The

CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 2 Chapter 2

Section 8—Romans 8:29, 30.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son; that he might be the first-born among many brethren. 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.


The meaning of these words is, that those whom God foreknew, or loved with an everlasting love, he predestinated to conformity to his Son; which conformity begins in grace, and will be finished in glory; and whom he has thus predestinated to grace and glory, he in time calls unto both; and whom he calls by his powerful and efficacious grace, he justifies by the righteousness of his Son, revealed to them by his Spirit, and received by faith; and whom he justifies, he will glorify, with the enjoyment of himself to all eternity. Whence it follows, that those, and none but those who are called, justified, and are loved by God with an everlasting love, and appointed unto salvation by Christ: and that all those, and none but those who are foreknown, or loved by God with a special love, and are predetermined to grace and glory, shall certainly be called with a holy calling, be completely justified by Christ's righteousness, and at last be eternally glorified. So that these words confirm the doctrine of the eternal predestination, or election of particular persons to salvation. Now to set aside this sense of the words, and the argument upon it in favor of this doctrine, the Arminians[1] have given us another sense of them, which is this: that those whom God foresaw would be true lovers of him, and devoted to his service, and whom he approved of as persons fit to be received into his favor, he fore-appointed to be like to his Son in sufferings; and whom he thus predestinated, he in due time called to suffer; and whom he thus called to suffer, upon their faith and patience under their sufferings, he approved of as sincere and faithful servants; and whom he justified or approved of, he gave them a glorious reward of all their sufferings; or he made them glorious under sufferings by the Spirit of glory and of God resting on them; or by giving them his Holy Spirit, to enable them to work the greatest miracles.[2] But,

1. The foreknowledge here spoken of, is not of men's works or graces, as the cause and reason of their predestination; since these are fruits and effects of it, and what follow from it; and therefore can never be the causes of it. It is true that God foreknew who would believe and love him, and be devoted to him; he having determined to bestow these graces on them, and ordained or prepared good works for them, that they should walk in them. The text does not say, that those whom God foreknew would be lovers of him, or fit for his kingdom, or devoted for his service, he predestinated; these are additions to it, and neither expressed nor implied in it; it only says, whom he foreknew;and which is owned[3] to relate to God's affectionate knowledge of these persons, as his chosen generation, his peculiar people:" words of knowledge being often expressive of affection (Ps. 1:6; Jer. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:7; Matthew 7:23). And it may be justly added, that it relates to God's affectionate knowledge of them from all eternity: since they were so early his chosen generation, and peculiar people, and as early loved by him with an everlasting love; to which, and to which alone, their predestination, or election to eternal life, is owing, and is the true meaning of the phrase here; whom God thus foreknow, or affectionately loved before the world began, them he predetermined, or fore-appointed, to everlasting happiness. Hence,

2. The predestination of these persons to be conformed to the image of Christ, is not a fore-appointment of them to be like him in sufferings: for though the saints are appointed unto sufferings, and sufferings or afflictions are appointed them; and though there is some likeness between Christ the head and the members of his body in suffering; yet this cannot be intended here: since the image of Christ, to which they are predestinated to be conformed, always designs something great and glorious, and not mean and abject; it is the image of the heavenly,in opposition to the image of the earthly;and is no other than the glory of the Lord,into which the saints are changed from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:47; 2 Cor. 3:18). Besides, Christ is never said to be the first-born with respect to afflictions, but with respect to preeminence, honor, and glory (see Ps. 89:28; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). This conformity to the image of Christ, to which they are predestinated who are loved by God, seems rather to be a spiritual likeness to Christ, which is begun in this world upon believers, and will be finished in the other; when they shall he like him both in soul and body, as perfectly as they will be capable of; when the great ends of predestinating grace will be fully answered upon them; or rather, particularly, this conformity is to be understood of a likeness to the filiation of Christ, or a likeness to the image of Christ as the Son of God; for though the saints are not in the same class of sonship with Christ, yet their, sonship bears some resemblance to his; as he is the Son of God by nature, they are the sons of God by grace; as he is the dear Son of God, they are the dear children of God; as w he is the first-born among many brethren, they are the first-born with respect to the angels; and as he has an inheritance, being heir of all things, so have they, being heirs of God,. And joint-heirs with Christ;. which likeness of sonship will more fully appear hereafter; for though now are we the sons of God, it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2). This sense of the words is strengthened by a parallel place (Eph. 1:5), Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.Besides, it is owned,[4] that "according to the received interpretation of the ancient Fathers,the import of these words is this; that whom God foreknew, he predetermined to render conformable to the image of his Son, that is, to be like him in glory:" or as in another place[5] "he predestinated, or fore-appointed them to be conformed to the image of his Son, their elder brother; that is, to be sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ;and the[6] author I am concerned with, after he had considered the text in every light: "conceives the sense of it to be this; those whom he hath so foreknown as to make them his elect,and peculiar people;for them he hath designed the choicest blessings, even the adoption of sons, and their being co-heirs with Christ." Wherefore,

