Video Transcript: God's Golden Chain

As a church we've been going through God's word in the book of Romans and hearing of what  God has done. The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes,  because in the Gospel a righteousness from God is revealed that is by faith from first to last.  And this righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ, all who believe because all have  sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely through the redemption that  came by Christ Jesus whom God offered as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood. And this salvation of Jesus then is brought to us and applied in our lives through the Holy  Spirit, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, God has poured out His love  into our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. And being justified by faith, we  have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit gives us joy, and hope. And this Spirit helps us to become more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ, when we don't know what  to pray for. The Spirit helps us in our prayers. And as all of these wonderful realities of what  God has done and continues to do in our lives, when we these realities begin to sink in, then  Paul begins to talk about God's great plan before all of that, and how he works it out in our  lives. And so as we get into Romans eight, verses 28, through 30, I simply want to begin by  asking you to imagine that you are stuck. You've gotten your vehicle deep in the mud. And  you know how that works. When you're stuck, you gun, the tires, and you spin the mud, and it doesn't go anywhere, and you try to rock the car back and forth a little reverse and start. And  it just keeps burying deeper as you spin deeper and deeper into that mess. And finally, you  realize that you're not going to get this car out on its own, and it is not going to be able to  spin its way out of the mud, you need a different vehicle. And so you are happy when you see  a big vehicle show up, a big truck with four wheel drive, and enormous tires, and a powerful  engine. Whoo! This is what your car needs. And as that big truck pulls up, you look at the  truck. And you figure now, at last, I'm going to get out of the mud. And so the driver of the  truck hops out, and he hands you a paper chain. And he says now, I'll take one end to my  truck, and you take the other end to your car. And let's see what we can do is your joy at  being rescued a bit less now. The paper chain is not going to do the job. It's wonderful that  that truck has a strong engine, and the big wheels and the four wheel drive. But if the  connection is only made of paper, that truck is not going to get you out. You need a strong  connection. You need a strong chain to connect the truck to the car, or you are never going to  get out. And that's what our passage today is about the strength of the connection, the power of the chain. If God were simply to give us this great Savior, and then leave the connection to  be flimsy. Well, then how much good would such a mighty Savior do us? How much value  would that blood and that resurrection power do us if our connection were entirely based on a really flimsy paper chain? And the apostle tells us the connection has not been left to links of  paper. And we know that all things God works for the God of those who love Him who have  been called according to His purpose. For those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to  be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. and those he predestined, he also called those he called he also justified, and those he  justified, he also glorified. This ends the reading of God's word, and God always blesses His  Word to those who listen. God's golden chain that is not an image original with me the canons of Dort, which were originally issued in 1618, spoke of God's plan of salvation. And they spoke of this particular passage from Romans eight as God's golden chain of salvation. The logic of  Romans eight verses 28 to 30 is this, he's told us of all that the Spirit does. And then he goes  into the fact that we know that God is always working for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose. What's it mean to say, well, we've been called  according to His purpose. And how do we know that God is always working for the good of  those who love him? Well, we know it because or, as Paul puts it, for, for those whom God fore knew, He predestined he called, he justified, he glorified, God had a plan. And he implements  his plan. And because of this plan, which he has had forever, literally, forever he had this  plan, then you can be sure that if you've been called according to His purpose, and we'll find  out a little more what that means. And if you love him, and trust Him, then you can be sure  that he is at work in every detail of your life, and he is forging the connection, this golden  chain of salvation that links his people with their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The chain  begins with this fact those whom God foreknew. What does it mean to for now? Well, you 

