Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: August 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

II. Ordo Regenerare

“28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

The first question we must answer is, who are these individuals or what is this group referred to as “the called”? This group referred to as “the called” is defined by the words “them that love God.” This text and context of Romans chapters five through eight are obviously referring to believers. Therefore, “the called” is referring to believers. Also, the words “them” and “the called” refers to a group of believers collectively and synergistically. The word “called” is translated from the Greek word kletos (klay-tos'). The context demands we understand that this does not refer to the general call to salvation, but the specific calling of believers vocationally. In other words, the text is not talking about the presalvific work of the Holy Spirit of God, but the Holy Spirit’s postsalvific work of progressive sanctification upon the lives of individuals within local churches as they fulfill the purposes of their individual callings within the “body of Christ.”

“1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. . . 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:1-10 and 22-31).

One of the great difficulties in Biblical interpretation is the explanation of various portions of Scripture after the understanding of the text has been perverted by false suppositions imposed upon the text. I Corinthians chapter one and Romans chapter eight are two such portions of Scripture. The simple meaning of the words calling and chosen in these texts have been perverted by the false supposition that the word election refers to God’s choosing which lost people He is going to save. That false supposition is then forced upon every text where these words are used and a false interpretation and application results. Both texts refer to believers. The words calling and chosen refer to the vocational positions believers are to fulfill within the “body of Christ” (the priesthood of all believers with the local church). We have already dealt with what calling refers to extensively in Chapters four and ten of these studies. We will review briefly here.

Paul was called of God. “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee” (Acts 26:16). Every Christian has a calling or “vocation” in the body of Christ.

As individual Christians within a local church fulfill their vocational calling in the “work of the ministry” a synergy is created. A synergy is defined as the working together of two or more things, people, or organizations, especially when the result is greater than the sum of their individual effects or capabilities. However, the central factor defining a Biblical synergy is when individual Christians are divinely empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. When all the members of a local church habitually live in this state of empowerment, a synergism is created and spiritual revival takes place. We have two major Scripture texts teaching the synergism of the “body of Christ” (local church; Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12).

Some callings, like Abram, Moses and Paul, were special callings for specific purposes. Other specific callings, like those of a Pastor\teacher or Evangelist (Ephesians 4:11) are defined by a specific function. These callings do not come because a person wants them or because he has some special ability. They do not come because they might be a good profession or because someone enjoys working with people. These people hold their positions for one reason, they have been called of God and they know they have been called.

Gideon was such a man. “And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee” (Judges 6:14). Isaiah was such a man. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Paul was called of God to be an Apostle as defined by Romans 1:1. He was “a servant” with a specific ministry. He was “separated unto the gospel of God.” The only higher authority over him in the whole world was God, yet he was called and commissioned to be a servant. He considered being an ambassador for Christ the highest honor in this world.

Although not every Christian is called to be a Pastor\Teacher or an Evangelist, every Christian is called to be a servant of God with two primary purposes.

1. To minister

“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28).

Here is where everyone’s Christianity either succeeds or fails. Individual Christians must accept their calling of God in Jesus Christ and then do it.

“Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves. And he said, Be that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10: 36-37).

The whole idea behind becoming a servant meant giving yourself to meet another person’s needs without expecting anything in return. That is a complete sociological abstract. Yet it was how God intended His children to function in His society.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

2. The second primary purpose of every servant of God is to bring forth fruit.

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give if you” (John 15:1 6).

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Romans. 7:4).

Paul was not only a man “called” of God, He was man separated from the world for a specific task. He was called to tell the whole world the good news of God’s wondrous gift of salvation and how “whosoever will” can be saved. This is the calling and mission of every person professing Jesus as Savior and Lord. There are only two categories of Christians in the world.

1. Those who are doing what they have been separated unto
2. Those who are not

Paul was “separated unto the gospel of God” before he was even born. This is known as the doctrine of predestination. Paul tells us in Galatians 1:15 when God separated him for this purpose.

“10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus” (Galatians 1:10-17).

This all means that before we were ever born, God foreknew those who would trust in Christ and incorporated them into His plan to bring the message of redemption to a lost world. Even before we were saved, God began working in our lives to prepare us for the ministry He would call us to do. Many people think that men like Paul, John the Baptist, Jacob, Samson, Moses, Samuel and Jeremiah were unique in this way. Actually this is a common truth for all believers. We were all separated from the womb unto the gospel of God.