3. The calling here intended, is not of persons to suffering in this life: for though such who are called by grace, are generally an afflicted people, they meet with many afflictions between their call to glory, and the enjoyment of it; yet they are not properly called to them, but to faith and patience under them: which is the meaning of the words of the apostle; If when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God; for even hereunto were ye called (1 Pet. 2:20, 21), that, is, not so much to sufferings, as to patience under them. And when in other places the saints are said to be called, it is either to grace or glory; thus they are called unto marvelous light,unto liberty, to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ,to peace and holiness, to a kingdom and glory,even to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:9; Gal. 5:13; 1 Cor. 1:9; Rom. 1:7; Col. 3:15; 1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess. 2:14); and here, in the context, they are said to be (Rom. 8:28) called according to his purpose; which is the same with being called with an holy calling, according to the grace which was given us in Christ before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9). Besides, all that are called to afflictions, or sufferings, are not justified and glorified; as for instance, the young man in the Gospel, to whom Christ said, Take up the cross and follow me, who was sad at that saying, and went away grieved:and all such professors, who, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by are offended (Mark 10:21, 22; Matthew 13:21). Add to this, that according to the received interpretation of the ancient fathers, the sense of the phrase is,[7] that "whom God fore-appointed to be the sons of God, the method he used to bring them to this adoption was this; to call them to the faith of Christ; or as elsewhere[8] expressed, "them also, in due time, he called to the salvation promised and offered in the gospel." And our author himself, at last[9] conceives this to be the sense of it: "that in order to this adoption designed for them, it is that he hath chosen them out of the world to be his church, an holy nation, and peculiar people to himself." And therefore,

4. When God is said to have justified the persons whom he foreknew, predestinated, and called; the meaning is not, that he approved of them as sincere and faithful, on the account of their faith and patience in suffering: for though God does approve of, and is well pleased with the faith and patience of his people under afflictions, yet no instance can he produced of the use of the word in this sense: not James 2:21, 25, where Abraham and Rahab are said to be justified by works;the meaning of which is, not that they were approved of by Christ, or accepted by him on account of their works, but that their faith, was evidenced to the world, their cause vindicated, and they cleared by them from all false charges and imputations: nor Matthew 11:19, where wisdom is said to be justified of her children;that is, not barely approved of by them, but vindicated, and acquitted from the charge of libertinism: nor Matthew 12:37, where it is said, by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou I shalt be condemned;since justification stands directly opposite to condemnation, and is used in a forensic sense, as it is throughout this epistle to the Romans, and in this very chapter and context. Besides, according to the above-mentioned received interpretation of the ancient fathers, the sense of the expression is,[10] that "whom God in due time called, and they believing in Christ upon this call, he justified them from, and remitted all their past sins. And according to our author's[11] last conception of it, the meaning is, "he hath justified them, or given them a full remission of their sins." Hence,

