Jesus to die for our sin, so that in the end, Jesus can get all the glory, and he can have many people there to worship him and enjoy him forever.
And so, that's God's plan. Look at what it says about to hear in Hebrews 2:10, for it was fitting that he, Jesus, and here's another phrase similar to Colossians 1 for Jesus, and by Jesus, all things exist. If you're taking notes, write that down for Jesus, and by Jesus, all things exist. Jesus is the purpose, Jesus is the reason, but then it says, look what it goes on to say, in bringing it was fitting that he for whom and by whom all things exist in bringing many sons to glory, so he's going to bring many to glory with him. He should make the founder of their salvation, perfect through suffering for who sanctifies and those who are sanctified, all have one source, that is why he is not ashamed to call them… What does it say? That everybody, “brothers”. Jesus is going to be the firstborn among many brothers. Now, this is really awesome because I have men, and there's even men here in the room that I saw coming into this service, I would consider them my brothers in Christ, we're both saved by the blood of Jesus. I've gotten to know this guy, I love this guy just as much as I would love one of my physical brothers in this life, because we are brothers in Christ. And so maybe you feel that way that you have brothers in Christ or sisters in Christ. But this actually says that Jesus would consider us his brothers, and that Jesus is going to bring us with him into his glory, and we will be conformed into his image, we are going to be made like Jesus, and we will share his glory with him for evermore. God's going to give all things to his Son, Jesus. And guess what Jesus wants to do. He wants to share that glory with the likes of us. That's what we're learning here.
So, the plan is all about Jesus, but many are going to be brought to glory in this plan. And those who are brought in will be the brothers and sisters of Christ and will share in glory with him. Okay, so let's go back now to Romans 8:29-30. And hopefully, we're helping us see that God's plan has been going from before the foundation of the world, and it's going all the way to the age to come. Okay, with that kind of backdrop, now we can get to this dreaded word that people don't like very much these days, predestined. Do you see it there in verse 29? For those who he also predestined. And I'm sure somebody's like already feeling uncomfortable right now. Where does this sermon go in verse 30? It even brings it up again, and those whom he predestined, and then it says, he called, he justified, he glorified. So it says this idea that God predestined in both verse 29, and then it kind of interrupts it to say what we've been predestined for, but then it gets back to it in verse 30, because it wants to kind of say, look at this series of blessed assurances, look at the series of inevitable things that God is doing, these events that are going to occur. He foreknows, he predestined, he calls, he justifies, he glorifies that's what God does in our salvation. So yeah, if you've understood it, like, well, I repented. And I believed. Yeah, that's how you responded. But now let's see what God did. God initiated a relationship with you. God determined, he predestined you. God called, he's brought the Gospel message to you in an effectual way. God declared you righteous, as you put your faith in Jesus as he opened your eyes to see the good news that Jesus had died for your sin and you trusted in the righteousness of Christ. God then declared you righteous. And then it said he glorified, like it's a sure thing, like it's a done deal, like God's going to bring you into the glory of his Son. That's what this is saying.
And so, I don't know what you've heard about predestination. I've met a lot of people over our nine years here at Compass HB, and people have heard a lot of different things. And some people, they don't want to talk about it. Some people, it seems to me, they want to talk about it way too much. There's a lot of different thoughts about predestination. The first thing I want all of us to do is just stop and look that this word is used two times right here in the Scripture in these back to back verses. So predestined. Predestined is not a bad word. It is a Bible word. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that? Whatever this means God did, God did it. And so, I know, we’ve got to figure out what it means. And we’ve got to all get on the same page together. And maybe you've heard this and maybe I've heard that, it doesn't matter what some man's teaching, it doesn't matter what some theology says. What does God say he did when he predestined us, because it's saying that something that God actually did. And if God's telling me what he did, who am I to say to God, that's not what he actually did. God is saying that he, that when this whole sovereign plan, his purpose is revealed, he foreknew and he predestined. It says it twice here. And when you look at Romans 8, this part that we're in, in Romans 8, just look at these verses. Go back to Romans 8:26, because we haven't been here in Romans 8 for a while. Remember all that we learned about the spirit? Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, the Spirit is in us, empowering us, interceding for us.