“29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

What Christ said about the Apostle Paul is true of every believer born again of the Spirit of God. All who have accepted God’s free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ also have a vocational calling to take that good news to everyone they come in contact with.

“13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:13-16).

All believers have an “apostleship” as priests before God. That does not mean all believers are Apostles with the authority of the twelve, but all believers are sent forth with the authority to preach the gospel. This authority was transposed to all believers in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Romans 1:5 also tells us of these common “apostleship” of all believers.

“5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: 7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:5-7).

Paul was called to be one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He and the other Apostles were called of God to be part of the very foundation of the Church of the New Covenant.

“19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).

With salvation comes both a calling (“apostleship”) and “grace.” There were twelve original Apostles.

“1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:1-6).

There were only twelve Apostles with Apostolic authority. When the original twelve with Paul as a replacement for Judas died, Apostolic authority continues only in the writings of the Apostles.

“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars” (Revelation 2:2).

“And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14).

Not every Christian is an Apostle in the sense Paul was an Apostle, but every Christian has an “apostleship.”

“Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles” (I Corinthians 12:29)?

The word “apostleship” in Romans 1:5 is from the Greek word apostole (ap-os-tol-ay'). It refers to the sending off of a fleet of ships or an army. In that sense, all believers have an “apostleship.” This “apostleship” is the common calling to all believers referred to in Romans 8:30. The continuity of Romans chapter eight is critical to understanding that Romans 8:30 refers to the calling of believers vocationally, not salvationally.

The words “the called” in Romans 8:28 refer to both the object of God’s progressive “working good” and the means of His ultimate objective; i.e., “his purpose.” God’s ultimate objective purpose is His glorification. The means God will use to accomplish His glorification is through progressive sanctification/transfiguration of believers in a synergistic union (“fellowship”) with them and the indwelling Holy Spirit during the Dispensation of Grace. This synergistic union will result in complete transfiguration in their glorification at the resurrection/translation of Church Age believers allowing these glorified believers to fully bring glory to God (reveal Him in all of His wondrous attributes) during the Kingdom Age. This will be the first time since the fall of man that God will be truly and perfectly worshipped in all of His glory.

Today (in the Dispensation of Grace or Church Age), the vocational calling of all believers is to glorify God in our bodies. This is the purpose of God in His synergistic union of His indwelling Holy Spirit. This is the purpose of God in the believer’s progressive sanctification/transformation/transfiguration.

“10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies {both presently, through progressive sanctification and, ultimately in glorification} by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:10-11).

“19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:1-5).

II Peter 1:10 is very similar instruction to that of Romans 8:1-27. “Calling” is translated from klesis (klay'-sis) and refers to God’s vocation call to the priesthood. That vocational calling is accompanied with vocational responsibilities regarding practical sanctification and consecration. This does not refer to salvation. The word “sure” is translated from the Greek word bebaios (beb'-ah-yos) literally meaning sure footed. The idea is confirming the reality of their “calling and election.” Every believer has a priestly and vocational “calling.” Within that “calling,” God has chosen individuals out from the corporate body of believers to hold specific vocational positions within the priesthood of all believers.

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Romans 12:1-5).

Consecration and sanctification are the first aspects of preparation for “reasonable service.” Not every “member” of the “body” of Christ has the “same office” as every other member. Although every member has a priestly “calling,” there are many different positions within the priesthood of believers. Some would be called to be Apostles, but all have an “apostleship” (Romans 1:5). Others were called to be Pastors/Teachers. Some were called to be Evangelist/Missionaries/Itinerant Preachers. Others were called to be Deacons. All are called to be “Ambassadors.”

According to Romans 12:1-5, it would be through the believer’s consecration and sanctification that the believer would “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” regarding the specific vocational call (“election”) of God upon that believer’s life. The word “election” refers to a believer’s specific vocational call.

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way” (I Corinthians 12:12-31).

So then, what is this Ordo Regenerare (Order of Regeneration) found in Romans 8:29-30? Every believer is being progressively changed/transfigured/transformed as the Spirit of God presently quickens our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11). Every believer is predestined to both this progressive conformation “to the image of Christ” through the supernatural enabling of the indwelling Spirit of God (grace) and the ultimate and complete conformation “to the image of Christ” through the supernatural creative act of glorification. The believer’s New Genesis began “in Christ” before the foundation of the world according the foreknowledge of God.