might say, Well, that's easy. It means to know in advance. Well, God does know everything in  advance. God knows long before anything ever happens, what's going to happen, he knows  the behavior of every molecule and atom, and every galaxy and Quasar in the universe.  Before ever those things were formed. He knows every thought of the human mind eons  before that thought is ever thunk. He knows everything. He knows every decision that's ever  made. And God has this complete foreknowledge because He is God and He is all wise and all  knowing. But when the scripture says here, those whom God foreknew is that all it means that God knew something about people in advance. And because of what he knew about them, he  decided to save them because he knew they were going to have certain qualities. He knew  they were going to be rather first rate people. And so he decided he would choose them  because they were qualified, and he saw in advance how qualified they were going to be.  That would be the exact opposite of everything that the apostle has been teaching. The fact  that God's salvation is a gift of grace, not of his knowing our wondrous qualification. It is not  just a notion that God peered into the future, and saw who would deserve it, or who would do  the right thing, and therefore decided to save them because he knew in advance, let's think  again about what the word know often means in the Bible. In the book of Genesis, it says,  Adam knew his wife, and she conceived and how had a son. Now, something more happened  than Adam knew the existence of his wife and was aware that she was there. When the Bible  says that Adam knew his wife, it means that they were together in a very intimate manner,  and that's what led to the birth of their son. So the word known is more than just an  intellectual awareness of things in the Bible. God says in Amos 3:2, you only have I known of  all the families of the earth. Now, does this mean that God only knew of the existence of  Israel, he wasn't aware of these Assyrians? He didn't know about the Arameans? The Romans, man they were they were just a mystery to him. He only knew the Israelites existed. But no,  of course not. And so many, many translations will take that that task is you only have I  known of all the families of the earth, and they translate it to say you only have chosen of all  the families of the earth he chose Israel to be his special and unique people to whom he  would reveal himself and from whom the Messiah would come. In Romans 11, verse two a  little later in the same book of Romans, the apostle writes, God has not rejected his people  whom he foreknew. And there again, it's all and translated chosen, because God had set his  love and had set his desire upon them. The Bible speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in I  Peter 1:20, and says, he was foreknown before the foundation of the world. Well, of course he  was foreknown. But is that all? It means just say that he knew something in advance. God, the Father knew that someday Jesus of Nazareth, would be on the earth. Well, that is not all that  that statement means that Jesus was known that he would be there by God the Father, no, it  means he was chosen and he was appointed before the foundation of the world, to be the  Savior of the world. That's what it means, when it says that he was foreknew foreknown. And  so in this passage, when the Apostle says those whom God foreknew, it is not saying that God looked down the corridors of history, and knew in advance things about you, and based on  those things about you made his decision regarding you. God did not base his decision on  your and my qualities, let's suppose even that you think he looked down through history and  saw that you would choose Jesus? And therefore he decided to save you because you would  make that right choice and that decision? Well, where would that leave the Apostle Paul  himself? If God's basis for choosing is simply how you respond to Jesus. And only that, then  where would Paul be? Well, how did Paul respond to Jesus? Let us ask that question for a  moment. When the Apostle Paul heard the teaching of Jesus Christ, when He possibly met  Jesus Christ Himself but certainly met the apostles of Jesus Christ, his first reaction was to  hate and then to kill. He killed Stephen, the first martyr, he went down around hunting other  people, and he had been exposed to the truth about Jesus Christ. He had heard it, and he  made his decision. No. That was Paul's decision. Regarding Christ, no. But Christ had already  made a different decision. Yes. And so after Paul had rejected Christ again, and again and  again, and hunted down and harassed and murdered his followers, Jesus came to Paul  anyway, and revealed himself to Paul. And the apostle says, I am not worthy to be called an  apostle, because I persecuted the church of Christ. But he showed his grace to me, so that  people would know that anybody, anybody can be saved. So Paul was foreknown by God, not 