Go back to Romans 8:18. Remember this back in verse 18. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. So, God's trying to say this through Paul's teaching. You hear God speaking through Paul in his teaching, and he's trying to give us assurance, you're going to be with him in glory, you've got his Spirit. Now, all things are working together for your good because you've been now aligned with God's purpose. God's purpose is Jesus, and Jesus is going to get the glory, and you're now in Christ. So, there's going to be no condemnation, there's going to be no judgment for you. There's no separation in the future, you can't be separated. God loves you in Jesus, nothing can separate you from God's love. So, the whole point here is not to cause controversy. The whole point here is not to get us scratching our heads about predestination. The whole point is, if you really could understand that he predestined you, it would encourage you so much, you would have confidence that God really does love me, and it would fill your heart with joy and peace and love. That's the purpose of this. It's not to start a debate about theology. It's to realize God actually chose me to be one of his people. Why in the world would a God like him choose a person like me? But he did. And he wanted to. Go with me to Ephesians chapter 1.
And let's go to another passage that uses this same word, because really all it's doing in Romans 8:29-30 is giving us this list. Sometimes people refer to it as the golden chain. And it's just saying, hey, God's got this sequence of events, this series of blessed assurances. He foreknew you, he predestined you, he called you, he justified you, he glorified you and even says it like that, glorified, like it's a done deal. Well, so we’ve got to go to other passages to see what these Greek words mean, and the same word is used here in Ephesians 1. Now, you had to get here on time to hear the song that we already saying about Ephesians 1, it goes boom, boom, boom, boom, bada boom, cha, who was actually here on time? No, don't, don't raise your hands. We don't want to do that. Okay. But if you were here at 11 o'clock, we sang to the praise of his glory. And then like, at the end of lines, over there hidden a bunch of stuff, you know, who was here for that great moment, at the beginning of the service? Okay, I guess we did raise our hands. Here we are a bunch of self righteous people we got here on time, we heard the first song anyway, it was a great song. And the point is, it comes here from Ephesians 1, which is like, let me tell you what God did to save you. Because the whole beginning of Ephesians is, you are dead in your sins. You are as blind as blind could be. You are a child of wrath, and you are headed towards destruction. But God made you alive in Christ, he raised you up, he seated you in the heavenly places, by his grace you have been saved. So, let's all praise God for his glory. Because let me just ask you like this, who saved you? Did you save yourself? Or did God save you? What did he do, what happened? God saved you. So, we give the glory to him because it's a work that he did. And we praise his glory, and his grace. And so, it says it like this here in Ephesians chapter one, after it says that we've been given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Verse 4, Ephesians 1:4, “Even as he,” God, “chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, so here it is God making his choice of us right back when he was doing foreknowledge, and, and determining things with Jesus. It says, that's also when he chose us to be in Christ, before the foundation of the world. So let me ask you this. If God's the one who did the work to save you, why would it be bothersome that God decided to do that before he actually did it? Why do people have such trouble with that? I understand a little bit why we have trouble with that. Because I'm a human being. I have pride. I live in America, I think life is all about me. I think I'm free to make whatever kind of choices I want. And now you're telling me somebody else made a choice for me? That's not the American way. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that? Like, we don't think like that. What is this by Christ and for Christ stuff, I thought it was by the people and for the people around here. I thought that's how we did. I'm used to being in control of the universe. I'm used to being the purpose. I'm used to being the plan. See, this is going against how we are. And it's saying that God shows us before the foundation of the world and chose us to be it says that we should be holy and blameless before him. What is that talking about? That's talking about this glory when we're made like Jesus when many sons, many brothers are brought into the glory of Jesus. So, from before the foundation of the world, God's choosing us so that we would be holy and blameless with Jesus when he's going to give all things to his Son. And then it says this at the end of verse 4, it says two key words here in love. He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons, through Jesus Christ, like God is adopting us into his family, we're going to be sons of the father, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. And then it says this phrase at the end of Ephesians 1:5, “According to the,” what does it say? “According to the purpose.” This is his purpose. His purpose is Jesus, and he has chosen that we would be there with Jesus in love, he predestined us, he adopted us. And then what is the purpose of all of this? Ephesians 1:6, ‘to the praise of his glorious grace with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
