God’s Golden Chain of Salvation, Part 1 – Romans 8:29

All right men, Romans 8:29 and 30. And just to give you some sense of hope I only brought notes for verse 29, so I could do 30. I’m going to read verses 29 and 30, and this is really the center cut of the fillet. I mean this is at the very epicenter. So let me just read these verses, verses 29 and 30. And the title of this is “God’s Golden Chain of Salvation,” and I think you’ll see why. This is not original with me. Bible teachers, theologians down through the decades, even centuries, have called this “God’s Golden Chain of Salvation.


So beginning in verse 29. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his son so that he would be the first born among many brethren. And these whom he predestined he also called. And these whom he called he also justified. And these whom he justified he also glorified.”


 All right, men, this is the most comprehensive view of the saving grace of God that can be found in any one passage. This is God’s golden chain of salvation. It stretches from eternity past to eternity future. It begins in the eternal counsel hall of God before the foundation of the world.


And with the first two links in this golden chain they’re found in verse 29, foreknowledge and predestination. Those are Bible words. Those are God’s words. Do not ever hesitate to say the word predestination. Do not ever be ashamed to say the word predestination because you would be ashamed of God, because this is God’s word. This is who God is. He is a God of predestination.


So this golden chain it starts in eternity past, and the first two links that were forged by the sovereignty of God are foreknowledge and predestination, and this link, this golden chain rather, extends into time. And in verse 30 the next two links in this golden chain are calling and justification. Calling and justification, and those occur within time. And if you’re a believer these occurred at the moment that you were brought into the kingdom of God.


And then the last link on this chain extends all the way into eternity future, and is bolted, and is anchored into eternity future and it is the word glorified, or glorification. This golden chain it spans time and eternity, and this golden chain is unbreakable. None of these links will ever break. They are forged together by the eternal will of almighty God.


And what you will note is there’s no one added along the way, and there is no one subtracted along the way. The group that God began with in eternity past is the group that will stand before the throne of God in heaven, in eternity future. There are no dropouts from this university. The group he began with is the group that he will consummate with.


And you will note that those whom he foreknew he predestined. This is all God. This is none of man. This has nothing to do with man. We have no contribution to make to this. This is entirely a monergistic work of grace, and the word monergistic there’s only one active agent. Synergistic means there’s two or more active agents.


Now there’s only one. You can read it for yourself in your own Bible. Those whom he foreknew he predestined. Those whom he predestined he called. And those whom he called he justified. And those whom he justified he glorified. It’s all God. You’re caught up in something that is so far bigger than who you are, or will ever be. It is rooted and grounded in God himself.


And it will be succinctly summarized in Romans 11:36 when he says, “For from him, and through him, and to him are all things.” Not some things, not most things, not many things, all things. It’s all from him, it’s all through him, and it’s all to him. To God be the glory forever and ever, amen.


So what these two verses are is like you and me climbing the tallest mountain in the world, and when we finally get to the top you can see in every direction. When you’re down the valley you can’t see. In fact, you can’t even see above the clouds. You can’t see what’s on the other side of the other mountain ranges. But when you get to the top of this mountain peak you can look all the way back to eternity past, and you can turn around and you can look all the way into eternity future. You’ve got the full vista in view.


So that is the extraordinary teaching of this passage of scripture. And let me say this, this is still by way of introduction. This is why this is going to be a part one. The more you study your Bible the more you see of God. And for most of us when we entered the Christian life we thought it was God and us. That’s a joint venture. That God did his part and then I did my part and we met in the middle, and there’s like 50 percent God and 50 percent me.


And the more you study your Bible, and the more you have your eyes open, and the more you learn how to interpret scripture, the more you see it’s not 50/50. You see it’s 60/40, 70/30, it’s 80/20. And you keep reading and you keep growing until you come to the point you realize it’s 100 percent God.