5. The glorification of them is not a making them glorious under sufferings; much less by them the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit to enable them to work miracles. The word is never used in this sense: not in 2 Corinthians 3:8-11, where the Gospel ministration is said to be en doxh in glory;but not on the account of the extraordinary gifts and miracles of the Holy Ghost, but because it is the ministration of the spirit of righteousness,and of life,in opposition to the law, the ministration of condemnation and death;and because it remains when the law is done away;and is attended with evidence, clearness, and perspicuity, when the legal dispensation had a great deal of darkness and obscurity in it: nor John 17:29, where our Lord says, The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them;which is not to be understood of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit; since the words are spoken not of the apostles only, but of all them that should believe in Christ through their word,(v. 20), but rather of the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and the excellent truths and doctrines of it; (see v. 8): nor Acts 3:13, where it is said, that God hath glorified his Son Jesus Christ;which was done, not by bestowing the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit on him, nor merely the miracle then wrought, by the raising him from the dead (v. 15); the thing he prayed for under this expression (John 17:1), and firmly believed (John 13:31, 32). Moreover, God is never said to glorify his people in this way. It is true, indeed, miracles were wrought, that the Son of God might be glorified (John 11:5). And in this way the Father did honor the Son (John 8:54). And Christ was glorified of all on this account (Luke 4:15). And the Spirit of God now glorifies Christ by receiving of his, and showing them to his people (John 16:15). But God is never said to glorify them by these gifts. Indeed some of the members of Christ's body are honored with gifts and graces more than others (1 Cor. 12:26). And should it be allowed, that extraordinary gifts are intended in this last-cited passage; yet this cannot be the meaning of the word here: since the apostle is speaking not of particular persons, but of all the saints in general, who were the sons and heirs of God, verse 17; had received the first-fruits of the Spirit, and were waiting for the adoption (v. 23); all who loved God, and were his called according to his purpose (v. 28); even all God's elect (v. 33). Now all these are not glorified in this sense; besides, were this the meaning of the phrase, then none would he predestinated, called, and justified, but such as have the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit: and on the other hand, none would have the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit but such as are predestinated, called, and justified: whereas, it is certain, that many might have, and had in the apostles' days, such gifts, and yet were destitute of the grace of God. It is much more agreeable to the context, and to the analogy of faith, to understand this phrase of eternal glory; since it is what the apostle speaks of in verse 17, 18, 21, 23, and is what God's elect are predestinated and called unto; and what the righteousness of Christ, by which they are justified, gives them a right and title to; and which they shall certainly enjoy. The main objection[12] to this sense of the phrase is, "That when the apostle speaks of our final justification (glorification it should be) in this chapter, he still speaks of it as a thing future; saying, We shall be glorified with him,(vv. 17, 18, 21). Whereas here he speaks of it as a thing past; saying, Whom he hath justified, them he hath also glorified." To which may be replied, Not to insist upon the change of tense, the past for the future, which is no unusual thing in scripture; this is strictly true of that part of the body of God's elect, who are already in heaven, called the family in heaven, and the things in heaven; who through faith and patience have inherited the promises (Eph. 3:15; Col. 1:20; Heb. 6:12), and is in some sense true also of the other part on earth, who are called and justified; since they are made glorious both by the robe of Christ's righteousness put upon them, and by the grace of Christ wrought in them; which makes them all glorious within,and is the beginning of eternal glory; for a saving knowledge of God in Christ is life eternal.Nor ought this sense of the phrase to be objected to by our opponents; seeing if such may be said to be glorified, who had the gifts of working miracles, much more may they be said to be so, who have the true grace of the Spirit, which is superior to all other gifts. Besides, God's elect may be said to be glorified, because of the certainty of their glorification. It is a kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world; which Christ has gone afresh to prepare by his presence and mediation in our nature; which he is in the possession of on the behalf of his people, and which is ascertained to their faith and hope: hence they are said to be saved by hope,and by grace through faith (Rom. 8:24; Eph. 2:8.) Add to this, that they are in the same sense glorified in Christ, their representative head; in which they are said to be raised together,and made to sit together in heavenly places in him (Eph. 2:6).


ENDNOTES:

[1] Remonstr. in Coll. Hag. art. 1:p. 93; Curcellaeus, p. 375; Limborch, p. 345, 346. Though Armiuius himself owns that these words are to be understood of eternal predestination to grace and glory. Disput. Privat. Thess. 40:p. 309, inter ejus opera, ed. 4.

[2] Whitby, p. 61, 63-65, 447; ed. 2. 60, 62-64, 435, 436.

[3] Whitby, p. 448.

[4] Whitby, p. 63; ed. 2.62.

[5] Ibid. p. 448; ed. 2.436.

[6] Ibid. p. 449; ed. 2.437.

[7] Whitby, p. 448; ed. 2.436.

[8] Ibid. p. 63; ed. 2.62.

[9] Ibid. p. 449; ed. 2.437.

[10] Whitby, p. 63; ed. 2.62.

[11] Ibid. p. 449; ed. 2.437.

[12] Whitby, p. 64; ed. 2. 63.


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