So, yes, it says, that predestination is God’s choosing us. It is something God did because God is a loving God. And he didn't do it because of us. He did it because he wanted to love us. And the beautiful picture that it gives, how should I think about predestination? Look at Ephesians 1:5, “He predestined us” for what's the word there, adoption to himself, like parents, who have a desire to adopt a child, and they want to bring that child into their family, and they want to love that child as their own child, that is the picture of God in love predestined in us. God is choosing us. Now, I have been blessed in my life to have some close friends of mine who adopted children. Okay. And so, I've seen this play out multiple times. It's been a real blessing every time I've ever seen a parent choose to love a child by adopting them. All I've ever heard is people be like, yes, that's awesome. Wow, that's so great. You're doing that. Wow. Adoption is beautiful. I love your family. I only hear positive things. I have never once heard somebody be like, Why are you adopting that kid? I've never heard anybody say that about adoption. Wow, that child is being loved as a member of the family. And I've had friends that have flown across the world, because they wanted to adopt a child. I've had friends that have worked with the foster system here in the state of California, because they wanted to adopt a child. And when they love this child, they love this as their child, and they love them. And nobody ever says to somebody when they have adopted a child, hey, you, why didn't you adopt all the children that you could have adopted? Hey, you, why did you choose to adopt that child? Why didn't you choose to adopt that child? See, you don't take adoption like that. That's not the point of adoption. The point of adoption is, that's awesome that those parents chose to love that child, and that that child is now in that family. Wow, that's beautiful. I want to look at that. I want to enjoy that. That is the purpose of predestination. The purpose of predestination is not for you to ask a bunch of questions about why didn't we do all these other things? The purpose is for you to be asking the question, why in the world would a holy God, who can do whatever he wants, choose a sinner like me to be one of his kids? Now, this whole idea of choosing, I don't like this idea, because it takes me back to the playground elementary school, getting picked last where's my picked last brothers and sisters out there? Right? Hey, let's pick teams. First of all, let's shoot for captains. That isn’t going to work. So now we're going to pick teams, okay? I'm going to go eat the rest of my lunch, and then I'll come back when they're going to pick me. Does anybody else relate to this? Right? I might as well make myself comfortable because I am not getting picked in the first round. I am not getting picked in the second round. In fact, that guy, that guy who I really liked, who's super athletic and good looking and popular, that guy over there, he's going to think like three times before he picks me. That's what's about to happen. Anybody else ever been there? Right?
So, this idea that God knows exactly who I am, God knows me as well as I know myself. The truth is God sees me. He's not deceived by who I am. I mean, God knows me actually better than I know myself. All the things that I have kept secret in my life, the sins that I have hidden, the thoughts that I've thought, the things that I said that I realized I shouldn't have said, the things that I was going to say, but I was able to not say all of those things. God knows all of those things about me. God has seen the evil that has been in my heart. And he decided to set his love on me from before the foundation of the world. I could not be more loved than I am as I stand before you right now. That's what predestination is supposed to make me think that God made a decision where he chose to love me. That's not based on anything about me. It's based on his choice to love me and to adopt me into his family. And because this choice didn't happen in space and time because this choice is not based on something that I've done. There is nothing in this world that can separate me from the love God has for me. Because he predestined me in love. This love that God chose to give me is the most secure, most assured, most guaranteed feeling that I can have in life. That's what predestination is supposed to get me thinking. I should be walking around every day like I could not be more loved than I am right now. That I have a God who chose to love me, me of all people, he chose to love me. And he determined that he would send the one who really was his Son, the one he was pleased with, the one who was righteous. He chose to send his one and only Son that he loved, and he sacrificed him and my place so that I could be adopted to be a brother of his one and only Son, that I could be adopted as a son of the Most High.
