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Summary: The fivefold unbreakable chain of salvation

Romans 8:28-31

That famous “All things work together for good” verse 28!

We discussed this at some length last week to considerable effect!

Here are five points to consider:

We know- according to Wilson , this speaks of “experimental certainty, not tentative conjecture.” In other words, we know this in our minds and we’ve experienced it in our lives

In what areas in your life do you find it hard to be convinced that God is working together for your good?

(Together) for good (in) all things- “this does not mean that everything which happens to us is good in and of itself. Suffering is a tragic, physical evil. I am not supposed to say to another believer who is suffering, ‘Rejoice, this is a wonderful benefit that you are experiencing here, because it is working together for your good’…Rather, if I see another suffering, I must do everything in my power to alleviate that suffering…God uses these things…bring victory out of them…redeems the evil that befalls us” (RC Sproul ). Also, we are not to practise or celebrate sin, but thank God that despite our shameful behaviour, He creates a good outcome

How can we tell people that God will bring good out of a situation if they love and trust Him, whilst still acknowledging how evil the situation is in itself at the time?

Love must be the stance we have towards God; all things only work together for good for “those who love God”, not those who mentally assent to His existence merely. And one of the signs that we are called by God is that we love Him- “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). “The whole point of studying Scripture is that we might love God more. The better we know Him, the easier it is for our hearts to be inflamed with affection for Him” (Sproul). To love = to be called = to love

In John 21, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” What would you say if He asked you?

Called in the NT Epistles always refers to those who are “really brought into the blessings to which they are invited” (Wilson). This is because God’s call is irresistible and not based on our own merits or ability to respond (see 9:11 ).

If God’s call is irresistible, why do so many reject the Good News of His Son?

According to His purpose is so comforting because it “establishes the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints; for if all things work together for their good, what or where is that which God will permit to lead them into condemnation?” (Haldane)

Can we lose our salvation? Consider the next verse. Then, Matthew 24:24; Philippians 1:6; 2:13; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Hebrews 12:2. Contrast with Hebrews 2:3; 6:4-6; 10:26-27; Romans 11:20-21.

“The unbreakable chain ” of verses 29-30

1. Foreknowledge (not merely knowledge)

“God has always possessed perfect knowledge of all creatures and of all events. There has never been a time when anything past, present or future was not fully known to Him. But it is not His knowledge of future events (of what people would do, etc.) which is referred to [here] for Paul clearly states that those whom He foreknew He predestined, He called, He justified, etc. Since all men are not predestined, called and justified, it follows that all men were not foreknown by God in the sense spoken of in verse 29… Although God knew about all men before the world began, He did not know men in the sense that the Bible sometimes uses the word know, i.e. with intimated personal awareness and love. It is in this latter sense that God foreknew those whom He predestined, called and justified” (Steele & Thomas ).

If God not only has a perfect knowledge of the future, but also a set purpose with regard to certain individuals, what becomes of free will? More importantly, how does the doctrine of foreknowledge affect your life as a believer in Jesus?

2. Predestination

Predestination is a hard teaching to swallow, but here it is in black and white. We cannot debate its reality, but there is some discussion to be had about its nature.

a. The prescient view . “God looks down the corridors of time from his vantage point in eternity and sees the different responses people make to the gospel of Christ. On the basis of His prior knowledge of how we will respond freely to the invitation of the Gospel, God then predestines those whom He knows will say yes to salvation. Predestination, according to this view, is not an actual foreordaining that people will believe, but only a foreordaining that those who believe will be saved. God does not worth the faith into their hearts. That is something they do by their response, by their will, by their choice” (Sproul).

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