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The Golden Chain of Redemption

By Ted Sims

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8:29-30).

The Golden Chain of Redemption (Rom. 8:29-30) sometimes called The Order of Salvation is one of the most lucid passages in the Bible on the sovereignty of God in salvation. Nevertheless, Universalist, Arminians and other semi-Pelagians have consistently confused this text. In the following exposition I will attempt to help the reader think through this passage and come to a sound Biblical interpretation of it.

The first thing that must be determined is what is meant by the word "foreknew." Is this referring to the "general foreknowledge of God of all people" or Is it referring to "the intimate foreknowledge of God of the elect"? The Universalist would say that it is the former and that everyone is thus going to heaven.

And I agree, if this passage is talking about the "general foreknowledge of God of all people" then everyone is going to heaven. For who did God foreknow? Everyone. Who did he predestine? Those who he foreknew (everyone). Who did he call? Those he predestined (everyone). Who did he justify? Those he called (everyone). Who did he glorify? Those he justified (everyone). Who is going to heaven? Everyone.

This, of course, is blatant error. Everyone is not going to heaven. But if this is true (that everyone is not going to heaven) then "foreknew" in this passage can not be talking about the "general foreknowledge of God of all people" but must be talking about the "intimate foreknowledge of God of the elect". When I speak of the "intimate foreknowledge of God of the elect" I mean that before the foundations of the world God determined to love and redeem some, his elect, in light of the fall.

Most Arminians would agree with me up to this point but would now stop me and say "Yes, but the elect are those that God knows will make a decision for him and thus God predestines us based upon that decision." But this, my friend, is a works salvation for it is based on something good which I have done. Salvation, however, is not based on our acts of virtue but upon God's unconditional election.

For we read in Rom. 9:11-13 "(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.’"

Clearly this passage tells us that God's election is not based upon any foreseen decision or action that we make. Again, salvation does not depend upon our will but upon God's will. For in verse 16 we read "So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy."

I did not choose to be born into this worldly kingdom and I did not choose to be born into God's kingdom. "Salvation is of the LORD" (Jonah 2:9). Soli Deo Gloria!

Any comments or questions on this article are welcome. I can be reached at:
Ted Sims ~ 543294 Estelle ~ Huntsville, TX. 77340

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The above article was posted on this Web site in December 1997.

Calvinism - Introductory Articles
Calvinism (Reformed Theology)

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