Why would God love a sinner like me and bring me in to his holy family with his Son, Jesus? He predestined me for this. So, this is supposed to be something that gives the person who has been chosen, the person who does believe in Jesus, you believe. Have you repented? Yes, you really did that? Guess what, look now what God did for you. Look how God has intended that for you from before the foundation of the world. Look how he called you now, here in space and time, look how he now declared you righteous. Go back with me to Romans. And go back to Romans chapter 8, where we get to predestined is just one of the events here in this link, in this in this chain. It's one link in the chain. And so, it says, if you've been predestined, then you've been called, if you've been called, then you've been justified, if you've been justified, then you've been glorified. And so, Wow, because he chose you before the foundation of the world, you're now going to be there in the age to come, sharing the glory of Jesus like the whole story from before the beginning to after the end. The whole story has already been determined. And that should fill us with such an assurance in this life. That's the goal of this doctrine. And so, are we really not just understanding what predestination is in our theology? But are we really experiencing the fact that I know that God has loved me, called me justified me, and I will share in the glory of Jesus.
Now, if this idea of being predestined is raising all kinds of questions in your mind, and this is a new concept for you. And maybe you're uncomfortable with it. Or maybe it's not making sense to you. Once we get through all the blessed assurances of Romans 8. Look ahead with me at Romans 9 and 10. We're back in Romans, we're going to be going every week. Maybe at some point, we'll even get a new auditorium to move into here. But we are going to be getting as deep into Romans as we can for the weeks to come. And this idea of predestination, Paul knows there's a lot to think about here. And it's going to be hard for us. God's ways are higher than our thoughts, his ways are beyond our comprehension. So, we're going to have to really try to understand it as God gives it to us. And so, if you look ahead and chapter 9, the heading at least here in the Bible I've got is “God's Sovereign Choice.” So, there's going to be a lot more about God's choosing his electing, his predestiny. Look at Romans 9:11. It says, “Though they were not yet born, and that done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works, but because of him who calls.” So, that whole concept is we're going to go through that all the way through chapter 9. So, we're going to have a lot of discussions in our fellowship groups, we're going to have time for a lot of questions to be talked about, and answered, perhaps the most famous passages verses 22 and 23, Romans 9:22-23. What if God, desiring to show his wrath, and to make known his power, what if God endured with much patience, vessels of wrath prepared for destruction in order to make known the riches of his glory, for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory? So how does that all work that there's vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy? And what is this work that God's doing to prepare beforehand, but then it seems like he's enduring these other vessels? How should I think about all of that? We're going to get into that as deep as we can go in Romans chapter 9.
So, if predestination is new to you, if it's hard for you to grasp, we're going to dive into it as deep as we can in the weeks to come. But then there's another kind of person I want to talk to in the room right now. And this person is like, I'm so glad we're finally talking about predestination around here, because there's some people around here who really need to know about this. Have you ever met one of these people before? Right? I can't wait. I mean, all of a sudden, it's like, I can't wait for fellowship group. This week, I'm going to bring all the doctrines of grace with me. I'm going to tell him what's really going on. It's like all of a sudden Batman's come into fellowship group. You guys think that was theology. The pastor, he wasn't even really bringing it like I can right now. I mean really tight. We just say if you're feeling that way, just keep your cape at home at fellowship group. All right? I see some people, they get so excited about predestination, they start talking about it, and they start giving the impression that like, well, you don't really need to pray for those people because maybe they weren't predestined, or, or you don't really need to evangelize those people, because maybe God didn't really choose to say them. And if you ever hear anybody saying something like that, they're taking predestination way further than this book actually does. Because Paul, when he's teaching us about predestination, look at what he goes right to in Romans 10, which, after he answers all the deep questions about predestination in chapter 9, this is how he begins Romans 10:1, when he's talking about his Jewish brothers, his countrymen, brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be what does it say right there? So whatever predestination is, and we're going to try to really figure it out together, as a church, we're all going to get on the same page, not some other guy's page, not some theology page, we're going to try to get on the Romans 9 page together.