in the sense that God looked and saw how good a response Paul would have, but that God  had set his love on Paul, and had chosen him and Paul says, That's what God does in relation  to everybody who is saved is if he just looked and wanted to know something about you and  decided on the basis of that, then salvation would of course, be by works, it would be by your  own qualifications. But since it's by grace, it descends or depends on God's decision for you.  And that's what the theologians talk about when they speak of unconditional election.  unconditional election does not mean God is running for office and hopes to get enough  votes. God is God, regardless of who votes for him, or against him, but unconditional election  is not about our decision to vote for God, but about God's decision to save people. And as  Jesus said to His disciples, You did not choose me. I chose you and appointed you to go and  bear fruit fruit that will last and the Apostle Paul writing himself in a chapter that's part of our  Bible reading plan this week, said no brothers, I want you to think of what you were when you  were called. Not many of you. Were wise. Not many of you were influential. Not many of you  were of noble birth. did God choose you because you were royalty and bluebloods. Think of  what you were when you chosen? Not many of you? Were all that smart, or all that powerful,  or have such great birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He  chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this  world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are so that  no one may boast before him. It is because of him, that you are in Christ Jesus who has  become for us wisdom from God, that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written, let him who boasts, boast in the Lord, because he chose people  when they didn't amount to much. In fact, when they didn't amount to anything, in fact, when they amounted to less than nothing, the God who brought the entire universe into existence  out of nothing, also saves people who were less than nothing. Because not only were we  zeros, in a sense, we were rebels against him. And he chose to save people anyway. So the  Apostle says, If you want to brag about anything, don't brag, oh, I had this quality and God  saw it. And that's why he picked me. No, think of what you were, and he saved you. So that's  what we're talking about. When we're talking about this unconditional choice of God to save  people, even when they have nothing to offer them, him but their sin and lack of qualification. There's a song that says Tis not that I did choose thee for Lord that could not be this heart  would still refuse thee had thou not chosen me. Now from the sin that stained me has  cleansed and set me free, of old thou hast ordained me, that I should live to thee. Now,  already back when God chose the people of Israel to be a people apart for Him, He wanted to  make some things very clear. He said, The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for  His treasured possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not  because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord said his love on you  and chose you for you were the fewest of all peoples. God didn't look around and say, Well, I  think the Egyptians have their pyramids. And they've got the power, he didn't look around  and see, see some other vast empire and say, That's my chosen people, because they're first  rate. They're the biggest, they're the best. They're the baddest. He chose a weak, small slave  people, to be the ones to whom he would reveal himself and through whom he would work  throughout history. And a little later, in Deuteronomy seven, he not in Deuteronomy nine. He's already said in chapter seven, I didn't choose you because you're the biggest, and we're  going to be the most impressive nation of them all. And then in chapter nine, he says, Then I  didn't pick you because you were the most righteous either because you were stubborn, and  hard to get along with. Why did I choose you? Because I love you. And what other reason than that? Well, that's the only reason he needs. He chooses out of love, not out of anything that  we bring to him to impress him or earn his favor, but simply because he loved and so he  chose in love and He predestined in love. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be  conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brothers.  When God chooses, he does not simply go Eenie, meenie miney moe and pick some people,  but he also chooses not only who he's going to deal with, he chooses what he's going to make of them. He's going to make them like His Son, Jesus. He has a plan. That includes not only  who he will save, but what he will make of them. And that's why it is very foolish to say, Well,  God, God picked me so all is good. And I can go on and do what I want. Well, God chose you 

He didn't just choose whom to save. But what to save us into and make us into predestined to the original word is proorizo, you might recognize our word horizon, God decided on our  horizon, he decided where we're headed, and we are headed to be like Jesus, because He  wants Jesus to be the firstborn of many, many brothers and sisters. You see, God did not want  the great work of Jesus on the cross to be a failure. We've had a variety of natural disasters  lately another great hurricane with immense needs. And so there needs to be relief and  health and resources brought to bear on that. And when there is a disaster, or when there are  areas of poverty, one part of it is just getting the resources that are needed. So you need to  get a whole bunch of money and a whole bunch of material. And then you just throw it in a  big pile somewhere and hope that something good happens no, that would be a very, very  bad plan. Unfortunately, that is how sometimes government relief efforts have panned out if  they didn't plan well, sometimes vast resources are gathered and then they rot or get you,  you know, abused by looters and exploiters and all of that, not always, I'm not saying that.  