It was God who chose to lay his hands on me and to save me. God chose me long before I ever chose him, and God loved me long before I ever loved him, and God pursued me long before I ever pursued him. God knew me long before I ever knew him.


So that’s where we’re headed on this, and you’re standing right now on hallowed ground. So let’s look at the first two links. The first two links, and there are five links; foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, glorification. Five links. We’re going to look at the first two links today, and it begins with foreknowledge.


So Roman number one is foreknowledge, and Paul begins in eternity past. So I want you to note the first four words, just the first four words; for whom he foreknew. The word for, F-O-R, introduces an explanation of what was just said. And in verse 29 he talked about God’s affectual call, “Those who are called out of the world into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” And he says at the end of verse 28 that, “Those who are called according to his purpose.” And that purpose refers to God’s eternal purpose before time began.


And so that needs some explanation. I mean that just like put out on the table a subject of immense profundity. And so he starts verse 29 with the word for. I need to explain what it is for the eternal, affectual, sovereign call of God to lay hold of someone and draw them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. And he says according to his purpose, that purpose is his eternal purpose.


So as we come to verse 29 he starts with the word for. This is to open the lens. This is to open it up. And he says for whom he foreknew. The he is very important. That is God the father. It is God the father who is driving this whole train. It is God the father who has chosen these five links. It is God the father who has forged these five links. It is God the father who has purposed these five links. It is God the father who sent the son into the world. It is God the father who sent the Holy Spirit into the world. It is God the father who is the architect of his eternal purpose and sovereign plan. It’s all preceding from the first person of the Godhead, and he is distinguished from his son in verse 29.


So these he’s are not referring to his son, and the Holy Spirit is mentioned in verse 27 and 26. No, he is God the father. Now for whom he foreknew. Everything hinges right here on the first lead domino to be pushed over to set this domino effect in motion. It’s important that we understand what the word foreknowledge means.


Now, let me begin by telling you what it does not mean, and it’s how I took it for years in my Christian life until I began to study the Bible seriously. Foreknowledge does not mean that God looks down the tunnel of time to see who would chose his son. And when God sees who chooses his son,


God then, on the basis of this foresight, predestines and sets all this into motion, and the pivotal hinge point is what God sees that you do with his son. And probably the majority of people who would call themselves Christians have this faulty erroneous empty understanding of what foreknowledge means.


Now I want to tell you why this is blatantly false. I’m going to tell you four – I’ll give you four reasons why that is false, and then I want to show you what foreknowledge actually means. So, the reason this does not mean God looks down the tunnel of time to see what certain individuals would do with his son, and on the basis of what God now foresees, God then chooses them only because he foresees that they choose his son.


All right, reason number one why that is erroneous. Number one, God has never learned anything. God has never looked into the future and learned anything. That is a pagan, secular understanding of God that there is knowledge outside of God, something God didn’t know, and God now is gaining knowledge. God now is being schooled.


God now is learning what he did not previously know, and now he sees that someone chooses Christ as if God has been pacing back and forth in heaven while someone is whistling “Just as I Am” and, “Oh, I see now. He believes in Jesus so now I -” it’s like a tag team wrestling match. You tag me, I tag you back, okay?


God has never learned anything, okay? We could just all go home right now just on that one point. Everything is rooted and grounded in the attributes of God. So that view begins with a demented view of God. The reason God knows everything is because God has foreordained everything.


Now, number two, if this was mere foresight, God just looking down the tunnel of time to see what Chris Cobb is going to do as the Gospel is preached and God is gaining information, all God would see is that no one would choose Christ. No one. The doctrine of total depravity and radical corruption teaches the blindness of the unconverted mind that have eyes but they cannot see.


There is the depravity of the heart that loves what it should hate, and hates what it should love, and there is the bondage of the will that in spiritual matters there is a moral inability. Write that word down, inability, there is a moral inability to exercise the will towards God, and the reason is you don’t want to.


