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"GOD'S ULTIMATE PLAN FOR US "
Wednesday Evening Home Bible Study
June 9, 2004
Paul has spoken of the present trials that his readers were undergoing.
He stressed that the present trials are not worthy to be compared with
the glory that will follow (Rom. 8:18-25); and of the current ministry
of support they received from the Holy Spirit (vv. 26-27). This moves
him to encourage his readers with a description of God's ultimate plan
for them - a plan which includes the trials they were then undergoing.
We may have hope in the "sweet by-and-by"; but it's up to us to bring
the impact of that hope to bear in the "sour now-and-now". These words
give us the content of that present experience of hope.
I. GOD ULTIMATE PLAN FOR THOSE HE LOVES (v. 28).
A. It includes all things in its consideration. His providential
control of all things causes all things to work together for the purpose
He decrees - even apparent evil (Gen. 50:20).
B. It applies to those who love Him - that is, those who
are called according to His purpose. These two phrases are not describing
two different groups. They are two descriptions of the same people.
We may enter into that group by the fact that we love Him (and love
must be understood in the whole context of Romans). But at the same
time, if anyone loves Him, it was because He first loved them and
called them to His purpose (John 15:16; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 John 4:10, 19).
C. It involves God causing all things to work together for their good.
"Good" may not necessarily mean what we wish it would mean; because
trials can seem very "ungood" at the time. But God's "good" for us is
far greater than our own. He intends to conform us to the image of His
Son; so that we would become sharers together with Him of His glory
II. HOW GOD'S PLAN IS WORKED OUT (vv. 29-30).
A. It involves, first, a resolve in the heart of God (v.
1. He first "foreknew" us. This means much more than that
He simply knew us in advance. It means that He chose us for Himself
- even before we could choose Him (see Rom. 11:2). It means that He
has placed His unmerited love upon us.
2. He then "predestined" those He foreknew. He chose us for "a
destiny in advance". This is the "goal" for which He foreknew us
(Eph. 1:3-6) - a goal that results in Christ being the firstborn
among many brethren.
B. It then involves the resolve of God being brought to completion
in our experience (v. 30).
1. Whom He predestined, He also "called". The "call" is
often called "the effectual call", because it definitely results in
those He calls coming to Him (John 10:27-28).
2. Whom He called, He also "justified" (i.e., made righteous in
His sight). This shows us the behind-the-scenes reality behind all
that we've been reading about in Romans (Rom. 5:1-2).
3. Whom He justified, He also "glorified". Note that this is in
the past tense. It's as if we're being told that, whom God foreknows,
predestines, calls and justifies are also as usure for future glorification
in Christ as if it had already happened (Phil. 1:6).