But the point is this getting the resources is only part of it. Getting the resources to where  they're needed. You need a distribution plan. And God has a distribution plan. He did not have Jesus go through all of that, just to leave it to luck whether Jesus work would succeed or not.  He had a plan for bringing that salvation of Jesus to the people whom he chose. And so he  wants his son to be the firstborn among many brothers, and he has a plan to make sure that  he is that there will be many brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be glorified with Him, and made exactly like him. Ephesians one is another of the passages of the Bible  that is clearest about God's choosing and predestiny. God chose us in Christ, before the  creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. It is choosing to become  something to be like his son, to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, He predestined us  to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure, and will, to  the praise of His glorious grace, which is freely given us in the one he loves. Now, the  doctrines of election or choosing and of predestination are sometimes doctrines that are  debated very hotly, you don't find them debated very much in the Bible, you find them not so  much a cause of debate. But as of doxology, of joy, that God has such great love, that he  freely gives himself in the one he loves, that he has an eternal plan to make good things  happen in the lives of his people. We didn't choose him, he chose us. And when we do choose  him, we realize that it's because he did something in our lives first. So we're chosen by him  and we're predestined to become like his son. And then another aspect in that golden chain  after foreknowing predestining is what God does when he calls us those he predestined, he  also called Jesus speaks of this in John 10 he says he calls his own sheep by name and leads  them out his sheep follow him, because they know His voice. The calling occurs not only when God issues, the call, and when the voice of God reaches out and invites people to him. But  also when something else happens. There's a great preaching and declaration of the gospel,  it's meant to be public, and to go out to everybody, and to be heard by one and all, and God  wants that good news, to spread to the ends of the earth. And that's sometimes called the  outer call, when God makes sure that that announcement and preaching of the gospel of  Jesus Christ just goes out all over the place. But along with the outer call, there's also what  you might label the inner call, where the God where God does something on the inside. And  you know that this isn't just a gospel that's being talked to a whole bunch of people, but you  know that God is addressing you. And you know, that he is moving in your life, and that He is  drawing you to Jesus, and moving you to trust him and put your faith in Him. And when you  read the book of Acts, it's very interesting to see how conversions to Jesus are often described in Acts two that great day of Pentecost in the immediate aftermath, when 1000s of 1000s,  come to Christ, and then more and more are coming. The Bible says the Lord added to their  number, those who were being saved, he doesn't just raise the yeah, more and more people  kind of heard and they thought this would be a great idea to get part of become part of this  movement. In a sense, that may be what people thought and felt as they got going. You know, sometimes you feel like you discovered Jesus, and you decided to follow him. And you do. You  come upon Jesus in a certain way, and you do make a decision in your heart and mind to  follow him. And then later on, you realize, I think he was up to something before I ever made  that decision. And so that's why Acts can say the Lord added to their number those who were 

being saved. It doesn't just say more people were joining the Jesus movement. God was  adding them. You have all who were appointed to eternal life. believe that's an interesting  way of phrasing it, isn't it? Paul's preaching and some people don't like what he says and  others follow the Lord and the quick summary of the response. Is this all who were appointed  to eternal life? Believe, when you read of Paul speaking in Philippi, he goes to a gathering of  women who are worshiping God alongside the river, and he speaks to them. And one of the  women is a dealer in purple cloth. And her name is Lydia. And the Bible describes what  happened with her. It doesn't just say, Lydia chose to follow Jesus or that Lydia made a  decision for Christ, she did but what the Bible says is the Lord opened her heart to respond to  Paul's message. That's what you mean, by the inner call, the Lord opens your heart, you're  not just hearing the message and saying, yeah I'm trying to figure this out and that out. But  when you hear the Lord is opening your heart, to respond to the message, that's what it  means when those whom He foreknew and predestined, he also called, he makes his outer  call real, but also that inner call real. And the apostle writes to the Thessalonians, that he  knows they're chosen by God, you say, well, how in the world can he know that? Paul didn't  have some scroll given to him by God and says, Here's a list of all the chosen people that  from eternity, I decided, would be mine in the city of Thessalonica. So, and yet Paul doesn't  have the list. He just says, I know God chose you. How's he know that? We know brothers  loved by God, that He has chosen you because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction, you