“29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

Foreknowledge is a difficult concept for most people to understand. It is difficult because we are trapped in a view of existence in seeing time linearly. We see time/space/matter as a continuum of the past, present and future. God does not see time/space/matter the way we see it. God sees the end from the beginning. He sees all events as having already happened. Therefore, God knows all events from the perspective of already being past tense. The Word of God often refers to future prophetic events in what Bible scholars know as the Prophetic Perfect Tense.

“[The past tense is used instead of the future tense] when the speaker views the action as being as good as done. This is very common in the Divine prophetic utterances where, though the sense is literally future, it is regarded and spoken of as though it were already accomplished in the Divine purpose and determination. The figure is to show the absolute certainty of the things spoken of.”[1]

Hebrew scholar Friedrich Gesenius (1786–1842) wrote[2]:

“To express future actions, when the speaker intends by an express assurance to represent them as finished, or as equivalent to accomplished facts: (b) To express facts which are undoubtedly immanent, and, therefore, in the imagination of the speaker, already accomplished. This use of the perfect occurs most frequently in prophetic language (perfectum propheticum [Latin for “prophetic perfect”]. The prophet so transports himself in imagination into the future that he describes the future event as if it had been already seen or heard by him, e.g., Isa. 5:13, therefore my people are gone into captivity; 9:1; 10:23; 11:9; 19:7; Job 5:20; 2 Chronicles 20:37. Not infrequently the imperfect [i.e., the actual future tense] interchanges with such perfects either in the parallel member or further on in the narrative.”

The number of uses of the Prophetic Perfect Tense in the Word of God is too many to try and list here. I will provide only a small example of them.

“But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee” (Genesis 6:18).

Noah was commanded by God to build the Ark. Then God gives Noah instructions on the size and materials to be used. After which the Hebrew text literally reads, “And you have come into the ark.” The English translators have “thou shalt come into the ark.” The ark was not completed when God told Noah, “Go into the ark” (Gen. 7:1). The use of the prophetic perfect in Genesis 6:18 is used to tell us with certainty that Noah would enter the ark. God foreknew that Noah would fulfill His command to build the Ark and go into the Ark when the time came to do so. God foreknew Noah’s obedience. That does not mean God caused Noah’s obedience.

25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).

In Job’s statement, “Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold,” the first verb is imperfect and is correctly translated to refer to a future event. The second verb is in the Prophetic Perfect Tense. The second part of the text could literally be translated, “Mine eyes have seen Him” {i.e., the Redeemer}. Whether Job actually saw a vision of the future incarnate Son of God or a Theophany (pre-incarnate appearance of Christ in the O.T.), or Job is merely speaking of an absolute certainty based upon faith in God’s promise, we cannot be sure. Nonetheless, God’s choice of words to refer to the future coming of Messiah reveals an already accomplished reality.

The Prophetic Perfect in the Hebrew and Aramaic is known as an idiom or Hebraism. When something was absolutely going to happen in the future, it is often spoken of as if it had already occurred in the past. Although this idiom is connected to the Hebrew or Aramaic languages, it also comes into the Greek in the New Testament books. Again, E.W. Bullinger[3] comments on this:

“The fact must ever be remembered that, while the language of the New Testament is Greek, the agents and instruments employed by the Holy Spirit were Hebrews. God spake “by the mouth of his holy prophets.” Hence, while the “mouth” and the throat and vocal chords and breath were human, the words were Divine.

No one is able to understand the phenomenon; or explain how it comes to pass: for Inspiration is a fact to be believed and received, and not a matter to be reasoned about. While therefore, the words are Greek, the thoughts and idioms are Hebrew.

Some, on this account, have condemned the Greek of the New Testament, because it is not classical; while others, in their anxiety to defend it, have endeavored to find parallel usages in classical Greek authors. Both might have spared their pains by recognizing that the New Testament Greek abounds with Hebraisms: i.e., expressions conveying Hebrew usages and thoughts in Greek words.”

One such text in the New Testament is Ephesians 2:6. Although the events of verse 6 have not yet actually happened in time, they are already accomplished realities in God’s view. The Prophetic Perfect always gives us God’s eternal view from outside of time as seeing all future events in time as already completed.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 2:4-6).

Verse 6 literally reads, “And {God} hath raised us up together {with Christ}, and hath seated us together {with him} in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This verse is actually referring prophetically to a future event. We refer to this future event as the believer’s position “in Christ.” The event has not yet actually happened, but it is so certain according to God’s promise that it is referred to in the past tense (Prophetic Perfect).