The Bible says in Romans 3:11, which we looked at a while back, Romans 3:11, “There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside. Together they have become useless. There is none who does good, not even one.” We all like sheep have gone astray. Each one of us has turned to his own way. Isiah 53, I think it’s verse 4.


So if all God is doing is just looking down the tunnel of time to see what people will do, I’ll tell you what he will see. We all like sheep have gone astray. Each one of us has turned to his own way. That we have eyes, we cannot see; we have hearts, we cannot feel; we have wills, we cannot choose. That’s all we would see. That’s all he would see. So you think far too highly of man and far too low of God if that’s your understanding.


Now, third reason, this does not say what he foresaw. It says whom he foreknew. This has nothing to do with events. This has nothing to do with circumstances. This has nothing to do with choices by man. This doesn’t say what. What is an impersonal pronoun. This is a personal pronoun, “Those whom he, God, foreknew.” So this is dealing with not events, but individuals. So let’s just be good Bible students.


Fourth, and here’s where we get down now into even more of the crux of the matter. The true meaning of foreknowledge is to choose to love beforehand. To choose to love someone beforehand. The word foreknowledge, as you can clearly see in your English Bible, is a compound word. It’s two words. Seems like every week I’m saying that, “Hey, this is a compound word.


It’s part of the beauty of the Greek language, it’s a powerful language. And they’re always joining words together and it’s just tightening the bolt, and clarifying what is actually being said. So at the very heart is know or knowledge. The word means to love. It means to choose. It means to choose to love. Someone in this case, or something in some other case. In this case dealing with individuals, so it’s to choose to love someone. You put the prefix pro, P-R-O in front of it, and that means beforehand. So foreknowledge means to choose to love someone beforehand.


Now, the entire Bible supports this, and we’re going to take a little journey right now through the Bible, okay? So lick your fingers and I want you to turn back to Genesis, and we’re going to go through a bunch of verses, okay? So just to let you know. I’ve got enough gas in the tank for the journey, okay? And I’m not stopping the car to let you out, so I just hope you’re good to go.


Audience:                    Hold the water.


Dr. Steven Lawson:    Yeah, just hold your water. All right, Genesis four and verse one. If you’re having trouble finding it it’s the first book in the Bible. Just keep going west until you get to the Pacific, you’re there. Genesis 4:1, “Now the man had relations with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Cane.” We understand what this means. This means that Adam entered into the most intimate love relationship, expression of that love relationship in that he had a physical union with his wife, Eve, and the result of that is she conceived and gave birth to a son, right?


                                    Well, in the original language, and the Old Testament was written in Hebrew for the most part, this literally says, “And the man knew his wife, Eve.” I even have it as a footnote at in the side margin. I hope your Bible would have that. A little number one and then you go over to the side margin where the cross references are and it will have the word know. I’m looking at it right now in my Bible. It’s a Hebrew word yada, Y-A-D-A, Y-A-D-A.


                                    So at the very beginning of the Bible the word “to know” means to love. It means to enter into the most intimate personal relationship that a man could possibly have with a woman, and it’s an exclusive relationship saying, “No to other women. Yes to this woman.” Now at this time there is – there are no other women. I mean Eve said to Adam, “Honey, do you love me?” And he says, “There’s no one else. It’s you sweetheart.” But that’s what this word “know” means. It means to love.


All right, let’s just keep going here. Come to Exodus 33:17. This is the next book. Exodus 33:17, “The Lord said to Moses I will also do this thing of which you have spoken for you have found favor in my sight. I have known you by name.” For God to know Moses is for God to set his favor upon Moses. It’s for Moses to find favor in the sight of God. That’s what it means for God to know Moses.


It doesn’t mean that God knew Moses’ name. It doesn’t mean that he knew Moses’ zip code. It doesn’t mean that he knows where Moses lives. Of course God knows all those things. God knows everything. What this means for Got do know Moses means – you see it in verse 17, it means for God to set his favor, his loving favor in a distinguishing way upon Moses.