welcomed the  message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. You know, that God has chosen you, if the  Gospel comes to you with power, and with deep conviction, and the Holy Spirit is giving you  joy in the Lord Jesus Christ. And you don't have to go around speculating and saying, oh, man, you know what? I believe in Jesus, and I love him. And I think he's wonderful. But what if God  didn't choose me? You know, what if I'm not one of those elect, I sure wish I had God's will,  that he made before he made the world. That's not how that works. You know, that you are  foreknown and predestined, if you've been called, if that call comes with power, with the Holy  Spirit, with conviction of sin, with certainty of God's love, of this impact that the gospel makes on you, is the indicator that God chose you, you would not believe in God, you would not trust Jesus, you would not love him, if he had not made the first move. That's the upshot of all of  this, when God calls you, you know, he was up to something long before that call hit your  heart. He was targeting you for a very, very long time. In fact, he was targeting you forever.  And that's why that song we sing, says what it says, I sought the Lord, that's true enough. You seek the Lord God makes promises to those who seek and seek and you will find, I sought the  Lord and afterward I knew he moved by soul to seek him, because he was seeking me. It was  not I that found Oh, Savior. True. No, I was found, was foundof thee. And so it's true that we  do respond. I find I walk I love. But oh, the whole of love is about my answer, Lord to thee for  thou wert long beforehand with my soul, always, always thou lovest me. And what a  tremendous thing it is to realize that a decision you made in time, that's a choice you made to love and follow Jesus in time, is actually the product of a choice that God made in eternity,  there is there are decisions that are made in moments that have eternal impact and eternal  roots. And so that is an amazing thing that God has such a plan, and works out these things in the lives of his people. While those can be for new and predestined and called be justified as  well. That's the next link in the golden chain. He justified and Much has been said in Romans  already about what it means to be justified. God accepts us as we are with all of our faults,  although he doesn't leave us as we are. He continues to work on us and change us into the  likeness of his son but justify means he accepts us as we are and he forgives all our sins, past  sins, present sins. future sins, cannot change our status with God. When we've been justified  in this being justified comes through faith in Jesus Christ and trust in His blood, where God  puts all our sins on Jesus and credits all of Jesus righteousness to us. were justified through  faith and those who were foreknown, predestined and called, are justified. One example of  this is in the life of the apostle Peter. The apostle Peter was told by Jesus, Simon, Simon Satan  has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And  when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers, what an interesting way to phrase it.  He tells Peter, before it ever happens that he's going to deny Christ three times, and Satan is 

after you. But what a great word that is. But you're gonna deny Me, Satan wants you. But I  have prayed for you. And so he doesn't say. So if you turn back, we'll hope for the best. He  says, when you've turned back, strengthen your brother, Jesus knows that he knows ahead of  time how badly Peter's gonna blow it. And he says, And when you blown it, and when that's all over with, and you turn back again, because I prayed you would turn back, then you  strengthen your brothers, because they're going to blow it a few times too. And they're going  to need that strengthening. So those whom He called he justified and that means Peter's sin  when Jesus called Peter to be an apostle, did he say, Well, I'm going to call you to be an  apostle, but boy he blows it, I'm gonna have to ditch him. And you know, go with Plan B. No,  he called him to be an apostle, he declared him to be Peter the rock, even when he was not  very solid. And when he knew what Peter was going to do, he knew he was going to blow it.  And yet, he said, When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. And that's why the  Bible can also say in relation to being justified, who will bring any charge against those whom  God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns if God decides to declare  you innocent, because you put your faith in Jesus, then who is going to declare you guilty?  That's the logic that you get, as you read further into Romans eight, God justifies you. If he  gives that verdict, there is no higher judge to give a different verdict. And let me remind you  again, that there is a great difference between being justified by the judge and being put on  probation by the judge, our courts do have a system of probation. And in probation, a judge  will deal with somebody who has committed an offense. And basically, the message is this.  