by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 4 Study # 3 May 14, 2017 Humble, Texas
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.
1901 ASV Translation:
28 And we know that to them that love Godall things work together for good, [even] to them that are called according to [his] purpose.
29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren:
30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
I. Paul's Deduction From the Ministry of the Spirit to Us.
A. This is another "common knowledge" declaration (oidamen).
B. One "qualifier" is "for those who love The God" [See notes for 170507(089)].
C. Another "qualifier is "to those who are called according to purpose".
1. There is this implication: "those who love" are "those who are called", with the "love" arising out of God's activities involved in "calling". We "love" Him because He first "loved" us.
2. The question of "purpose".
a. It is anarthrous and unspecified; God has/had a "purpose", but this text does not readily and specifically reveal it. That "purpose" is anarthrous indicates that Paul was intent upon establishing one issue clearly: "purpose" means God has a plan and is intentional about fulfilling it.
1) The follow-up verse, however, addresses a "predestined" intention of God (purpose) that may well be at least a part of Paul's understanding of being called according to purpose.
2) The concept of the Spirit's unvocalized intercessions in groanings has to have a basis in some kind of scenario that makes Him "groan". The "predestination" of the called to conformity to the character of Jesus, God's Son, is clearly a conformity to godliness (no groaning there) and to sanctification from sin (where all groaning originates).
b. Additionally, other New Testament texts tend to reveal "purpose" more specifically through a perusal of the use of the word in the Bible.
1) In Romans 9:11 (a "near" context), Paul ties "the purpose of God" to "election" so that His "purpose" would not be affected by anyone "having done any good or evil" and the bottom line would be "calling" and not "works". That text deals specifically with the fact that God "elected" Jacob and not Esau for His "purpose".
2) In Ephesians 1:11 we "obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose...". This text deals with "purpose" as the intention of Him "Who works all things after the counsel of His own will". This strongly implies that the "purpose" is a pretty large intention, covering a host of particulars. But, it also brings "inheritance" to the fore just as Paul has already done in Romans 8. Thus, at least one aspect of "purpose" is to bring human beings into their "inheritance" of eternal glory.
3) Ephesians 3:11 speaks of "the eternal purpose" in respect to another specific issue: making the manifold wisdom of God known "unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places".
4) 2 Timothy 1:9 mentions "His own purpose and grace" in respect to each believer's salvation and calling. This implies that His "purpose" includes each believer's stewardship in regard to their grace-gifts for the benefit of The Church.
c. These texts tend to identify God's "purpose" as the saving and sanctification of certain elected persons in light of the larger "purpose" of setting up an eternal kingdom with all of its particulars thought out and planned in detail.
3. The significance of "called".
a. The grammar contains the use of the definite article coupled to an adjective so that the usage is equivalent of turning "called" into a noun and the use of the participle "being". The end result is that Paul is talking specifically about those who "are" "the called".
b. This "calling" issue is, then, immediately used in verse 30 as a part of the linkage between "foreknowing", "predestinating", "calling", "justifying", and "glorifying".
c. That this second "qualifier" concerns "the called" indicates that the issues of "calling" have to be in the forefront.
1) Most obvious is the fact that "the called" are being summoned byGod. This puts the initiative in God's court and necessarily indicates that He has a "purpose" that He is going to pursue and achieve without regard for any/all "opposition". God summons those whom He had decided He would use to advance this "purpose" by His power and grace.
a) "Calling" is not, of itself, always effective: many are "called", but few are "chosen".
b) "Calling" is, though, a part of the overall process.
2) Then is the fact that "the called" either respond, or not: many are "called", but few are "chosen". Being summoned does not always result in the necessary positive response that is required in order for the "called" one to enter into a deliberate pursuit of the Plan. "Here am I, send me" is not a popularly followed attitude.