Through the context of understanding the Prophetic Perfect, we understand how foreknowledge connects to predestination. When God says He will do certain things, we can be certain they will happen. The Ordo Regenerare (Order of the Regeneration) in Romans 8:28-30 begins with “those called according to His purpose.” We also know that those “called” in verse 28 are believers, not unbelievers. It is clear this calling (election) is vocational, not salvational. God’s foreknowledge refers to His pretemporal knowledge (before the foundation of the world) of all that will trust “in Christ” down through the Ages. Here it is critical to understand that in Romans 8:29-30 all the verbs are in the Past Tense (Prophetic Perfect). All of what Romans 8:29-30 says happened has taken place before the foundation of the world “in Christ.” Yet, it has not yet actually happened.

“Foreknew” in Romans 8:29 is Aorist Active Indicative. The word “predestinate” in both verse 29 and 30 is also in the Aorist Active Indicative as well as the words “called,” “justified” and, “glorified” in verse 30. What this means is that all of these events in believer’s lives refer to something God did in the past (actually before time) that are being fulfilled in time or will be fulfilled in the future. All though not all of these events have actually happened yet in the lives of all believers, for some believers some of these events have actually happened and some of these events are yet to happen. However, positionally, all these events have already happened for all believers who have lived, who are living and, who will live in the future. For future believers (those who will believe in days to come), none of these events have yet actually happened in time, but they have all happened already in eternity (outside of time).

George Bryson[1] says: [1] George Bryson; The Dark Side of Calvinism: The Calvinist Caste System; Calvary Chapel Publishing, 2004; Page 209

“Paul tells us what is destined to be true for those whom God foreknows. Inevitably they will be called, justified, and glorified. Moreover they will be called according to His purpose. What is His purpose for those He foreknows? It is that ultimately and inevitably they will be glorified. Justification represents the predestined work of God in time while glorification represents the predestined work of God in eternity. From a temporal perspective justification must come first. From an eternal perspective if a person is justified in time, that person is also predestined to be glorified when time meets eternity for the believer.”

The ultimate calling upon the believer’s life is to glorify God (the purpose for which man was created). Although this “purpose” is partially fulfilled in the believer’s progressive sanctification, it cannot be fully realized until the believer is glorified. This glorification of the believer to fully glorify his Creator is the ultimate purpose of God’s vocational calling upon a believer’s life. This cannot be fully realized until “the regeneration” is actually completely fulfilled in the Creation of the New Heaven/Earth.

Progressive sanctification has to do with the progressive conformity to be like Jesus Christ through the supernatural enabling of the indwelling Spirit of God. Glorification has to do with the complete conformity to be like Jesus Christ through a supernatural act of creation by the Holy Spirit of God. This supernatural act of creation by the Holy Spirit is referred on four occasions in Romans chapter eight.

“17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:17-23).

Romans chapter seven deals with the spiritual struggles and uncertainties of the Christian life. Romans chapter eight deals with the ultimate victory and certainties of the Christian life that already belong to all believers “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, 2, and 39). George Bryson sums up Romans chapter eight for us[5]:

“Glorification and justification are simply two ends of the same applied salvation and that is why we call glorification a resurrection of the just. It is evident that Paul sees justification and glorification as two ends of the same greater event, namely the complete salvation of the believer. If you are justified, you will be glorified. If you will not be glorified, you are not and never will be justified. You can’t have one without the other and if you have one you ultimately must have the other. Either both belong to you or neither belongs to you. The point, however, is that everything is going to be all right in the end for the believer who is identified as one who loves the Lord. In fact, the end is just a new and infinitely better beginning for the believer.”

The final supernatural act of God in a believer’s salvation is that believer’s glorification. The surety of this confident hope of future glorification for the believer is where Paul then leads the believer in Romans 8:31-39. This glorification is what the believer is predestined to.

[1] E.W. Bullinger; Figures of Speech Used in the Bible: Explained and Illustrated, (Baker Book House, 1968), Page 518
[2] E. Kautzsch, ed., Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1910), Pages 312 and 313

[3] E.W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible: Explained and Illustrated, (Baker Book House, 1968), Pages 819 and 820

[4] George Bryson; The Dark Side of Calvinism: The Calvinist Caste System; Calvary Chapel Publishing, 2004; Page 209
[5] Ibid; Page 215