You did it, you're to blame. But I am not going to throw the book at you, I am not going to give you the full punishment that you deserve for breaking the law. Instead, I'm going to do this,  I'm going to put you on probation, which means that you're not going to get punished for  breaking the law. But if you do not live up to the full terms of your probation, if you blow it  again, whoa, whoa, whoa, I am going to throw the book at you. Probation means I will let you  off for now. But you had better keep your act together from now on. Justified does not mean  probation. God does not say I am willing to let bygones be bygones. And I'll let the past be the past. But you had better be perfect from here on out, or you are sunk. And then I will throw  the book at you. When you have been justified, you have been justified. And all the sins that  you ever did commit or are committing or will commit are not going to keep you from Christ,  and are not going to change your status with Christ. If you're tempted to say, well, then I'm  going to do whatever I want. That may be an indicator that you haven't been justified  because that kind of attitude is an indicator of someone who doesn't love God, and is not  operating according to the call of his purpose. But if you're a person who, who blows it and  you knew you blew it, and you want to be made right with God, again, the news is that you  don't have to feel like you're always on probation, and that you're in danger of God's  rejection. Every time that you commit a sin because when you are in Christ, you're saved  forever. You're not on probation. And those he justified he also glorified, so interesting that he  can already say they're glorified. Jesus himself says, I have given them the glory, that you  gave me the glory of being in Him the glory of knowing God as our Father, the glory of being  the light of the world, just as Jesus is the light of the world, the glory of being his kingdom,  agents here on Earth, the glory of being in Christ. And when we're united with Christ, and  what happens to Christ is counted as happening to us. That's one reason why the apostle can  say that you're glorified, because Jesus is glorified. And if he as you are, God raised us up with Christ, and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the  coming ages, he might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in his kindness  to us in Christ Jesus. So if Christ is in the heavenly realms, well, then if you're connected with  Christ, and if you're in Christ, then you're in the heavenly realms too in a certain sense, this  makes a little more sense, perhaps, if you heard previous sermon already, but not yet. We're  already glorified. And we're not yet glorified. There is a glory that has already been  accomplished and a greater glory, that is still headed our way. And the Holy Spirit, of course,  is involved very much in all of this. Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so  that you may, you know, be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you're insulted because  of the name of Christ, you're blessed for the spirit of glory of God rests on you. It seems like a  shameful thing to be insulted, and picked on. But if you're picked on because of Jesus, then 

you can rejoice because your Glorious, if he suffered, then it's a glorious thing to suffer with  him. If he was led by the Holy Spirit, and you have that same spirit of glory and of God, then  you already are glorified. And here again, you see, the logic is not just the power of the chain  connecting us to Christ, but the very fact that God's Holy Spirit, and his very life comes to live within us. Jesus said, I give them eternal life, and no one can snatch them out of my hands,  because the eternal life that he gives, and the living power of the Holy Spirit is indestructible.  Absolutely indestructible. You cannot destroy the Holy Spirit, you cannot destroy eternal life,  or it would not be called eternal life. It's eternal. It doesn't get old and kind of decrepit, and  then collapse. What is eternal stays forever, alive, powerful and young. It doesn't last for a  week or two, and then fade. It doesn't vanish. The moment your old nature does something  wrong again, because the new nature, empowered by the Holy Spirit is indestructible, the  spirit of glory and of God rests on you. And that's why the apostle can say, and we know that  in all things, God works for the good of those who love him. He makes that great statement  that God works all things for our good. And then he uses that word for, for those whom he  foreknew He predestined, called justified, glorified. The Golden Chain is the explanation, the  basis foreknowing that everything that happens in the life of a believer will be worked for the  good of that believer, because you love him. That's one sign of your salvation. You love him.  And if you love him, another way of saying it is, you've been called according to His purpose,  because he had that eternal purpose. He gave you that inner call. And because of that inner  call, you love him. And because of all that, you know that you are embraced by a great and  eternal plan, which is doing everything for your good. The Heidelberg Catechism is one of the  great summaries of the biblical faith. And when it says, What do you believe when you say I  believe in God, the Father Almighty? Well, it says some of the things that you believe about  him creating the world of course, but it also says this, The Eternal Father of our Lord Jesus  Christ, is my God and Father because of Christ, His Son, I trust him so much that I do not  doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul. And he will turn to my good,  whatever adversity he sends me in this sad world. He is able to do this because He is  