Well, whatever predestination is, it should never affect us praying for anybody to be saved, we should still be praying for people to be saved, we should still be thinking, God desires all people to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We should still be thinking that God doesn't want anyone to perish, but he wants everyone to reach repentance. That's why he's being patient. That's why he's sending us out with the gospel. In fact, don't just pray for people to be saved, go to people and tell them to repent and believe in the gospel so they can be saved. In fact, look at what it goes on to say in Romans 10, because Romans 10 is one of the great chapters about being people being saved in all of Scripture. And it says in Romans 10:9, “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be what does it say there everybody? In fact, look at verse 13, because he wants to make this clear, he says it not once, not twice, but three times and he hits it again, here in Romans 10:13. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be” what? “saved”. So there is no contradiction, even though it may seem to us human beings with our finite brains, it may seem well how can God predestine? And how can really everyone call on the name of the Lord and be saved? Well, if it seems like a contradiction to you, it's not a contradiction to Paul, who's writing Romans, because he explained predestination in 9 and then he went right to everybody, calling on the name of the Lord and being saved in chapter 10.
So, there are people who take this idea of predestination, and they take it way further than what the Bible says. And we might have some of those people here too. And so, we got to make sure that this isn't about what I know. This isn't about me going and trying to figure this all out. What Paul is teaching us is that God has it all figured out. And that we need to know what God knows and God, his ways, we're not going to completely understand all the awesomeness that is God. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We weren't there before the foundation of the world with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we don't have the perspective that God has. So, he's going to explain it to us. And we're going to have to learn to think what is being revealed to us here in Romans 8, 9, and 10. And so I hope you'll stick with us and I'm hoping that this church is going to grow in our knowledge of God, we're going to see his purpose more clearly than we ever have before. And we're going to be more excited about people getting saved around here than we ever have been. That's what we want to see. Because not only is it us just repenting and believing. Wow, look at all that God is doing. And go back to Romans 8:30 Because are these words here when we read them in English right there you can kind of understand that this wasn't originally written in English here because it says, “those who mean predestined he also called and those whom he called he also justified.” But then it says those who meet justified he also glorified and see you when we read words like that that have “ed” at the end like they’re past tense, like they've already happened. Well, that glorified one that's like, wait a minute, I that has an all, I haven't already been glorified. Because maybe we're realizing that I was foreknown, that I was predestined, that I was called that effectual call when I heard the gospel and, and the good news of Jesus came to me and I could see him dying for me on that cross. I believe that the tomb was empty, and he had risen from the dead. And then I was justified by faith, God declared me righteous and all my sin was paid for on Jesus and God gave me the righteousness of Christ. And then it says He glorified me, but wait, I'm still here. I have not yet been made like Jesus, I'm not seeing Jesus yet in all of his glory. So why does it say glorified, because in the Greek language, they've got this tense that we don't have. It's the aorist tense. So, we just kind of think past, present, future. aorist is like this tense that's undefined when it comes to time. In fact, I got out my old Greek book, and I just looked up the basic definition here of what it means for aorist. And it says, because time is secondary to aspect, the Greek speaker can even use the air just to describe an action that will occur in the future is stresses the certainty that the events will occur. So, the point of the aorist is not necessarily about when, and the timing aspect, the point of the aorist is the first sureness the certain is the guaranteed news of it. What this is saying is that God has started something, when he initiated a relationship with you, when he chose to set his love upon you, when he called you through the gospel of Jesus, when he declared you righteous because by his grace you put your faith in his Son. God has started something that he is for sure you can be certain you will share glory with Jesus. And you will see the firstborn, the preeminent one. And you will see that there are many brothers when they shout in heaven, people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. When all of us are there, and we shout worthy is the Lamb who was slain, it will be like the sound like nothing you have ever heard. And you and I will be looking at each other, like how did people like us get to a place like this?
That is going to happen. It is a certain event. Let's get this down for point number three: “God's purpose guarantees ultimate glory, even when you are uncertain in your story.” God's purpose guarantees that you will experience this glory with Jesus, even though right now you're uncertain about what's going to happen next in your life. See, we spend way too much time on the immediate, what I can see right in front of me right here today, we are prisoners of space in our bodies. And we are prisoners of time trapped in this moment. And we are always kind of looking at the immediate. And what Romans 8:29-30 is teaching you is this is what is ultimate. This is what is actually transcendent of space and time. This is what God decided before the foundations and this is what you're going to experience in the age to come.