All right, come to First Samuel two, First Samuel 2:12. In First Samuel 2:12 we read now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. What does that mean? It means they didn’t have a relationship with the Lord. They didn’t love God. They didn’t have a personal relationship with God. They were worthless. They didn’t know the Lord. So you see here, it has nothing to do with intellectual ascent. The word “know” speaks of a personal relationship with another person, in this case God.


All right, keep your fingers working. Come to the Book of Psalms, Psalm 1:6. And in Psalm 1:6, and what I’m wanting us to see is the word know, K-N-O-W. Not N-O, but K-N-O-W. Now Psalm 1:6, “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will parish. God does not know the way of the wicked, but he knows the way of the righteous.”


What does that mean? That means God has nothing to do with the way of the wicked. They’re on their own. They are independent of God. They are autonomous. They have rejected God. They’re a sheep who have chosen to go their own way, but God knows the way of the righteous.


What that means is God is intimately involved in the way of the righteous. God laid it out, God paved it, God walks that way with the righteous. He knows those who are on this way. He is intimately connected with the way of the righteous. He is not intimately connected with the way of the wicked. They have abandoned God, and God, you’re on your own.


Now, let’s keep walking here, Proverbs 9:10. Proverbs 9:10 there’s parallelism here. There’s an A line and a B line, and the B line will restate the A line, but adds some – be restated in different words. Verse 10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Very clearly we see there that knowledge is parallel to fear. The knowledge of the Holy One is what it is to fear the Lord. It’s to have this genuine relationship marked by reverential awe of God. That’s that it is to know the Lord.


Come to Jerimiah, Jerimiah 1:5. It’s a verse with which you are no doubt very familiar. And we’re having to lay this foundation so that we’re not hoodwinked on that foreknowledge means in Romans 8:29. Jerimiah 1:5. Starting at verse four, “Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,” verse five, “Before I formed you in the womb.” I want to underscore before. “Before I formed you in the womb.” God is the speaker here, “I knew you. And before you were born I consecrated you. I have appointed you a profit to the nations.”


Wait, what does it mean for God to know someone? It means that God has entered into a personal covenantal saving, loving relationship with someone. That’s exactly what this means. And we see here before Jerimiah was even born God has already drawn a circle around his name, and God has set his heart of love upon Jerimiah before Jerimiah was even conceived in the womb. That’s what foreknowledge means. If I had no other verse other than Jerimiah 1:5 it is abundantly clear. A blind man could see this.


Now keep coming, Hosea 13:5. Be the first of the minor profits right after Daniel, Hosea 13:5. Hosea 13:5, “I cared for you in the wilderness.” Literally in the Hebrew it reads, “I knew you in the wilderness.” And in my New American Standard Bible there’s a little one over cared for, and out in the cross reference, out in the column the one is there and in my Bible it just says “new.”


To be honest with the reader that this really means God knew you in the wilderness. In the context it just means God said is loving care upon his people when they were in a dry and weary land, as they were in the wilderness.


Now come to Amos. Amos, two more books to the right. No one is allowed to look at their table of contents right now, okay? Amos 3:2, and we’re drilling this nail through the board into China right now. Amos 3:2, “God -” Let me begin in verse one, “Hear the word which the Lord has spoken against you sons of Israel, against the entire family which you brought up from the land of Egypt.”


This is addressed to the people of God. In this case the ancient people of Israel, and God says, “Listen, I brought you out of bondage, out of Egypt.” And now he clarifies in verse two, “You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth.” Of all of the nations of the earth God chose the nation Israel and set his heart upon them. Now what you need to know is literally in the Hebrew this reads, “You only have I known.” To know is to choose. I don’t know how many nations there were at that time on the globe, and a lot of people didn’t even know there were nations. There were tribes, and people groups, and language groups, et cetera.