Almighty God. He desires to do this. Because he is a faithful Father. God is able, because he's  strong. God wants to because he's loving. And so anything that comes our way, he will turn to our good that's the teaching of Romans eight, verse 28. And then there's this question What  is providence? Providence is the Almighty and ever present power of God. By which he  upholds as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures and so rules them. That leaf and blade rain and drought fruitful and lean years food and drink health and sickness, prosperity  and poverty. All things, in fact, come to us, not by chance. But from his fatherly hand, one of  the great lies of our time, is randomness. It's not the evolution part that concerns me as  much, although that has its issues, the notion that things are run by randomness, and chance, and that your whole destiny is a roll of a dice. No, Providence, not chance, not the luck,  Providence, the providence of God, who works all things for the good of those who loved him.  And all of that is true, because God is almighty, he's all powerful, and he doesn't get  surprised. He has his purpose at work and all things in Him we have obtained an inheritance  having been predestined according to the purpose of him, who works all things according to  the counsel of his will. That's basically the Ephesians way of saying what he says in Romans  eight. We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him who have  been called according to His purpose, because he works all things according to the purpose of his will. And that's why you have Paul teaching again and again, the eternal security of those  who have come to know Christ, He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be  blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, He who began a good work in you will carry it  on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. And there may be times when you backslide,  there may be times when you fall so far away that almost all of your assurance of salvation is  gone. And God is a loving father, loving fathers also know how to discipline. It won't always be fun, if you wander from the one who has loved you. But if you've come to know Him and trust  in Jesus, he's going to get you and he's going to bring you back. Again, just to ask the  question that we've already answered is the salvation connection, partly from God, and partly from me, a chain is as strong as its weakest link. I do not want the golden chain of salvation to be half powerful from God, and half a paper chain that I made in my spare time. Salvation is 

from God, salvation is of the Lord. That's a great statement that the Bible has again and  again, salvation is of the Lord. You don't have to be an expert in grammar to read these  verses and say, for those whom he foreknew, He predestined, he called he justified, he  glorified, who did it. He did it. God did it. And because God did it, he gets the glory, let him  who boasts boast in the Lord. And because God did it, and does it, not only does it mean  glory, for God, it means security for God's people. You sometimes see those scenes in movies  or elsewhere where somebody is hanging off of a tall building, or they're hanging over the  edge of a cliff. And then the camera zooms in and gives you all this drama, you know, and  that fingers are slipping and are they going to plummet all the way down to their death? If  you're in that position, and you're the one dangling. You may think, man, if I don't hang on I'm a goner. I feel like my grip is getting weaker. And it can feel that way, sometimes in your faith. And in your walk with God and you say I don't know if I can hang on much longer. I don't know if I have enough grip, to hang on to God. Whether it's his grip on you, that matters. You may  lose strength completely. But if the mighty grip of God is on you, nothing can snatch you from  the Father's hand. We praise you, Lord, that salvation is entirely from you. And that you are  the great and eternal God who has planned out our salvation and linked us to the Lord Jesus  Christ with an unbreakable chain. And we pray, Lord, that we may grow in confidence and in  joy and in love each day because you are such a God. And we praise you too for your great  promises that this salvation is of the Lord and so we pray to You For those who are still far  from you, Lord, if you'd already done all that you could, we wouldn't have much hope for  them. If it depended on them, we wouldn't have much hope for them. But we know that when  they are not seeking you, when they have wandered far, when they've messed everything up, your mighty hand can still draw them back. And so we pray for those whom we know and  those whom we love who need to know you. And we ask that you will intervene in mighty  ways in their lives. We thank you to for the confidence that when we witness when we speak  for you, when we share your gospel, it's not just our weak efforts and our pitiful words, but  that your mighty inner call is operating at the same time. And so we may know that your  Word will not return empty, but will accomplish your purpose. And so Lord, make us confident  and bold as we live for you as we testify for you and we ask that you will keep doing what  you've promised to make us more and more into the likeness of your son, our dear Savior  Jesus Christ. In his name we pray, Amen.

Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2022, 6:58 AM