Whom He Called, He Also Justified
We must state here that this sequence, laid out in Romans 8:29-30, is not all-encompassing. Paul is not attempting to trace out every element in the outworking of God’s purposes but rather to trace out the hand of God in achieving in the lives of His sons that which He purposed. Those whom God chose in eternity past, and whom He also calls in time, must also call upon Him for salvation (see Romans 10:8-15). But man’s role in salvation is not Paul’s emphasis here. Paul’s purpose here is to stress the security of the believer and the certainty of God’s promises. This cannot be achieved by focusing on man, but upon God. And so the sequence of events involved in man’s full and final salvation (including his sanctification and glorification) is laid out only in terms of that which God does. Romans 8:28-30 is a sketch of God’s sovereign and gracious activities which result in the salvation of sinful men.
Justification is the result of being called, and it is the basis for our glorification. Just as divine calling is necessary because we do not, cannot, and will not seek God, so our justification by God is necessary because we cannot justify ourselves.
Paul has already said much about justification in chapters 1-4 of Romans. Because of this, here we need do no more than review his teaching on the subject of justification. The doctrine of justification, as Paul has taught it to the Roman Christians in this Epistle, is set out below:
(1) Justification is God’s declaration that we are righteous. Man will be declared righteous if and when he lives according to the standard of righteousness which God has set down in the Law (see Romans 2:13, 23, 27).
(2) Righteousness is the basis for justification, and glory is its promised reward. To be declared righteous, one must be righteous. The hope of glory is promised to all who are righteous (see Romans 2:7, 10).
(3) God’s standard of righteousness is too high for men. Because we are sinners, there is no way that we can live in perfect obedience to the Law. The Law therefore justifies no one; it only serves to condemn us for our unrighteousness (Romans 3:10-20).
(4) Because all men are unrighteous, they have no hope of attaining to the glory of God by their own works (3:23).
(5) In His kindness, God provided a means for making men righteous and giving them eternal life.God made a way to forgive men, to give them eternal life, yet in a way consistent with His righteousness. God sent His own sinless Son to die for our sins. God’s wrath was poured out on Him, and His righteous anger was satisfied (propitiated). In Christ, God’s righteousness was made available to all who will receive it. Man receives God’s righteousness by faith, apart from works (Romans 3:21-26).
(6) The divine call of God opens men’s eyes to the truth of the gospel and their hearts toward Him.God’s call irresistibly draws men to Christ by faith, a faith which we are given by God (see Ephesians 2:1-10).
(7) Justification by faith eliminates all boasting in ourselves, and gives us ample basis for boasting in God, in His salvation, in the hope of glory, and even in present adversity (Romans 5, 8).
(8) This justification by faith is not an excuse for continuing to live in sin as we once did; rather it is the basis for living in obedience toward God, for living righteously (Romans 6).