I’m just going to grab a number, 100. Let’s just say there were 100 people groups, language groups around the globe at this time. God says, “No, there’s only one. I didn’t know 100. I only knew one. I chose you and I set my heart of love. I entered into covenant relationship with you. You only have I chosen. I didn’t choose the Egyptians, I didn’t choose the Canaanites, I didn’t choose the Babylonians, I didn’t choose the Assyrians, I didn’t choose the Ninevites, I didn’t choose any of them. I just passed them over. I have only chosen you, my people of all the nations in the world.” It’s the word “know.” It means to choose to love someone.


All right, come to the New Testament, Matthew 1:25. And for those of you watching on live stream I hope you’re tracking with us, and hope you’re able to have your Bible out and look up all these verses with us. So Matthew one. I’m going to start reading in verse 24. That’s where the sentence begins, but verse 25 is what we want to see. Starting with verse 24, “And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did just as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin.”


You want to know how that reads out of the original Greek? He did not know Mary. What do you mean he didn’t know Mary? Of course he knew Mary. He knew her name. He knew her parents. He knew where she lived. He knew where her house was. He knew how old she was. He knew what color her hair was. He knew what color her eyes was.


No, that’s not what know means. It has nothing to do with intellectual knowledge. Of course God knows all that. Every hair of our head is numbered by the Lord. There’s not a sparrow that falls apart from the Lord. God knows everything there is to know. What this word for know means is to have an intimate personal love relationship. Did you get that?


So in verse 25 when it says, “He kept her a virgin,” we know what that means. He didn’t know her. He did not cross the line. He didn’t enter into a sexual relationship with her whereby he would violate her virginity. He didn’t know her. That you need to hang onto this as we’re going to be going to Romans 8:29 here in a bit for foreknowledge. Because you just can’t immediately go into that text and go, “Oh, okay, God is looking down the tunnel timing, gaining information.” You kidding me? That’s not even what the word means.


All right. As long as we’re in Matthew, Matthew 7:23. Matthew 7:23. I’m going to start in verse 21. Verse 23 is what I want to open up for you, but beginning in verse 21, “Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven will enter.” And this is to say not everyone who thinks they are a Christian is a Christian. There are a lot of self-deceived people.


Verse 22, “Many will say to me on that day,” and the many in verse 22 is the same many in verse 13, the many who are on the broad road headed for destruction. And it’s the same many in verse 21, the many who are saying, “Lord, Lord.” Verse 22, “Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?””


Here’s the reality, they didn’t do any of those things. They just thought they were. They were so self-deceived about the entirety of their supposed relationship with God the whole thing was a facade. The whole thing was a smokescreen. The whole thing was a deception. They didn’t know God. They didn’t know Christ. They weren’t prophesying. They weren’t casting out demons. They just had talked themselves into thinking these things were happening. And there were so many gullible people out there saying, “Oh yeah, he’s able to do that.”


Now, verse 23 is the knockout punch, “And then I will declare to them I never knew you. Depart from me you who practice lawlessness.” Now intellectually, cognitively, factually Jesus knows everything. He knows they were saying, “Lord, Lord.” He knows they were saying, “Hey, we prophesied. We cast out demons. We did many wondrous works.”


The Lord has got it all down, he knows it all, but now he says, “I never knew you.” What does that mean? It has nothing to do with intellectual facts. It means I never had a relationship with you. You didn’t know me and I didn’t know you. There was no saving relationship. There was no – let me put it this way, experiential heart reality about their relationship with the Lord. It was just all a self-concocted deception.


Now come to the Gospel of John, John chapter 10. And I’m looking at my friend the clock, we’re not even going to make it through verse 29 here. But let me just tell you, we have to get this. We have to understand this. John chapter 10, and verse 14. John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd, and I know my own and my own know me.”


Now what do you think that means? I’ll tell you exactly what that means, and you know exactly what that means. That Jesus Christ knows his sheep in a way that he does not know the goats. He knows his sheep in a way that he does not know the rest of mankind, and those sheep know him. They have a personal love saving, experiential relationship with the Lord, and I know him and he knows me. And you’ll note the order which goes first. I know them and they know me. He knew us before we knew him. He loved us before we loved him. He chose us before we chose him.


