…those he justified, he also glorified… (Romans 8:30c).
Glorify: to cause to be or treat as being more splendid, excellent, etc., than would normally be considered.
I love that definition.
Paul tells us that God, having predestined, called, and justified us, now glorifies us. He treats us as more than we are; he gives us more excellence than we deserve.
You may not feel particularly glorified on this Friday morning, but it’s a done deal.
You were predestined to be his.
You are called to love him.
You have been justified so that you can have fellowship with him.
As you love and serve him, you bring him glory, and he graciously lets some of that glory slop back onto you.
Revel in that fact today. Drink it in. Know that you are his, and he is yours, and he delights in you.
Now and always.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
…those he called, he also justified… (Romans 8:30b).
When I use the word justify in the context of my life, it usually means trying to get away with something, like taking a sick day when I’m not really sick, but justifying my actions by calling it a mental health day.
Not that I ever do that.
In theological terms, the word justify means to absolve of guilt, to declare someone innocent. You see, Beloved, you were useless to God when you were in your sin. Oh, sure, he could use you as a tool, like he used Pharaoh or Pilate or Judas, but that’s not what he’s looking for with you. You he wants as a partner. Junior partner, yes, but a willing partner all the same. In order to accomplish this, God needed you to be clean in his sight, free from the effects of sin. He needed the penalty for your sins to be paid. Since you couldn’t do that for yourself, he provided a substitute to pay for you.
He provided his son. But you know that part of the story.
If you have accepted Christ, you are justified, clean in the eyes of God.
Now he can use you.
And he will.
And those he predestined, he also called… (Romans 8:30a).
You have a purpose.
Oh, yes you do.
You have been called by the Lord of the Universe, who knew you before the world began. You have been called to love him and to let him love you, to serve him and let him care for you, to trust him and let him lead you, to glorify him and let him fill you with his Holy Spirit. You have been called to be his servant, his friend, his brother or sister, his child, his bride, his beloved.
You want something more specific? Seriously?
How’s about we get a handle on the above list, generic though it may be, before we ask for more? Hmmmm?
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).
Free will vs. Predestination…do you really think that I’m going to attack that in a two-minute devotional?
O.K., real quick…
We have 100% free will, and God 100% predestined us to come to him. Call it “God Math.”
The best illustration I have seen of the concept goes like this: picture a sheet of paper—just your basic computer paper. If I told you that I could fold that paper so that it was a triangle and a circle—at the same time—you would probably think I was nutty.
Because you would be thinking in two dimensions.
But I’m thinking in three.
See, in three dimensions I can fold that paper into a cone, which will look like a circle from one angle and a triangle from another angle. Add a dimension, and the impossible becomes simple.
We operate in a three-dimensional world—well, four counting time.
How many dimensions do you think God operates in?
So let’s not get caught up in if or how predestination works. Let’s focus on the fact that you were called, not to be a slave, not even to be a servant, but to be a son of God, brother or sister to the firstborn among many brothers.
That there’s enough to chew on for a Tuesday.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
This verse has got to be one of the most often quoted, frequently discussed lines in Scripture—and with good reason. Few other passages can provide the comfort, the peace, the faith in God’s plan that this one can.
If we believe it.
The problem is we’ve heard it so many times that it begins to sound almost trite. What say we freshen it up with a little independent application? Look in your own life for the proof of this passage. Remember the time, or times, or times upon times, that God has taken disaster and used it for your good. I particularly remember a job nightmare from several years ago. I thought it might end my career; instead, it brought me to a better position that has been a blessing many times over. What are your stories? Remember them today to strengthen your faith and restore your confidence in God’s plan. Share them, and perhaps you will strengthen a brother or sister who desperately needs it.
Gird your loins—it’s Monday. Who knows what God has in mind for today?
My daughter and I are currently in a production of the show Beauty and the Beast at LifeHouse, a local community theater. The heroine of our version is named Rose, not Belle; otherwise the story tracks pretty well with the story you know.
An open letter to my daughter…
Daughter of My Heart,
Since we started this show together, I have noticed a lot of flak out in Cyberland against the Beauty and the Beast story. Most of it centers on the idea that Rose (Belle, Beauty, whatever you wanna call her) is a bad role model for young women, because she falls in love with the Beast (sort of the epitome of the “Bad Boy”) in the hopes of changing him. In the Christian world, we call that missionary dating; in the secular world, it’s just stupid and codependent. Continue reading
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23).
Yesterday we imagined what the new creation might be like. But what about the new us? What will “the redemption of our bodies” look like? Will I finally get chiseled abs and shoulders that don’t come attached to my coat?
What about the redemption of our minds?
Sometimes I groan outwardly at the aches and pain that time has given me. Mostly I groan inwardly at the pride and selfishness that sin has given me.
When will I be released from this body of weakness, this heart of sin?
When he comes for me.
When he comes for us, Beloved.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time (Romans 8:22).
We live on a pretty planet. Think of your favorite scene—sunrise over the mountains, sunset over the sea, starlight through the treetops, waves crashing against the rocks, gentle breeze through a meadow filled with wildflowers.
You know, all those pictures they use on calendars.
All that beauty, all that majesty…that’s groaning?
Don’t forget…Creation is suffering under the curse of sin.
Our sin…because…well…trees and seas and dewy meadows don’t sin.
So, if this beautiful, wonderful, awe-inspiring, delicious, amazing world of ours is not currently at its best—or even close—what will it be like when the curse is lifted? God has promised a new Earth to go with the new Heaven. Can you imagine what that will be like?
I think we have something to chew on for Thursday.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
Some days I feel like I’m going through a lot.
Some days I actually am.
But whatever I’m going through—whatever you’re going through—is going to disappear like mist in the sunshine. It won’t even be worth thinking about when his glory is revealed in us.
So here’s what I’m wondering—what exactly is the glory that will be revealed in us?
Not to us, mind you.
Frankly, I don’t know, but I’m going to spend this day pondering that very question.
Care to join me?
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:17).
Have you ever had the Rich-Uncle-You-Never-Met-Dies-And-Leaves-You-A-Million-Dollars Dream?
I like that dream…but this one’s better. This one comes true.
In the Greek, the word “if” in the second half of the verse is more accurately translated “since.” So it’s more like, “Since indeed we share in his sufferings…” Which means, we will share in his sufferings.
And we will share in his glory.
You, Beloved of Christ, are heir to more than money. You are heir to the depth and width and height of God’s love. You are heir to glory.
Well, of course you don’t deserve it—but we’ve been through that before, haven’t we?