And I wonder, did you really live this last week like you know God loves you. And like, you know, you're going to share the glory of Jesus, like that was certain to you. Like that was for sure to you, like you had a blessed assurance in your soul. To be honest, I tried to be here at this church every day talking to as many people as I can. I hear a lot of anxieties coming out of people's minds. I hear a lot of fear. I hear a lot of people who are bothered with the way things are, a lot of people who are angry about things. And I wonder if we weren't so focused on the immediate all around us. But we really had in our mind the ultimate that I have been loved by God, God chose me to be one of the brothers who are going to share in the glory of Jesus Christ. I wonder how would you then live? If you really knew that God had set his love on you, and you will be glorified? It is certain, it is for sure. Is that what you're thinking? That hey, whatever happens to me today in this space, in this time, I can tell you that God loved me before time. And I can tell you we all share glory with Jesus for evermore. I think that's going to change the way I view today. Can I get an Amen from anybody on it? You ever hear people say in life, there are no guarantees. Have you heard that one before? I guess the only guarantees that we supposedly have are death and taxes. Like have you heard about that? Right? Do you realize that what we're learning from Romans 8:29-30 is that life is actually all one big guarantee. It is a guarantee from the Father that he will give all things to his Son, that has been guaranteed. That is God's purpose. That is God's sovereign plan. And not only is Jesus going to inherit all things and be the firstborn, but God is going to set his love on many who will be there as brothers and sisters to glorify him and enjoy him forever. And that is guaranteed. It is guaranteed that those of us who are in Christ, we will not experience judgment, but we will experience the love of God, being adopted into his family, being made like Jesus, that I'm talking to all my brothers and sisters here today at this church, we're going to be brothers and sisters of Jesus sharing in his glory. If that's true, that's got to make a difference in how I look at the world. That's got to make a difference in how I view my life. So that's what this is really trying to teach us is not just all the theology and the doctrine, and how did God do it? And if God did that, how does that fit with me over here, not just answering all those questions, but for you to know that God loves you, that God has promised you glory that you will share with his Son, Jesus forevermore. That's what God wants us thinking about. So let me pray for us that we would learn to think that way.
Father in heaven, I thank you for everybody here in this room, everybody on the overflow? Everybody watching this online right now, I thank you that we just got to study this epic scripture of Romans 8:29-30, telling us things about your purpose that we would never know unless you revealed it to us. So, Father, thank you so much. And Father, we just want to confess that some of the things we talked about here today, they're high above us, they're hard for us to understand. And Father, I just pray that you would humble us that people won't leave here thinking they can figure it out for themselves and pray that people wouldn't leave here thinking they could figure it out better than other people. But I pray that you would humble us before you, that we would want to grow in our knowledge of you. And I pray for this church, that you would give us such a great unity, as we talk about this, because we all want to get on the same page. And that's the same page of your Scripture, of your Word. We want to understand what you're saying to us, not what we think, not what somebody else said. But what you're saying to us. So, Father, please let this be a great Series of Blessed Assurances, let this be a series through the end of Romans 8, and Romans 9 and 10. Let all of us grow in our knowledge of you more than we ever have. Let us grow in our love for Jesus more than we've ever known. Let this be the greatest days we've had yet in our relationship with you. And Father, we just want to come together right now, and we want to worship you. And we want to thank you for initiating a relationship with us. Thank you for knowing us. Thank you for choosing to love us. Thank you that you would adopt people like us sinners, people who were your enemies, who were ungodly, and you would sacrifice your one and only son, and he would die for our sins. And then you would welcome us into your family. You would adopt us as your children that we could be the brothers and sisters of Jesus looking forward to sharing his glory. Father, I want to thank you on behalf of all my brothers and sisters here today. Thank you for loving us, even though it's hard for us to understand, even though your ways of loving us are so high for us. We can't even fully comprehend you choosing to love us before the foundation of the world. Thank you for choosing to love a person like me. Thank you for choosing to love us. Thank you for placing us into your Son Jesus. We pray this in his name. Amen.
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