Now keep coming with me, Acts two. Acts 2:23. And it’s important that we get all these verses out on the table because we’re not talking about one or two verses, and I’ve limited the number of verses I’m giving you. Acts 2:23, “This man,” referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, “Peter, on the day of Pentecost delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God you nailed to the cross.


Now let me ask you, do you think that means that God sent his son into the world and there was no plan, and suddenly the situation got out of hand and God goes, “Oh, I hadn’t planned on this. They actually just arrested him. Oh my goodness, there’s more cards being turned over. There’s another door opening. I’m seeing more now. He was just condemned. They’re making him carry his cross. Oh, he has a crown of thorns. Oh, now I see it. They’re lifting him up on a cross. Well I’ll just have to adopt that as my plan. I’ll make lemonade out of lemons?”


That is blasphemous. That is heretical. That is – I can’t even come up with the word on how bad that is. No, we clearly see foreknowledge means it is inseparably connected with predestination. Get used to saying that word, predestination. It’s inseparably connected with it. You don’t want anyone else to be in charge. You want God to be in charge.


So it’s very clear. Come to Galatians, Galatians 4:10. Now I’m going to have to push down on the gas pedal here. Galatians 4:10. Excuse me, verse nine. Galatians 4:9, “But now that you have come to know God.” All right, just stop right there. There was a time you didn’t know God, but now you have come to know God. What brought about the change? I’ll tell you what brought about the change. It’s called the new birth. It’s called regeneration. It’s called conversion.


“But now you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God.” That’s just an echo of John 10:14, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” We have come to know God. And what that means is God knows us, and that was the causative affect.


All right, First Corinthians eight. I did get that out of order. Sorry about that. First Corinthians 8:3. The globe is spinning in the other direction right now. First Corinthians 8:3. I’m going to wait until Ford finds it. Okay. He was blow drying my hair on that one. All right, “If anyone loves God he is known by him.”


What in the world do you think that means to be known by God? It doesn’t mean God is looking down the tunnel of time, et cetera, et cetera. It means God loves us, and God chose to love us. If we – if anyone loves God he is known by God.


All right, I’ve got two more, Second Timothy two. Second Timothy two, or as they say in England, “Two Timothy. Two verse 19, “Never the less, the firm foundation of God stands having this seal, the Lord knows those who are his.” Very clearly he does not know those who are not his. He only knows those who are his. He only has this special saving relationship with those who are his.


Now one more, First Peter one, and this will complete our traversing through the scripture. First Peter one. I want you to see at the end of verse one – I’ll start at the beginning of verse one, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.” And he says that just so that we’ll all know everything that follows is inspired and errant, and infallible and authoritative.


This is coming from the Lord himself through his apostle, “To those who reside as aliens scattered.” Why are they scattered? Because they’ve been run out of town. Why have they been run out of town? Because they have been persecuted for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in the Roman Empire. “To those who reside as aliens.” Why are they aliens? Well, because this world is not their home. They’re just strangers down here. Their real home is in another world.


“Scattered throughout,” in other words, blown from here to kingdom come. “Throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bethania who are chosen.” Now do you think that meant anything to them to get this letter? You’re rejected by the world, but I want you to know you’re a number one lottery pick with God. You are chosen by God. You were rejected by the world, you are chosen by God, and that ought to so encourage you.


So beginning in verse two, “According to the foreknowledge of God the father.” Now some people when they come to this verse they go, “See, God chose only according to what he foresaw.” Wrong. Come to verse 20. You’ve got a packaged deal here. “For he,” the he refers to Jesus Christ, previous verse, “We have been bought with precious blood.” Verse 19, “As of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ, for he was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last days for the sake of you.”


Whatever you saw about verse 20 is what you’re going to say about verse 2. You can’t have it both ways. Now what does it mean that Jesus was foreknown by the father as it relates to his sin bearing blood shedding death upon Calvary’s cross? Well the answer very clearly for verse 20 is, is that God the father set his love upon God the son and said, “This is my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased,” and sent his beloved son into this world to shed his blood and to pay the price to secure our eternal redemption.


It doesn’t mean that God hadn’t – God just looking down the tunnel of time in order to learn what they’re going to do with my son, and I don’t really know and I’m going to gain knowledge once I look into the future and see where this takes Jesus. “Oh, they crucified him. Well let me adapt my plan.” No, it means the God the father chose his son in eternity past. Not the spirit, but the son to come into this world, and the father’s love was perfect upon his son as he came into this world to die for our sins.


You take that meaning from verse 20, you put it in verse 2. We are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the father. We are chosen according to the exclusive saving special love of God the father for those who are his elect. Now this now explains Romans 9:13, “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated.” There is a distinction in the love of God. God does not love everyone the same. Now that may take you weeks to recover from that sentence.


I can understand why he hated Esau. I cannot understand how he could love Jacob. Hating Esau makes all the sense in the world. You’re a holy God. This is an unholy sinner. This violates your very holy nature. Of course you reject Esau. Of course you are angry with Esau. I do not understand amazing grace, how you could set your heart of love upon Jacob who has been, in his own way, as bad as Esau.


So as we look at this what does Romans 8:29 say? “For whom he foreknew, those whom God chose to love in a special saving distinguishing way.” These God predestined to become conformed to the image of his son. That he would be the first born among many brethren. And we’ll look at it next week, but what predestination does is it sets everything in concrete, and it becomes irrevocable and immutable, and cannot be changed.


Predestination means the destination is determined before the journey begins. It means exactly what you think it means. God has previously determined the destiny of those whom he foreknew. And there is nothing within time or eternity that will circumvent these whom he foreknew being ultimately called, and justified, and glorified.


You are as certain for heaven this moment as if you’ve already been there 10,000 years. In fact, the word glorified is translated in the past tense. It’s already a done deal. You’re not even there yet. Glorified in the past in the mind of God. Now when God foreknew us he foreknew all of us at the same time. There wasn’t a first round draft pick, and second round draft pick, and a third round draft pick, and the rest of us are walk-ons, he foreknew all his elect at that same moment.


And in that same moment an eternity past, which is in some way a contradiction at that time in eternity past, at that time before there was time, he not only foreknew us, he predestined us, and he called us, and he justified us, and he glorified us. The reality of that would only take place within time and an eternity future. But it was all certain, settled and sealed in eternity past. No contingencies. No conditions that have to be met. Not only has God foreordained the end of all things, he has foreordained the means to accomplish those ends.


Now I don’t even have time to go through the application of all this, but I’m going to give you just one. I’ve got seven. I’m having mercy upon whom I will have mercy. This is the ultimate pride crusher. Every one of us needs to say why me because there is no reason in you that God chose you. God chose to love you in spite of you, not because of you. The only thing you brought to the table was your sin. It was laid upon the Lord Jesus Christ.


So this is every reason for humility to walk in a manner worthy of your calling with all lowliness of mind, Ephesians 4:2. We don’t deserve this. We weren’t looking for this. We were not seeking this. We were not pursuing this. It was God who took the initiative, and it is God who set this in motion from eternity past. Now you need to really let this sink in. And if you’ve ever heard the truth you just heard it.


So I was only going to do verse 29 so we’d have time for discussion, but there’s a part of me I wanted you to get the whole load on these verses. We just walked through the whole thing, and I just cut out two thirds of the verses we could have looked at for you to see from Genesis to the end what knowledge, to know God, for God to know us what this means, and what foreknowledge actually means.


Because if you take a wrong turn at foreknowledge, you’re going to keep going in the wrong direction for the rest of these. Only when you understand foreknowledge will you understand predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. The lead domino has to be turned over correctly.